John V. Edmonson Photography
Tips for Better Portraits
Memorable portraits take careful planning.   The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer's attention to the subject's face.  The proper clothing and accessories can make or break a portrait.
- Very simple garments photograph best.
- Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided neither is overwhelming.   Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters (not usually a problem in Houston).
- Long sleeves are essential for teens and adults since bare upper arms tend to overpower the face.
- Women being photographed full length should wear long skirts, pants, or dark stockings in order to keep the viewer's eyes directed toward her face.
- Make sure shoes and stockings are proper for the type of portrait.
- Men should have their hair cut about one week before the session.   This timeframe allows some hair to regrow and avoid the "white sidewall" look.   Women should plan to be photographed when they feel their hair looks best between salon visits.
- Simple long sleeved garments in medium tones of brown, rust, burgundy, green, or blue are good choices against a dark background.
- Bold stripes, plaids, checks, and patterns tend to be confusing and don't photograph well.
- Especially bright colors, like orange or red, tend to overpower the face and ruin a portrait.
- Avoid light colors such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, or yellow - they tend to overpower the face.   Also, they can make the subject appear unusually pale and bulky.   Darker shades are more flattering and slimming.
- Couples or small groups should wear clothing within the same tonal ranges.   No single member of a group should stand out because his clothing is too bright or light.
- Clothing in medium shades complement portraits made in outdoor locations.
- Rice University requires a fee from professional photographers to make portraits there.   While Rice does have some nice architectural elements, there are several other places as nice and free!