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These Distractions Are Ruining Your Photos

As a photographer, we’re trained to see things differently. When we place subjects into a frame, we’re looking for more than a pretty background. We’re looking at lighting, the surrounding area, and anything that could distract from the subjects. The sole focus of portraits, after all, should be you

Still, glaring distractions are super common. These are the most common visual distractions I see in portrait photos. Minimizing these attention hogs is one of the fastest ways to improve the way your images look!


Location Issues


It’s like the real estate rule. Location, location, location. If your session location has a little too much going on in the background (like most in town locations do), then the images are bound to have some built in distractions like trash cans, telephone poles, and buildings. 

These locations often have poor lighting too; dullish flat lighting, weird color casts which turn skin green, or dappled lighting which makes skin look spotty. And nobody wants spotty, green skin, believe me.

If you do need to photograph where distractions abound, minimizing them is the way to go. That trashcan in the background? It disappears when the subject stands directly in front of it. Dappled light making skin look like leopard spots? Move to a more uniformly shaded spot instead.

Some of the most popular locations in Phoenix for photos are some of my least favorite places to shoot. It’s not that they don’t have some good attributes, but I know that there will be too many distractions in the finished photo.

Want to see some of my favorite places to take photos that are within an hour’s drive of Phoenix?


Wardrobe Malfunctions


Wrinkles, logos, bra straps…all of these are things that will distract from your beautiful faces and close knit connections! This is why I work closely with my own clients to plan wardrobes in advance. I also come prepared with a travel steamer to sessions. Nobody wants to regret that major lap crease every time they pass by the family photo in the entryway.

Keep your wardrobe simple and stick to neutral colors that mimic nature. Some of my favorites are the colors named after foods: wine, sage, mustard, cream, coffee, and so on. Or, maybe I’m just hungry.




One of the reasons I include a Professional Hair and Makeup Artist in my sessions is because great-looking makeup can make such a huge difference in your photos. I mean, I can’t do a winged eyeliner to save my soul, so let’s leave this to the professionals!

The makeup artists will enhance your features, even out your skin, bring out your eyes, and none of the techniques they use will look dated in the years to come. Your makeup will be perfect!




A well-crafted watch or a treasured timepiece from your grandpa is a far cry from your Apple watch. The same goes for trending jewelry: that avant-garde statement necklace probably won’t stand the test of time. 

Keep things classic and simple. Less is more because the focus is on your faces and your relationships!


Phones, Wallets, and Purses


Phones and wallets make unsightly bulges, and finding a place to put your purse during photos is a pain. My sessions start by gathering them up and securing them in my camera bag for you. And I suggest leaving the big beautiful handbag at home while we hit up the hiking trails – you won’t need it!


Tan Lines


When possible, choose clothing that does not show tan lines. If you’re concerned that some might peek out, I can remove them in the editing process, but you won’t be stressed about it and fuss with your clothes if they’re covered.

Check out this blog post to see what I retouch!

Having great photos starts with having great attitudes and looking and feeling your best. Are you ready for some epic photos around the Phoenix area? Get in touch, and we can make this magic happen!



Couple walking in Joshua Tree Park with arms wrapped around each other.