Preparing for your Portrait

When you arrange with Norman Scott to take your portrait, it is not just an appointment to have a picture taken.

Your ideas are important to us. A portrait reflects you and your lifestyle. You might want to include something special in your portrait – we have photographed subjects with motorcycles, automobiles, boats, bikes, animals (pets), musical instruments and sports equipment. Any of these items can hold special meaning for you – feel free to discuss your ideas with us!

Memorable portraits require careful planning – beautiful portraits don’t “just happen.” Magic is created by the portrait artist bringing together the subject, clothing, lighting, composition and expression.

The art of portrait photography is to capture not only the best view of the person sitting in front of the camera, but also their personality and mood. A person’s eyes tell the story of their personality, so the goal of wardrobe in portraiture is to flatter the subject and influence mood.

When choosing what to wear for your portrait, keep it simple. Turtle necks or demure V-necks are the most flattering provided they are not exaggerated in style. Bulky cowl-neck sweaters are a photographic no-no!

Long sleeves are a must for teens and adults; bare arms bring attention to themselves and overpower the face.

Colors should be darker and solid, preferably muted. Light colors call attention to themselves and take focus away from the face.

Avoid colors that are close in tonality to skin tones such as beige, tan, peach, pink, yellow and white.

Careful pressing of clothing is more important than how new the garments are. The camera cannot tell the age of the garment but it certainly can magnify and intensify wrinkles!

If feet are to show in the portrait, shoe and socks (or stockings) need to be kept within visual tonality of the setting. (no white socks please)

Beware of red marks on your skin –
Eyeglasses, watches, tight-fitting jewelry or clothing can leave red marks on the skin which can take up to an hour to disappear. If you do not plan on wearing these items in your portrait, please be sure to remove them before your appointment.

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When decorating you home, it is important to coordinate the colors and tone of the walls, floors, draperies, and furniture. This same kind of coordination is vital when selecting clothing for a group portrait. All members of the group should be clothed in the same tonal range (if not in matching outfits). No one member of the group should stand out from another. The best clothing for a group portrait is casual, comfortable and somewhat ordinary (such as denim, khaki or black)

Many of the best baby portraits are of a naked baby and a simple prop.

Clothing and props are secondary to the child and must not detract from him or her, however that can establish a mood and should be well thought out.

Children under a year of age should be clothed in white or light pastels. You may consider bringing a favorite toy or prop with you to give the child a sense of familiarity and security while in a strange new place.

A simple and pastel baby dress is perfect for a little girl. Layered dresses are very messy on a child who is not yet sitting up.
A one-piece for a boy is always great. Suspenders that fall down or collars that do not stay put make for an awkward looking child.

Shorts may be worn for an outdoor portrait, but please remember that children are prone to bumps and bruises – we don’t want to see that in the portrait!

Before you come in for your portrait session, lay all of your chosen clothing on the bed. Then take a careful look at the collection. If your eye is drawn to any item in particular, you can be sure that the same thing will happen in the photograph. You should consider changing that item to something more innocuous. If you are just not sure, bring it with you. It is far better to bring too many clothes to your session than not enough.

Pets are always welcome at Norman Scott Photography. We encourage you to bring your pet(s) and include them in the portrait OR have them pose by themselves!
A dog with a bandana in a matching shade to the family’s clothing is perfect in a family portrait. A kitten in a child’s arms is sweet to see.

We’d love to have your pets included in your portrait --- just remember that they need to be leashed.

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Wear your hair the way you like it best! You should be photographed at a time when you are happiest with your hairstyle. Portrait time is not the time to try out a new cut or style. If you plan to have a haircut before your portrait, please try to do it at least a week beforehand so that freshly cut ends will not stand out and you have some time to control the style Try to keep your hair smooth – loose ends pick up light and appear messy.

For the men, it is important to shave shortly before your session to avoid a “five o’clock shadow.” If your session is to be outdoors, you may choose to bring a cordless shaver with you.

To look natural, women should wear your normal evening or special occasion make-up. DO NOT apply extra make-up just for the portrait. Use eye shadow to bring out your eyes. The center of greatest interest in a portrait is the eyes. An extra coat of mascara will make your eyes stand out and let your lashes appear larger and fuller. Try to avoid metallic, flecked shadows and very light shadows on a tanned face to avoid the “raccoon” effect. Lip-gloss adds a sparkle. Blemishes can be minimized with a concealer. Foundations should be blended through the neck area. Be sure to bring all of the make-up used with you in case a touch-up is needed.

Please avoid heavy sun exposure a few days before your scheduled session. Please be aware of tan lines. As a rule, couples will photograph better when each partner has an equal amount of sun. Sunburn and peeling skin cannot be retouched.

Thank you for visiting my gallery.

Please contact Norman Scott by phone or e-mail with any questions or to set up a consultation.

All prices are subject to change with out notice

Image and text copyright Norman Scott Photography

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