5 Tips for Good Portrait Sessions – Working with Photographers

Successful Portrait Session

I have been shooting models, actors, families and others for a number of years now and have 5 suggestions that I think will be helpful for those considering a shoot especially for the first time.

Successful portrait session tips with female model in green dress

1. The Appointment.
Sit down and discuss with the photographer the purpose of the photography and what you expect as far as location, looks, wardrobe, delivery, usage, and any special requests. Ask questions and decide whether or not the photographer can deliver and expect to pay a professional price for professional pictures. If you come to an agreement, decide on a date that you know you can keep, sign the contract, make your deposit, and be sure to keep the appointment. Final payment is expected on or before the day of the shoot.

2. The Wardrobe.
Bring the clothes that were discussed but also bring a few additional backup items in case the key wardrobe items that you brought don’t work. Make sure the items you bring fit properly and are flattering. Oversize clothes or clothes that are too tight can ruin your look. If you are doing a variety of looks I often ask people to include a basic pair of jeans and a basic white shirt as one. Also, have your clothes organized so that you can quickly change from one look to another. When you change clothes, keep all your things in one place so that you are not likely to live anything behind.

3. The Hair.
Make sure your hair is behaving and is the way you like it. Guys, get your hair cut or make sure that you are comfortable with it. Don’t get to the shoot and be surprised at how it looks. Ladies, make sure your hair is manageable, and that there are not unattractive loose hairs sticking out or other issues. If you get to the photography session and you decide you don’t like the way your hair looks that can be a real downer. Unless you have made some arrangements there won’t be a hairdresser on the set. You can not expect the photographer to edit your hairstyle unless you are prepared to pay extra.

4. The Makeup.
With digital photography everyone except for young children need makeup. This includes men. This makeup should be applied on site by a makeup artist who understands photography. Having this makeup artist on site allows whatever needed changes that need to be done. It also allows the photographer and makeup artist do a check in the photographer’s light before the shoot begins. The photographer is responsible for the final image and is not going to want to try to digitally correct makeup his team did not apply.

5. The Fun.
Photo shoots are work but should also be enjoyable occasions. Come rested, bring music if you like, and be ready for a fun occasion. Relax, trust the photographer and don’t be nervous about how you are going to look in the pictures. It is the photographer’s job to have the pictures turn out the way you discussed. He or she will make suggestions that will help and will check with you to see if you’re headed in the right direction.

Congratulations! Be happy that you have taken the time to create images that you, your family, organization can enjoy for many years.

I would love to know if you have any other suggestions.

Maryland Portrait Photographer


Successful Portrait Session Tips

Published by Lonnie

Lonnie Dawkins is a fine arts photographer in the Washington, DC area. His focus is portraits, portfolios, and events.

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