Lighting for Portraits | Clothing for portraits


 The photo session

 Here are my tips for a successful portrait photography session:



The ideal location is one in which those being photographed feel most relaxed. Where possible, I make use of features in the natural surroundings to provide context to the photos. Woods and trees, old doorways and crumbling walls all make excellent backdrops for portrait images.



Good lighting is essential to achieve stunning photos. However, strong midday sun is too harsh and flattens images, so on very sunny Summer days the beginning or end of days generally work best. Short days in Winter constrain available time. However, some of my favourite photos have been of children wrapped up in hats and scarves, shot in crisp Winter light. I shoot all year round and will work with you to select the optimum timing, or use studio conditions.



It’s also beneficial to book appointments when everyone in the family will be feeling their best. School children can often be tired at the end of a long day and babies and younger children respond better when their naps and mealtimes are avoided. I factor in snack and drink breaks for younger models, to allow for changes of clothes or just a few minutes to recharge their little batteries! However, overall, I find that pre-schoolers are in better spirits in the morning. In the event of illness I’m happy to re-book when your child is feeling perkier.



Portrait photography sessions generally last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the number of people involved. My shoots are never rushed and generally the better, more natural, photographs are obtained later in the shoot when we’ve had time to fully relax in each other’s company. 



Clothing is really a matter of personal choice, although for family or group portraits a relatively uniform or toning colour scheme works best. For children bright, vibrant clothes can work really well – they have great photographic impact, particularly for high contrast studio shots. Heavily patterned clothing with strong images, characters or logos can be problematic as it can draw focus away from faces in the final image. Jazzy hats, scarves, winter coats with fluffy hoods, blankets, favourite toys, or dressing-up clothes can make striking contrasting accessories. If you play an instrument or have a favourite sport or pastime, related props can help personalise the image and create a lasting memory.

Finally, family pets are welcome additions to photography sessions and so a quick groom may even be in order!