5 Ways to Rock Your Senior Session (Plus 5 Bonus Tips!)
Updated: Jul 5, 2019
Senior portrait sessions... they can be so much fun, yet they can also generate a lot of stress! These portraits will go on your graduation invitations, all over your social media accounts, and be what you will look back on for generations to come as you remember this special time in your life. There can be a lot of pressure to make sure your senior portraits turn out exactly how you want! As a senior photographer, I have seen it all when it comes to senior portrait sessions. Over the years, I have fine-tuned what it takes for you to make sure your senior portraits turn out even better than you imagined. Follow these tips, and your senior portraits will have all of your friends and family raving.
1. Choose your clothing wisely.
The outfit choice is probably the hardest, and most critical part of designing your senior session. First of all, make sure YOU love and feel comfortable in your clothing. If your mom made you wear an outfit because she loves it, but you hate it... it will show in every portrait you take in that outfit.
Do: Choose colors and styles that you love and feel comfortable in.
Do: Bring a variety of outfits... a casual look with jeans, a flowing dress, a uniform, a favorite t-shirt with jeans, your college shirt... really anything you want. Just bring a variety, so all of your portraits don't look the same.
Don't: Bring wild, crazy clothing unless you are okay with your outfit being the center of attention. Most of the time, you want the focus to be on you and loud outfits can take the focus off of you.
Do: Discuss with your photographer how many outfits you can bring. Nothing is worse than showing up with 10 outfits only to discover you have time for 2 of them.
2. Be Careful Who You Bring With You.
This is something you probably don't think about, or at least don't think would matter for your session. But, I have found that the #1 thing that determines how your portraits turn out is your confidence... and a big part of that confidence depends on who is at the session with you. I recommend bringing 1 person (max of 2 people) who make you feel comfortable. This person typically is your mom, but it could be dad, a best friend, sibling, grandparent, boyfriend/girlfriend, anyone who will make you feel good and help with the session. This person has a critical job... holding your stuff, helping you dress, telling you how awesome you look, reminding you what portraits you wanted, and making you genuinely laugh. Who not to bring? Don't bring an entourage, and don't bring anyone who will make fun of you. Nothing kills your vibe more than bringing little siblings who fight the whole time or your uncle who tells you how silly you look in that outfit or pose.
3. Wear a Little Extra Makeup
Think about models... they normally pile on the makeup, but somehow come out looking perfectly flawless in the photographs. If you're a girl who wears makeup and wants it for your session, wear just a little extra for your portraits. It will not look caked on, it will end up looking like you imagined it would. The same goes for brides, models, etc... when women want to look like they have on a little bit of natural makeup, they have to pile it on a little extra for their pictures. Now, if you want to go completely natural, no makeup, that is fine too! But many girls tend to wear what they normally would wear to school, only to realize the soft smokey eye they thought they had created is not very visible in their portraits.
4. Communicate With Your Photographer Before Your Session
It is so important to communicate with your photographer... and to do it before you arrive at your session. If there is a photo you found on Pinterest you would like to recreate, send it their way! As the model, you may not realize what exactly it takes to create some of these images. Your photographer may need to bring a ladder, paint to splatter, a special lens, a prop, or choose a certain location if there is something specific you are wanting. Most of the time, a professional photographer can make your wishes come true as long as you tell them before your session so they have time to plan and make sure the shot is nailed!
5. Hire the Right Photographer
Of course, if you want the senior portraits you dream of, you have to hire a photographer who has the style and skillset to give you what you want. Make sure you look at the photographer's portfolio before you hire them. Do you love their work? Do they have a website? Do they seem like a person you would feel comfortable around? Talk to the photographer about what you want, and make sure they are on board with your ideas and the style you are looking for. Your photographer should be excited about you and help you come up with ideas, settle on outfits, and ensure that your session is fun and comfortable.
5 Quick Bonus Tips:
1. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh! It feels silly, but looks authentic and beautiful.
2. Tell your photographer if you want edited! If you prefer a more natural look, tell them. If you want your teeth whitened, your acne scars hidden, etc... communicate that.
3. Bring a few special props, but don't overdo it.
4. Ask your photographer if they will help pose you... because that's their job! You want to hire someone who will walk you through the process and pose you in a flattering way.
5. Accessorize for quick changes and additional looks. Swap out a scarf for a necklace to create a whole new look in seconds.
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