CONGRATS ON BOOKING YOUR SESSION!
I can't wait to work with you!
Whether capturing simple moments with your sweet family, or celebrating a special milestone like an anniversary or new baby, I’m so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
I’ve created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos, and to answer all your questions so you feel ready and prepared for your session.
At the session, I’ll take care of the rest! Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot, and let me create photos you’ll love forever.
I can’t wait to get you in front of my camera!
CHOOSING THE DATE AND TIME
I specialize in natural light photography because I believe it creates photographs that feel fresh, timeless, and truest to you.
Ideally, portrait sessions begin two hours before the scheduled sunset during “the golden hour,” when the light is the dreamiest. To get the most out of your session, please plan a buffer when getting ready so you can arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time.
We’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down!
PRO TIP: The sun sets earlier during the colder months of the year and later during the warmer months, so make sure to factor that in when choosing your portrait session date.
SELECTING THE RIGHT LOCATION
The location of your portrait session is up to you! For most sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are my first choice. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the beautiful light, especially during golden hour. There are great options all around the Bay Area, and I’m always up for exploring a new spot together!
I can also suggest some great go-to locations that we can always hit, or do some research for us to find the location of your dreams. Just let me know which type of session you’d love and we’ll go from there!
STYLING TIPS FOR HER
Don’t be afraid to dress up!
Have you ever thought about wearing a romantic gown but never had an occasion for it? This is your chance! There is no such thingas “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have fun!
Say Yes to the Dress
Dresses and skirts look great because they flatter every female body, especially on camera! Long, flowy dresses and skirts are particularly amazing because they bring extra movement to the photos. Of course, if dresses aren’t your thing, feel free to rock a pair of pants instead. Think “date night”. I generally recommend avoiding shorts for your session.
When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades - or darker neutrals. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, and busy patterns, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on you. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.
Make a Statement
Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can help bring some extra dimension to your images, and be a nice tie-in when you’re coordinating with a group. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are more subtle on camera.
Flatting your features
Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos. Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, or bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan to throw over your top for some shots. Heels elongate women’s legs and closed-toed heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe
Hair and Makeup
I recommend applying heavier than usual makeup and hairspray, so that the camera picks it up. Also, feel free to bring a compact to avoid shine and lipstick/gloss to re-apply if needed. At the end of the day, I want capture moments where you to look and feel your best!
STYLING TIPS FOR HIM
The Best Fit
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most flattering looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on that face you love! I recommend avoiding shorts, sandals, and anything with graphics and logos.
Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look.
Pro Tip: Mixing a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color will create a more relaxed look and adds some extra visual interest while breaking up the color tones.
It’s All in the Details
Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look. Accessories like ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, and watches are sharp complements to any outfit.
PREPPING YOUR FAMILY
Coordinating the Crew
As you’re coordinating family outfits, your outfits will look the most cohesive when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” Focus instead on what “fits” together - this will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
How to Mix Colors
The goal is to visually break up the colors and shades so you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. Think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors”. A dominant color is the color you see the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate.
Pro Tip: Aim for each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the accent colors.
Prepping Your Little Ones
Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. It also helps if their bellies are full and they’ve had some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! As a mom, I know that some days don’t always go as planned - and that's part of the beauty of it! Whatever happens, I will make sure to get great photos that capture the heart of the moment. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!
Portrait Session Checklist:
1. Set date, time and location
2. Review guide for style tips
3. Choose your outfits
4. Pack a bag with:
- Flats for walking between photo spots (depending on location)
- Touch-up makeup
- Water bottle
- Coat or cover-up (if cold!)
- Snacks for the little ones
- If you have a toddler or younger, small eye-catching toys
AFTER THE SESSION
What to Expect Afterwards
After sessions, you will receive a sneak peek via social media (follow me at @vichou.photography to be see it!). The full gallery will be delivered to you via Pixieset, where you can download both high-resolution and low-resolution versions of your gallery.
1 Week social media sneak peek with one of our favorite photos
3 Weeks online gallery with final, retouched, high-resolution images
I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience a great one. But at the end of the day, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. I want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it.
Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!