Senior Portraits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Your Shoot
Your senior portraits should capture a moment in time and reflect who you truly are. We find our clients do best when they feel prepared for their session and are able to relax.
We’ve come up with some helpful tips to ensure you enjoy your session and look fantastic in your photos. You’ll find that quite a few of the tips are for girls, but many of the tips will work for boys’ sessions as well.
We’ve done hundreds of senior portrait sessions, and we always have a great time with our senior clients. We also take the responsibility of capturing your senior photos seriously. You and your family and friends will be looking back on these photos for many years to come.
When you schedule your session, decide if you’d like professional hair and makeup or if you’d like to do it yourself. If you’d prefer a professional and don’t have someone you typically use, we can include hair and makeup in your package!
2 Weeks Before Your Senior Photos
Find your outfits. We recommend at least 2. Sometimes the outfit you think will be your favorite comes in 2nd once you see the photos. Also, having a formal and informal outfit and/or your sports or band uniform is a good idea as well. We recommend no more than 2 outfits in an hour, 3 in 1.5hr and 4 in 2 hrs. Go easy on jewelry choices (less is more).
Get a fresh haircut and color (if you use vibrant hair colors, you may want to color your hair just a few days before your session). This will give your hair time to settle, but it will still be fresh.
Keep up with your skincare regime at least a couple of weeks before your session. This will ensure you are glowing and no pesky pimples pop up.
Fan of the tan? Spray tans and lotions are great, but if you are self-tanning for the first time, make sure you test different brands to see what works best. Then apply the tanner about 2-3 days prior to your photo shoot (never on the day of your shoot because it may stain your clothes).
Practice different hair and makeup looks, and make sure to snap a pic to see how these looks appear in photos. If your session is at the beach, have an option ready to put your hair up in case the wind is strong.
Whiten your teeth if you’re interested. We wouldn’t recommend whitening any closer to your scheduled date than this in case you experience sensitivity.
Treat yourself to a facial. We wouldn’t recommend a harsh facial, just one that hydrates and exfoliates. You will positively glow!
Get your brows waxed. It’s good to do it a week before in case there is any resulting redness and then do a clean-up tweeze, if needed, 2 days before.
Try a deep-conditioning treatment for your hair. It can work wonders to give your hair that luxurious shine.
Practice your poses in the mirror. This may sound corny, but just moving around or dancing to the music will help you see which poses you like. It will also help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Use your favorite song, and just let loose!
Make sure to hydrate the day before and the day of your session. This will keep your skin plump and glowing and keep your energy up as well.
Get a mani/pedi if that’s your thing. Your fingers and toes will show in some photos.
Wash your hair. 2nd-day hair is great for styling.
Get your outfit ready: iron if needed, use a tape roller to remove any hair, dust, etc., and ensure you have the right color undergarments. Nude is a great option, and sometimes matching a bra with a top looks great.
Get a good night’s rest. Being tired will show on your face, and posing actually takes more energy than you think.
Plan to devote the entire day of your photo session to getting ready. The last thing you want is to have to rush. Being prepared and taking your time will ensure you feel calm and confident during your session.
If doing your own makeup, choose the magnified mirror. We’ll be doing some up-close portraits unless you’d prefer us not to.
Remember to hydrate.
Make sure to eat on your photo day. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes we get caught up in the events of the day and forget. Try not to eat too close to your session, and try not to eat a large meal.
Remember to brush and floss. Nothing worse than a piece of spinach in your teeth for your senior pics.
If your 1st outfit wrinkles easily, where something else to your session and change at the location.
Listen to your favorite music on the way to your session. This will get you in a great mood and help ease any anxiety. Feel free to bring the music to your session as well.
A note for parents: try to keep a little distance and let your senior do his/her thing. We understand parents want to help, but rest assured we have everything under control.
If having friends around makes you feel more comfortable, feel free to bring 1 or 2. Just keep in mind we’ll want to focus the photography on you. We can get your friends in a few photos, but we’ll want to use the vast majority of your session photographing you and ensuring we get all the shots.
Items to bring to your session: touch-up makeup, blotting cloths, Argan oil or something similar for flyaway hairs, something to put your hair back (especially if your session is at the beach), a handheld mirror, brush/comb, hairspray, towel, water, and a lint roller.
Our Biggest Tip For Preparing For Your Senior Portraits
Our biggest tip is to breathe, relax and know you are in good hands. We’ll have a great time! Before you know it, we’ll have you laughing and enjoying your senior portrait session. We’ll have plenty of ideas for poses, but feel free to send ideas as well.
Prepping for an engagement, maternity, newborn, family, or senior portrait session can make you feel excited, anxious, a smidge stressed … and of course, making a giant mess in your closet as you search for the perfect outfit. Inside our blog, we’re serving up all the inspo, tips, and tricks you need to have a stress-free photo session, from how to pose without feeling super awkward to what you and your family should wear. Reap the benefits of our 30 years of photography experience and wisdom, or just enjoy looking at the pretty pictures.