How to prepare for your portrait session

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When most of my clients come to me, they are not smiling and as happy as you see my clients in the above image.

Most are extremely nervous and camera shy and many tell me; "You must only photograph models. Your clients look so happy and confident and I'm just not like that!"

They are surprised that the majority of my clients are every day women just like you who have had no training in how to pose for the camera. That's my job!

I ask all of my clients one question which they all say yes to and that is; 

"Do you trust me that I will have you looking your best?"

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I could very easily design my website to only include my work I have done with skilled models. My clients are surprised when I tell them most women on my website are just like them- every day women. Letting them know that makes them feel more prepared and relaxed to stand in front of my camera. 

I educate my clients right from the very beginning on how I can have them looking their best and that starts before the session which is why this page is important. 

The following is a self portrait which I received an award for. I am an every day woman heading towards 50.  

 

I am definitely no model, but my training means I know what I need to do so that I look my best.  

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Looking your best for the camera starts before the session.

Step 1: Skin care. 

Confession time here: When I am bored I watch Bold & The Beautiful. Part of what I love is the beautiful portraits at the beginning of the show and the exceptional way they are lit.

As a photographer, I can't help but pay attention to the retouching and makeup done. 

Where I have noticed is lacking I believe is skin care particularly in the neck area.

The faces of the Actors look impeccable which would be a combination of reasons- skin care, cosmetic surgery and procedures such as Botox. 

Then, if you look more down towards the neck of the Actors it tends to be more revealing of age. 

I recommend you begin your skin care before your portrait session as soon as possible, and I would also pay attention to your neck.

A couple of times a week I would be using exfoliation/ cleansing and moisturiser on your face, neck. and even your chest if you can. 

If you have booked your session within a few days, even doing this skin care routine just once will make all the difference in the world. 

Demonstrating the importance of skin care

Last year in October I had a ((preventative)) double Mastectomy. I decided to have a before & after portrait session to "say good bye to the girls". 

As a photographer, I knew the importance of skin care leading up to my session. 

I did as I suggested above for my before session. 

In my after session though I had been experiencing a lot of fatigue as I had Iron Deficiency Anaemia (not related to my surgery) and I was too lazy to do skin care before the session. 

Although subtle and probably only noticeable because I told you this you can see the difference in my skin texture. I still love both portraits though!

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Fake & real skin tan & sun burn

On the Gold Coast, many of us want beautiful sun tans. For portraiture, an even balance of skin tones is highly desirable. 

As you approach your portrait session I strongly recommend you pay additional care with suntan lotion. I have had clients forget this and arrive quite sunburnt! It's part of the Gold Coast life that we have to manage.

** If there is extensive retouching to be done to correct this there will be additional fees. That maybe a good reminder to slip, slop, slap as you approach your session. 

Remember, we are not taking casual portraits here but ones to be treasured for beyond your life time.

For fake sun tan lotion, it is advisable to have it applied a week before the session. 

** You are strongly encouraged to request it is not applied around areas such as the knuckles or nails or this can happen.

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Body & facial hair

I need to emphasise:

 

Photoshop cannot conceal all... Photoshop cannot conceal all... Photoshop cannot conceal all... Photoshop cannot conceal all. 

I also need to emphasise: a professional Makeup Artist can not only not conceal all but if facial hair is prominent and not removed before your session makeup can make it look worse. "Caking" can happen where it builds up. 

Therefore, if you have dark upper body hair or facial hair, and do not wish for this to be seen in your portraits I cannot recommend enough to have waxing done. 

As waxing can sometimes cause redness, I would also have this done at least 3 days prior to your portrait session. 

Body hair also includes arm pits. I have had several women assume this will all simply be Photoshopped out. If this is required extensive retouching fees will be applied. 

** Please consider that a full frame camera can show a lot of this detail up close and this is all detail we would probably prefer not to be shown in our portraits. 

** This information is for both men & women.

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Brushed teeth means a better smile for the camera

As already mentioned, the sensors on a full framed camera picks up a lot of detail. 

Many out of town clients decide to make a day of the Gold Coast and going out for lunch and drinks beforehand. 

Firstly, it is advisable to limit alcohol which can cause red flushes in the cheeks. 

***** More importantly, if you have been out for lunch before your session please bring your tooth brush and tooth paste to brush your teeth. 

If excessive editing is required due to food being caught in teeth, extensive retouching fees will be charged. 

The studio is located in one of the best places in the world, so it's no wonder clients choose to make a day of it. 

Mum's- the difference with LA Photography

On this page, I have given you several examples of what can be seen when clients don't adhere to my advice. This advice is because of the amount of experience I have to be able to show you this. I can tell you everything you need to do but without seeing examples of why you need to, I would simply sound like I am lecturing you. 

The reason mum's often feel the need to say "I just want portraits of the kids" is because they haven't been given the right guidance to feel confident in joining them in family portraits. 

Mum's, I will not only have you feel confident but I will have you feeling glad that you decided to join your children for family portraits! 

Contact LA Photography 

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Email Laine at: laine@laphotographygc.com

Phone: 0424 956 826

The studio is located in Southport. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Laine Allen of LA Photography is a multi International award winning photographer. 

I have been a professional photographer for 13 years. I am also a fully Accredited professional photographer with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. 

I will have you ready and excited about being in front of my camera. Warmest regards, Laine.

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