It’s always a little intimidating to have your picture taken… even if it’s just a photo on an iPhone that is taken by a friend. We want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth, and that our hair is behaving! I recognize that the time leading up to your session can be a little overwhelming, so here are some tips for outfits and accessories that will make preparing for your couples session a total breeze!
don’t be afraid to
DRESS IT UP
Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our clients love Rent the Runway for their session because it’s such an affordable way to feel like a million bucks. Other clients love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet!
SAY YES TO THE DRESS
Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera — which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! I recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress or two instead.
Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like the desert, forest, plains or beach. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images.
When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, I’ll likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too.
If you’re an expecting mother, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump. A lot of our expecting mothers love to incorporate flower crowns or headpieces as well.
ONE OR TWO? IT’S UP TO YOU.
You can bring one outfit or two! Most of my clients who choose two outfits will bring one “wow” dress, and then another slightly more casual dress that has a “date night” feel. But if you want to bring two “wow” dresses and forgo the more casual dress altogether, give yourself permission to do it! The camera loves runway-esque apparel and so do I!
Remember, though, you don’t have to bring two looks if it’s too stressful to coordinate or if you’d rather just stick to one fabulous look. One outfit that you love will be so much better than one outfit you love and another you’re not very excited about. And if you stick with one outfit set, you won’t have to spend any of your time changing half way through, so I’ll be able to sneak in a few more photos! So, one or two? It’s really up to you!
When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments, and especially complements the desert.
FLATTERING YOUR FEATURES
In my experience, everyone has an area of their body that they are self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.
Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so I recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.
Heels elongate your legs, making them look fabulous. Closed-toes heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!
Bring a pair of easy-to-kick-off flats to wear when moving from place to place in between photos. Your feet will thank you later!
MAKE A STATEMENT
Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images, and be a nice tie-in when you’re coordinating with a group. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are not as noticeable on camera.
Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention. Fresh florals in a crown can be a really romantic touch for you or your girls as well.
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully and naturally.
GO PRO HAIR & MAKEUP
Professional hair and makeup is on the op of most of our clients’ checklists because it looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. This is the time to treat yourself! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. Most of my clients feel like their professional makeup is “too much” at first, since it’s more than you would wear on a normal day, or that their false lashes look too big, so if you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it all just right for the camera — and my clients always love the final result. If you need a recommendation for hair and makeup, just let me know and I’ll send you some recommendations! I know they’ll take good care of you!
- Don’t try to MATCH…try to pick outfits and accessories that coordinate instead. If everyone wore the same exact color at their e-shoot, how boring would those images be?
- Don’t be afraid to be BOLD! Accessorize and make your outfits your own! Scarves, bold necklaces and fun shoes are always welcome!
- MOST PATTERNS are actually ok…. however, graphics are not favorable for portraits. If you’re wearing a pattern, make sure it’s not overwhelming and distracting.
- Be sure to check out my Pinterest boards for more outfit inspiration if you’re having trouble!
- Empty your pockets! Literally. You don’t want to have key chains or phones showing through your pockets. (This is for the guys especially!)
- Most often, couples like to have one casual, everyday outfit and then one outfit that is dressier. This will give your shoot two totally different “looks.” I recommend beginning with the dressy outfit first!
- Make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you even have a HINT of wanting to tug at your shirt or only like it when it’s positioned one specific way, DON’T RISK IT!
- BE ON TIME! The sun is only out for so long! The later you arrive, the less time we have to shoot, and nobody wants that!
- Relax! You don’t have to be a pro at this. I’m going to help you along the way and it’s going to be a blast. Enjoy this time together, and make a date out of it. Plan dinner afterwards and celebrate(:
Preparing your guy
because dapper and debonair never go out of style
If you’re a little anxious about how your SO is going to react to this whole “picture” thing, you’re not alone. I receive so many emails from ladies who are worried that their guy won’t be into it and I have great news for you…. you both are more photogenic than you think! I am constantly surprising couples by discovering their hidden modeling skills and my most common response from #CPCgrooms is “That wasn’t as bad as I thought! It was actually fun”. Boom! Mission accomplished! When couples say that taking pictures was FUN, I have done my job well!
THE BEST FIT
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos.
MIX IT UP
Many of the guys love to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and break up the color tones. I’m a big fan of this fresh take on a timeless classic.
Next time you walk by a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust me when I say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp complements to any outfit for men and boys alike. If you bring two outfits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two looks are too stressful, no problem! One will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to complement both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, it’s a win.
HOW TO PREP YOUR MAN
Most men aren’t overly excited to take photos for an hour, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose me and me style of photography. Show him your favorite inspirational photos, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust us, once he knows it’s important, he’ll light up the camera for you! The most common thing I hear from guys before photo sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, I don’t like taking photos or don’t think I’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!
Your session is supposed to be fun and relaxed, not forced and awkward. As you prepare for your shoot, there are a few things that you can do to help everyone know what to expect.
- Sit down with your guy and showing him 2-3 of your favorite sessions that I have photographed. Spend some time together scrolling through a few social media posts, this will allow him to gauge what his expectations should be.
- Allow for plenty of time to get to your shoot! There is nothing worse than when a couple shows up late, and they have been arguing in the car! That is definitely going to put everyone in a bad mood!
- Last but not least, remember to have patience, and don’t assume that he’s not going to have a good time… I think you’ll be surprised how much you both enjoy your session!
Still feeling a little stuck? HAVE NO FEAR! Head over to my specially curated Pinterest board to see TONNNSSSS of examples! When in doubt, text me a photo of what you’re thinking, I LOVE to weigh in(:
I hope all of this helps you in preparing for your couples session! I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO ROCK IT!
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