What to Wear for Portrait Sessions

I say it all the time, however I still think that communication is the most important aspect of portrait photography, especially for posing. You may start to discuss this during your first contact with the client. To make the best possible portrait, you need to start before a subject arrives at your studio or location. A few simple tips suggested to subjects can make their session go better, and help them enjoy the portraits produced during the session, which hopefully translates into more clients and repeat business. Let's face it, as I always say "most of us do this because we love it" however the equipment is not free. Nothing detracts from a subject’s face more than clothes covered in busy patterns and prints. Your attire depends on the type of portraits we're looking to create.

Things don’t always work out as we'd like and we often have to work with what we have. Although you might prefer that a portrait subject bring solid colors to a shoot (not WHITE if possible), that doesn’t always happen out here in the real world. So when the clothes aren't working you can try shooting tight. This will avoid the possibly distracting clothes.

Cropping tightly helps the portrait somewhat but it won’t always work to minimize the busy pattern of a subject's clothing. When this happens you can try changing to Black and White.

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Portrait Photography Tips

Here are 15 random portrait photography tips. Try them before you decide they won’t work :) 1. To make someone look smaller, photograph them from a high angle. 2. To create a dramatic portrait, fill the frame with the subject’s face. 3. Use large objects such as walls as reflectors when you can’t use electronic flash. 4. When photographing men, give them something to do with their hands. 5. Have your subject bring their chin down to make the eyes look larger. 6. When you photograph dark skin, underexpose by one stop. 7. Reflectors are an easy way to balance light on two sides of a subject. 8. Have your subject lean toward your camera. This creates a strong connection. 9. Large light sources placed close to the subject will provide the softest light. 10. Make sure your portrait background is clear of distractions. 11. When shooting a full-length portrait, women usually look better when they are photographed with their ankles crossed. 12. Make sure to focus on the eyes. Everything else can be soft. 13. Keep your subject’s arms away from her body to enhance the waist. 14. When posing someone in a seated position have them sit on their thighs, not their rear end. 15. Make sure to have a minimum of six feet between your subject and background to avoid casting shadows on the background.