How to Prepare for
your Studio Portrait Session

What to Wear for Portraits and other Frequently Asked Questions

You likely have plenty of questions when planning a family portrait.
Knowing what to wear for your portraits is one of the questions on your mind.

Start by browsing our downloadable Getting Ready Guide on your right for ideas of what kind of session you want and what to wear for your portraits.

click me to download!

What to Wear – Studio Portraits

Formal Portraits - What to Wear

Classic Black & White Portraits - What to Wear

Modern Classic Portraits - What to Wear

Contemporary Portraits on White - What to Wear

What should we wear for our portraits?

This is probably the number one question we get asked! For portraits, we find that simple and timeless clothing choices are best. It is recommended to avoid busy patterns, logos and large designs on your clothing. You may be formal or casual, it’s up to you.

For the most part, solid colors work best, with fabrics that hang nicely whether you are standing or seated. Medium to darker colors contrast nicely to your skin tone in order to accentuate the faces in the portrait.

For a pleasing family portrait, we encourage you all to coordinate, but it is up to you if you want to wear matching colors. We welcome you to bring more than one change of clothing, if you like, but we always recommend starting with your preferred outfit, in case we don’t get to the next round of clothes. Often, families will coordinate by wearing a similar color palette, like blues & greens, or neutrals like khaki & tan mixed with a splash of color.

While the classic ‘white shirt look’ is the easiest to match, many clients have found it is overly bright or can wash out their complexions, so we encourage adding color to your wardrobe. For black & white portraits, we suggest wearing darker colors (navy, brown or black) in order to accentuate the faces in the portrait.

Especially for adults, we often find that long sleeved attire is best. This way, we focus on your faces (to highlight your expressions!) rather than on the exposed skin of your arms. For children, the reverse is true. We love seeing their full body expression from head to toe, and it’s fun to see the bare arms and bare feet.

Probably one of the best sources of classic clothing that never goes out of style is from Ralph Lauren. They even have clothing lines for babies and children! For young children, I love the classic look of Janie & Jack.

How long will you spend with us?

Full sessions run approximately 60 minutes. Typically, a child being photographed runs out of steam after about an hour. Generally it’s best to allow for a short break for snacks, feedings and/or wardrobe change. We ask that you be on time and arrive no earlier than 10 minutes in advance of your session, as we often have a scheduled appointment just before or after your reserved time.

Should I tell my child to ‘say cheese’? 

Essentially, the short answer is no! Quite honestly, the best and most natural smiles occur when they child is genuinely happy. The ‘cheese’ approach often results in forced smiles and does not always represent a child’s true joy. I find it works best to think about favorite songs or funny stories that can be shared, in order to naturally elicit the best expressions. When a child recalls a funny moment, they will naturally smile!

What happens if I need to reschedule my session?

We understand that personal emergencies, illness or inclement weather sometimes require sessions to be rescheduled. We kindly ask that you provide as much notice as possible in order to make that time slot available to other clients. Cancellations or postponements less than 48 hours prior to your session may result in a cancellation fee.

What about black & white?

Any of your portrait images may be prepared as a beautiful black & white photograph. Let us know in advance if you have a preference for black & white and we will prepare your images accordingly.

What kind of backdrop do you use?

With our younger subjects, we most often use a clean white backdrop for our studio sessions. This ‘high key’ background is a fresh modern look and works well for all kinds of clothing, including whites, denims, khakis or bright & colorful clothing.  For a family grouping, we typically use one of our hand-painted, neutral-toned backdrops to accommodate most any home decor. Our favorites include a chocolate brown, charcoal grey and coffee cream color for family portraits. The darker ‘low key’ background is great for striking black & white portraits and works best with darker clothing (even black) so that the face is the focus of the portrait. In general, it’s best to let us know if you have a preference for a particular style in advance so that we are prepared when you arrive.

How many images will I see from my session?

While I may photograph dozens of captures in a given session, not all images are keepers. I’ll capture as many images as necessary in order to present you with a strong body of images. Depending on the number of children in the session, we will present you with the best 25-40 images in order to simplify your selection process.

When will I get to see my photos from the session?

Approximately one week following your session, I invite you into the studio to review all of your images, assist you in making your selections and to place your order. With any family group session, we strongly recommend that one family member act as the lead decision maker to attend the viewing & ordering session in the studio for selecting the group shot, as we do not post the photographs on the web. If there are multiple families participating in the portrait session, we generally recommend that each family schedules their own private viewing to select the portraits of their own family. We are happy to accommodate you in the evening for these appointments.  In the case of out of town families, we are able to arrange a screen share appointment to accommodate a remote or ‘virtual’ meeting.

What will a session cost?

Your investment starts at $200 for a regular child or family session at the studio. Included in your initial investment is Bobbie’s time and talent during the session and a personalized follow up consultation to assist you in making your portrait order selections.

What should I expect to spend on my portraits?

It’s entirely up to you how much you decide to invest in from your session, choosing from our gift portraits, framed wall art pieces, canvas portraits or custom hardcover books & albums. We offer personal, gift & desk sized portraits which range from $65 to $125. Our signature hand-finished wall art pieces are priced from $250 and can be as large as life-sized. Click here for more details on your investment.

Can you retouch boo boos, blemishes and temporary tattoos?

Yes, absolutely. Every portrait you choose to order will be individually enhanced and cleaned up. We get it, kids are active, so not to worry! In those cases when your child decides to add a giant pirate tattoo to his arm, we can handle that too! The only kind of thing we can’t fix are when some kind of boo-boo alters the shape of the eye or face… like when your child gets punched by his big brother and is sporting a big shiner.

What if I need to lose 10 pounds??

I get it! You want to look your very best. Trust me that I will make sure you look great. And honestly… if you follow our clothing suggestions and wear solid colors with long sleeves, I can make sure we see what we want to see and hide what we don’t. I truly want you to look your best, or you’re not going to want the portraits! And it’s my job to make you look great.

We’re so excited, may we take photos during the session?

Generally speaking, we prefer that you refrain from any picture-taking during your session…. after all, we take the time and care to set everything up for that perfect expression and pose. However, that being said, we understand that social media is a big part of our lives and if an opportunity were to arise where you were able to capture a fun behind-the-scenes shot, we are all for that. And if you do, we’d LOVE it if you tagged us in the post!

Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes, of course, in any amount you wish. Wouldn’t you love to receive a gift certificate toward portraits of your loved ones?