Kelly Heck Photography | 10 Tips To Looking Your Best In Portraits with Photographer Kelly Heck

10 Tips To Looking Your Best In Portraits with Photographer Kelly Heck

August 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

July Marked the END of our 10-Month Newsletter Series, "How To Look Your Best In Portraits". Today, I simply want to summarize each article from the past 10 months with convenient references to learn more. Enjoy!



The SMILE & Head Positioning

Genuine smiles can be hard to come by on the fly. I recommend giving a light laugh, or sighing a deep breath of relief to pull a smile up into the eyes.

Positioning your head correctly can trim some weight and lengthen your body - try pushing forward, as if someone is pulling your nose, and consider turning and/or tilting to one side. Bye-bye double chin!





Body Positioning

Work your torso by turning your body away from the camera about 45-90 degrees, and twist your upper body back to camera. The twist will naturally tighten your torso and give you a mini-tummy-tuck. Pinch your shoulders back to correct poor posture, lifting your torso and helping you appear more energized.





Finding Beautiful Light ANYWHERE

If you are relying on natural light for your photos, you should always schedule around sunrise or sunset. But sometimes we can't control what time of day we need to shoot, so there are some ways to work natural light.

If you are able to incorporate studio / flash lighting, well then you have the best of both worlds!





Picking Your Perfect Color Pallet

White and pastels can wash out your skin tones. They are OK for say, a dress shirt under a jacket, but your main color/s should be medium to dark tones. What tones are best? If you want to go for a bold color, everyone can rock a jewel-tone… think ruby red, sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst purple, turquoise, magenta. If you want to go more neutral, think about natural colors… navys (navy blue and navy green), browns, caramels… various stone colors come to mind.





Attire & Accessories

The most important elements in selecting what to wear for your photo session are:

  1. That you feel AMAZING in your clothing.
  2. That your pieces fit you well.
  3. That your pieces are timeless and/or fit the purpose/use of the photos.

We want to see your shape and body – baggy, ill-fitted clothing is going to make you look boxy, messy, and leads to lots of clothing bumps and wrinkles. Go for pieces that are a good fit, tailored if necessary, and avoid pieces that are worn or have pilling (that’s those annoying little balls of fabric that build up over time from wear-and-tear).





Positioning Between YOU & Camera

Practicing being in-front of the camera can be a great learning experience. One of the best things to learn after your best angle is perspective.

The distance you are from the camera changes the perspective of your face - there is an ideal distance, just as there is an ideal lens (or mm-length) for portraiture.

Your angle to the camera can completely change the image captured. Some angles can shorten vs. lengthen you. Some angles are better for seated posing vs. standing posing. Some angles can tighten flab while other angles accentuate it.





Camera-Ready Hair & Makeup Tips

It's important to make sure the hair that frames you face is at it's best. That means a clean-up trim, touch-ups to roots or a fresh die, and the proper products to help your hair hold it's shape and shine.

Makeup, especially for women, can be approached differently as well for photo shoots - heavier in application for some products (such as mascara, rouge, and lipstick), and lighter application of others (such as foundation). The coloring of your makeup can also impact your visual age (light bright colors for added youth, darker colors for added maturity). 





Prepare Your Body & Mind

It's time to relax and pamper to prepare for your photo shoot. To be brief, we are talking about personal grooming, proper rest, and getting into a great mood to feel your best on photo day.





Communicate Your Goals

Your photographer can only deliver your dream photos if you share your dreams. Before the shoot, you can share specific looks, feelings / moods, purpose / intended use, and concepts with your photographer to help plan the perfect shoot. During the shoot, you can share feedback to help guide the artistic direction of the photo shoot. Your input makes a huge difference!






Let GO of all pre-conceived discomfort of having your portrait taken and enjoy the photographic experience. If you are nervous leading up to a photo shoot, take time to practice your posing, warming up to the camera, and planning out your photo shoot so that you are prepared and worry free.




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