Here are the answers to some of the questions that come up most frequently during portrait consultations. I hope they will help you as you plan for your portrait, but please email or call if you have any questions that are not answered here.
- Wear solid colours, preferably long-sleeved. If you’re interested in a slimming effect, you might try v-necked shirts and a monochromatic outfit. For everyone, simple, non-trendy clothing is best.
- You might wish to bring several outfits in different shades and hues. Deeper colours are generally best, and avoid bold, bright colours (fuschia, teal and coral, for example).
- If you are being photographed with other people, please make an effort to coordinate colours. Don’t be too “matchy” but do try to have everyone in the same colour family. Please, no white sneakers if your clothes are in darker colours.
- Ladies, unless you are instructed otherwise during your consultation with me, please wear the make up you’d wear on a typical day. Less is more. And if you wear nail polish, please be sure it’s in great shape. Bring your make up along, especially pressed or loose powder and lipstick or gloss.
- Gentlemen, try to shave right before coming to your shoot, particularly if you’re a dark and handsome guy.
- Hair should not be cut in the week prior to your shoot. Keep hair as natural as possible – tight up-dos can look severe unless you’re a ballerina.
- Don’t panic about blemishes – I can work magic on those pesky problems. However, there are some things I cannot always fix – with sunburn as the biggest offender. If you are as red as a lobster or have other appearance-related questions, please call me and we can discuss our options.
- If your shoot will be outdoors, please bring sunscreen and bug spray. Do not apply the sunscreen to your face.
- If we are shooting on location, please bring decent walking shoes in addition to the shoes in which you wish to be photographed.
- If we are shooting in cool temperatures, please bring blankets to wrap around yourself and others in your party, and to wrap coats in while you’re being photographed.
- Please, DO NOT ask your child to smile or to “say cheese.” This guarantees silly grins and phony faces. Let me have fun with your child to bring out natural, beautiful expressions. To prepare your kids, just let them know that you’ll be getting together with Mindy to make some pictures of their family. If you'll be in the picture with your child, be sure to keep your eyes connected to my lens - sometimes when we finally achieve that perfect expression on her child, mom is looking anxiously at him instead of at the camera!
- Remember to book your session for a time when your child will be at his or her best – often shortly after the afternoon nap or early in the morning. Be sure he or she is fed and goes to the bathroom before your shoot.
- Wear solid colours where possible. Please, no screen prints, large logos, etc. There is a charge to remove any lettering or other distracting element from clothing. Try to keep shoes as neutral as possible.
- Hair should not be cut in the week prior to the shoot.
- If your child has small abrasions, I will remove them in your images. I cannot always remove certain injuries (such as a very fat lip) so if your child suffers an injury on portrait day, please contact me so we can discuss our options. Kool-aid lips and candy tongues can’t be easily fixed so avoid these things prior to your shoot.
- Please bring sunscreen and bug spray to outdoor shoots. Do not apply sunscreen to your child’s face before the shoot.
- Feel free to bring blankies and favourite bears. I’ll make sure we make some images with (and without) them present.
- I often offer little treats, such as lollipops. If you’d rather me not do this, please let me know. I would appreciate it if you would bring several tidy snacks and drinks to your session (for your little one, not for me!)
A word about teens:
Teens are not always keen on having portraits made. It’s just how they are. Please try not to stress about their attitudes during the portrait session (or, like my own poor mom, try not to freak out when your teen comes home with her first punky haircut on portrait day!) Don’t nag at them to smile; let me work with them and let’s see what happens. The worst outcome is that they won’t be grinning – but that’s o.k.. Ask them in the planning stages what they’d like to see in a family portrait. Often they have some great ideas that we can try, and they tend to feel more engaged in the process if they have some input.
We're all unique
The nice thing about people is that none of us are “normal.” We are each unique, and treasures in our own way. People with special needs sometimes don’t have the best luck with photographs of themselves; traditional photographers, though well-meaning, often don’t have the experience or understanding to make these portraits. In our family, we have had extensive experience in working with folks with special needs. If you, or someone in your family, has special needs, please let me know. Together, we’ll figure out the best way to make that person’s portrait as special and beautiful as anybody else’s.
And while we’re on the topic of special needs – mobility issues, mental illness, dementia, obesity and other difficulties that all families sometimes face, can lead some families to avoid having portraits made, or leaving out the person who has special needs. Please, if someone in your family has a special need, give me a call and let’s figure out how to make it work. Everyone deserves to be part of your family portrait.
And finally, if you feel self conscious about being photographed - if you have a missing tooth, or a scar, or are overweight, or are plagued by any one of the many appearance-related things that we all worry about - please let me know and we can talk about ways to make you feel comfortable during the shoot and overjoyed with your finished portrait. I'm easy to talk to and I can help.
All text is COPYRIGHT 2014 by Mindy Gough and may not be used without permission of the author.