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Portrait Tips (scroll down to read more)

How to best prepare for your portrait:

1) Be well rested and fed: This is especially true for young children. The appt time should be based around the time of day that is best for them.

2) Don't be the "Rainbow Family": --stick with one or two colors that work well together. A lot of my portraits are done outdoors where there are trees, grass, water, sky, etc. In these cases I always recommend natural colors such as greens, browns, blues as well as neutral greys. Basically dress similar in color to the background. Some scenes (like the capital bldg or Memorial Auditorium) lend themselves to more formal attire, whereas outdoors in nature lends itself more to casual attire. In the outdoors, avoid wearing white or red as it will attract too much attention due to contrast. Be careful about wearing anything too "trendy".

3) Haircut: If you have your hair cut, please do so at least one week prior to your photo.

4) Makeup: I find it best to keep it pretty natural, wear it the way you normally do when going out in the afternoon.

5) Picking a location: I have worked all over the Sacramento area for over 20 years, so I know lots of good places along rivers, parks, downtown, old town, etc. Many families have their portrait done at home.

6) Time of day: The best time of day for portraits outdoors is from one hour before sunset to just after sunset.  Sunset times vary throughout the year (June is very late and we can photograph till 9pm, December is just the opposite). You may need to schedule time off work or practice for the best lighting time of day.

7) Themes and Ideas: Some families like to really make their portrait unique so it says something about what the family does together.  Here are some ideas: The family business, a sport everyone plays, outdoors with pets (dogs, horses, etc.), posing with classic car, boat or airplane.

8) Prepping the children: If your kids need a little prepping before the photo shoot be sure to keep it positive!!!  Always talk about how FUN it is going to be and what they can expect. Never put any pressure on them (like: "Jonny ruined our last family portrait", or "You better smile this time!"). I play a lot of games with young kids and this is the best way to get them to smile. I never use the word "SMILE!" because it leads to forced, fake expressions. I prefer to get people to react to me. During a group photo, it is important not to look at the kids to see their expressions because you are in the photo too. Let me worry about that. I can always show you the image on the camera for review.

9) Retouching: People always ask about what is retouched. Mostly it is the skin and eye area. I try to make the eyes look a little brighter and the skin look a little smoother. Sometimes hair needs some fixing for those "fly aways". I do remove distractions in the background (poles, hot spots, etc.).

10) Selection of images: This is done with Thomas' big screen at his home. All those key decision makers should be present as there will only be one presentation of your images. Thomas will help you decide what are the best images. You should do some homework prior to this by asking yourself: "Who should we give these photos to? What size? What size wall portrait do we need for our home and where shall we place it?". 

Lastly, remember that the family portrait is a FUN event and that everyone should relax and just get along. It isn't the time for bickering, complaining or whining!

If you keep the above things in mind, chances are you will have a great portrait. If there is anything that you feel I have left out or you need further explaining on, please give me a call!

I am looking forward to your portrait session!

Thomas

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