How to Rock your Senior Photos


March 7, 2017

Whether they admit it or not, every high school senior looks forward to their senior photos, or at least has an expectation for them. Many of my clients send example photos to me from Pinterest or Instagram that they love and want to replicate. While this is absolutely welcome (I’m here to help make your vision a reality), it takes a team! I’ll worry about the lighting, composition, and mood, and let’s work together on planning the elements of a senior photo shoot that you have control of: the wardrobe, scheduling, and attitude!


This is the one I most often get questions on, which I love! While your face is the focal point of all senior photos, the wardrobe can really contribute to the shot. I am all about capturing you, so bringing your individual style to the shoot is highly encouraged, but here are some basic tips to get your started:

  1. Earth tones are your friend! No matter the setting, these colors work well with most backgrounds and skin tones. Think greens, blues, reds, and neutrals. Neon or bright colors can reflect on your face or clash with your skin tone, so be sure to consider flattering colors. Also, consider the setting of your shoot (if you know it). You want to contrast slightly from your environment; so if you’re shooting at a park or in a field, avoid greens and tans that would blend into the background.
  2. Simplify. I’m a huge fan of accessories and layering in my everyday life, but not for photoshoots. It’s important to be comfortable, and often too many accessories can cause more fuss than they are worth! Consider wearing very little if any jewelry, and keep it simple with accessories! Your photos will be instantly more timeless, and you’ll be focusing more on having fun than worrying about your necklace laying just right.
  3. Go classic! While it can be tempting to wear your trendiest outfit in front of a camera like a high fashion model would, remember that these pictures will be looked back on for years to come. Fads change constantly, so you don’t want to look back at your photos and think “What am I wearing?!” Keep to classic fits such as:
    1. Dresses
    2. Button-down shirts
    3. Blazers or jackets
    4. Simple tees
    5. Pullover sweater
    6. Classic cardigan


Logistics & Planning

Scheduling senior photos will vary based on your photographer, but a few consistencies should exist across the board when it comes to scheduling.

  1. Schedule well in advance! This advice is especially important if you have your heart set on a certain photographer. You want to get your questions answered about timing, locations, and pricing and simply get your name on their radar. It would be devastating to want to work with a specific photographer and find that they are all booked up! Spring and summer tend to be busy with school out, nice weather, and wedding season, so you can either try to avoid these months or be sure to contact your desired photographer weeks, if not months, in advance.
  2. Location, location, location. This is huge for achieving your desired result in photos! If you like a green, nature background with dramatic lighting, be sure your photographer schedules something in a park or field. This will result in a softer vibe for your photos – in contrast to busy, urban background. It is helpful to the photographer if you have a general opinion of location (city or nature, simple or interesting, summer or winter, etc), but then trust the photographer from there! In addition, the season can be highly important as well. An open park is far more interesting on a glowing summer evening than in the dead of winter.
  3. Timing is everything. Many seniors love that glowing sun as a backdrop to get a moody, gorgeous photo. Keep in mind that this can only be achieved in the “golden hour,” about one hour after the sun comes up or one hour before the sun comes down! Therefore, if there’s a certain lighting that you love, let your photographer know so you can schedule accordingly.


I can’t stress this one enough: your attitude is everything when it comes to capturing photos of you that you love!

    1. Catch some zzz’s. Get a good night’s rest so you are not groggy or crabby during your session.
    2. Consider your possé. Sound familiar? If you know someone will bring you down or stress you out to bring along, have a calm conversation with them about how you want your shoot to go and let them decide whether or not they can contribute to that. If you feel positive and happy, that will naturally come out in your photos!
    3. Crank up the tunes! If you like music or have a “pump up playlist” like I do, bring it with you! I love listening to music while I shoot and cell phones make it so easy for us to jam out to your favorite tunes while you shoot. It’s a simple way to help you relax and capture your natural spirit on camera!
    4. Do your research. If you are the kind of senior who has spent time poring over Pinterest posts, study the ones you truly love! Where are they looking? Is the smile posed or natural? How is the person’s posture? Look at the details of what you love about the photo and this will help you to achieve similar looks. You can’t get that candid, laughing and looking-away-from-the-camera shot if you stare into the lens the whole shoot! Study these details beforehand so you can relax and have fun while shooting!
    5. R-E-L-A-X. Sitting in front of a camera definitely isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but dig deep to find confidence and relax. This takes time, and it will not be instant when you begin your session; however, it will make a world of difference. Make sure you work with a photographer you trust to direct you appropriately, and they will take care of you. All you need to worry about it being yourself! Think of your favorite comedy movie quote. Try poses the photographer suggests, even if you are a bit hesitant. Turn on music that makes you want to dance. Your photographer will appreciate it, and you will be able to take the pressure off and enjoy this celebration of your upcoming graduation!


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