SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits: Blog en-us (C) SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits [email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:51:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:51:00 GMT SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits: Blog 80 120 What to wear for Family Portraits I have been asked numerous time from families, "What should we wear?"  I have finally found the perfect article written by Darlene Hildebrant for DPS.  Enjoy!!


What to wear for a family photo shoot?

The clothes your clients or portrait subjects are wearing in their photo can be a touchy subject to discuss with them, especially if you are just doing a portrait for them as “a friend with a good camera”. Even as pros we have a hard time getting people to listen and they show up in clothes that make us cringe and even hurt our eyes.

This article will help you understand what to suggest your subjects wear for their portrait. You’ll also learn how to help them understand why your suggestions really are in their best interest so they actually listen to get it right.

Clothes make the portrait

What the subjects are wearing in a portrait is just as important as all the other details such as: lighting, location, and posing. Poorly selected clothing can really take away from an otherwise really great portrait.   The goals in helping your portrait subjects or clients select clothing are:

  •  to make the people the main subjects
  • to flatter the subjects and help make them look their best
  • to disappear and be a non-issue

Poorly chosen clothing, or having no discussion about it at all, can result in just the opposite of all those things.  NOT what you want to have happen!

  • clothing that stands out so much you hardly even notice the people
  • arms, legs or tummies that look less than flattered and people that are unhappy with the end results
  • clothing that takes so much attention and draws your eye around that it becomes more about the clothes and a fashion photo that it does a portrait of the people in them

So what IS the best thing for people to wear?

I get asked for tips on this a lot in my portraiture classes. People “hear” funny things about what they should or shouldn’t wear for their portraits and show up in the damnedest things that sometimes make you shake your head and say “what were they thinking?” But they don’t know what is right, or what is better unless you tell them and help them understand why.

This is what I recommend for what to wear to a portrait session

  • wear solid coloured clothing
  • choose muted tones that are a bit subdued
  • choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
  • choose 1-3 colours for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.
  • choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
  • choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
  • choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
  • keep jewellery simple and minimalistic
  • do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes (I’ll explain more later)
  • if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session

Okay so I added a few bonus pointers on hair and make-up but they go right along with the clothing.

And they probably heard somewhere that for photography you need to put your make-up on extra dark and heavy, so even ladies that normally wear none or very little can show up with black eye liner and raccoon eyes. I know, because it’s happened to me when I didn’t discuss it. She will HATE her photos because it doesn’t look like her.  She likely won’t say anything, she just won’t pick any and you’ll think she didn’t like your work.

I actually had a hard time coming up with “bad” examples of what not to wear. I’ve been doing this for so long I don’t have any portraits that don’t come fully prepared.  So I’ve found a couple group images just so you can see the difference the clothing makes.

The image below is from a wedding so they weren’t all planning on having this group portrait done. But it shows what happens when the clothes have not been planned.  There’s multiple colours, some dark and some light. We have a few bright patterns and a short skirt. We have a lot of short sleeves (it was a hot day) and some white shoes.  Can you see how all those things make an impact?  Overall it’s actually not that bad, I’ve seen a lot worse but let’s see what a little refinement can do to help.



Group portrait from a wedding, not planned so they were wearing what they were wearing.


Another “bad” example, again a group portrait from a photo walk this time. Notice how all the colours and patterns draw attention?

Examples of clothing that is working

This family chose all black and denim and for the most part it is working really well. Only thing I suggest as a change would be Mom in longer sleeves.  Notice how much attention her arms get?  For her that’s fine, but for someone self conscious about their arms or their weight, this will make their arms look larger.


In the image below everyone is in black except the baby. Babies are always tough because finding plain colours or black for a baby is almost impossible. Notice two things here.  #1 the baby stands out the most, and in this case that’s fine because she’s the smallest and you want to see her.  #2 if that had been an adult in the light outfit do you think it would work as well?  Doubt it, the result will be that person will stand out and look larger.No one likes to look bigger!  Trust me.


This is my sister’s family so they’ve been well trained on what to wear (I even got in this phone). Once again dark tones have been selected: greys, deep purple, and navy. Those all work well with jeans. Can you see the difference between me wearing long sleeves (left) and my sister wearing short sleeves (upper right)?  What does it do to the bare arms? How do they look compared to mine?



Let’s look at my recommended list again but this time adding in the WHY. By stressing the benefit to the subjects, or why they would want to do this, they will “get” it in a big way. Like I said, I have very few portraits that I’ve done in the last ten years that show up in poor clothing because I’ve prepped them so well and they know that if they want to look their best they will follow these guidelines.

  • wear solid coloured clothing so that we see all of your faces and no one person stands out. If you wear stripes or flowers, you will stand out from the rest of your group.
  • choose muted tones that are a bit subdued so that you are the subject not your clothes and you don’t stand out from the group. Bright colours project (especially reds, oranges, and yellows), which also makes you look larger.
  • choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light) so that one doesn’t look bigger than the other.  White top, dark pants will make your top look bigger.  White pants, dark top will make your butt look bigger.
  • choose 1-3 colours for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.  So that we see the people first and your portrait looks stunning. Wedding group photos look so good because they’re all wearing the same colours and the people stand out!
  • choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow  because your arms take up more skin area than your face and will draw attention and it may also make your arms look larger
  • choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladiesso that your legs don’t take attention from your faces, and you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much leg
  • choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach) because white just sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s all you’ll notice in your portrait
  • keep jewellery simple and minimalistic because too much draws attention from your face
  • do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes – no fancy up dos with jeans, no pony tails with evening gowns, etc. This is common sense, or so you’d think, but I’ve had ladies go to the hair salon and get fancy up dos then show up in jeans and a t-shirt.  It just simply doesn’t make sense cause you wouldn’t normally do that to put on jeans and go to the park for a BBQ or something. So tell them “it is because your portrait will be more timeless and represent more closely who you are, not just what you look like.”
  • if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session – again this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised! Fresh hair cuts rarely look their best the same or next day. Ladies need time to practice working it, men need it to grow out just a little. Allow some time to live with your new look before your portrait session.

See a common thread in my notes above?  Most people have the same fears about being photographed – yes fears!  Being photographed is right up there on the fear list next to public speaking and going to the dentist, I kid you not!  Their fears are about looking stupid, not knowing how to stand or pose, and looking fat or old. So if you can help them see that these clothing tips will allow them to eliminate at least one of their fears before you even start, then you just have to deal with all the rest later!  Most of clothing suggestions has to do with helping them look slimmer and not stand out. How to stand and pose to minimize weight issues is another article, stay tuned!

Putting it all together

You may notice most of the “good” examples here are wearing dark colours. That’s pretty common as most people have heard that dark or black makes you look slimmer. To some degree that’s true. But light colors can work too if everyone in the group does similar, then the one person in dark clothes would stand out. Little kids in denim and white tops with bare feet is super cute, as is little girls in white sun dresses. Don’t be afraid of other colours or tones, just keep them similar. Some of my largest extended family groups over the years that have done the best even went as far as to put each family unit in their own colour scheme (one in browns, one in greens, etc) and mom and dad in another – all with dark jeans.  I’ve also had some ladies go as far as to buy everyone a matching shirt.

The thing is once you get them on board and understanding the logic behind it – the WHY – they will go to great lengths to make it work because they know it’s for their benefit!

[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:20:51 GMT
Benefits of using a Professional Photographer GBCC - Cakebread Wine Cellars Dinner Benefits of using a Professional Photographer

The value and integrity of your brand is apparent in every aspect of your business, from the written word to the design of your marketing materials. A mismatch between any of these elements will weaken your business image.

Taking a good photograph involves much more than just the clicking of the shutter.  A point-and-shoot digital camera may give an instant result at no cost, but will that result send out the desired message?

If your employees are at the forefront of communicating your business message, it is important that they look the part. Using the services of a professional photographer will help you send out the right message about your business to your clients, staff and competitors, and should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost.

A professional photographer can help you achieve the results you want by:

  • Listening carefully to your requirements
  • Selecting the best location and background
  • Using professional lighting techniques
  • Advising on the type of clothing that will work best for a portrait session
  • Being aware of and sensitive to the feelings of those being photographed, and ensuring that they feel comfortable
  • Highlighting the advantages/disadvantages of a particular choice of shot and advising you accordingly

You will benefit from:

  • A consistent style which runs through all your marketing material, whether it be your website, brochures, newsletters etc, and one which supports your business image
  • Professionally lit portraits at all times
  • An ongoing relationship with a fellow professional, that should allow you to engage in an honest exchange of ideas and feedback
  • Professional presentation of all your images, which includes color correction, retouching and resizing to suit your requirements
[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:51:01 GMT
Photography Compulsion Syndrome
I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!!!  I have been monitoring my symptoms for years and just came across the name of what ales me.  I have what most call PCS or Photography Compulsion Syndrome.   In a recent article written by Darlene Hildebrandt she explains in detail, the disease I have been plagued with. :)   Continue reading, it explains everything. 


“Photography Compulsion Syndrome” – tell me if you can relate to any of the following scenarios:

  • when traveling you’ve raced around at dusk, narrowly escaping a speeding ticket, trying to find the best spot to shoot the sunset
  • you’ve skipped dinner, or left your friends having dessert, while you go outside in the rain cause there was a great shot you just had to get
  • you’ve been on travel tours and were constantly frustrated because they never gave you enough time at the great locations or stopped at the side of the road for the old broken down buildings or because the “light was amazing”
  • you’ve lost images due to a card failure, a lost memory card, or a hard drive problem and have cried for days
  • you’ve yelled “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary if I don’t get this shot!” to your friend or significant other
  • you comment on the lighting in a movie and notice when they use a graduated filter on the sky to make daytime into night and your partner rolls his/her eyes at you
  • you have at least 8 photography apps on your smartphone

If you nodded your head in agreement and related to any of the above, you too may have . . .


Photography Compulsion Syndrome!

But don’t despair, there is help available!

So keep reading, and please share your photography compulsion stories in the comments below. Only by forming our own support group and sharing can we find the help we need to conquer this crippling problem.

The other way to look at this is by using the following phrase: “You know you’re a photographer when . . .”. I know you may not consider yourself a “photographer” but you do not need to be a professional to have this distinction.

It’s in the blood. You can’t help but live, breathe and sleep photography.

It’s about passion. It’s about what makes your heart beat a little bit faster.

It’s about being excited when you get that shot you’ve always wanted.


So if you feel all those things about photography, you ARE a photographer. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, or labels set out my society or other people. They’re just that, labels. Being a photographer is in the blood, and the more you do it, the more passionate you feel about it. I often feel privileged because I “see” the world differently than others. Honour that in yourself and just embrace it.



The Stories behind the Syndrome

Okay so truth be told all of those scenarios are real and actually happened to me, Jake Sleger.  This is how they went down in my own words and any resulting images.


#1 Chasing the elusive sunset

While out for a Sunday evening drive with my wife, we stumbled upon a park overlooking the bay of Green Bay.  We decided to park the car and explore this new area.  We sat at a picnic table and proceeded to get lost in the sunset and the beauty it created in front of us. I am constantly looking at the sky as the sun sets to see what cloud formations are happening.  From clear skies which make perfect gradients that range blue to orange and purple to a cloudy evening where the sky looks angry, this park has since become my favorite spot for photographing sunsets.


#2 Missed meals and lost sleep

This story starts with my wife again.  We are spending a romantic weekend in Munising, Michigan for our 1 year anniversary.  Munising is the home to Pictured Rocks National Park (highly recommend this to anyone who loves the beauty of nature).  Our hotel room is on the third floor of the hotel which is located high on a bluff overlooking Grande Island.  The first night there I was so excited that the sun was going to rise above the bluff opposite of us and the sunrise would be a sight to see.  That evening I set my alarm for 430am.  Let me tell you, I didnt need my alarm that morning, the anticipation was killing me.  I woke up making sure to stay quiet not to wake my bride. I stood on that balcony for 2 hours taking in that amazing sunrise, snapping pictures in between yawns.  As Darlene says, "Take the images, go the extra mile, leave no regrets behind."


#3 “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary”

The same day as described in #1 is very fitting for this symptom.  Once we were out for a typical Sunday evening drive and while driving through a local scenic golf course, I spotted in the overgrown bushes a baby fox.  I immediately, without warning, slammed on the brakes causing my camera which was sitting on Emily's lap to hit the floor. Lets just say I got yelled at! :(   Anyway, I wrangled my camera off the floor of the car and brought it to my eye only to find the baby fox was scared away.  As we waited there for any sign of the little guy, we noticed there wasnt just one, but 3 of these balls of fur playing outside their hole they call home.  I was able to get a couple of pictures even though they had to be zoomed in at 300mm.  Dont mind the lack of focus, lets see you hold a camera still, while at full zoom, just after almost dying from stopping that quick!  :P  



So what do I do about this Photography Compulsion Syndrome?

Nothing! As far as I can tell it’s incurable. But it IS treatable by doing the following:

  • carrying my camera with me as often as possible so I never miss a shot, at the very least have my phone in my pocket always
  • photograph daily, the only treatment is frequent indulgence
  • look at other people’s photography, get inspired
  • share my compulsion with a friend, join a photowalk, camera club or take a workshop
  • get away from my every day scenery as often as possible, even if it just means taking a drive in the country, or visiting a neighbourhood in my own city I’ve never been to
  • share my images and stories with others with PCS, it will help relieve the anxiety

All in a little fun

I hope you realize this is all completely made up. There is no such syndrome, although it feels quite real sometimes. Are you as compulsive and compelled to take photographs as I am? Or am I completely off my rocker?

I’m just having a little fun at my own expense, and hopefully you can join in with me and share your stories. Tell me about the one(s) that got away. What image did you miss that broke your heart? Or better yet, show me the ones you’re proud of that DID work out and you went out of the way to get.


Best Regards!  Jake 


[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Thu, 29 Aug 2013 18:27:43 GMT
Common questions prior to a photo-shoot. Over the course of this summer I have been blessed to be extremely busy doing what I love.  All of my photo shoots have been a blast!  There is nothing more fun than relaxing, smiling and laughing.  These are the things that all of my sessions have in common.  From joking around with high school seniors (I still act like one) to making funny noises at children for that one little smile.  I could not imagine doing anything else.


One thing from this summer is that I have been asked numerous  questions regarding upcoming sessions.   I would like to share these with you and answer them to ease your fears when booking a session with me: 


Q1.  What should we wear to the shoot?

A1. I always tell people to wear "like" colors.   If everyone in a family wears the same color (or shade of it) the pictures look like the family belongs together.    Click here for a great examples: Example #1  Example #2


Q2. What time should we schedule the session for?

A2. The best time of day is early morning hours (5a-7a) or during the evening (6p-8p).  The lighting is perfect to not cast unsightly shadows across faces.  The other positive about these times is that the sun is low enough allowing you to open your eyes and not need to squint, let alone the beautiful colors that are associated with sunrises and sunsets.  This picture was taken at about 8:30pm. 


Q3. What location can we choose for our session? 

A3. As I do not have an indoor studio, I will travel to any location you have in mind for your shoot (mileage cost might be added based on distance).   My home range is Green Bay, Appleton, Manitowoc area. I have found numerous parks and locations in all of these cities that are incredible for session backdrops.  One of my favorite locations was Kimberly High School football field.


Q4. What products do you offer (CD, Prints, Canvas, Metal Prints, Posters, etc.)?

A4. I include with all sessions a photo CD of fully edited images (20-60 images) to be used on Facebook ONLY.  I also have a print release and print packages available for purchase.  If a print package is purchased then I include the print release for free.  I have the ability to make your photos on a variety of media from regular size prints to large poster size, from wrapped canvas to your photo printed on a metal sheet which can hang on a wall.   All of the prints you order from me are processed at a professional photo lab.  This lab is configured to my exact camera and editing software and are guaranteed for color and clarity. 


Those are just a few questions which come up often.  If you have a different question, please dont hesitate to contact me for more info.  Just remember, when booking a photo-shoot with me there is nothing to be afraid of.  My goal is to have a bunch of fun joking around and laughing during our time together.  Those are the moments in life that are priceless, why not capture them!Mann-3467

[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Photo shoot questions photo shoot locations what to wear for family pictures Thu, 08 Aug 2013 20:12:00 GMT
What people think I do VS. What it actually takes.  

Most people feel that photographers have a fairly easy lifestyle.  I am trying to put that myth to rest.   Don't get me wrong, "I LOVE WHAT I DO" but there is more to it than the time I am actually capturing images.  I consider the days spent shooting my "days off".   

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions regarding what photographers actually do the rest of the week. It’s perfectly understandable, after all, the only time most people see us working is at the photo session. So I thought it would be interesting to put up some pie charts to show what we really do besides take pictures every weekend. Hopefully it will help clear up some misconceptions and give some insight into what goes on behind the scenes after we leave the shoot. 



[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Photographers Lifestyle how photographers spend time Thu, 27 Jun 2013 18:47:30 GMT
A picture is worth a thousand customers One thing that is often overlooked when sculpting any great marketing campaign is the use of a professional photographer.  Someone once told me "you never get a second chance to make a first impression."  With that being said, when customers first  see your business communications they make up their mind within the first few seconds if they will purchase goods or services from your company.

The first thing a potential customer will look at when visiting your website or look through your brochure are the images.  As a society our attentions spans have become very short.  Therefore the imaging that needs to be used should draw the viewer in for a closer look, and create emotion within that potential customer.   We have all visited a company's website or viewed a brochure during our "product research" stage in our purchasing timeline.   How many times have you immediately said "nope" and then looked to the next company due to the images within their advertising?   I would assume all of us have done this at some point in time.  This is the case because while we might not all be able to take a great photograph, we are all experts in good quality photography, and bad!  This comes from years of reading magazines, seeing advertising and television. We may also not know exactly which elements in particular make an image good or bad, but it is clear to us all when something is not right. 

Nowadays cameras are an everyday part of our lives. From cell phones to more elaborate DSLR cameras everyone has the ability to produce images at the click of a button. Most of these images that are produced should not be used in marketing your business.  Here are some questions you need to ask yourself about the current photography representing your company.  Does the image instill emotion in its viewers? Are there unsightly shadows within the image?  Does the image grab and hold your attention?  These are reasons you need to be using a professional photographer. Professional photography ensures a professional result.  You would not think twice about going to an amateur dentist or doctor.  When visiting the website of a company that has produced the photographs themselves it is clear they do not take themselves seriously.  This worries consumers who are about to part with their hard earned cash for a product.

[email protected] (SLEGER Photography - Senior Portraits) Green Bay Commercial Photography Thu, 20 Jun 2013 19:04:36 GMT