J Thomas Duke Photography | Tips for a Good Portrait Session

J Thomas Duke Photography


Getting ready for your photo session


Remember that planning goes a long way toward making your portrait session successful. The portrait is a collaboration between the photographer and the subject. Please take a few moments to look over the following suggestions to see how you may participate in the planning of your successful portrait. Feel free to discuss any questions or ideas you may have in advance of the session.

Try to get a good night’s sleep before the session and drink lots of water. Both will reduce puffy eyes.

Choose a color theme that simplifies the look of your portrait. Too many busy patterns and colors are especially distracting. Colors should be harmonious. Coordinate the clothing for all subjects in a group portrait so that one person will not dominate the scene. Color coordination lends harmony to the portrait.

Dark clothing tends to minimize body size, and light tones tend to emphasize body size. Most people look best in darker colors. Choosing solid colors is usually flattering to everyone. A busy pattern is distracting.

Shoes and socks are often overlooked as a significant aspect of portrait clothing. They should compliment, not contrast. Carefully consider your apparel from head to toe as a variety of full length and close up poses may be taken.

Dress for Small Children
While cute, play clothes detract from your professionally made portrait. Stick with the basic guidelines for adults.

Dress for Business Portraits
With “business attire”, a pure white shirt will emphasize your neck rather than your face. Pastel, thin striped or soft patterned shirt with a subtle tie is preferred. You may want to bring extra clothing and accessories “just in case”, and we will help you decide if something else would coordinate better,

Dress for Outdoor Portraits
As a background, the outdoors is very busy. It is important to choose only one or two theme colors. While blues are excellent all year, white, ivory, khaki and salmon are great against lush green foliage. Burgundy, brown, tan and gray are nice late in the season. Avoid all greens, as they clash with Mother Nature. The simplicity of two colors help separate the subject from the scenery. Busy backgrounds and busy clothes result in hard to find faces. Jeans and sweaters always look good outdoors. Please don’t wear any large broad-rim hats that might cast a shadow over the eyes.



 Simplicity is the best policy

Avoid busy patterns, prints and bright colors

 Wear solid colors

 Avoid wearing yellow or green as they can adversely affect skin color

 Shoes and socks should match the rest of the outfit

Teens and adults should wear long sleeves to cover elbows

 Women should not wear any prominent jewelry. Large earrings are especially distracting

 Women should apply standard makeup with a light foundation. Don’t overdo it

 Guys remember that a fresh shave is better than a 5’Oclock shadow

10) Now is not the time to experiment with a new hair style. Keep it simple.

If you wear eyeglasses, consider asking your eye doctor for a pair of frames without lenses. This will cut down the glare that eyeglasses can cause if flash is used

 Everyone should avoid wearing short pants. Long pants are always most flattering in a portrait

 Guys make sure your collar is freshly pressed and wrinkle free

 Turtlenecks are always flattering

 When it doubt, stick with the classic styles. They will always look good



When you follow these tips and coordinate your dress from head to toe, you are well on your way to a Perfect Portrait!