{ Styling Guide }
for your photo session

provided by Rebecca Kuhn Photography

 

I'm so excited for your portrait session! Whether we’re capturing your sweet family, or celebrating a special moment in your life, I'm so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. I've created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos, and by the time you’ve read through the guide, you'll have all your questions answered and feel more than ready and prepared for your session. Then I'll take care of the rest! Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot and let me create photos you’ll love forever.

 

{ Choosing Time & Date }

I'm a natural light specialist because I believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections, create photographs that feel fresh, timeless and truest to you. I begin most portrait sessions 1-2 hours before the scheduled sunset when the light is the dreamiest, and I will usually continue 20 minutes after the sun sets. When you choose a date for your session, I use a sunset calculator to determine the best starting time for the date. Remember, the sun sets much earlier during the colder months of the year and much later during the warmer months, so make sure to factor that in when choosing your portrait session date, especially if you’re taking off work or have evening plans afterward. To get the most out of your session, please plan a buffer when getting ready so you can arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time. I'm only able to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down. If you’re wearing two outfits, save your favorite one for the second half, and if you’re wearing one, arrive in that.

QUICK TIP: My weekends fill up fast and far in advance, as does my summer and fall season. I also only take 1-2 sessions per week and less during the school year.  So scheduling a few months in advance or choosing a session during the week or during off season will get you to the front of the line!


{ Selecting the Right Location }

The location of your portrait session is up to you! Most of my clients choose to showcase the natural beauty of our home state. For most of my sessions, wide-open natural spaces are my favorite spots. There are great options all around the city, so even if you've never seen me photograph in a specific spot before, I'm always up for exploring a new spot together.

Think Outside the Box
I encourage you to brainstorm unique locations that you might have special access to that most people don’t. For example, maybe you, or someone in your personal or professional network, can secure permission to a location that would otherwise be off-limits, like a beautiful private estate, country club or resort. Maybe it’s a family ranch, upscale hotel or rooftop view. The sky is literally the limit! Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with. Plus, if something seems out of reach, just remember: you never know until you ask! If you get stuck or need inspiration, check out my website and blog. Let me know which sessions you loved and we’ll go from there.

 

{ Styling Your Session }

Want your photos to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra wow” factor to just about everything. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like a bike or chair, or smaller ones like blankets, hats, or balloons, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.

Style Tips for Her

Because you always want to remember this.

Don’t Be Afraid to Dress It Up
Have you thought about wearing a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new piece to your wardrobe, consider renting a piece for your session because it’s such an affordable way to feel like a million bucks.
Quick Tip: There’s no such thing as too dressed up.

 

Say Yes to the Dress
Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera,  which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! I recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress instead.

Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos, especially when paired with nature, like a grassy open field or woodland forest. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images.

When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, I’ll likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones, a floor-length dress or skirt will make moving around with your kids much easier.

If you’re an expecting mother, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump.
 

One or Two? It’s Up to You!
You can bring one or two outfit sets, but please remember, you don’t have to bring two looks if it’s too stressful to coordinate or if you’d rather just stick to one fabulous look. One outfit that you love will be SO much better than one outfit you love and another you’re sort of excited about. And if you stick with one outfit set, you won’t have to spend any of your time time changing half way through, so I’ll be able to sneak in a few more photos! Most clients who choose two outfits will bring one wow” dress, and then another slightly more casual dress that has a “date night” feel.

 

Choosing Colors
When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown, soft green, and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments. Also, avoid busy bold patterns. Patterns can be great when just one person is wearing a pattern and it fits in the your color palette.

 

Flattering Your Features
In my experience, every woman, regardless of her shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.

Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so I recommend avoiding those if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.

Heels elongate women’s legs, making them look fabulous. Closed-toed heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!

Quick Tip: Bring a pair of easy-to-kick-off flats to wear when moving from place to place in between photos. Your feet will thank you later!
 

Make a Statement
Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images, and be a nice tie-in when you’re coordinating with a group. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are not as noticeable on camera. Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention. Fresh florals in a crown can be a really romantic touch for you or your young girls as well.

 

Go Pro? Hair & Makeup
Professional hair and makeup looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own, plus it gives you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light if possible, since that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. You might feel that your professional makeup is too much” at first, since it’s more than you would wear on a normal day, or that they're false lashes look too big, so if you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it all just right for the camera — and our clients always love the final result. And if you choose to do your own hair and makeup, use a matte makeup that is free of sparkles, shimmer, and shine, including body glitter. These fun products don't always come out in photos the way they look in person. DO wear eye makeup and mascara to enhance your eyes, but avoid bright or dark colors. Touch up chipped nail polish.

 

Skip the Spray Tan
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully and naturally.

 

Fashion Tips For Him

Because dapper and debonair never go out of style.

The Best Fit
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos.

 

Layered Looks
Next time you walk by a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, it’s worth an hour of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Blazers, vests and coats bring an extra dimension to your photos. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers! Some men like to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and breaks up the color tones.

 

It’s All in the Details: Accessories
Brown leather dress shoes compliment almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit for men and boys alike. If you bring two outfits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two looks are too stressful, no problem, one will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, it's a win.

 

How to Prep Your Man
Most men aren’t overly excited to take photos for 1-2 hours, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your man. Tell him why you chose me and my style of photography. Show him your three favorite sessions that I've done, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. The most common thing I hear from guys before photo sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!

 

Grooming
Men look best with a trimmed up beard and mustache a few days before our session. If he wants a "clean shaven" look, shave a few hours before the session. Wash and moisturize, including using some clear chapstick for dry lips! The camera does pick up everything, even chapped lips and dry skin.

 

Prepping Your Family

 

Because they won’t be little forever.

 

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Coordinating the Crew
As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, your outfits will look the most connected on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate but don’t actually match.” In fact, I recommend that you avoid thinking about matching,” and instead think about what fits” together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.

 

How to Mix Colors
The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to think about planning each outfit with dominant colors” and accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while an accent plays a lesser role. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, aim for each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the accent colors. It's going to look great all together. Most of my moms choose their dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based around that.

For example, this is your family's color palette: blush, navy, soft blue, and white

  • You're wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color)

  • He could wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant color)

  • Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt (making a soft blue her dominant color)

  • And your son wears light beige pants with navy suspenders and a white button down shirt (making white his dominant color)

Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the other colors that will pull all the looks together. This will break up the color visually and highlight each personality.

Remember, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and mix in sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, cream, tan, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too, while avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors.
 

Mixing Up the Pieces
If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other one wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.

 

Grooming
It might seem simple, but dry skin and lips, food in the teeth, and crumbs on the face show up very easily in a photograph. Make sure to wash faces and brush teeth. Use hand lotion and clear lip moisturizer (chapstick!) on everyone before your session - even the boys!

 

Prepping Your Little Ones
Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help us get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session, like an ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if they’re bellies are full and they’ve had some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) a little grace! Have fun! They’re little, and I know that some days don’t always go as planned. I've seen it all and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!

 

Photo Delivery Timeline

  • Week 1: Social media sneak peek with 1-3 of my favorite poses

  • Week 2: You receive your online gallery with all your final, retouched, high resolution images

  • Week 3: Blog post with some highlights of our time together, linked on social media


A Final Note

I know I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to me, and we want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!

And lastly, don't hesitate to include me if you need help choosing your outfits, or if you're not sure something is fitting together the way you want. It's what I'm here for!

 

Portrait Session Checklist

1. Set date, time and location with Becky

2. Review guide for style tips

3. Schedule hair, makeup and nail appointments if having those professionally done

4. Choose your outfits

5. Pack a bag with:

- Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots

- Second outfit (if you’re doing two)

- Touch-up makeup if needed (chapstick, lipgloss)

- Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

- Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

- Snacks for the little ones

- If you have a toddler or younger, small eye-catching toys (or lollipops) to hold their attention

 

I can’t wait to see you soon!

- Becky