How to Prepare for Your Portrait Session | What to Bring to Your Session

In my last post for this blog series on ‘How to Prepare for Your Portrait Session’, I’m giving you portrait session tips on what you should bring to your photography session.

If you’ve been following along with this series of blog posts, then you’ve already learned quite a few tips on planning for beautiful portraits. If you just started to follow along, you can catch up on my posts here:

How to Choose a Location

How to Find a Makeup Artist/ Hairstylist

How to Choose an Outfit

The tips that I’m sharing today, will help you personalize your photos and be prepared for any style emergencies that may pop up on the day of your shoot.

intimate couples portraits on estate with stone details for engagement pictures

10 Things You Should Bring to Your Portrait Session

  1. Plan an Activity. Think of an activity that you love to do together and incorporate it into your session. When you’re engaged in something you love to do together, you’ll get lost in the moment and your smiles will be authentic and real. You could rent a boat on the Delaware river or on a lake, have a picnic, go apple picking or go for a ride in a vintage car. The ideas are endless!
  2. Bring a prop that shows off who you are. Think about props that might go along with your session plans and help compliment your story. If you love bike riding and want to incorporate one for your outdoor shoot, think vintage bike with beautiful flowers in the basket. Or maybe you into a winter wooded wonderland, so you bring along a flask of hot chocolate, marshmallows and  a flannel blanket to get cozy under. Or maybe you’re engaged and want to display your save the date in a sign.
  3. Bring along blanket or quilt. Blankets and quilts are perfect for poses where you are laying down or sitting in a beautiful field of grass. Children love the parachute game, so playing with a blanket can be a fun distraction to break up formal poses with more candid moments.
  4. Keep an extra bit of gloss or bring along your lipstick. You may want to refresh your lip color during the shoot, so bring along a sample from your makeup artist bring along the gloss or lipstick you used for your photos.
  5. Wear comfy shoes. If you plan on wearing heels for your session, bring a pair of comfy walking shoes or flip flops. You’ll find that portrait sessions include a bit of walking to different locations for the perfect portrait backdrop.
  6. Put together an emergency kit. Every session needs a photo survival kit to make sure you’re flawless in every photo. Some key items you may want to bring along are: a comb/brush to smooth hair and hair spray to tame fly-aways, a lint roller for dark clothing, a travel size lotion to moisturize dry skin/ soften hands, and an extra top or outfit for the little ones.
  7. Pack your child’s favorite snack and keep it a secret.  Your child’s favorite snack can be a great bribe for more photos or a smile! Just remember clear juices and non-messy snacks are best. Avoid cheesy puffs and chocolates.
  8. Bring the stroller for your little one. I absolutely love capturing photos of Mom and Dad alone at the end of a family portrait session. It’s often a nice surprise; as the last professional portrait they have together is often their wedding photos! That’s where the stroller comes in friends! You can put your little one in with their favorite snack and toy, while we grab a photo of just the two of you!
  9. Pets are family too, bring them along for your session. If you have a pet, bring them along too. Bringing your dog along for the fun, will definitely be an awesome opportunity to have your best friend in some of the photos too!
  10. Have a tote bag to carry everything in for your session. A tote bag is essential for holding everything you need for your session. And you don’t want to end up with bulky pockets in your finished photos!

couple uses pineapples as prop in engagement session photoscouple dressed in formal tropical inspired outfits for engagement session photos on college campus

Thanks so much for following along and reading up on my session tips for this blog series. This was so much fun sharing my favorite tips with you all and I truly hope you feel inspired for your next portrait session.

couple rides an indiegogo bike rental for engagement photos at temple university

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meet ann


Hello & welcome to the ABP blog! I’m a Philadelphia based portrait photographer creating beautiful, light-filled images for families looking to create lasting memories and women creatives excited to grow their busineses with branded photos. On the blog,  I’ll share my most recent sessions, travels,  photo tips and more. So grab an iced coffee and . hang out a while!

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