Portrait Tips






Ruback Portrait Studios

  If you want your portrait to be superior it is important that you plan and prepare for the occasion, so we have included some tips to help make the best of the time spent in front of the camera.  

        Hmmm. . . What To Wear? . . .that is the age-old question, and a puzzler we often get asked when helping prepare for the best portrait possible. How you feel about how you look can make a difference in facial expression, so we want you to feel great!

First of all, there is no wrong way to dress, only wrong applications of how you want to come across in your portrait. Let's begin with a few basic guidelines:

COLOR : Choose a color that you know compliments your skin tones. If you're not sure, think of the clothes you wear that you receive compliments on. Usually, you look good in them because their color brings out your best facial tones.

TONE: Tone is the lightness or darkness of the color you choose. If you want your portrait to be taken with a light backdrop, choose a light tone of clothing. For a dark backdrop, choose a darker tone. For a group photo, dress everyone in the same or similar tones. The reason tone is so important is that the eye goes to the area of greatest contrast, and the best portraits bring the eye to the face of the subject. When extreme tonal changes occur in clothing chosen, then the eye goes to the clothes. That is OK if you want to show off the clothes, but for a fine portrait, the personality and features of the subject's face should be the focus of the portrait.

PATTERN : Solid colors are best, because they do not draw attention away from the face. However, subtle pattern is fine and does add variety in a group photo. loud patterns are not recommended.

LONG SLEEVES AND LONG PANTSare better than sleeveless or shorts unless you want to draw attention to the body rather than the face. That is because large amounts of skin exposed draws attention away from the face.

Makeup, Yes or No?

We say, Absolutely Use a good coverage base foundation and lots of loose powder to diminish flaws and blemishes and control shine. Apply your eye and lip colors in darker tones than you usually wear to counteract the bright lights used in photography.

Men should examine their skin and if they have red spots or blemishes, a makeup base should be applied to help hide any flaws. Men should shave shortly before arriving for their portrait session.

If you don't feel comfortable doing your own makeup for a professional portrait, we have certified makeup artists who can do wonders for a professional look. They can also style your hair!

The Truth About Glasses

Your glasses are a part of you. If you always wear them, please plan to leave them on for your portrait session. The truth is that glasses will reflect a glare caused by the flash, or if taken outdoors, your glasses can reflect glare from a number of surrounding objects. There are several things we can do to minimize the glare, and some things you can do, too.

Have your optometrist remove the lenses from the rims, or use an empty set of rims for the portrait session.

If you choose to leave the lenses in the rims, we can do much to minimize the reflection they make. Some glasses pick up glare easier than others, and most of the time, in a studio situation, we can adjust the angle of the light and the angle of the glasses to control most of the glare. Some glasses are curved in such a way that they distort the face within their circumference. When this situation occurs, we cannot change or alter their effect.

After all efforts have been made to minimize the glare your glasses produce, they may still show some glare (usually a small area at the top of the glasses). This is normal and acceptable. However, if you are unhappy with this result, retouching can be done to further eliminate glass glare.

Retouching is a hand-painting process and by its nature takes some time. The cost of retouching glass glare is not included in the cost of the package priced portraits


Preparing For A Child's Portrait

Appointments - Some portrait studios will not let you make appointments, but if your portrait studio takes appointments then take advantage of this opportunity and make an appointment. Make sure to arrive anywhere from 5-10 minutes before your scheduled appointment, there are two reasons for this. The first being that if there are no other sessions at the time when you walk in, the photographer can get your session started as soon as you come in and thus hopefully getting you out quicker. The second reason being it is just common courtesy to be at least on time, however many people assume that because you made a portrait appointment it will hold your slot no matter what time you come in. This is not the case, in the portrait studio that I worked in we had a 5 minute waiting window, if you didn't come in within 5 minutes of your scheduled time then any walk-ins or next appointment that was waiting got your slot. When you make the appointment make sure to ask if there are any appointments scheduled before yours and how many. If at all possible the best time to make a portrait appointment would be to schedule it for the first one of the day, so you will be able to get in and get out without any delays. Remember to take in consideration the following things before you make your portrait appointment: Child's schedule (ie. nap time,mealtime, etc), Your schedule (ie. Any other appointments, errands,etc) holidaysand the weather. For some portrait studios certain days are slower than others make sure to ask your portrait photographer if there is a certain day that is better to schedule your session on.

Child's routine or schedule -

  I don't know how many babies I have seen that come into the portrait studio fussy and then have their parent say "Well, they just woke up from a nap, or they are hungry, or they are tired". Please!! If your child is tired, hungry or just woke up, now is not the grand opportunistic time for you to get their portraits done. Have your children fed, well rested and fully awake before you decide to bring them in for a portrait session. It makes for a more pleasant experience all the way around.

Clothing and General Grooming-

- Getting your portraits taken professionally should be something that you have planned out, not some fly by the seat of your pants thought. That being said, remember to groom your child accordingly. No matter how small or light a stain may be, the chances are that it will show up in your finished portraits. Try to find colors that go well with your child's features. If you are doing portraits with more than one child, make sure the colors they are wearing complement each other. You rarely can go wrong with solid colors. Please do not forget to brush your child's hair and style it the way you wish to have it before coming into the portrait studio. If your child has marker, paint or just dirt in general on them rest assured that those things will indeed show up in the finished portrait.

Smiles-  The best smile is a genuine smile. That being said, this is normally not the smile that the average person wants their child to have while they are having their portraits taken and I honestly have no idea as to why this is. I have seen and just as equally photographed many beautiful smiles only to have the parent say, "No, I think they can do better". This inevitably turns into a portrait session where the photographer takes in excess of 20 some shots to have the parent say," I think I liked the first one, the best". Let your child smile naturally, you can always tell the difference between a naturaland a forced smile when you look at your portraits.

Talk to your portrait photographer before the session starts - Most portrait photographers are very open to suggestions. If you have a certain pose that you wish to achieve, take a few minutes before the start of the portrait session and let your photographer know what you want and equally if there are poses that you don't wish to have, let them know that as well. Some portrait studios have props that they use, if your portrait studio has props and you wish to have them included in your portraits let this be made known as well to the photographer.

Pick out your backgrounds accordingly- When looking through the backgrounds that your portrait studio has available keep in mind the color scheme of your child's clothing and how many people will be in the portraits. Ask your photographer how much of the background will be visible in the portrait, sometimes not all of the smaller portrait backgrounds will be visible.

Holidays- The holiday season is one of the busiest times in any portrait studio. There are some ways to lessen the hassle and crowds of the holiday rush. Find out when your portrait studio changes the backgrounds, some portrait studios keep backgrounds available all year long while others have certain time frames that they use the backgrounds. The portrait studio that I worked for would put up the Christmas holiday backgrounds about the beginning of November. The sooner you take your pictures the less chance you will have of being in caught up in the mad rush of the holidays. Choose to use solid backgrounds for your holiday portraits and you have the option of having your portraits taken at any time that suits your needs best. Basically, the later you wait to get your portraits done, the worse the wait will be.

I hope these tips help you to have a successful portrait session the next time you set out to have your child's portraits taken.

Pet Portrait Preparation

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #1: Bathe your pet. Be sure to give your pet a bath the day before your photography session. Use a pet safe shampoo to enhance your pet's coat. Varieties include formulas especially for white fur, black fur, red fur, extra shine and even dandruff prevention. If your pet has tear stains by their eyes, you can purchase special products at your local pet store to eliminate the reddish stains.

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #2: Brush your pet. After you bathe your pet, be sure to brush out their fur. Use a de-matting comb to remove matts, knots and tangles in the fur. Hard, lumpy fur patches on your pet's tummy and legs may show in the photographs!

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #3: Groom your pet. If you are having your dog photographed, consider taking him to a grooming salon to have him groomed so that his fur is styled in a traditional breed specific cut. A trim can help make his eyes, physique, tail and paws more visible. If your pet has very long fur on their head, consider tying it up with a cute bow.

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #4: Get dressy.Take a moment and look at your pet's collar. If it's looking worn, cracked and discolored, it's time to get a fresh new collar. Also consider putting a bandana around your pet's neck. If the weather isn't too warm, you may also opt for doggie and kitty sweaters, t-shirts, sun-visors, goggles and collar jewelry to spice up their pictures.

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #5: Go for a walk. A few hours before your session , take your pet for a walk. This will expend some of his energy, and hopefully help him eliminate before getting in front of the camera. Just be sure to stick to clean sidewalks and walking paths. This is not the time for a forest run with a stop by the lake!

Pet Portrait Preparation Tip #6: Arrive a little early.Plan to arrive a few minutes early for your session. This will allow your pet time to get used to the smells and sounds of a new place. If possible walk your pet around so they can see where they are, rather than leaving them cooped up in a crate. Allow a minute or two for your photographer to meet your pet and make a connection with them before starting the session. Once your pet knows that the photographer is a nice person that isn't scared of them, everything will go purrrrfect!

Senior Portrait Planning

Your senior session is ALL ABOUT YOU so plan ahead and consider the tips below to create senior portraits of YOU AT YOUR BEST.


  • Several extra outfits (while you may not wear every outfit, it is good to have several on hand)
  • Casual and formal outfits
  • Matching shoes (for full-length poses)
  • Long sleeves and solid colors (to keep the focus on you)
  • Letter jackets, uniforms, pets and props that reflect who you are
  • Make-up, hair supplies, and accessories
  • Friends and parents (to assist you and even join you for a few poses)



  • Check your outfits for wrinkles and place them in a garment bag
  • Do your nails (clear or neutral colors work best)
  • Guys, be sure to shave the night before
  • Limit exposure to the sun a few days before your photo session to avoid sunburns or tan lines
  • Avoid getting a new hairstyle or cut right before your session
  • Instead, select a comfortable style you know looks good


  •  Do your hair and makeup before you arrive
  • Apply concealer and powder to minimize any blemishes and then stop worrying! 
Once you’re  ready to experience a portrait session that is ALL ABOUT YOU . You hold the complete attention of your photographer – we’ll have posing and background ideas, but don’t hesitate to ask questions or express whatYOU WANT . Expect some poses to feel a little awkward butTRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER to know what looks great in a finished portrait. Depending on the session you select, expect to spend an average of 1-2.5 hours at  Ruback Studios ™. Most importantly, relax and HAVE FUN
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