Style Guide

Choosing Time & Date

We shoot on location. Whether in your home or at one of our selected local locations, we use only natural light. Photography using the natural light gives a timeless feel. If we are shooting at the golden hour, that golden pre-sunset time where the light is captivating, we start our shoot one hour before sunset. Use a sunset calculator online to determine the scheduled sunset for the date and location you’d like to do your session. Then, just subtract an hour to figure out your start time. To get the most out of your session, please plan to arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time. I’m only able to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down. Understand that the winter brings challenges we try to accommodate. Rarely do you wish you had a photo in a coat, scarf and hat. From time to time clients ask me for that romantic look in the fresh snow. Generally ,this looks best when the gloves are off! When shooting in the winter without hat/coat/gloves I keep locations close to the car so that everyone can hop in and warm up.

Selecting the Right Location

I use a variety of locations in and around Morgantown and Fairmont. Safety is of the utmost priority – so please don’t ask the teens to skydive for photos. That said - the location of your portrait session is up to you! For most sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always my first choice. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. There are great options all around the Mountain State, so ask me about the location of your dreams.

Adding Some Style

Want your photos to take it up a notch? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers give a light and airy feel to the photos, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets, scarves, books or picnic baskets your images are timeless.

Choosing Colors

By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, prints and high contrast plaid it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink, muted blues, and heather greys, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all-natural outdoor environments. Consider the season as well if we are shooting in a forest location. Choosing a light green shirt when there are green leaves all around may not bring the focus to you. Instead, choose something that will complement the surroundings, such softer whites or creamy taupe.

Say "Yes" to the Dress

Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be children in your photos. If you have smaller children, I will likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too. If you’re an expecting mother, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump. A lot of our expecting mothers love to incorporate flower crowns, leis or headpieces. I recommend ordering these crowns though Island Leis and Bouquets in Carson, CA.

Have you thought about a dreamy romantic “black tie affair” picture? tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! The best photos come with a bit of contrast. My favorite pictures are portraits in woods wearing an evening gown! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our clients love Rent the Runway and Garment Exchange for their session because it’s an low cost way to go Hollywood for a day. I can also help you pick what jewelry completes your look!

The Best Fit

Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes shows an air or sophistication. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most dresses, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. Graphic and logo print shirts will detract from the faces when people see your images.

Layered Looks

Whether you are looking at high end fashion or your everyday Old Navy store, the tops of the mannequins are wearing layers. Dimension and interest to the top of your photo helps draw the eye to the faces. Layers look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust us when I say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. It's all in the details. Yes – the pictures will show your shoes so make sure they both match and coordinate with your chosen outfit! Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit for men and boys alike. If you want the a second outfit to look more casual, follow the tips above and change into your favorite denim jeans, ditch the tie, and take down some of the layers.

Mixing Up the Pieces

If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other one wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.

Prepping the Family

Before your session, bring your kids favorite items to help us get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come by explaining how quick the session goes with a bit of cooperation. Make sure your spouse who balks at photos knows how important this is to you. We know guys, you hate this! And who knows, a little post-photo session ice cream bribe might just do the trick!