4 tips to make the most of your portrait session

Is getting your picture taken as painful as going to the dentist?  We’ve had several people express their anguish over getting their portraits done and while the pain might not be physical, it can be a very uncomfortable situation.  The underlying fear is that you’ll look awkward and it’ll be a bad picture.  Everyone has been burned by an unflattering picture in the past, so we can all relate on some level.  Having your pictures taken should be the opposite of having x-rays shot at your head while trying to bite down on a sharp plastic thing.  So how can you get over this fear and get great pictures of yourself?  

Of course, the first step is to find a photographer that you trust and are excited about.  Comfort, trust, fun and intimacy are key, and you want to hire someone you would want to spend a good deal of time with (especially if they will be shooting your wedding) and whose pictures you'd want to continue looking at for decades to come.  Once you have your photographer, here are 4 tips to remember for a comfortable and fun portrait session.




Be prepared to talk, share and connect with your photographer.  Even during quick head shot sessions at a law firm, we take a few minutes to get to know our subjects. This process is relaxing for both of us and creates a connection that the camera ultimately picks up.  For our engagement and portrait sessions, we take a bit longer just to catch up and talk about everything under the sun.  We love learning about your relationship together, the things you love to do, and how you relate to each other.  By the end of our time together, our couples are usually fully engrossed in the moment and we’re all having a great time. We want to see your uniqueness in all its glory. Only then can we represent who you really are.




Be open to the unexpected.  It’s impossible to predict exactly how the lighting will be, if the wind will pick up, how crowded a place will get, or what will cross our path.  That is what makes it so exciting too!  Be prepared for anything and to try some fun things.  The most dynamic images are not posed and predetermined, but are created with a mix of inspiration, observation, and luck.




Dress warmly and have comfy shoes available.  Especially in San Francisco, chilly winds can pick up on the warmest days.  It’s best to be prepared by bringing a fun jacket, scarf, and a comfortable shoe option.  You can always set aside those items if you don’t want them in pictures.  If you’re comfortable, the camera can pick it up, and you’ll have more fun during the shoot!




During the session, it can be easy to get wrapped up in running around, being posed, and trying to look good.  Take a few moments to remember what you love most about your partner and all the reasons you are together.  The session is ultimately a celebration of your connection and it shows when you are in the moment cherishing each other.