“That’s what Photoshop is for!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this.  The closer a photograph is to finished in-camera, the better it’s going to look at the end!  Yes, I can pluck your eyebrows, iron your shirt, and clean the cookie crumbs off your kiddo’s face, but the shorter that editing list, the more likely everything will look natural! Then, we can focus on things that really polish up your images!

Here’s a list of 20 tips we’ve compiled after editing tens of thousands of photos!

  1. Don’t make your family match too closely.  You’re all different so let those personalities shine!  It’s a good idea to come up with a color scheme and stay within that, but don’t let that color scheme be “khakis and blue shirts” or you’re going to look like an oddly-aged group of Best Buy workers.  Cool colors look best on most people.  Yellows demand attention and oranges tend to clash with skin tones.
  2. Avoid logos and characters on shirts.  Unless it’s a lifestyle shoot where your Spiderman-obsessed kiddo wears his Spidey shirt every day and you want to remember that, stick to solids or at least patterns that aren’t bold.  You also aren’t advertising for a business in your photos.  Unless you are.  Then you do you!
  3. Large patterns detract from your face!  My least favorite pattern to see on my clients is a chunky black and white stripe or large black and white polkadots.  The eye is drawn to contrast so we want your beautiful faces and eyes to outshine any patterns on your clothes.
  4. Forego the neon colors and probably orange, too!  These bright colors reflect SO MUCH LIGHT holy cow.  Whatever light is on your face is also bouncing off those bright colors and adding that tint to anything it touches.
  5. Please shower.  Or at least dry shampoo it up.  When hair is oily, it separates into chunks and that’s never ideal.
  6. Layer up and accessorize!
  7. Consider pinning part of your little girl’s hair up.  If we take lifestyle or candid profile photos of her sweet little face looking up to you, if we are on the side with more hair and she tilts that way, her hair can completely cover her face.  Hair down is great!  It just demands a little bit more attention during the session.
  8. Have an extra shirt for kids – you never know what can happen.  I don’t feel like I need to elaborate too much on this.
  9. For the men – leave that shirt with the tiny check pattern at home.  It can create weird patterns in digital files called a moire pattern. Hit up Google and look up “mens shirt moire pattern.”
  10. Make sure your wallet and large items, like phone and keys, are out of your pockets before the photos. They’re important, but they don’t necessarily need to be immortalized.
  11. Take off your sunglasses well before the shoot or you’ll have dents in your nose.  Nuff said.
  12. Iron your solids!  Wrinkles show up better in photographs than they do in real life most of the time.  Spend two minutes and bust out the iron – you’ll be glad you did.
  13. Wear a good bra.  It helps with posture and just adds a bit of confidence.  Saggy boobs make us look and feel older.
  14. Spanks are a lifesaver.  You might be looking at some of your proofs before we add nipping and tucking – we don’t want you to dislike yourself in photos just because something looks more out of place than you’d normally let it be.
  15. This is a good day for great makeup and hair – a salon visit isn’t unheard of but make sure you have the YOU TIME you need to get ready.  We have had too many sessions where mom is busy getting the family looking great and runs out of time for herself.  Don’t let this be you!
  16. Don’t wear fabrics that are thin without a tank underneath.  Unless you want us to shoot you in your underwear, cover that crap up.  On that same token, we’re happy to shoot those – they’re just called boudoir sessions!
  17. Watch for low cut shirts if we’re shooting lifestyle.  Kids like to hold onto us and climb all over – don’t put yourself in a situation where you hate a snuggly image of you bending over to hug your kid because your shirt choice hung down a little too low.
  18. Bring wipes and tissues for the kiddos.  Kids are gross.  Be prepared to clean up snot, boogers, spit, cookie crumbs, peanut butter, whatever they were eating.. grass… dirt.  Kids are gross.  At least mine are.
  19. Bring a brush and hairspray.  Hair doesn’t always stay perfect from the time it’s done to when your pictures are taken.  In fact, it rarely does.  So arm yourself and give your hair the best chance you can to look fabulous.
  20. If you’re buying new makeup products for your session, PRACTICE!  We’ve seen clients go terribly wrong with highlighter, too much foundation, botched liners… don’t veer to far from your normal look and you won’t look back and regret trying out the newest Kardashian contouring only to end up looking like a Na’vi native on Disney’s Pandora.