how to dress your clients for family pictures i am michelle gifford

How to Dress Your Clients for Family Pictures

Sep 28, 2016

How to Dress Your Clients for Family Pictures
how to dress your clients for family pictures i am michelle gifford

There I was smiling for the camera, babies in toe.  I knew I was supposed to be smiling, but I couldn’t stop thinking about if my dress looked okay or if I had chosen the right boots.  I was a photographer for crying out loud, so why when I got in front of the camera did I feel so insecure?  Well, I definitely needed some reassurance that the choices I made with my outfits and styling were good so that I could relax in front of the camera.  Turns out, photographers are no different than their clients.  Here are my four tips to style your clients so that they can be calm and confident during the session.

1. Be confident so that your client can feel confident.

You are the expert.  Your clients are paying you to make them look their best.  We know that this comes long before the photo session.  What your client wears matters.  They are looking to you to guide them.  I will show you how to guide them in the following steps, but please remember that what you say at the session also gives them confidence.  When they show up, compliment them.  Give them the affirmation that they made good choices so they can stop thinking about how they look and start having fun in front of your camera.

2.  Create a process for before the session.

Before the session, I create a questionnaire for my clients.  This questionnaire has a lot of get-to-know-you questions but the one question that I think is most important is “describe your dream session in 3 words”.  Asking this question gives you your clients brand words.  It answers questions about location, what to wear, what types of pictures they will want printed, everything.  Can you see how powerful this is?

Let’s have an example.  If your client says their 3 words are fun, bright, real.  Then you know that they will probably want pictures of their family having fun together, with a lot of light and real, authentic expressions with less posing.  Maybe your clients 3 words are rustic, warm, light.  They will probably want a location with old buildings at sunset with light happy pictures.

Of course, I ask specific questions about their location and clothing, but this gives me a quick test when I have decisions to make like which shot should I edit, which picture to take and how I should approach the session. (Want to get a look at my client questionnaire?  Scroll to the bottom to get instant access.)

Want to know my super secret weapon to making this questionnaire simple and automated so that I only have to create it once?  Iris Works.  It is a system that I use for every client that keeps my questionnaires, contracts and emails all in one place.  I love things that save me time and brain space.  Check them out here.

3.  Create a Pinterest board.

Have your client create a Pinterest board with all of their ideas for what to wear on it.  This is simple and your client will probably already do this.  Ask them to share their board and then give honest opinions about what you think would look best on them.  Remember step #1, be confident.  Your client is depending on you to give them real and honest feedback.

Want to see my Family Picture Pinterest board? Check it out here and don’t forget to follow me.
4.  Text, text, text.

Don’t just give them advice and say “good luck”.  Be with them every step of the way.  When they make decisions or have questions on the details, tell them to text you a picture. Keeping this communication open will help them gain confidence in their decisions and by the time the session comes around they will be able to relax and enjoy the session.

Well, my photography friends, I hope this helps!  I would love to give you the rest of the questions that I give my clients.  Just put your info in here and get instant access:



Check out my favorite girls blog post about best color choices for clients. Go to Immerse Photography Workshops Here.

  1. […] Now, I know that communicating all of this to your clients can be a little overwhelming, so my sweet friend Michelle {from I am Michelle Gifford.com} is going to help you out!  In her recent blog post, she shares how you can chat with your clients and ensure everyone is on the same page! […]

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