style guide-bri costello photography

S E S S I O N G U I D E For Portraits and Engagements

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For portrait and engagement sessions


Page 1: Style Guide-Bri Costello Photography

S E S S I O N G U I D E For Portraits and Engagements

Page 2: Style Guide-Bri Costello Photography
Page 3: Style Guide-Bri Costello Photography


i. when to book

ii. about the session

iii. location, location, location

iv. what to wear

v. faq

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Many factors play a role in the look ,

feel and general aesthetic of your

photos, but one of the most

mitigating factors will be the time of

year you decide to shoot. In the park

pictured to the left, for example, in

the top photo we shot in fall—which

created rich, amber and neutral

tones. I went back in the spring to

shoot the photo on the bottom, and

just look at the difference! If you

have the luxury of shooting

anytime of the year, consider your

aesthetic and what environment you

feel most comfortable in.

For a city, you may want to book in

spring where you can rock a summer

dress or dapper draps for the boys. If

you are going for a session with

layers, color, and coziness, cooler

weather and a winter session will

allow you to achieve this vibe without

toasting in the summer heat. For a

light, fun feel—summer may be your

season. Or perhaps a campfire

session on the beach during the fall

where you can bundle in cool

colored, oversized sweaters speaks to


The best light to shoot in is definitely

30 minutes after the sun comes up (I

know—I am not a morning person,

either!) or 1-2 hrs before the sun goes

down, depending on how long your

session will be. Light is the softest at

these hours and adds that gorgeous

golden tone to photos that we all

love. I am available to book evening

sessions on weekends, and I can do

morning sessions any morning

throughout the week or on the

weekend. The best thing about a

weekday morning session is that

streets tend to be less filled with

clutter and noise, parks have less

people, and sometimes—just

sometimes—you catch that

mysterious morning haze that adds

an undeniably zip to your images!

A note on booking. Photos tend to

take 2-4 weeks for processing, so if

you are wanting images for a Save

the Date, or engagement

announcement, senior picture

announcements, etc., be sure to

work back from the date you need

you images to ensure you book your

session with enough time to get

images back and still make your

deadlines. Any questions on this, or

last minute issues, always feel free to

contact me directly at

[email protected].

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The goal of our session is always to

capture you: where you are in life,

how you are, and what excites you.

Portrait sessions are a rare opportunity

to really capture your creativity,

expression, and individuality.

We aim to have a natural, yet stylish

and curated session that evokes the

beauty in each of us by creating a

comfortable and free environment.

For the most part, I will prompt you, or

you and yours, to act naturally. I may

position you here and there, or have

you try certain techniques and tricks,

but the goal is that when you strike

that golden laugh, that it is 100%


If we are shooting outside, the goal

will be to use the natural light from

our surroundings. If shooting indoors,

we will be working with the window

light, and perhaps some lighting tricks

I bring along,

Depending on the portrait package

you book, I tend to like to plan for a

few different “looks” or feels. Think

about the different aspects of your

life or your relationship and develop

shoots that embody those moods.

Pick a spunky outfit and location that

helps you to show your playful side.

Another look could be soft colors in a

field to show the sweet or tender side

of you or your relationship. But you

get the point—create “looks” that

match your environment and fit your

personality. If we are changing

locations, be sure you have thought

through how and when you will

change. Travel time and setup is also

included in your session time, so try

not to get too intense with your


For wedding couples, an

engagement shoot is the perfect way

for you and I to get to know each

other! We can “practice” before the

wedding and figure out your style of

shooting before the big day. If there

is any feedback you have for me

after our shoot, always feel free to let

me know.

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L O C A The best location will most certainly be

the spot that makes you feel most

comfortable and most in your element.

A good location will also be a clean

backdrop, not overly distinguishable.

You want to be the center of your

photos, not the statue of Sam Houston.

Also, consider the colors and texture of

your environment. Be on the lookout

for hidden roads, farm field, cool

hallways. You can even typically coax

a coffee shop in to letting us shoot in

their shop. Make a list of the things you

like to do, and think of places that

speak to that. If you love to play the

guitar, where do you play? If you go to

the same Farmer’s Market every

Saturday, set up your shoot then. Or if

you collect stamps or records, perhaps

hitting up a collectors shop or record

store could be up your alley. Speaking

of allies—they can also be great little

hidden spots to set up a shoot. If you

tend to have a more modern vibe, find

a clean city street that has modern

storefronts. Ask a furniture store or art

gallery if you could shoot in their space.

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T I O N Industrial spaces or old buildings can

sometimes have a lot of red tape to

shooting on site, but they are also

sometimes the most hidden gems.

Bookstores, libraries, or a study could be

a great location for a bookworm. Or

hit the pavement on your bikes and

let’s find some magical trails. Love

riding in your vintage convertible?

Well hey—so would I. Let’s make it


I am pretty much always on the lookout

for the next great place to shoot, so if

you are needing some help

brainstorming, definitely just let me

know and we can start the brewing of

some ideas that you love and represent


A final note to consider with your

location would be the accessibility and

liability of a space. Some locations

may require entrance fees, or may not

allow any professional shoots at all, so if

anyone owns the property you have in

mind, it may be a good idea just to

check with the owners and get a

confirmation that we will be okay to

shoot there in advance.

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To begin, as with every other aspect of

photography and planning your shoot,

you want to maintain a style that is true

to you. Now, that isn’t to say that you

can’t have some fun and push the

boundaries a bit to create images that

will pop and highlight you in a way that

may not include the baseball cap that

you wear every day! My most basic

advice is to coordinate, and NOT

match. Coordinating means colors that

are in the same tonal pattern; however,

this can be a bit deceptive, as the right

orange and green really can work

together! On the opposite page, the

couple is wearing bright blue and pink.

Given the playful backdrop of the Ferris

Wheel and fair, their colors pop and

mesh with the environment, while still

highlighting them. In a green, wooded

forest, creams, oranges and reds come

across beautifully. Caution colors are

shades of teal and coral. They

definitely can work, but it will likely be

with contrasting deep, bold or cool

crème colors.

Additionally, adding a fun accessory to

your wardrobe can also add that extra

ZING! Fun colored sunglasses, a special

lacey blouse, bright patent-leather

shoes, or suspenders all add to your

outfit and transform your look from daily

wear to magazine-ready.

When plotting your outfit choices, keep

in mind the weather and shooting

conditions. If there is a chance of rain,

bring along your mud boots and a cute

umbrella. If you are wearing those killer

heels, but we are walking from location-

to-location, pack and extra pair of flats

to get around.

For the boys, a standard shirt that you

like is a good start, but think of a way to

make it a little more than everyday.

Add a hat or suspenders. Maybe a

vest, or a tie with some pop. Roll up

your sleeves for a more casual look, or

add some colorful socks!

When putting multiple outfits together,

you will want to look like you are both

going to the same party. Try to avoid

one being in a long, formal dress and

the other like they are going for a

casual Saturday stroll. If you are going

for a modern look, pick outfits for you

both that match the aesthetic. If you

are harbor side at a coffee shop, aim

for that comfy, seaside look.

Patterns can work great, but be sure not

to combine too many! Also, if you have

a strong-patterned shirt, make sure your

environment is more simple and subtle

and would work well with your choices.

And finally, wear what you feel

excellent in! Day-of, it can be a good

idea to bring an extra option or two in

case we have time for wardrobe

changes, or in the event of wardrobe

malfunction. And should you want a

second opinion, you can always shoot

me your looks before-hand at

[email protected].

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Do we get every image you shoot?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Because

you don’t want every image. I try to

shoot economically, but sometimes you

are just too adorable and the light is too

good, and so I simply take a lot of photos.

I will curate an album of images for you

so that the images you receive

encapsulate the very best of each of the

moments from our shoot!

How will we get our photos?

I have a client proofing webpage hosted

by Instaproofs where you will be able to

download all of your images. Within 2-3

weeks of our shoot, I will send you an

email detailing how to access the

website and your photos. You can also

order prints directly from the website, and

there are a number of print proof

packages to check out, as well.

What if we go over our time, but want to

keep shooting?

I am typically pretty generous with my

package time and images. That stated,

in the event that we are severely off-

schedule and have to make decisions —

pending my availability—we can discuss

the extra time and you can authorize an

extra hour, which I will bill after our session.

And hey—an extra hour means extra

images, too! So that’s cool.

Can we bring other people or animals to

our session?

Of course you can! Furry friends can

always be a great compliment to any

session. Keep in mind that this session is

still about you, so if you bring family

members, my suggestion would be to be

clear about your expectations, where

they should be and when. As for furry

friends, you may want them in a few

shots, but if you don’t have them in

throughout the entire session, be sure to

consider who will be taking care of them.


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What if it rains or there is really bad

weather the day of our shoot?

If your shoot is rained or “weathered” out,

we can reschedule. However, if it isn’t an

all-out downpour, and just light rain, I

have the equipment to keep my camera

and lenses safe. Sometimes the most

dramatic sessions come after a light

drizzle, or when massive grey clouds are

brewing in the distance. We will avoid

natural phenomenon, such as: severe

lightning, hurricanes, tornados, and hail


When do we pay for our session?

In order to hold your booking, we must

receive full payment; therefore, payment

is due upon booking, unless otherwise

arranged. If you have booked a

wedding package, and you are applying

your discount to a session, simply let me

know and I can adjust the pricing invoice

for you.

What if we have to cancel our session?

For viable reasons, sessions can be

cancelled for no charge up to 14 days

before the shoot. After the 14 days, you

will be charged 30% of the package rate.

If you need to cancel 24 hours before the

shoot, you will not be refunded your

package fee. Should we be able to

reschedule your session, the amount paid

will be applied to your portrait package.

What if we can’t reschedule?

If you book a session and then have to

cancel and are unable to reschedule, the

above charges would apply. However, if

we have to cancel as a result of weather

or any issues on the photographer’s

behalf, you will be refunded in full for your


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And at the end of it all, remem-

ber—this little tool is just a

guide to help you plan out your

session. It is in no way meant

to be a hard and fast rule book.

This is your session, about who

you are. So, be YOU!

...Have fun, and celebrate what

is going on in your life.