style & location

Setting the scene for your session

Consider the look you would like to achieve - would you like your portraits formal, informal or shot in a reportage style? Options for locations are limitless, but most common choices are my home studio, outdoors in a local park, at your home or office, against a cityscape or at a venue with particular meaning.

Tip: think about where your images will be used. Family portraits on your picture wall, head shots on a website or social media platforms, product and service shots in a brochure. If you need help, I have a few pinterest boards I can share with you, please ask.

Creativity and style

My personal style is authentic and simple. I find myself using a “shoot through” style which leaves a lot to the imagination, and I’m always looking to capture or evoke emotion with my images. I seldom use props or themes and use both studio strobes and natural light for lighting my subjects.

Once you’ve decided on the style and environment for the shoot, you can plan what to wear.

what to wear

Clothing can make your portrait extraordinary

It is recommended that you invest time deciding and choosing what to wear - your portrait should show off your personality and personal brand. Keep true to yourself and choose outfits that you love and make you feel great.

Tip: The more comfortable and confident you feel, the more you will enjoy your photo session.


Choose a soft, subtle palette in muted tones that suits your skin and hair. Usually if you have a fair complexion, natural pastels will bring out the colours in your eyes and flatter. Darker skin and hair usually look good in stronger colours, but try and keep them muted. If colours are too strong, they can detract from the portrait. Patterns are OK in moderation. There shouldn’t be too much contrast between tops and bottoms, i.e. light/light or dark/dark. Avoid black if possible, unless you are after a darker/moody look.


Choose clothing with a flattering neckline and cover shoulders. Clothing shouldn’t be too loose - fitted is best - skirts a modest length, and the shape should flatter.  Men/boys should consider collared shirts or plain vests and waistcoats which can add interest.

Layering and textures

Lace, ruffles, chunky hand knits, frills, ribbons, crocheted or embroidered fabric are always brilliant for adding dimension to photographs. Be careful to consider shape when layering.


Classic clothes won’t date and will make your portraits timeless. Natural, simple clothes with subtle accessories to show a bit of personality work best.

Accessories and props

Give your portrait a ‘finished’ look with classic and well-placed accessories. They shouldn’t detract from the portrait, just complete your outfit. Well placed hats or headdresses can also look great.

Shoes do matter

For portrait shoots, particularly outdoors, shoes should be coordinated with your outfit. No luminous trainers please. Boots, sandals, ballet pumps or closed shoes work best – sometimes patterned wellingtons bring a bit of boldness to the shoot too!


Don’t match outfits (too obvious) but rather co-ordinate and complement. If one of the party is the key focus, dress them as the star of the show and then co-ordinate the rest of the group around them. Soft tones and neutral, muted colours always work well together.

Different outfits

For studio sessions, you are welcome to bring a couple of changes of clothes (headshots usually three tops). Outdoors you can change outer clothing layers or accessories such as hats, waistcoats and scarves to get multiple looks without the wardrobe changes.

Decided you need to go shopping?

Why not try:


Gap for kids (without the logo)

House of Fraser

H&M Weddings

John Lewis

Mimosa (for something really special)



River Island (great for the in-betweeners)

Tesco Clothing


Still got questions?  Please get in touch for a chat or consultation.

Hair, makeup & smile


It is best to freshly wash and dry hair the night before your session. Please bring a hairbrush along with you and a little hairspray – I sometimes use some on a comb/brush to tame flyaway hair over the eyes. Consider bringing hair accessories to put your hair in various styles i.e. plaited, ponytail or loose. Please use plain clips or bands, these should not be visible in the photograph. Your hairstyles should suit your outfit. Ensure you cut your hair at least two weeks prior to your shoot and colour at least a week before. Hair should be self-styled, but if you require a makeup artist or a hair stylist, they can be arranged at an extra cost. 


Makeup should be used sparingly to enhance your features (adults only) and bring lipstick or lipsalve for the session. If you have any temporary blemishes, I am happy to remove them at post processing stage. Please make sure children are not wearing nail varnish on fingers or toes, have removed temporary tattoos and pen marks on hands.

Hair and makeup service

I work with a couple of professional, experienced artists who will pamper you before the session. Please get in touch with them directly: Annabel Murchie (Hair and makeup) and Catherine Batour (Makeup). Don't forget to organise a night out after your session to make full use of your investment!

Your smile

"A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear."  Make sure teeth are sparkling for your portrait session.  pennybird and camera has teamed up with Visage Dental Spa to offer you 10% off a Silver Service, which usually costs £29.50.  In 15 minutes the express stain removal and high gloss finish will ensure you smile with confidence.