Portrait Style Guide:
Choosing Your Outfit
Full-length, flow-y dresses and skirts look striking on camera because of the extra movement they bring to photos. Consider fabrics like chiffon or tulle, which are wonderfully feminine and allow for beautiful movement.
That being said, I want you to wear whatever the heck makes you feel like a million bucks and helps you to achieve the goal of your shoot.
*Tip: If there’s an area of your body you want to highlight or emphasize, consider that different types of clothing attract attention to different places on your body.
Think about what your eyes do when you’re looking at a photo in a magazine. They’re always immediately drawn to something, and then wander around to the other parts of the photo.
A top with lace sleeves will immediately draw the eye to the arms
A dark turtleneck places instant emphasis on the face (see @landrishea above)
Low-rise pants create a long horizontal line across the hips, drawing the eye there first
High-rise pants make a shorter horizontal line, making the waist look narrow and hips look curvy
A crop top visually emphasizes the center of the body
Prints and patterns, a chunky necklace or a large belt buckle draw eyes to them first
My favorite trick—optical illusions! A deep V-neck top or a long necklace (think: vertical lines) draws the eye up and down for a slimming effect. A belt or an outfit with left-to-right stripes (think: horizontal lines) draws eyes side to side for a widening effect
Starting to get the idea? The human eye is very susceptible to suggestion. Keep that in mind as you think about your personal style and what makes you feel most confident!
For a guide on choosing neutral and bold colors and how to pair them, go here.
The figure of a pregnant woman is absolutely sensational. You are literally full of life—a miracle that never gets old to any of us.
You’re also a little uncomfortable. To maximize your comfort and highlight your beautiful bump, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses if we’re doing your shoot outdoors. If we’re shooting in an in door studio environment, I encourage you to show off as much of your body as you want. Working with yards of gauze is also fun, visually arresting, and is as non-restrictive a garment as you can hope for!
Hair & Makeup
As long as you follow the guidelines of your own personal style, professional hair and makeup looks amazing on camera. I would recommend maintaining your usual look or style as closely as possible for your photo shoot (i.e., don’t feel that you have to wear a lot of makeup if you normally don’t, avoid an extreme haircut or color right before, etc.). Just be true to yourself.
I do recommend treating yourself to a couple of fun little things that enhance what you have—think mani/pedi, lash extensions or a blowout for your hair. These treats simply enhance the beauty you already have, and act as a nice confidence boost! I’m here to give recommendations for where to get these things done.
Two Cool Tricks
A little makeup trick that I love is simple yet effective: adding a pop of lipstick. A bold lipstick or lip stain adds a bright, happy sexiness to a photo. It’s a great pick-me-up for the wearer, too, and it’s a such an easy way to feel dressed up without spending much money.
My second secret is adding just a dab of your favorite perfume to your wrists or neck. It seems like it wouldn’t have any effect on your appearance, but if you’re feeling sexy, that power will come through in your photos.
Avoid Foundation & Heavy Makeup
I know these are fighting words, but! If foundation is a part of your daily routine, I would strongly advise skipping it before your session. I shoot with a 50-megapixel camera, which tends to accentuate some of the less flattering things foundations can do (like settle in creases and pores, make blemishes flakey and produce unnatural skin surface/texture/tone). That also goes for bronzer and foundation that is darker than your natural skin tone.
So embrace your natural skin! Because that’s what will photograph the most beautifully—I promise. Got a blemish or two or three? Faded acne scars? Do not worry for a second! Blemishes, scars, etc. are much easier to smooth away in post-processing than an incorrect skin tone or the unfortunate side effects of heavy makeup. Seriously, it’s like, Boop, boop, boop. Gone.
Oh, One More Thing!
Lastly, I want you to know — there is so much more to beauty than these things. And sometimes we create standards that no one could live up to. Even the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen wants to be reassured and certainly feels the sting of insecurity, probably every day! So just be you, whoever that person is. That’s the one we all want to see.
It doesn’t make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don’t really see ourselves. We don’t watch ourselves sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with chests rising and falling with our own rhythm. We don’t see ourselves reading a book, eyes fluttering and glowing. You don’t see yourself looking at someone with love and care inside your heart. There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing and smiling and happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly yourself. - Cup of Jo