Booking an individual portrait session for yourself can be a little intimidating so I’ve written this post to help ease your mind. I photograph a lot of individuals, probably about as many as I do families, so I think it’s high time for a blog post just for you, the individual! Please read ahead; it’s the Individual Portrait Session Guide.
First Things First
Please choose your photographer carefully! You want someone whose work you admire, who photographs in locations that appeal to you, and also whose personality and overall vibe you feel comfortable with. You can interpret a lot of unspoken information from following someone’s social media. Spend time not only looking at the images they post, but also how they present themselves through Instagram stories, Facebook or TikTok posts; and don’t forget to read their About/Bio page on their website. I don’t buy into the trendy talk you might see on some websites with “Bestie” this and that, and the “Let’s have a coffee” attitude. I don’t think you have to become best friends with your photographer to have a portrait session, but you probably want more than just a few photos; you’re also paying for an experience!
Choosing a Location
It’s hard to decide which you should do first, choose what you’ll wear or select the location for your portraits. Unless you have a really special outfit in mind, it may make more sense to think of the type of location that speaks to you before deciding on clothing. Most photographers will offer suggestions because they know where the best spots are; some may be tucked away, and others may be public and well loved by others. You can bet they have their favorites for one reason or another. Personally, I’m always looking for the best light; that heavily influences the locations I suggest. My question to you will be whether you prefer a city setting or natural setting. Unless you have a location in mind, that’s how we’ll start the process of choosing the best location for your portrait session.
Selecting What You’ll Wear
Once you have an idea of the type of location you’re interested in, it’s time to think about what you’ll wear during your session. I’m more than happy to offer advice. I even have clothing graphics to give you ideas of how to pair clothing and accessories, patterns, and colors. Take a look underneath the images on the portraits of individuals page of my website.
To choose your clothing, you could refer to the color wheel; there are so many color combinations to consider. For starters, colors opposite each other on the wheel are complementary and usually look great together, like oranges and blues, reds and greens, and yellows and purples. Also, there are cool colors like blues, purples, and greens, and warm colors, like reds, oranges, and yellows. Another idea is to have several cool colors and one warm color as an accent or vice- versa. These are just a few of the choices you can make. My best advice is to begin to think about what you’ll wear at least a week before your session. Give yourself time to try options on and see what accessories you can add to the look to create visual interest. Pro tip- hats are fun but not great for photographs because they present shadows on the face.
The Day of Your Portrait Session
On the day of your portrait session, hopefully you’re rested and have a satisfied belly (not too full, but also not distractingly hungry). Maybe you’ve looked at images online and tried poses in your mirror. You should have an address for the location you’re meeting your photographer. Leave earlier than you think is needed just in case you run into a traffic issue, have trouble finding parking, or get turned around. If you’re outdoors and it’s hot, take a cloth for wiping your brow and a water bottle. If it’s cold, you might want a jacket to wear occasionally to warm up throughout your session. And lastly, always have your photographer’s number handy in case you are delayed or don’t see them when you arrive.
Hopefully this Individual Portrait Session Guide will help you feel more comfortable and confident when planning your portrait session. It really is a lot more fun and a lot less intimidating once you begin. A good photographer will make you feel great and offer posing suggestions when you need them.
Here’s another perspective on preparing for your portrait session by Kelly Williams. She’s a photographer who offers tips on how to relax for your portrait session.
To give you an additional boost of confidence, please read Client Tips for Great Portrait Sessions.
So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to treat yourself to a portrait session? Please contact me!