Must-Haves in Your Client Style Guide - mintmagnoliaphotography.com

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I'm Magan!

Wife, mama, and educator obsessed with chick-fil-a mac & cheese and dry shampoo.

An entrepreneur since the ripe old age of 5 when I would sell a single cracker with spreadable cheese from my lunch box for $0.25. 

I have built a successful photography business while working for a decade in the insurance industry. 

I hold my Masters in Education and love to teach. So it is no secret that I would teach from all I have learned along the way.

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Must-Haves in Your Client Style Guide

Over the years I have specialized in both family portrait photography and weddings. Both always come with some of the same questions when it comes time for the client to decide what to wear for engagement sessions and family portraits.

Enter the importance of serving your clients by showing up with the answers before they get a chance to ask!

This is when I began creating my own style guides to send to clients. I’ve sent both a PDF and a hidden link on my website.

But no matter how you choose to serve your clients in this way, the importance is to know what to put in these style guides.

What you need to think about as the photographer

Do you have a specific style and want specific colors and styles to be portrayed in your portraits? Then guide your clients toward the colors and styles you are wanting to achieve. You are the expert and they will likely listen to your suggestions.

Some photographers even set up calls or shopping appointments with their clients to help with these decisions. Remember your worth, if you are doing this and including it in your session price then make sure to build it into your price, or offer it as an add-on service.

What to Include: Beauty and Grooming

I always, always encourage the Mom for family portraits and the bride for engagements to have her hair and makeup done professionally. The same goes for senior portraits as well.

Don’t forget the nails! Especially for brides and seniors! There will be ring shots, and senior poses often can have those hands up near the face or hair, so they need to have nice, neat, fresh nails. Remember to guide them on the polish colors as well – leopard print nails may not be the best choice this time around.

This is not the time to be afraid a client will think you are bossy. You are the expert and they are paying you to make them look amazing, so do just that!

All of these tips can be placed in sections inside of your style guide or Engagement Session Prep Guide.

Choosing their Palette

Consider if this shoot is happening in the spring or fall and what colors will work well together for the venue you are shooting at. Giving them a sample of color patterns to choose from on the style guide you send to them is helpful.

Think about tones: blue tones, earth tones, neutrals, pastels, or warm rich colors.

Discuss the dos and don’ts

You know where I’m going with this:

Do wear solids, don’t wear crazy prints

Do coordinate and compliment, don’t match with all blue shirts and all khaki bottoms

Do build around one outfit.

Don’t wear neons.

Do wear layers.

Speaking of Layers

Layers add dimension to the images – so encourage layers for their portrait wardrobe!

Summer layering can be as easy as accessories, but fall portraits are perfect for layering, and can make all the difference in tying together the colors in the palette that has been chosen. Encourage them to consider cardigans, vests, and scarves!

Encourage Comfort

Especially for the Mom’s in family portraits – it is important she know that when she looks at these images in 30 years, the clothes will be out of date anyway so as long as she chooses something that is yes, cute, but still comfortable so she can make the most of the memories she will look back on – and not notice that forced smile from the uncomfortableness of the too-snug dress she had on that day.

Don’t let them forget about the shoes

No matter how casual the shoot, nothing – and I mean nothing – can throw off a look more than beat up old shoes. 

Solids and Prints

Earlier I mentioned to not wear crazy prints, but it’s important for them to know that one family member wearing a bit of a pattern on their shirt or dress is ok… just stay away from those tiny stripes – they make our cameras get super confused, not to mention give you a headache when you edit later.

If you are still stuck, consider checking out my styling guides that I created for you to use and send to your clients! These are designed to be sent as a PDF or printed.

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