A family portrait is something that will hang on your wall for decades. In fact, your parents and other family members will probably have copies that they display proudly. Naturally, when you’re 80, and your grand kids see the younger version of you for the first time, you don’t want them to see you looking like a disheveled goofball. Don’t worry; a little preparation goes a long way. Here are eight great tips to help you look your best in all of your professional family portraits.
Time is funny. Clothes that are considered cool and trendy today may look absolutely ridiculous 30 years from now. Although a family portrait is sometime seen as a sort of visual time capsule, an evergreen look will make you seem sophisticated and respectable for a much longer period of time. Stick to classic clothing styles that haven’t changed much over the years. There are no guarantees of eternal coolness, but it’s a safer approach.
2. Plan Wardrobe Choices with Your Family
A family portrait is not a good place for any individual to stick out like a sore thumb. However, you don’t want to dress your family in identical uniforms; that would be creepy. You do want to make sure that your look isn’t too glaringly different. How formal or casual you want your picture to be is up to you and your family; just make sure that everyone is on the same page. To avoid last-minute confusion and bickering, plan a dress rehearsal the night before your appointment.
3. Wear Colors That Flatter Your Skin Tone
Choose an outfit that looks best with your skin tone. If you’re not sure how to do this, here are a few tips. Look at your veins. If they appear more blue than green, you have a cool skin tone. However, if they look more green than blue, you have a warm skin tone.
Cool skin tones look great with charcoal grey, blue, purple, white and burgundy shades. Warm skin tones are best flattered with brown, tan, red, orange, gold and taupe. If deciphering your skin tone seems overwhelming, just ask your friends and family what colors look best on you. Most people can choose the appropriate hues instinctively.
4. Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation significantly affects facial appearance. Be sure that you get plenty of sleep for at least the few days before you have your portrait photos taken and especially the night before. The red-eyed zombie look never works well in portraits.
5. Spruce up Your Skin
A professional camera and lighting setup has an amazing way of showing the true condition of your skin, especially if a few signs of aging are starting to creep in. Starting about a week before your photo shoot, pay special attention to the condition of your skin. If it’s dry, use a quality moisturizer. If you have oily skin, take a few oil-blotting wipes to the studio to prevent a glaring forehead shine from ruining your picture.
6. Trust Your Photographer’s Instinct
Professional photographers are specifically trained to know what brings out the best in their subjects. Choose a photographer you feel comfortable with, and trust his or her advice, even if it seems weird at the time. You can always veto the final product if you don’t like it.
7. Wear Underwear That Keeps Your Outerwear Looking Great
Believe it or not, the undershirt you are wearing beneath your best suit could have a dramatic effect on your overall appearance. Baggy undershirts that won’t stay tucked in can add up to 15 pounds to your appearance, and that doesn’t count what the camera adds.
Look for the best undershirts that fit properly and move with you. Your shirt will look neater, and because you’re more comfortable, your facial expression and smile may be more relaxed. Also choose outerwear that fits well on your frame. A common fashion mistake is to wear loose-fitting or overly-tight clothes. Don’t be afraid of tailoring your clothes for the perfect fit.
8. Don’t Force Your Smile
Nothing can ruin a great portrait like a fake smile. Thinking of something funny doesn’t always work on the fly, especially if you’re nervous. Try making sure that you’re relaxed before you get to the studio. Don’t schedule your appointment on your lunch hour or a busy, stressful day. Meditate, take a walk or listen to relaxing music before you step in front of the camera.
It’s Your Portrait; You Call the Shots
When you put tons of effort into looking your best, you shouldn’t settle for a finished product that will one day embarrass your teenage kids. If you don’t feel good about the first shots, don’t be afraid to ask for a re-take. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured. Any good professional photographer will completely under