Preparing For Your Portrait


Thank you for choosing Len Grinke Photography to create your portrait. Our goal is to capture a portrait in an artistic and flattering way. However, this cannot be accomplished without your help. There are a few simple things that you can do that will go a long way to insure great results from your photography session.

Please take a few minutes to review these quick tips to getting a great portrait.

Len Grinke, MPA

Stay Hydrated

Be sure to drink lots of water for at least a day before your portrait session and on the day of your portrait session. This will allow your skin to look its best.

Makeup and Hair

Makeup and hair should be the way you normally wear it. If you are planning any major hair changes, have it styled about two weeks before the photography session. This will give it a chance to grow out a little. If you would like a makeup artist, Len Grinke Photography can make some recommendations.

Diet and fitness

Have Fun

Your portrait session should be a relaxed and fun event. You are the star! Let us treat you like one.

What Should I Wear

A portrait, whether it’s an individual or a group, is about making the face or faces the main centre of interest. Clothing choices can contribute significantly to the success of the portrait. Here are some general rules about clothing and portraits.

  • Match the clothing with the intended mood of the portrait. If the portrait is to be casual, then the clothing should be casual. If the portrait is to be formal, then the clothing should be more formal.
  • Everyone should dressed to match the mood of the portrait
  • The mood of the portrait should match the environment. /for example a beach would lend itself to a more casual mood while architecture lends itself to a more formal mood
  • Elbow length or longer sleeves as well as long pants tend to work best in portraitsWhen arms and legs are exposed to the camera, they will become focal points taking attention away from the faces, reducing the effectiveness of the portrait.
  • Clothing should fit properly, nicely pressed and be of timeless style. Fad-type clothing can quickly date a portrait.
  • Clothing below the waistline should be darker than above.  Otherwise, even light jeans worn below a darker top could easily attract attention to the lower part of the body and away from the face.
  • Wearing lightly coloured shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket work well
  • Try to avoid prints and any kind of pattern, no matter how small, because they will become a distraction
  • Neckties should definitely be toned down in colour with minimal pattern. Horizontal stripes should be avoided.

What About Eye Glasses

Eyeglasses can be worn, with a few precautions.

  • Non-reflective lenses will help reduce reflections
  • Photosensitive glasses that change colour in sunlight or under bright studio lights obscuring the eyes
  • Some glasses will distort the edge of the face

The best solution is be to find a matching set of frames without any lenses. Feels weird but looks good in the portrait. Your optometrist may even be able to loan you a set for the session.

Additional Makeup Tips

  • Avoid spray tans
  • If waxing, at least two days before your portrait session
  • No new products within three days of your portrait session
  • Go matt, not gloss, glitter, etc.
  • Apply makeup in a good light
  • Have someone other than you select your foundation color. A trip to the cosmetics counter can be very helpful here.

Key Points To Remember

  • Simplicity is best
  • Solid colours are best. Avoid large or bold patterns and bright colours. They draw attention away from the face.
  • Reserve red and orange clothing for accents. These colours are very bold and will draw attention away from the face. These colours are also predominant in skin tones. Using large amounts of them in clothing can cause the skin to not look right in the portrait.
  • Long sleeve dresses and shirts are recommended. They draw attention away from the arms and focus on the face. 
  • Coordinate your attire from head to toe. Since some of the images may show you in full length, it is wise to select appropriate shoes and socks as well.
  • Mid and darker toned clothing works well for most portraits. 
  • For group shots, get everyone to dress in a similar style of clothing. For example, do not mix casual and formal attire.
  • Keep the tonal range of the clothing within the group the same. Do not mix light and dark values. Save patterns for accents like scarves and neckties.
  • To assure a successful portrait, it is best to bring along some additional clothing choices.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water the day before and the day of your portrait session will help to insure that your skin is looking its best.


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