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Ideal Portraits



I encourage you to bring a good selection of clothing, but try to keep them from getting wrinkled. Also, avoid strongly colored shirts - especially if you're pale. They'll make you look washed out.

Pieces that are loose and hang away from your body almost never work well.

Check your clothing for frays, wrinkles, hair, dandruff, stains, and damage.

If we're working in studio, your shoes won't be in your pictures


You're welcome to change as many times as you'd like. However, depending on the location - it may be difficult to find a place to change.


If you want to take pictures with your glasses on, please bring every pair you own! Also, you may consider buying a frame without lenses - but the picture may appear less authentic.

Check whether your glasses ride low and the center of your eye is near the top of the frame. If so, consider having them adjusted before your session. And if your glasses tend to 'slip' down, you can change the nose pads to ones that hold better.

If you wear contact lenses, they'll show - at least in headshots. I realize that most people won't want to take them out, after all - you need them to see properly! If you want to know what to expect, look at my "headshot" gallery and enlarge the pictures. You should be able to see who's wearing contact lenses.


If you bring a friend, you'll feel more relaxed - and it'll show in your pictures!


My hair is very short, and I haven't yet learned much advice to give. All I can offer is the basics: use shampoo, condiitoner, volumizer - whatever works well to make your hair look good! And if your color is fading, re-dye it.

Another thing to keep in mind is dandruff. Use your treatment as long as needed before our shoot, to prevent getting flakes on your clothing. Or if you can't address this, consider wearing lighter clothing.


Choose a hair style that matches your face's shape. Determine if you have a round, oval, or square (etc) shaped face. Then, find hairstyles that match it (I may add a guide on this, later). Also, ladies: if you have a tall forehead, you should do well with bangs!


If you have any ideas you’d like to try, please share! You may want to search (flickr or google) for other's shoots, and look for anything (poses, styles/themes, etc) that strikes you as fun or interesting, or that matches your personality – so the shoot is more “you.”


There are two common reasons that your face will look shiny/glossy in pictures, and to avoid that: please wash your face with gentle soap before your shoot, to remove natural oils. However, only do this if it won't leave your face irritated (and red). Second, please use a finishing powder.

If you use a highlighter, please use natural colors and not, for example, blue/green - which can make the cheekbone appear silver.

Most important: keep your makeup smooth. Ensure there are no blotches, because this can be very difficult to edit. Also, your foundation should match your skin color and be blended properly so that it doesn't leave lines.

When it comes to eyeshadow and lipstick, it depends on the style of portrait we're doing. For example, they're great for glamour - but they may be wrong for a corporate headshot. Your skin also matters - if you're very pale, they can be extremely helpful - but you need to be careful, because you don't want a color so strong that you look washed out.

The best option is to have your makeup done professionally. And if you're short on funds, Headlines Academy is inexpensive. I can't vouch for their work, though - I'm not acquainted with it.

Men, note this: If you don't wear makeup, still wash your face - but do so as late as you can, as long as your face won't appear irritated.


Normally I play pop music to help everyone feel relaxed, but if you'd like a different genre (or artist) - please ask!


Bring your hair spray, a brush (or comb), lint roller, and lip moisturizer/gloss.


Piercing jewelry is usually not photogenic, so I suggest removing it - unless the uncovered mark is worse. I especially recommend not wearing lip or nose jewelry. Ear rings can work very well, but they've often a problem - they'll get turned and align perfectly with the light, making a strong reflection.

However, if your jewelry is a major part of your identity, or who you want to portray yourself as - keep it in!


Try to avoid the things that cause you to break out. That might be refined sugar, oils, chocolate that might worsen your acne, your monthly cycle (if you can schedule around it), or stress (I know, we all wish we could avoid that!).


I encourage you to bring props. If you’re a musician, bring your favorite instrument. If you’re a recent graduate, bring your framed diploma. Jewelry works well, too!

However, please don't bring anything you want to be in the picture that may be offensive, such as: anything related to politics, religion, sex, sexual-orientation, drugs, or gangs.


Don't forget to shave the typical areas, if any of your clothing might not cover them. Women: your armpits and legs, for examples. And men: your neckbeards.

Be cautious about when you shave, if you have sensitive skin. But, for women: you also don't want to shave too soon and give your hair time to grow back, leaving stubble in your pictures. Men and women: if your skin is sensitive, you might benefit from a double-edge razor rather than a disposable head or electric razor; they tend to be harsh and irritate skin. Changing from your canned shaving cream to a shaving soap bar might help. Also, consider using something to soften your hair before you shave, such as noxzema.


For a few hours before the shoot, avoid wearing tight pieces wherever skin might be visible to the camera. For example, if you wear a watch - keep it on during the shoot, or wait until near the end of our shoot to put it on. And if we're doing swimwear or glamour, either don't wear a bra, or make sure it won't leave marks in visible areas after you change.

You might have "dermatographia," a skin condition that's also known as "skin writing." Essentially, if you scratch yourself - that area may turn red and stay that way for hours. Around 5% of the population has this, but it's more common in teens and young adults. If you have this, just be careful about rubbing or scratching your skin - especially during the shoot. Try to plan your outfits in order, so that putting one on won't leave marks where the next won't hide them.


Wherever your skin will be visible, use a moisturizer/lotion - such as CeraVe. However, you know your body better than I do. So, for example - if a moisturizer will cause acne or folliculitis, don't use it.

For a couple of weeks before your shoot, use a lip moisturizer to prevent cracked lips.


Especially with dress clothing, be careful that your clothing doesn't get wrinkled when bringing it here!

If you wear a tie, check that its width is compatible with your lapel width.

The most common problem is a suit jacket that doesn't fit correctly. You'll see bumps in the shoulders, the front pockets will be as low as your belt, the arms will extend to your hand's knuckle(s), or you'll be a thin guy wearing a regular suit instead of one that's brought in at the waist.

If your suit doesn't fit well, and you can't have it tailored or get a different one - you might prefer taking your portrait with your dress shirt and tie, without your jacket.

And if you decide to look for another suit, I strongly recommend finding a guide online about how they should fit. That way, you're less likely to fall victim to a bad sales man.

Also, shirt stays are extremely helpful at keeping your shirt tucked in.

A few other pieces to consider are metal collar stays (if your shirt allows you to replace them), tie clips, and handkerchiefs.