The Inside ‘Scoop’: The Blog of a Northern Ireland Portrait Photographer

10 PHOTOGRAPHER’S SECRETS for an AMAZING Portrait Experience

Portrait photography is all about capturing the essence of a person, but getting those stunning shots involves more than just a camera and a subject. Here are 10 incredible secrets that will transform your portrait photography sessions into an unforgettable experience. Get ready to take your skills to the next level with these insider tips!

Finding the Perfect Photographer

First things first, choose a photographer who truly gets your vibe. If you prefer formal, classic looks, go for someone with a portfolio full of those. If you love a laid-back, lifestyle feel, pick a pro known for natural, candid shots. The right photographer makes all the difference! At Graham Crichton Photography, we specialize in both formal and lifestyle photography, ensuring you get exactly what you want. Building a connection with your photographer is key, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and review their work thoroughly.

Why it matters:

Choosing a photographer who understands your style and preferences is crucial. A good photographer will capture beautiful images and make you feel comfortable and relaxed during the shoot. At Graham Crichton Photography, we pride ourselves on creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Our Customer Happiness Manager, Hannah, is always available to answer any questions and ensure you’re happy with every aspect of your session.

Visualize Your End Goal

Before booking your session with Graham, think about what you want to do with your photos. Are you dreaming of a stunning framed picture for the living room, a canvas, or some cool digital shots for social media? Share your vision with Graham so he can help bring it to life. Having a clear idea of your end goal helps in planning the shoot and ensuring you get the most out of your session. Discuss your ideas, inspirations, and any specific requirements you might have.

Why it matters:

Knowing what you want to achieve with your photos guides the entire process. Whether it’s a family portrait for your home or professional headshots for your career, having a clear vision ensures that your photos serve their intended purpose. Graham and Hannah can provide valuable insights and suggestions to help you realize your vision, ensuring your final images are exactly what you envisioned.

Location, Location, Location

The spot you choose for your shoot is super important. Studios offer a controlled environment with dramatic backdrops, while outdoor locations provide a more relaxed, natural feel. There are no surprises with studio photography. A studio environment is also preferred with small children and pets, as it removes any dangers or risks from external factors. It also does away with the question of “what do we do if it rains?”

Timing is Everything

Plan your shoot around your kids’ happiest times of the day. After a nap or a snack is usually a safe bet. This way, you’ll capture their best smiles and avoid meltdowns – win-win! Graham can help you figure out the best timing for your session to ensure everyone is in a great mood. For adults, consider the time of day when natural light is at its best – typically early morning or late afternoon. This golden hour light can add a magical quality to your photos.

Why it matters:

Timing can greatly affect the outcome of your photos. Scheduling your session when everyone is well-rested and happy can lead to more natural and joyful expressions. For outdoor shoots, the quality of light can make a huge difference. Golden hour, the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset, provides soft, flattering light that enhances your features and creates a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Dress for Success

What you wear can make or break your photos. For a relaxed session, avoid stuffy outfits – think smart casual. Neutral colors work best and steer clear of bold patterns and big logos that can distract from your lovely faces. Coordinating your outfits can also create a more unified look. Graham has lots of experience advising on wardrobe choices that complement the shoot’s style. Think about the location and the overall theme when choosing your attire to ensure everything ties together seamlessly.

Why it matters:

Your outfit choices can significantly impact the overall look of your photos. Coordinating outfits without being overly matchy can create a cohesive and polished appearance. Avoiding busy patterns and bright colors ensures that the focus remains on your faces and expressions. Graham and Hannah can offer personalized wardrobe advice to help you choose outfits that enhance your natural beauty and suit the style of your shoot.

Bring Some Props

Props can add a personal touch to your photos. Bring along the kids’ favorite toys, a musical instrument, or anything that reflects your interests. Some folks even theme their shoots around specific props, and don’t forget – pets are always welcome! Graham loves incorporating meaningful items into sessions to make your photos truly unique. Props can also help you and your family feel more relaxed and engaged during the shoot, resulting in more natural and candid photos.

Why it matters:

Props can make your photos more personal and tell a story about who you are. They can also provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, especially for children, making them feel more at ease during the session. Whether it’s a beloved toy, a musical instrument, or a pet, incorporating props can add an extra layer of meaning to your portraits. Graham is skilled at using props creatively to enhance the visual appeal of your photos.

Keep It Natural

When it comes to makeup, less is often more. Go for a natural look that enhances your features without going overboard. If you need a hand, Graham can usually recommend a good hair and makeup artist to keep things looking effortlessly fabulous. Natural makeup ensures that your photos remain timeless and that your true beauty shines through. A touch of foundation, some mascara, and a bit of lipstick can do wonders without overshadowing your natural charm.

Why it matters:

Natural makeup helps you look like the best version of yourself without appearing too made-up. This approach ensures your photos will stand the test of time and won’t look dated as makeup trends change. If you’re unsure about your makeup look, Graham and Hannah can recommend professional artists who specialize in natural, photo-ready makeup that enhances your features while maintaining a fresh and authentic appearance.

Communicate with Your Photographer

The more you share with Graham, the better he’ll understand your style. Create an inspiration board on Pinterest to show what you like and don’t like. This way, you’ll be on the same page and your photos will turn out just how you imagined. Communication is key to ensuring that your photographer captures your vision perfectly. Don’t be shy about discussing your preferences, any insecurities you might have, and the kind of moments you want to capture.

Why it matters:

Effective communication ensures that your photographer understands your vision and can tailor the session to meet your expectations. Sharing your ideas and inspirations helps Graham capture images that reflect your personality and style. Hannah, our Customer Happiness Manager, is also here to facilitate communication and ensure all your concerns are addressed, making the entire process smooth and enjoyable.

Pamper Yourself – Just a Bit

Feeling good is key to looking good in photos. Treat yourself to a bit of pampering, but keep it simple. Natural makeup and a fresh hairdo can boost your confidence without looking overdone. Graham can usually offer great advice or recommend a stylist if needed. A little self-care before the shoot can help you feel more relaxed and confident, which will reflect beautifully in your photos. Consider a light facial, a new haircut, or a manicure to give yourself a little extra glow.

Why it matters:

A bit of pampering can go a long way in boosting your confidence and helping you feel camera-ready. Simple beauty treatments can enhance your natural features and give you a fresh, polished look. Graham and Hannah can recommend trusted stylists and beauty professionals to help you prepare for your session, ensuring you feel your best and shine in your photos.

Know the Costs

Before your shoot, make sure you get a full price list from Graham. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with your photos only to find out they’re out of your budget. Check for any hidden costs and confirm the payment methods to avoid surprises later on. Understanding the cost structure upfront allows you to plan better and ensures there are no unpleasant surprises. Discuss packages, print costs, and any additional fees that might apply.

Why it matters:

Knowing the costs upfront helps you plan your budget and ensures that there are no surprises after the shoot. Transparency about pricing allows you to make informed decisions about what services and products fit within your budget. Hannah can provide detailed information about pricing and packages, helping you choose options that meet your needs and financial expectations.

By following these ten insider secrets, you’re well on your way to achieving stunning, memorable portraits. Whether you’re shooting in a studio or outdoors, with family or pets, these tips will ensure that your session is a success and your photos turn out beautifully. Happy shooting!

Want to know more about our pet portraits?


Want to know more about our family portraits?