Planning a Portrait

Eliminate Distractions!
In general, I prefer darker colors and long sleeves! This helps in a number of ways. First, we want the attention to be on your face, and the long sleeves help eliminate distractions created by bare arms.

When viewing a photograph, your eye goes to the darkest part of a “light” image and the lightest part of a “dark” image.

If we are taking pictures outdoors and you are wearing light colored clothing, the eye will generally go to the clothing before it goes to the face. The light clothing then competes for that attention!

If you wear darker clothes, but short sleeve or sleeveless garments, the bare arms compete for attention. Realize too, that if five people are in the image, there are five faces but ten arms!

Color Counts!
Good color choices would be navy, greens, browns, reds, black, and darker blues. Denim is great! Avoid pastels, pinks, yellows, and other pale colors.

White clothing is a common choice and is very lovely if it is done right, but it takes a little planning on your part as well as mine! It is very important to maintain the detail of a white garments so that it does not “wash out” in your photographs, so scheduling outdoors with the right lighting is a must.

Solid Suggestions!
For most portraits, solid colors are appropriate. This is not to say that you can never wear anything with a pattern or multi-color. The clothes should say something about who you are without being a distraction. Generally, solid colors will make your portrait more “timeless”.

Solid colors within the same color family are most appropriate for photographs with two or more people, where we are trying to convey a sense of
unity. A family portrait will be very busy if everyone wears different colors.

When one person is in a solid with the other in a busy pattern, the patterned outfit will be a considerable distraction. With images of two or
more, it helps to stay within the same color family! For example, you could match blue denim with navy.

Bring What’s Important To You!

Your portraits should reflect who you are and help tell your story. Bring those things that help tell your story. Items may include: motorcycle, cowboy hat, uniforms, sports equipment, awards, musical instruments, pets, snow board, Bible, dancewear, and anything else that is important to you!

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