portrait session: what to expect

Our last blog covered my four top tips when preparing for your portrait session. I’d like to continue on from that so this blog piece is about what to expect DURING your portrait session. I remember getting ready for my first professional portrait session and feeling anxious about what to expect and how I should act in front of the camera. Posing for a stranger behind a flash camera is very intimidating so I was very thankful for our photographer making us feel relaxed. I hope to help you further prepare for your portrait session and will cover both family and engagement scenarios.

So you’ve spent the past few weeks planning and organising your colour palette and what you will wear. The day of your session has arrived! You are all ready and meet your photographer (hopefully me!) at an agreed location. Now what? Awkward greetings? No way! Let me start off by reassuring you (again, because I would’ve mentioned this prior to us meeting) that there is no need to be nervous. I am relaxed and I want you to feel the same, this will be fun and you wont do anything wrong because I will teach you what you have to do and how to do it.

Before to jump into the picture taking I like to ask my clients if there is anything they would like to look out for. Examples could be a preferred side of the face, an injury that prevents you from sitting or standing a certain way or even just feeling uncomfortable about kissing in front of the camera. It is super helpful to me to know this BEFORE I start snapping away. I would hate for you to feel awkward or uncomfortable before we even get started! So don’t hold back, let me know those things that worry you and I will be mindful of these throughout our session.

If you have small children – no worries. Especially if they are at an age where general compliance to strangers, with a camera in their face, is going to be zero. I suggest that the first part of your session is always the most awkward as we figure out the poses and get into a groove of things. This is completely normal, every couple and family experience it, and I make a concerted effort to help make you feel relaxed in front of the camera as quickly as possible. I tell jokes…sometimes they are funny but if they aren’t then I’m all good for a laugh at my own expense!


Young children have a very short attention span (I know because I have three of them) so they will either be enthusiastic at the beginning or towards the middle of the session. I can pick up on it so instead of worrying about whether they are smiling for the camera my best advice is to just act like I am invisible. Interact with your child through play until they begin to take some direction from me. Please do not stress yourself out (or the children) by forcing them to smile for the camera its no fun for anyone (including me) also it doesn’t look nice in photos. I love happy candid photos of happy families and I know that’s what you are envisioning too!

If you are having an engagement shoot then it is easier for me to give direction but again it is supposed to be a fun and relaxing time. A time for learning before your big day! This is a great opportunity to practice feeling comfortable in front of the lens and you posing without any pressure. Come your wedding day you will be crunched for time and so during this session it is a fantastic chance to get to know one another, how I work and most of all have fun!

Now we are into the swing of things during your session and I hope that you will enjoy yourself. These moments are special and I want you too look back and remember the day as a happy one. If this is your engagement session leading up to your wedding then I want you to know that your wedding will be AMAZING because you will be posing professionals and already know what to expect! How exciting is that? Posing for photos will be one less thing you need not worry about for your special day!


Chanel xo


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