Miranda Burchfield

Photo Session Style Guide and Session Structure

Planning out the details of your photo session doesn’t have to be difficult! In this style guide I will answer all of the questions that I am frequently asked, and also mention other things to consider. I want you to feel confident at your session and love the way you look in your images! I am attaching a guide at the end of this post that you can download for easy access and reference.

I’ll begin by discussing how your session will go. I do not set a specific length of time for full-length sessions, because there are so many factors that can affect the amount of time needed to achieve the images you have in mind. For example, if your session is on a college campus, additional time will be needed to cross campus to photograph in different locations. Many people choose to wear multiple outfits for their session, and changing clothes takes additional time.

For the first few minutes of your session, you will probably feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay! I understand that being in front of a camera can make you feel awkward. But don’t worry, I have no expectations for you and there is no way that you can mess up your session. I just want you to enjoy yourself!

I use a posing system that includes giving directions and prompts. However, If you have any examples of poses you like, feel free to show me and we will do something similar. Also feel free to bring any props that you would like to include.

  • Neutral or muted colors photograph better than neon colors. Neon clothing can reflect brightly on your skin.

  • Solid colors generally photograph better than prints. (But it is certainly okay to wear prints!). If there are multiple people in your photo session, it is best to avoid everyone wearing different print clothing. Too many different prints can make your images distracting. For example, if one family member wore plaid, while another wore polka dots, and another wore stripes.

  • If you are going to wear a new outfit, wear it a few days prior to the session to see if it is comfortable. Have someone snap a few pictures of you in it, to make sure you like the way it looks in photos, because outfits can appear different in photos than they do in a mirror.

  • If you are uncertain what style of clothing to wear for you session, a good choice would be the style of clothing you would wear to church.

  • If your session is going to take place outdoors, make sure you wear shoes that won’t sink up in soil. You can purchase heel guards to keep high heels from sinking if you want to wear high heels for an outdoor session.

  • If you wear makeup, apply it the way that you normally do. Otherwise, you may feel like you do not look like yourself when you see your images.

  • It is better to have on no nail polish than to have chipped nail polish. Even though it is a small detail, it can show up in your pictures!

  • If you want your outfits to match for family portraits, but can’t find the same color shirt for everyone, consider choosing colors that complement each other. For example, blue and yellow look nice together. Colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel are complimentary colors. You could also opt to wear all bold colors or all neutral colors.

  • Consider the weather. If your session is going to be outdoors, you may need to wear shoes that can be worn in damp weather, if it has rained recently. Or use more hairspray if it going to be windy.

  • Think classic. The images from your session may be hanging on your walls for years. Choosing simple, classic, outfits will help your images remain timeless rather than feel dated.

I hope that you found this helpful! If you have any questions, please reach out to me! You can contact me by phone at 662-770-0138, by email at, or the contact form on my website at The information from this post is also in the PDF file attached below.

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September 30, 2019

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Photography, LLC
Miranda Burchfield