10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Portrait Session – Adults

If you have booked your “Portraits for Pixels” session with one of our participating photographers – thank you so much for your support and we hope that you enjoy the experience!

The next step is to get ready to get the most out of your session. Of course, all participating photographers are fantastic professionals with excellent portfolios but as with all things, it’s always best to be prepared on your end too.

For those of you who are adult individuals or couples getting ready to get your headshots or portraits done, here are 10 tips from professional photographers for being at your best for your sitting:

Portrait Session Tip 1: Colour It Right. Stick with simple, solid light natural colours. For those opting for an outdoor shoot, avoid wearing a colour that could blend into the background. For example: Don’t wear green if you will be having your portrait done in a meadow or park.

Portrait Session Tip 2: Keep It Simple. Choose solid colour fabrics and outfits with clean, simple lines. Avoid large and busy prints as they will completely dominate the shot and distract from your best features. Ditto with dresses with unusual cuts, details and features. Unlike a fashion shoot, the star of your portrait session is YOU, not your outfit.

Portrait Session Tip 3: Get Comfortable. Wear something comfortable that allows you to move around unrestricted depending, of course, on the weather, the season and where your photo shoot will be held. Clothes that are too tight, too light (for winter shoots), too warm (for summer/tropical shoots) should be off the cards.

Portrait Session Tip 4: Layer It! Some photographers suggest that their clients wear layers where possible. For example, a woman or girl could wear a dress over a pair of jeans or patterned tights or wear a cardigan over the dress. The shoot could then start with the full outfit and then have the cardigan/jeans/tights removed as it progresses to get more variety in your shots. Another tip is to bring an extra pair of shoes/boots or two to switch it up.

Portrait Session Tip 5: Know Where You’re Going. Decide on your session location ahead of the shoot. Do you want an indoor studio session or an outdoor shoot at a particular location? If it is an outdoor shoot, would you prefer an urban backdrop or a bucolic setting? If it is an indoor shoot, do you have any theme in mind? Ask these questions of yourself before finalising your booking with your photographer.

Portrait Session Tip 6: Bring Your Ideas. Photographers are a veritable treasure trove of ideas for portrait sessions but remember to bring your ideas to the table too because you are the subject of the portrait after all! If you see an image or idea that you like, send it to your photographer before your session. Some of the best places to unearth some fantastic visual ideas include: Trawling through Flickr, going through your old photo albums to see if anything comes close to what you want, checking out photography websites.

Portrait Session Tip 7: Mad Props. Portraits can be enhanced by personal props such as your favourite umbrella or hat or a striking piece of jewellery or even a pet. Just like certain gestures will make the picture of you, well, you, the right prop will help in bringing out the essence of you in the picture. However, it is worth checking with your photographer first to see if it is safe to use or relevant to the shoot.

Portrait Session Tip 8: Making It Up. Whether you need make-up or not depends very much on the type of portrait/headshot that you are going for. Where possible, come with no or minimal make-up but equipped with a make-up kit to build on your look as the shoot progresses. Some photographers include the services of a make-up artist in your portrait package and will, between the both of them, be able to advise you on the amount of make-up needed for your shoot.

Portrait Session Tip 9: Show Your Best Side. There is such a thing as “your best side”. Your photographer will, of course, give you guidance to help you to get the most flattering and most natural images that you really want, so do listen to them and try to follow their directions. You can also help things along by doing a bit of preparation and looking at past pictures of yourself to find out which angle brings out your best features.

Portrait Session Tip 10: Relax, relax, relax. Many people become stiff and unnatural in front of the camera either due to shyness or the mistaken belief that they have to pose in a prescribed fashion. Yet the best way of having a great session is to relax as much as possible and to build a rapport with your photographer. Have your session at your favourite park or room, play your favourite music in the background, think of a recent event or show that made you laugh. When you’re relaxed, your natural self comes shining through and helps the photographer capture what makes you unique.


Inspired to book a “Portraits for Pixels” session? To check if there is a “Portraits for Pixels” photographer in your area, check our listings page.