Associate Love

Preparing for Your Portrait Session

April 25, 2019


Spring is here! That means wedding and engagement session season
are here too. For me, preparing for this means cleaning my gear,
formatting my cards, sending emails, location scouting, and lots of
other little things.

Buuuttt for all you this means planning your outfits, preparing your
fiances, and making sure you look great for the session you’ve been
excited for since he put a ring on it! Costola brides get a full, 50+
page style guide to help you do all of these things and more. I want
to make sure that everyone has a positive, relaxing experience when
they are in front of my camera, and a big part of that is feeling
confident in your clothes and knowing you look GOOOOODDD.
I’ve broken down some common concerns I hear into general
categories and will give you some of my biggest tips!

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Engagement Session by Washington D.C. Wedding Photographer Costola Photography


This depends on where you live and where you want your session. When you’re picking a location, some good things to keep in mind are the time of year, how many people will be there, and if you want a destination or local session. As a rule, the light is always better outside at either sunrise or sunset. I don’t think I’ve ever done an indoor session that wasn’t a lifestyle newborn because it’s just so much prettier outside! Generally, most portrait sessions happen in the Spring, Summer, and Fall because that’s when it’s nice out and everything is in bloom! If you want more colorful photos, you should look into parks and public gardens. These will most likely have more flowers and trees, which will create bold, colorful scenes. I also recommend these locations for couple photos because us photographers can use the landscape to create more intimate portraits! The other category of location that I recommend is some kind of gorgeous architecture. Living near DC, lots of people like having photos by the monuments and around the city. If you like bright, cleaner photos finding a location with white or neutral colored buildings will naturally result in those kinds of photos. A downtown/urban environment is especially good in the winter because buildings don’t bloom!

Charlottesville Engagement Session at UVA


I definitely think deciding on your outfit is probably the hardest
part of preparing for your photos. You want to look good, but don’t
know what will translate well on camera! I. FEEL. YOU. Here are my
biggest suggestions for you…

For Ladies: Say Yes to the Dress! I cannot tell you how infinitely
better dresses look on the female body in photos. They seriously
take your photos to the next level. I always say, the dressier the
better, but I know that’s not everyone’s jam. You can wear a casual
sundress, or even a skirt, but I promise you it will look better than
pants. And maxi/floor-length ones create such gorgeous movement
and elegance in your images. When a client shows up in flowy, full-
length gown, I KNOW their gallery is going to be jawdropping
regardless of everything else. I recommend shopping at Rent the
Runway,, and Neesee’s Dresses!

(Maxi dresses also make posing easier because I am not worried
about you flashing anyone during our session!)

For Fellas: Suits + layers are the way to go. Same as with the ladies,
the more formal the better for guys. Every guy looks great in a well-
tailored suit. It also helps you create two different “outfits” with
just one set of clothes if you don’t want to carry a second outfit
around. You can take off the jacket, change your tie, and bam! New
outfit! Layers also help create interest in your images and will
immediately give them a more luxury feel.

Romantic Engagement in a field in Southern Maryland by Costola Photography


The biggest piece of advice I have for these questions is to think
about your location. Will you be in a garden or somewhere with lots
and lots of natural color? Then maybe wear more neutrals so there
isn’t too much going on at one time. Believe it or not, you will
actually stand out more in that scenario than if you tried to ‘out
color’ the natural landscapes. Will you be in an urban/downtown
location? Go bold! A bright color will help you pop compared to the
most likely neutral background.

Commandment #2 for color planning is to try to coordinate, not
match. If you both are in white shirts with all khaki pants, you will
blend together and not look like distinct people in your photos. I
recommend choosing a dominant color for each person, and having
hints of those colors in other people’s outfits. For example, if the
bride is wearing a maxi blush dress, your groom could have a blush
pocket square! If he is wearing a navy suit, the bride can have a
navy belt. In my example, you could have blush, navy, white, and
grey as your color scheme.

Wow, this post got a lot longer than I intended. You have been let in
a lot more than just my general secrets for planning for your
session! Hopefully, I’ve calmed some of your anxieties and you are
feeling totally equipped to do your part of making your photos look
gorgeous. We always love it when our clients send us pictures of their
outfits and get our feedback. We’re always here to help!

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about costola

meet andie

At home near the sea. Ever-focused on beauty and the thrilling art of creation; found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

After 15 years of capturing couples and families during the most precious times of their lives, she can truly say that this is exactly where she is meant to be. When she isn't photographing weddings, Andie enjoys the outdoors alongside her husband, Tony and daughters, Ava & Audrey.




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