Captivate Photography | Session Preparation

As you look forward to your personalized portrait session, there are a few things to consider that can make your day easy, enjoyable and a memory that lasts forever!

As you schedule the day, think about how your family works best. Of course, there are time constraints to be considered if you’re seeking “golden light”, sunset shots, etc, but you also want your family (especially your kids!) to be at their best. Are you a morning person, or will you be stressed by a sunrise appointment? If you’re bringing kids, do they have nap and meal times to consider? A well-rested, well-fed kid is a happy kid, just like we all are! If possible, leave yourself enough preparation time beforehand so you won’t feel rushed and make an effort to arrive a little early. Especially for late-afternoon sessions, where light is fleeting and time may be short, you’ll want to have a relaxing experience rather than be rushed by the sun or by the need for a little one’s nap. Also, bring any favorite toys or activities along to keep kids engaged. It’s much easier to get authentic smiles when the portrait session is a fun treat, and Mom and Dad are stress-free!

Following find information and tips to keep in mind as you prepare. If, however, you’d like an elevated experience with hair/makeup or wardrobe design, just ask and we can send you customized options!

Coordinate Clothing Color and Style

Think of all details of your entire outfit, even if you think it won’t show in the final portrait. Choose clothing with solid colors and/or very small patterns. Darker colors bring out skin tones better than lighter colors. Coordinate everyone’s attire from head to toe. You may want to take some full-length shots. If you are planning an outdoor session, be sure to wear weather-appropriate attire. If you have a group, it can be fun to pick two colors that coordinate and alternate colored shirts or other elements.

Would you like a formal or casual feel?

Think about where the portraits will be primarily used (say, in a hallway in your home, living room, etc), and whether you’d like a more formal or more casual look. Formal gives a classical look; informal tells a family’s story. Is your family into a particular sport or activity? Is there a memento or defining object that could be incorporated? Maybe grandmother’s antique chair or bench, a framed photo, or a piece of jewelry that’s been handed down. Discuss this with family members beforehand and to inform the photographer if an outdoor setting is preferred.

Hair & Makeup

We recommend that you don’t try a new hairstyle just before your session, but do plan to have it cut two weeks beforehand. This gives it a chance to grow out and look natural. Need help? We can connect you with talented hair artists in prep for your shoot, or on hand at the time.

Skin Concerns

Try not to worry too much if your teen has acne or blemishes. Retouching works wonders! One very important factor – please tell us if there is a particular thing that you are worried about in your pictures (a skin blemish, a perceived “bad profile”, etc). We can then work with you to alleviate your concerns, and make a plan to address them either on camera or in editing after your shoot. It helps us so much to know, because we already know you’re beautiful and we want to help you feel that way, too!

Facial Hair

A fresh shave is a must! If you have a beard or mustache, make sure it is trimmed before your session.


These are all just suggestions! We will work with you wherever you’re at and make it beautiful! The absolutely most essential element is a relaxed, natural you! Kids follow their parents’ mood, and pick up on feelings of urgency for the “right shot”. Try to find fun in everything about the session, and we will work to capture the moments where everyone is at their best!