Paul F. Gero Photography News

Five Steps to Having an Awesome Portrait Session

For some people, they simply LOVE the idea of having a portrait session whether it’s a family session, a senior portrait session or a business branding session.

For some, though, they’d rather drive spikes through their eyes WHILE getting a root canal.

I get that.

I’m not too thrilled with getting in FRONT of the camera (that’s why am mostly BEHIND the camera!). Though I am getting better at it.

Still though, it’s important to do it because I want to be seen in photographs FOR my kids and family and WITH my kids and wife so that they have photographs of us AS a family.

“It’s an annual thing and I’m always Glad to have done it (but I feel your pain!)”

So how to make it as painLESS as possible? (Gees! That’s not right! — Of course I don’t merely want it to be painless, I want it to be fun and something you’ll look forward to again and again!

Here are my five tips to help make your session amazing (or at least enjoyable!)

  1. NO STRESS. Try not to stress about everything being perfect. Let’s face it, life is Imperfect and I kind of like that. When I worked as a photojournalist and would be sent on an assignment, there was often the ideal or perfect photo to shoot. That was often what a photo editor, back in the office, might visualize before the shot. Of course, it would often NOT be perfect and yet for almost all of it, it would almost always be better. Funny how that worked. So after that happened a few times, I realized it was going to perfectly imperfect and that was, well, kind of … perfect. Have fun, smile, laugh and try to relax. It shows in the photos — unless that’s what you want to show?? And just think, in ten years you’ll look back on that photo and think “Damn…I looked pretty good! Why was I so stressed about the way I looked then?????"

  2. VISION. How do you want to look on the wall? And I’m not talking about the wall of the post office. Just kidding, I’m talking about the walls on your home. Big or small, how you look will be on there for a while and you had better love it or it won’t work. Do you want to be serious or fun? Where do you want to do the session? Studio? Home? A special location? All are valid and all work. Do you have any special place IN your home that you think is crying out for a portrait. Let me know. Let’s try to find that. It’s not about what’s biggest it’s about what is appropriate for the specific photo in the specific place and that’s what I can help you with.

  3. OUTFITS. Clothing - yeah or nay? Seriously, clothing causes so much stress for so many people and it really should not. When you think about the feeling you want the photo to have, do you want it relaxed (blue jeans, comfy shirts, flowy dresses?) or more formal (suits, tux and gowns?). I’ve shot them all and trust me they all look great. Even clothing that looks like Ray Charles picked out the wardrobe will often surprisingly work. We had our own family shoot that had me in light blue, Nicki in Navy, Kate in a light blue print, Sparky in a blue striped shirt and Nicki’s Mom in another shade of blue and I think it all worked great. Think of working within a family of colors and try to wear solids but it often works without them. Just being real and authentic for YOU and YOUR FAMILY makes it all the more special. Trust me in twenty years we won’t be looking at the clothes (unless of course they REALLY went out of fashion). Instead it’s all about faces, emotions and expression and closeness. And how much Mom and Dad have aged since the kids were born!

  4. LIGHT. It’s all about the light when the session is outdoors. Think about the timing…basically it’s Really early (like we’re talking dawn) or Late (we’re talking an hour before sunset and after (assuming it’s a nice day). I get it, sometimes, especially during summer when kids are really little, they simply won’t make it to sunset. In that case try to juggle nap time so that they can go longer. My goal is to put people in the best light of the day (as close as we can get to it). It was easier in California since there were like 300 days of sun a year but oh well…there’s drama in the variety of weather patterns in Wisconsin and I’m finding it surprisingly refreshing. And beautiful.

  5. PHOTOS ARE “THERE". Trust me, I’m a professional. You’d be surprised at how many great photographs we are going to create from a session — even one as short as an hour or even third minutes! My motto is that wherever people gather there is the potential for great photographs — especially when you’ve been photographing as much as I have over the last 36 years (yes, I said it — I’ve been working longer than the age of many of my clients!)



    So there you have it, my five tips for having a super amazing awesome stupendous and fantastic and fabulous portrait session.



When was the last time you had fun at a portrait session? What??? You didn’t? Let’s fix that. Call us at 920.728.6185 or Contact us below.



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