Preparing for your shoot – Dress to match the sofa?


photo courtesy of Sarah Grace Photography

If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.   – D&C 38:30

Clients hire you for your expertise in many areas.  Yes, they expect you to know your way around a camera, and they expect you to pose them…but how can we be more proactive BEFORE the session to make our clients feel confident in front of the camera.

Yes…this is one of those ‘What to Wear’ posts.  But, don’t jet yet, because we thought one of the easiest ways to get you on your way to better communication with your client is to let you just steal these words from Elizabeth Halford that she uses with her clients.  Take it, leave it, adapt it.  But whatever you do, start TODAY with being a more valuable expert in the world of photography by helping your clients be prepared.

TODAY:  Steal these words from Elizabeth Halford and start serving your clients better.

Yes, you heard right! When choosing clothing for your family photos with me, dress to match the sofa! Think about the end result you’re aiming for by having your photos taken by a professional. Is it to have a large canvas over the fireplace? A series of small canvases leading up the stairs? Prints which will be framed in black? You will get maximum ‘punch’ from your new artwork if it looks like it really fits in the space you have placed it. If you have a shabby chic style in your lounge, putting your children in red probably wouldn’t look so great over the fireplace. Whether your style is contemporary, classic, victorian or has an island getaway feel, consider it when choosing the wardrobe to be used in your shoot.

If the idea of studio photography with a white background isn’t your thing, think outside the box. The white can be texturized or tinted as in the photos you see here. All of these photos were created with specific home spaces in mind and the colours and backgrounds were even tweaked a bit to optimise the effect. I’m not stuck in a white bubble with my studio set-up – the sky’s the limit!

If you want help deciding what direction to go with the things I have talked about here, get in touch before your session and I can help you! The goal is to create beautiful art, where your family is the centerpiece, which will really fit in your home.


{Other tips to prepare for your shoot}


The Only Don’t!

Don’t put your little girl in a pony tail. Take my word for it – she will look bald!

Bring props

Cuddly toys precious to your children or things that will help them feel comfortable. Whether for adults or children, props can be great inspiration for the direction your shoot takes. Anything can be great – musical instruments, a guitar amp, hats, dress-up clothes for the kids, your high heels for your little girl. Let your imagination flow and bring whatever you want, however large or small. Sometimes, the most bizarre things can really be great.

Hair & Makeup

When doing your hair and makeup for your photos, remember that more is better. Photography tones down the effect of makeup by about half so if you don’t feel like you’re wearing too much, you’re not wearing enough. Even red lipstick might not look so bold in photos and hair can look flat if you don’t ‘big it up’ a bit. A little backcombing never hurt!

Makeup for the kids?

Little girls love playing with makeup and it can be an excellent prop.


Especially for kids, a little accessory can really make the close-ups grand. I especially love hair things on little girls. Keep their hair down if possible (so they don’t look bald if their pony isn’t showing) and give them a hair band, a bow, a flower, a woven ring of daisies or a really pretty wolly hat! Wolly hats and scarves are great for babies, too.

Ideas for babies

Next Directory usually has some sort of tutu for sale, often in baby sizes. Tutus are adorable on little girls, no matter the age. Wolly hats, scarves, head bands (stretchy or normal, especially with flowers on). ASDA usually has tiny bikinis which are just plain adorable, especially on the chubby girls! Remember the nappy – bring a fresh one so you can get a few fleshy shots with a clean fresh nappy. Frilly pants over the nappy is even better.

Food and other messy stuff

My white background is washable vinyl so feel free to bring food! Little ones really love tucking into a huge cake of their own and it looks great on camera. At the end of the shoot, you could let your little girl do her own makeup or if you want, bring water-based paints and a fist full of paintbrushes to let your little one go to town! Love gardening? Bring potted plants and flowers, gloves and a spade and let your kids to a little photo studio gardening! If you bring something messy, please remember to bring some cloths and cleaning spray because I don’t always remember to pack it on the day.


Much love,



TPE wants to know:  What is something we missed that you feel EVERY client should hear before a shoot?  Share with us!


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Sarah Grace Allred

Sarah Grace Allred

Mentoring flourishing photographers makes her heart sing, as well as collecting vintage Little Peoples, and devouring all things Drum Corp (check out and watch her inner-geek emerge!). Sarah believes in holding no secrets back when teaching and that photographs can truly change the spirit of your home sweet home.

Sarah Grace lives in Louisiana with her husband, loves-to-ride-the-bus-Kindergartener, and scrambled eggs lovin’ baby boy.
Sarah Grace Allred
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