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Preparing for your Senior Session


Most high schoolers have never experienced a professional portrait session before their senior pictures. So everybody feels a little nervous and awkward to start. You don’t know where to put your hands. You don’t know how to stand. That’s normal! Don’t worry – I’ll walk you through it and those jitters won’t last long!

My goal is to capture your style and personality, so the most important thing for you to do is just be yourself.  Bring one or two family members or friends with that you are really comfortable with. Somebody you trust, who will make you feel at ease, somebody who makes you laugh!

Once we’re at our location I’ll look around to find spots with great lighting. I’ll show you where and how to stand, sit, or lean and tell you what to do with your hands. Then I’ll take a few shots, adjusting my composition and angle, and your pose slightly each time. After a minute or two, we’ll find another spot, moving quickly, and changing outfits & poses along the way. I promise not to use any complicated model posing…unless that’s what you’re into.

Feel free to bring props that represent you.  For example; band instruments, choir robes, trophies and medals, sports gear (including a volleyball, baseball, basketball, bats etc) trap shooting, hunting.  Anything unique to your life, interests and/or personality.  Talk to the coach and see about borrowing sports equipment and uniforms to incorporate into the shoot (helmets, pads, even track equipment!)  I really love creating unique indoor images with these items.  Give me a heads up if you do, so I can prepare and get my creative mind rolling!

It definitely can stressful when trying to determine what to wear for your session.  Here are a few tips for you guys and gals!

1. BE COMFORTABLE:  If you do not like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home! Personally, I try to steer clear of items that are sleeveless just because it makes me self-conscious and I’m constantly wondering if it looks bad. So, if there are pieces in your closet that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait ward rode! Additionally, we will most likely be sitting on the ground, laying down, walking and doing other things that could be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable!  

2.  THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  On Camera, solid black + white can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. So, when choosing outfits for your senior session, try to choose colors that POP and that compliment your hair + skin colors! Primary colors like red, royal blue, and yellow photograph beautifully as well as emerald green, bright purples, pinks, oranges and any other colors that really POP! 

Here are some things to think about:

  • Textures and layers always look nice and add depth and detail to the photo.  Knits, scarves and sweaters for the fall and winter portraits are great on camera!
  • Solids colors are best.  Busy, loud patterns or logos will draw too much attention in your photos, so solids are always a safe bet!
  • Avoid clothes with fine, repetitive lines typically found on men’s dress shirts or suits.  These detailed lines can be difficult for the camera to register and may appear as wavy lines instead. 
  • Avoid wearing loud or fluorescent colors since it can be distracting when looking at a photos and the colors can reflect on your face.  So, unless you want to be bright orange, it’s best to stay away from fluorescents.
  • Iron your wardrobe!  I can’t stress this enough.  Every detail will show up in your portraits, so be sure to iron out any wrinkles, remove lint and loose threads.
  • If you wear eye-glasses all the time, feel free to bring them, but if you can do without your glasses or have contact lenses, this is a better option.  Eyeglasses can cause a reflection of the flash or nearby objects.  Ask your eye doctor if you can remove your lenses, or, better yet...ask if you can borrow a pair with no lenses just for the shoot!

3. ADD LAYERS: In the cold months (fall+winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks stunning in portraits!  For example; A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest + statement necklace or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options! Even in the warmer months (spring+summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim vest over a dress!  A great way to get clothing ideas, visit Pinterest and search for Senior Photoshoot Wardrobe ideas.

4. MIX IT UP:  When planning your outfits, make sure that you have a variety of looks. I tell all of my seniors to choose from these categories: casual, cozy, dressy, school-related, sports-related, preppy or edgy. I recommend choosing a few of those categories and finding outfits accordingly. This provides a nice array of looks during your senior portrait session, so each outfit will look different.  

HAIR + MAKEUP (yes, too!):

This is another big part of a senior session that can completely alter the overall outcome of your images. I highly recommend professional hair and makeup to all of my clients for many reasons. I promise I’m not just saying it to get you to spend more money! It really does make a difference.

GIRLS:  When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists are trained to do hair + makeup so that they photograph well. While your makeup may look great in person, it will look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference! They will conceal spots you don’t like, contour your face so it looks the best in every light, use colors that compliment your skin to make it look flawless, make your eyes pop with false lashes + shadows, manicure your eyebrows to perfection and more! Some may think that there isn’t a difference…but I reassure you, there is a difference.

GUYS: Make hair appointment at least 2 weeks prior if possible so new cuts can relax a bit.  Be clean-shaven or have beards and mustaches trimmed.  For clean-shaven guys, you may think a little stubble won’t be seen on camera, but it totally shows in close-ups, so spend the extra time to get that face cleaned up!  Wear chap stick for dry lips, you definitely don't want to have cracked lips in your photos!  One thing that is rarely thought of,  pluck and trim eyebrows and nose hairs as needed.  Those little stragglers will show in close up photos!

Side Note:  If professional hair + makeup is simply not in your budget, that is a-okay, too!! I just recommend doing your makeup slightly heavier than normal, making sure to add a pop of color on your lips + using fake lashes if possible! Those little details will make the biggest difference! 

Don’t Neglect the Nails!

And, one last tip!! In all of the chaos of senior session prep…don’t forget to pamper your nails! During your shoot, a lot of the poses we do will have your hands close to your face and in the frame, so make sure that your nails look just how you want! Try to avoid any chipped polish or crazy patterns. French manicures, light/natural colors and even nails with no color at all photograph best!!

Final Note:

Pamper yourself, relax and have fun!    Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.  Eat well before your session, bring a bottle of water and a snack.  Don't forget to bring a pair of flip flops or comfy shoes for walking in between locations!  As always, if you would love to meet in person for a consultation and go over fine details, send me a message!

2019 Spit N' Image Photography