Having a portrait session with your sister can either be easy, or it can be difficult. It’s kinda up to you, really. Your relationship can have something to do with it, yes. But, acknowledging the uniqueness of such an experience and then working on your mindset beforehand are the keys to success. Being part of a “sister picture” is different from getting your headshot done, having an engagement session, or even being part of a whole family portrait. If you’ve ever considered such an endeavor, I’d like to offer you two basic tips on how to prepare for your portrait session with your sister. Let’s embrace ease, not difficulty.
The number one tip I learned about photographing sisters from https://suebryceeducation.com, is that before I pose them, they have to be joined, connected. To achieve that connection, they have to stand super close. What does that mean for you? Well, it means that if you have any negative feelings about your sister, you’d better leave those feelings at the door or in the car and prepare to get close together! Getting close means putting your arms around each other and positioning your faces an inch apart or less! The distance between your legs and hips will be minimal. And, you’ll need to move together as a unit. You may be asked to tilt forward or back or sideways. Plus, your facial expressions have to match. One of you can’t smile while the other strikes a serious model face. Be prepared to take direction from your photographer on this one. Just remember that the overall presence you are creating is one of sisterly love, familiarity, solidarity, and relationship.
The second tip I can offer you is to prepare your wardrobe in advance. It’s different from preparing for a couple’s session, which you can read about in Clothing Choices: Colors and Styles for Your Portraits. The way you color coordinate for a session with your sister is a bit different. First, you should both be wearing the same types of garments–so, a sweater and jeans, a dress with flats, an evening gown, a jacket, boots, etc. Second, the shades of your clothes should be related. In the picture above, the sisters are both wearing a shade of maroon. So, when they’re close together, they look like two individuals, but they’re still connected.
If you choose to wear dresses, however, there are other things to consider. Color is still your priority, as I mentioned earlier. So, if your sister is wearing a black dress, then you should also be wearing black or a charcoal gray. But, the styles of the dresses matter too. One of you can’t be in a strapless while the other is donning a high-neckline and long sleeves. The dresses should compliment each other with their lengths, cuts, and the amount of skin they reveal.
Here’s another example. In the picture above, the two sisters are wearing crop tops that compliment each other in color and that have long belled sleeves. So, when they put their hands on their hips, those belled sleeves create not only interest in their photo, but also symmetry.
Another thing to consider before your session is how the two of you will wear your hair. In the picture above, the two sisters both wore a braid. Although one wore her hair long and the other in a low pony-tail, the sameness of each one with a lengthy braid made a beautiful detail in their portrait. In the picture at the beginning of this article, the two sisters are both wearing their hair down. Even though one has dark hair with curls and the other has straight hair with highlights, they still look unified because they’re both wearing it long and forward.
Sister portraits are unique because the two of you are from the same family but are also two distinct people. So, a photo of the two of you–or the three or four of you, etc. should highlight those two things. Being willing to get awkwardly close and then paying special attention to your wardrobe choices are both absolutely necessary.
The wardrobe part will require the most discussion with your sister beforehand. First, talk about what colors you both feel your best wearing and then talk about shape and necklines. Second, agree on a plan for how you’ll wear your hair. Then you can discuss incorporating anything else that will help to create cohesion, such as gold or silver jewelry. Before settling on a style, though, it’s probably best to decide what kind of photo you’d like–glamour or casual? Serious or fun? Indoor with a backdrop? Outdoor? Standing in a field of poppies or sitting on a rock or a set of stairs? Taking all of these things into account will help you to prepare for your portrait session with your sister. And, it will help your sister prepare to have a session with YOU!