How to Prepare for your Portraits

Hydrate and Rest. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest can go a long way in maintaining a refreshed look. By staying hydrated, you can naturally prevent dry and tight skin, and with staying rested you can prevent from appearing tired and rid those infamous dark circles under the eyes. These two tips also help with energy levels, so not only will you look refreshed but you will feel refreshed as well, combined you will create a natural glow and maintain good energy on set. 

Bring Options. 5 – 6 looks is usually best for your portraits. Depending on the length of the session we may not work through them all, and we may not even need to, but it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have enough options. Try things on before you pack for the session, see what looks good and what doesn’t. The composition of the portraits will range from up close to full body, so keep that in mind. Ask yourself if your clothes fit well? Perfect! Are they too snug? Ditch it! Consider the entire outfit, clothes you can easily move around in work best because I will be doing more posing in that part of the session. You can browse through my portfolio for ideas on what to wear, but just know that it comes down to clothes are worn well and with confidence.​

Tanning. Please refrain from tanning, whether it’s the sun or a bed, two to three days at least before your session. Tanning will leave unwanted color and texture in your skin that my camera will pick up. If you do want to tan, just plan ahead to allow time for your skin to heal. This also holds true if you have your eyebrows micro-bladed, you actually need several days for this healing process. Anything that effects your skin will need to have time for healing. We want your skin to have a natural and refreshed glow. 

 


What should I wear for my Portraits?

Again, this is a portrait experience, to get most from it keep in mind that it’s about you and your personality. There is no need to over dress, we will get amazing images which comes from your eyes and your expression, the clothes are only be meant to further enhance your story. 

What to wear: 

  • Form fitting clothes that you look and feel great in (this boosts your confidence and energy).
  • Black, white or any shade of gray (gray on gray is the most aesthetically pleasing).
  • Solid colored jewel tones (sure win if they bring out the color of your eyes).
  • Lighter colors and tones can work too depending on the mood or set design we decide on. 
  • Layers, bring a jacket or sweater that compliments one or more of your shirts/tops.
  • Bring a range from casual and sporty to elegant and evening. Have favorite tank top or a stunning dress? Bring it!
  • Minimal jewelry is best for portraits, if you have a piece with sentimental value then bring it. 
  • Bright, dangling or gaudy jewelry can be a nice accent if you are going for a formal or evening look. 
  • Here is a link to my portfolio for more examples – http://www.garybarragan.com/portaiture.html

Pro Tip #1 – Iron or press – Plan ahead to get this taken care of, wrinkles are very distracting and give a sloppy appearance. If you take the time to do this, and you having your headshots updated with your company, bring your top in a garment bag or on a hanger, don’t wear it the day of.

What not to wear: 

  • Baggy, oversized or wrinkled clothing (they add weight and give a sloppy appearance).
  • Loud colors, logos and dominating patterns/textures, (these are distracting, the focus is you not the fashion).
  • High collared shirts/jackets (you have a neck, we want to see it, hidden necks appear stumpy).
  • Shorts, this just does not look right in studio portraits. Also, please don’t bring all short sleeves or sleeveless garments. 

Pro Tip #2 – Buy and Save – Is there a jacket or top at the mall that’s calling your name? Go back and get it! Leave the tags on, bring it to the shoot then return it when we are done.

 


Men… Shaving, Let’s talk about this real quick. 

  • If you are normally clean shaven please shave a few hours before our session if possible. Not the night before, but earlier in the morning if possible. This will give time for the skin to heal and allow the redness to settle down. 
  • If you are going for a bearded or scruffy look but also want a clean cut look, then please come how you would rock your facial hair. We can capture that first, then you can go to the bathroom and shave. Please bring your shaving toiletries and a towel if you decide to go this route. 
  • Trimming up, I’m just going to say this since there is no other way around it… ear and nose hairs, please make sure those are under control.

Should I hire a professional Make-up Artist for my portraits?

​(Gentlmen, I ask that you do not wear make-up)

Although it’s not required, I do highly recommend going with one of the talented artists I work closely with. They are member of The Beauty Patrol and their work can be seen throughout my portfolio and website. Each of their artists have been professionally trained and specialize in clean and natural make-up styles, I place my full trust in them. You may now be asking, why use an artist from my team vs your own, or even doing it yourself, well there are two major benefits – 

Benefit One – ​With my team being present in the studio during your photo shoot they will ensure your makeup is photogenic and cohesive with the other styling factors such as hair, clothing, or backdrop. The team is familiar with my lighting style to optimize the makeup needs of each client. When I am behind the camera they are watching on the computer for anything the camera picks up that is less noticeable off camera. The goal of professional headshot make-up is to end with a result that looks like there is not much make-up applied in the first place. That doesn’t mean, less applied, it’s just applied differently using advanced techniques.

Benefit Two – They remain on set throughout the entire session. By doing so, adjustments are made based on lighting, styling and the clients preferences. They also to tend to make-up corrections such as lipstick or eye make-up smudges along with flyaway taming. Frequent hair placements and makeup touch ups are necessary to get the best scenarios in between sets. This allows me to concentrate on working with you to bring out the best expressions with each of the sets. Plus, when it comes to the styling, it’s always good to have a second opinion! 

Here is a short blog that I wrote where you can see a sample our work together. When you get a moment, give it a look, this will help you decide if hiring a make-up artist is right for you – 

http://bit.ly/2q5N1Br
 
If you plan to take advantage of hiring my team, please arrive with no product on your face and your hair lightly styled as you would normally wear it.

  • If you own a particular color lipstick or eye shadow, then bring it in, we can try to work that in during the session.

Pro Tip #3 – Pampering – You are essentially treating yourself to a pampering session when you hire an on set make-up artist! If you would like to have this set up then I can arrange for a team member to be at the shoot. Or if you have further questions you can contact them directly here – Contact The Beauty Patrol


What kind of make-up for portraits?

If you’re planning on going elsewhere or doing your own make-up, please keep it simple, clean and natural is the way to go. You want your portraits truly represent you and your story. Bold or dramatic trends will date your portraits and are usually out in a year… a natural look will always be timeless. Here is an article I wrote for visual guidelines on clean and natural headshot make-up which can be used for portraits. Please do yourself a favor and read this if you are doing your own or share this article with the make-up artist you plan on going to – http://bit.ly/2uR5phm. 

Also, if you are planning on doing your own hair and make-up, be sure to bring your own kit to build up the looks. The make-up you wear with a casual look may not be what you wear during the evening out on the town, we’ll want the option to cover both looks. . 

Pro Tip #4 – Natural Retouching – I honed my lighting and post production retouching skills in the beauty & fashion industry, so between the two, a few blemishes or minor breakouts will not be an issue. Please don’t stress over this, I got you!

Avoid the following make-up:

  • Any make-up with SPF or Acne Medication (these products reflect my light and ruin any photo).
  • Heavy eye shadow, heavy eyeliner, sharp or hard lines.
  • Penciled in eyebrows with a harsh line, make it natural.
  • Fake eyelashes (a definite no no, they cause the eyes to look dark and heavy).
  • Too much blush (excessive blush will hide your natural skin tones on cheeks).
  • Bold lipstick or lip liner (use natural nude/pink colors with a satin finish, or a hydrating lipstick in neutral colors, to even out chapped lips).
  • Powder foundation (liquid concealer is much better on camera, professionals understand this).


If you know you want to try out a more dramatic style of makeup, save some inspiration on your phone and we can build the make-up towards the end of the shoot… but let’s start on the natural side!

For children under 13, I strongly encourage little to no make-up as I want to preserve their natural and youthful appearance in camera. Ages 14 to 15/16, we can apply light and natural make-up, again the goal is to preserve their youth and not make them look older than they are.

If you have further questions, feel free to email and I will be happy to chat with you. See you soon!

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