The best way to make sure your portrait session is a success is by making a plan in advance. When you’re planning a shoot, it’s good to think of yourself as the director of your own movie—and just like any other director who’s preparing for their film, you need to get everything ready before you start rolling. The following ten tips will help you prepare for your portrait session so that it goes smoothly and looks great!


1. Find your purpose.

For example, do you want to take photos of your friends and family to preserve memories? Do you want to create a portfolio that shows off your skills and experience? Are you hoping to build a personal project that tells a story about yourself or something else in your life?

The purpose of taking photographs is different for everyone. But once you figure out what it is, this will help inform how you approach the shoot itself.


2. Gather your inspiration.

  • Find pictures of people you admire
  • Find pictures of people you know
  • Find pictures of people you want to look like
  • Find photos of yourself, both from the past and present.


3. Pick a setting.

  • Choose a location that has meaning to you. This can be a place you’ve visited often, or one that makes you feel like the most confident version of yourself. For example, if the location is outdoors and there are lots of people around, it might help to be somewhere that is quiet and private.
  • Consider your comfort level. If you will feel more comfortable sitting or standing during your shoot rather than lying down on grass or sand (which may get stuck in your clothes), then consider where it would be best for you to sit/stand/lie down without feeling too awkward about it (e.g., if there are benches nearby).
  • Think about the weather at this time of year—can we get away with some shade? Is there enough light? Is there enough wind protection from trees/buildings? Do we need an umbrella? What will happen when rain comes if we don't have any cover nearby?

4. Be photo-ready.

You don't want to look like you just rolled out of bed with your hair all over the place, or have a shirt that's too tight. Instead, dress up for your headshot session and wear clothes that make you feel confident. You should also clean up well before the shoot so that your skin is clear and blemish free. A professional will usually provide styling tips for appropriate attire, but it's important to take care of these details on your own as well.


5. Schedule a time to shoot during golden hour.

Golden hour is the time of day when the sun is low in the sky and casts a warm, soft light on everything. This can be as early as sunrise or as late as sunset. The benefit of shooting during golden hour is that you'll get great lighting for your portrait session without having to go out of your way to find it—the natural lighting will work well for your subjects! If you want to add more dramatic lighting options to your portrait session, try using flash or strobe lights along with natural sunlight.


6. Make sure your location is well-lit, even if it’s indoors.

Good lighting makes a good photo. Even if you're shooting indoors, make sure there are enough lights on in the room that your face isn't cast in shadow. If there is natural light coming into the room (even from one window), that's ideal—it's always better to use what's already available than to have to rely on artificial light. If you need additional lighting, make sure your photographer knows where they are and how they work so they can make adjustments as needed. Make sure they also know how to hide them if necessary so that other details of your portrait aren't lost under harsh or unnatural-looking lighting conditions.


7. Wear the perfect outfit (or outfits).

Choosing an outfit for your portrait shoot is one of the most important things you can do in preparation. Your photographer will want to capture you in front of their lens looking and feeling amazing—and they should! You’re going to be spending a lot of time working with them, so it’s even more important that they feel comfortable working with you and that you both have a great experience together.


Wear something that makes you feel good: This may sound obvious, but it shouldn't be overlooked. The last thing anyone wants is to spend an hour or two posing in front of the camera only to find themselves completely miserable by the end because they were wearing clothes that didn't suit them well or flatter their figure.

Wear something that flatters your figure: If there are certain areas of your body where some extra softness is gathering (we all have them), try dressing around those areas rather than against them. For example, if someone has larger hips than might normally fit into pants designed for smaller-framed women, try dressing those up instead of down by wearing fitted skirts instead—this will allow her hips "pop" out from underneath any baggy shirts she might be wearing at home while also keeping things comfortable enough so she doesn't get too hot (or cold) during shoots outdoors throughout winter months! Similarly, women who carry extra weight around their midsection should wear vests over tops instead—it will draw attention away from any problem spots without actually covering anything up entirely (which isn't ideal).


8. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Get ready to accessorize! The right accessories can help you create a look, show your personality, and even show your mood. For example:

  • A hat is a great way to accentuate your face shape or hairstyle.
  • Jewelry can add some sparkle and shine—and it's not just for girls! Guys can wear jewelry too (as long as they don't go overboard). Just make sure that whatever you're wearing on your ears won't fall off during the shoot.
  • Belts are another way to draw attention away from problem areas on your body when combined with an outfit that may be too tight-fitting in other areas (like around the waist). And if there's one thing we know about guys looking good in photos, it's this: wear belts with confidence!

9. Pick up a few props to make things more interesting and dynamic in your photos.

Besides helping make your photo more interesting and dynamic, props can also help you focus on the right parts of your body. It’s important to remember that when someone looks at a portrait, they don’t care about the lighting or how well the lens is sharpened. They just want to see what you look like!

For example, if you want to highlight something about your face, like eyes or lips or hair color, then bring in some accessories that will draw attention there—like sunglasses or a scarf or lipstick.


10. If you have pets, consider including them in the photo shoot so they can be part of the memories, too!

If you have pets, consider including them in the photo shoot so they can be part of the memories, too! If you're not comfortable with having your pet sit on a chair or bed as someone takes their picture, that's okay. It's important to remember that animals have feelings just like humans and should be treated with respect. If your cat doesn't like being held and has never sat on anyone's lap before, then don't force them into doing so during the portrait session.

You might also want to consider dressing up your dog if he or she is comfortable wearing clothes and interacting with other people outside of their normal routine. Remember: don't force them into doing anything they aren't comfortable with!


You'll always look back at your photos with pride if you've made a plan for your portrait session!

You'll always look back at your photos with pride if you've made a plan for your portrait session!

When it comes to planning, consider the following:

  • You'll have a better experience if you've planned ahead. If you're not prepared, you may find yourself wasting time and energy trying to guess what people expect from their portraits or where the photographer will take them. It's best to plan in advance so that everyone knows what is expected of them during their photo shoot.
  • You'll feel more relaxed and confident knowing that everything has been taken care of ahead of time, allowing everyone involved to focus on having fun during the session instead of worrying about details like timing or location choices on the day of the shoot. Having all these details sorted out beforehand will allow everyone involved - including yourself! - more freedom during their portrait session without having any surprises come up at last minute which could potentially ruin things for everyone else involved in making sure this gets done right away so nothing else happens afterwards as well!


We hope these tips and tricks help you feel more confident and prepared for your portrait session. Remember that the most important thing is having fun, so don’t get too caught up in being perfect! If there are things about this process that don’t go as planned, or if you find yourself feeling stressed out or anxious about how things will turn out—take a deep breath, step back from what you were doing for a minute or two, give yourself some time to reflect on what matters most to you in life right now (whether it be making memories with friends/family members), then come back to the moment with renewed energy.

If you're interested in learning more about budget-friendly options for your couples photography, please contact us today! We'd be happy to chat with you about our packages and discounts.


Thank you for reading!


Affordable Couples photography by Fungirlwithacamera Photography. Hope from Fungirlwithacamera Photography specializes in affordable couples photography.

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