Portrait Guide

This guide is here to help you know what you should do to prepare for your photo shoot, and what to expect from it.

Rule #1

This is the most important part about your session, and you'll hear me say this a lot: Your comfort and enjoyment is my first priority.

If you have any questions, if there's anything you need, if there's any problems don't be shy, I'll do everything I can to make sure the session is as enjoyable as possible.

This is all about you, so throw in ideas, make the session yours and have fun with it!


We'll start by having a bit of a chat about what results you would like, what you would like to do with them and who you would like to share them with.

For example, you might want some nice photos you can share with your nanna, funky photos for Facebook, or risqué photos for your partner.

Whether you're after just a single print or an entire photobook, let me know so I can focus the session on achieving your goals.

Feel free to take a look at my past work or at pictures in books or on the Internet to draw inspiration for what you might like to do.


Starting now

In the lead up to the shoot, you should take extra good care of yourself. Exfoliate, moisturise, do not get sunburned and try to get plenty of sleep. If you're planning on plucking/waxing/shaving, ensure there's enough time for your skin to recover.

Make sure that nails (including toenails, if you might go barefoot) are in good condition for and any rough skin (e.g. the soles of the feet) is taken care of.

Depending on the type and variety of photos that we want to take, we need to allow enough time on the day, so try and keep the day as open as possible to avoid any stress about running late.

If you're planning on having any revealing photos and you have strong tan lines, it would be helpful if you try to get some extra sun on the untanned areas; always use sunscreen and don't get burned! If all else fails tan lines can be diminished in post production.


My studio has a variety of backgrounds, and can be supplemented with coloured lights, fabric, furniture and other props for playing with texture/colour.

We can use other locations, like your house, a park, etc. Beware that outdoors/public places puts us at the mercy of the weather and other random factors.

Rented accommodation, such as a boutique bed-and-breakfast, can provide interesting locations and combine the shoot with a weekend away. This works particularly well for couples' or boudoir sessions. I can help organise the accommodation for you.


When selecting your wardrobe, make sure there is variety (e.g. bright/muted colours, formal/casual) as that gives more opportunity to try different looks.

This can be a good excuse to do some shopping, as new clothes will tend to look better in photographs than older clothes.

Plain, nice clothing is the safest. Busy patterns and thin stripes are usually a bad idea.

You can choose colours to complement things like eye or hair colour (e.g. if you have blue eyes then you can wear something blue). Black, white or muted colours help make clothes unobtrusive.

Couples and groups should coordinate the clothes that everyone is going to wear. It should be a concious decision if everyone is going going to have similar looking clothes, or if complimentary colours will be worn. That way we can avoid someone looking out of place on the day.

If wearing see-through clothes (e.g. thin shirt over a bra) or doing any implied nude photos, the colour of your underwear can be important. Even if not in the photo, bright coloured fabrics can reflect their colour onto elements that are visible, so to avoid drawing attention to it stick to black, white or skin tone.

Some clothes, particularly underwear, can leave unsightly marks on the skin or create unflattering bulges, so where possible wear less tight garments. For girls, seamless underwear is highly recommended. This is especially important for nude shots.

For pregnancy shots, the body's shape is important. Thick, baggy clothes are not allowed! You need to consider whether you want to show your belly and what clothing would work for that (e.g. a shirt with the bottom buttons undone).

Props and Accessories

Sheer fabric can be used as a screen or decorative element. I have some sheer and satin fabric for art-style photos.

For casual or glamour photos, you should consider wearing accessories. Again, this is a good excuse to buy some new stuff. Things like watches, sunglasses, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewellery, belts, cuff links and so on can do a lot to finish off a look.

Put Yourself in the Picture

If you have any hobbies, then perhaps there's equipment, clothing or other paraphernalia that can be incorporated in photos. If you have a physical hobby like dancing or gymnastics, those sorts of movements can be used to create attractive poses.

Maybe there's some special items (like soft toys, heirlooms, antique furniture, sports cars, etc.) that you might want to incorporate. Objects that say something about you or mean a lot to you can be included in the session.


Including pets is possible with some provisos. We need to consider if there will be a bad reaction to flashes, how patient/obedient they are, how to get them in position and how to make sure equipment doesn't get knocked over.

Restrained (e.g. fish or birds), docile, or obedient pets will allow more leeway for creative and relaxed shots, while more active, free roaming pets lend themselves to action and "slice of life" shots.

The Day Before

For longer sessions you might want to bring:

The Day of the Shoot

It's the big day! If you've got a full-day session booked, then be prepared to put in some elbow grease, because modelling can be hard work. Most importantly, remember Rule #1 and get ready to have some fun!

Hair & Make up

Make up is not required but I would recommend it. Guys can more readily get away without make up (sorry, girls). For ladies planning on doing any glamour photography, make up will be a must.

I can organise a make up artist if one is required.

You'll need to have your hair looking good; for guys a cut beforehand and maybe some product; for girls... well you probably know the drill – the sky's the limit. Just remember that the hair will make a difference to the mood of the pictures. Something simple and natural is a safe bet.

If you would like to do a more elaborate session with many styles, then it is possible to have make up and hair changes throughout the session. Just remember that the more prep work we need to do, the less studio time you'll have.

Additional People

You are welcome to bring one or two additional people to the shoot for moral support, as long as they do not interrupt the session.

Please note that the session is neither a spectator sport, nor is it a photography class; particularly for long sessions people who are not involved will likely get bored.

During the Shoot

If you're not a model, then you will probably find posing quite awkward at first. This is absolutely normal, and I'll guide you through the process to help you get comfortable with it. As a rule of thumb, to create a more interesting a photo, you will need to be in a more extreme position, whether it's a bigger twist in the waist, arch of the back or turn of the head. These will seem very exaggerated and it's easy to feel silly, but don't worry, through the lens it will look great!

After the Shoot

Your Photographs

After the shoot I will spend some time sorting through the pictures, picking the best and tweaking them to get the most out of them. I will then send through some proofs, small versions of the images with watermarks on them. Once payment is received, I will deliver the full images on disc.


Some photographers require you to go through them to get prints, but I do not; I am a photographer, not a printer. You are free to make your own prints from the delivered pictures but if you'd rather not deal with print shops, I am happy to arrange prints for you.

Note that I still retain the copyright on the photographs that I take; since I release them for printing, in practice this simply means that you may not resell them.

Usage in Stan's Portfolio

I may choose to use pictures from your session in my portfolio, but I appreciate that customers may not want to have certain photos, such as art nudes, distributed widely.

If you would like to restrict photos from use on social media, art and professional websites (including this one), or from sale in printed media (such as books) that can be arranged for an additional fee. I will retain the right to use all photos in my own printed portfolio.