Portrait Photography Tips

Portrait Photography Tips

When booking  portrait photography in Northern Ireland session there is one question that nearly always gets asked.

What should I/we wear

In all honesty it is a very difficult question to answer because everyone has different tastes in clothing and fashions etc . The type of photography session also has a major bearing on the clothes and indeed the people involved.

My general reply to the question is always that you should wear what ever you are most comfortable wearing, within the confines if whatever the end product is designed for.

e.g. If this is a shoot with a couple of teenagers then perhaps a formal suit might not be the most appropriate. On the other hand if it is a formal shot for a High Court judge then jeans and t-shirt is not really appropriate.

So while there is no correct answer for every situation there are some general guidelines which might be of help.

Beautiful , memorable and timeless portraits don’t just happen by chance they take a degree of thought and planning.

Key Points to remember when deciding what to wear:

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it classic (the lates fashion or colour scheme will quickly go out of fashion and thus date your portrait)
  • Think about the total outfit, including footwear (or lack of it)
  • Big bold patterns and colours draw attention away from the face.
  • Long sleeved dresses and shirts draw attention away from the arms and focus it on the face.
  • Short sleeves are fine for younger children and babies.
  • Wear flattering clothes, dark colours tend to minimise size, while lighter ones emphasise .
    A V-neck or scoop-neck is best if your neck is short and your face full. A higher neckline works better if you have a longer neck and thinner face
  • If you are having a group photograph try to have everyone in a similar style
    Mixing casual and formal is best avoided, same goes for dark and light
    Keep the tonal range of clothing within the group the same.
  • Try to stay classic, black & white or denim are timeless looks.
  • Makeup should also be considered carefully especially if wanting black and white pictures
    Bright Red lipstick can look great but in Monochrome will show up almost black!
  • Babies and Children Portraits

With young children there is not quite so much to consider. The same general principles apply . Large designs, motifs, badges etc draw the eye away from the face. So again dress your children as you want to see them and in a way that they are comfortable,
Younger children look best in pale or pastel colours, babies, newborns and even toddlers are best in bare feet.. Try to ensure that the clothes actually fit well and are not baggy .
Keeping Control
It is important to try and capture the personality of your child and so it is just as important to have fun. If a parent is telling a child to ‘be good’ and behave it can have the effect that they are not themselves and wont enjoy the experience. I would never normally tell a child to smile, telling a youngster to smile nearly always results in a false cheesy grin which is not what we want. If the session is fun and enjoyable the smiles will come naturally, and indeed often the quiet more thoughtful pictures and just as lovely.We will take some smiling poses as well as some quieter and more thoughtful ones, which are often more appealing.
Four young children and babies if they have a special small toy or prop then by all means this can be brought along. It will make your child feel more at home and at easy resulting in better photographs.
The above are just some observations gained over years of photography including (in no small measure) my own children. They are not intended to be some 100% correct manual for success, simply my own views.