As a photographer, I have the privilege of helping and advising a lot of people on how to look their best – for their photos!
Your family photos are an investment (worthwhile) that will stay with you for your whole life if you let them.
Your kids will see them. Some day, they will bring their kids over to look through your albums and “oooo” and “aaahhh” over how grandma and grandpa looked when they were young!
Although trends change, one thing that is always in style is cleanliness. Now, it’s not really that I have people coming to their sessions outright dirty or anything, but I thought it would be helpful to give a few tips and tricks beyond the normal outfit advice to help you prepare for your session!
Here are 12 ways to look your best for your session:
A few days before your session, it is a good idea to clean and polish your nails. My suggestion would be to go to a salon and get this done, either french tips or white polish. You can do a design/color if that’s the look you’re going for, but of course I naturally like the clean simple look for my style of photography.
You can also do this at home. Trim your nails, and if you’re like me and can’t paint your nails to save your life – just using a clear coat over well manicured nails will go a long way. I don’t recommend painting them messily and coming to your session with nail polish all over your hands. 🙂
If you’re due for a cut/color around the time of your portrait session, I recommend getting your hair cut about 2 weeks before. I don’t recommend trying out a new color or cut at this time. It wouldn’t be very good timing if you had to fix anything.
2 weeks is just long enough for your hair to look and feel fresh, but grow out enough to lay a little more naturally.
This is my favorite one! I personally have crazy eyebrows that need regular waxing #funfact. I suggest getting your eyebrows waxed by someone you trust as close to your session as possible. For me, that means the day of my session. If you’re planning to have your hair and makeup done professionally the day of your session, perhaps you can arrange that with them so you don’t have to make another trip.
However, for people with sensitive skin, it may be wise to give yourself 24 hours or so for swelling and redness to go down.
If you are someone who spray tans and likes to be tan, something to consider is not getting a tan too close to your session. Get your spray tan 2 days before your session.
Also, if you don’t normally tan, it’s not necessary to just for your photos. You totally can if you want to, but pale skin is just as beautiful and photographs just as well.
If you’re due for a dental appointment, it wouldn’t hurt to schedule this before your session. If you have to go anyway, use it to your advantage. Also make sure to brush your teeth before your session.
You may want to have a facial before your session! If you don’t go to an esthetician or spa, exfoliating and using a gentle cleanser the day of your session can have a great impact on how your skin looks and makeup applies – and if you can convince your husband to do this too, that would be great!
If you have sensitive skin, exfoliating the night before may be a better option. Also make sure to stick to products you use regularly and trust. A breakout from a new product would be sad! If you find yourself with a red, blotchy, or painful face, try to dab a little milk on it.
The easiest way to get wrinkles out of your clothing is to use a steamer. OR to use a garment from my client closet 🙂 I will steam it and have it ready for you! Wrinkles are NOT easy to just edit out and will affect the overall look of your photos. Take the time to take care of this before your session. Downy also makes a great wrinkle release spray.
Wear the correct undergarments. For example, a strapless bra when appropriate, a slip under light colored dresses. Also don’t wear clothing that is so tight you can see your bra and underwear. Loose clothing can still show off your shape in a flattering way. If you need help, I’m happy to help with suggestions and have a LOT of education in this area!
Spanx – if you’re like me and need a little smoothing after pregnancy and birth. This is your permission to wear body shapers and not feel bad about it. Seriously – they’re amazing and every woman needs this support in their life! clean your shoes
Take time to clean your shoes before you come to your session. A wipe down with warm soapy water makes a world of difference! Wash any laces, condition your leather, and polish if necessary. This goes for kids shoes too! Even clean, casual shoes look better than dirty dress shoes.
If you are using garments from my client closet, or having your photos done in a studio this is relatively easy and self explanatory. If you’re having outdoor photos, do what you can. It is a great idea to hang your clothes in the backseat away from little hands if possible, or lay them flat in the trunk.
I highly recommend this for kids! My kids get dirty so fast it’s ridiculous!!! When we do our photos, they change in the car once we arrive to our outdoor location. Avoiding blow outs, drool, food stains and car seat spills at all costs!
Looking for outfit inspiration?? See my spring style board!
Check to make sure you don’t have any hairbands on your wrist. Also check and take off your fitbit or apple watch. Bring along a purse to securely place these items or hide them in the car while you’re at your session.
Last but not least, clean your glasses. No water marks or dirt specks wanted!! Bring along lens cleaner. And if you forget – ask! Photographers actually usually carry lens clothes and cleaners for their gear 🙂
Have multiple frames? My advice: Non-transition lenses are pretty necessary for outdoor portraits. Otherwise, choose your normal every day frames. If you have multiple pairs, ask for your photographers opinion. Consider your outfit, consider your style, and consider how well you can see your eyes.
Well that’s it! These are some often overlooked little things that can make a big difference in your portraits. Being well groomed adds confidence and makes everyone look and feel better.
Comment below with your favorite tip, or any others that you have!
Like this post? Check out Tips for moms – newborn photography session. Or find me on facebook and instagram.
Helena Schwartz is a full-service photographer in Omaha, Nebraska specializing in maternity, newborn, milestone, motherhood & family photography. Surrounding areas include Millard, Ralston, Elkhorn, Gretna, Lincoln, and Council Bluffs. Helena loves to create a custom portrait experience with images that are soft, sweet, natural, light, and airy for sentimental mothers and families.