I’ve been focusing so much on boudoir sessions lately that I’ve fallen behind on talking about portrait sessions. I love to shoot both, and in some ways the same tricks and preparation techniques apply to both. Spring is a great time of year to have an outdoor portrait session done, so I thought I’d give out some quick tips to help you make the most of your photo shoot.

1. Pick the right outfit.

Lots of people automatically pick a black outfit for portraits, especially if they’re thinking about using them as headshots as well. However, I try and encourage my clients to go beyond this and pick an outfit that reflects who they really are. Strong colors are great, while strong patterns and prints tend to be tricker. There’s nothing worse than a strong pattern on either a matchy background or a clashing background. If you want to break out that bright yellow or teal shirt that you love and some big jewelry, you should go for it. Just leave your hot pink striped shirt at home.

2. Practice posing.

If you’re having trouble with this, try and channel your teenage self in front of a mirror with a hairbrush singing along to your favorite music. Posing can feel very awkward in the moment, so practicing helps loosen you up at the actual shoot. Experiment and see what angles you like your body at the most. Some women prefer to pose in ways that gives their waist more definition, while others like to look like they were caught mid-jump. It’s all up to you and your personality, but figuring it out in advance will make everything look more natural.