Tips for great Senior Portraits:


Because senior portraits are so meaningful and last a lifetime, seniors will want to prepare for the big day by getting suggestions for poses and clothing from friends, parents and the photographer.   Below are some of the best portrait tips to help you plan for your senior session.



Make sure you get at least two nights of good sleep before your photo session so that you will look fresh and won't have bags under your eyes.   Beauty sleep is real!


Plan several outfits to bring

You should arrange to bring several outfits to your photo session in a variety of colors, not only in your favorite hue.   Include different styles, such as casual, semiformal, formal or outdoors, so you can take several pictures and get your best shots.

Remember to bring accessories for all outfits, from socks and footwear, to jewelry and hair accents, and store them in Ziploc bags with each outfit.    Since several full-body shots could be taken, check shoes to be sure they are clean and that both socks match – that full-body shot could end up being your favorite pose.   Check your clothing ahead of time to make sure it isn’t spotted or faded, and transport your outfits (you can wear one when you arrive) on hangers to prevent wrinkles.


Keep your clothing visually simple

Don’t bring outfits with words or designs, stripes or pictures, except possibly your school logo.   You want your face, eyes and expression to command attention, not the words on your shirt.


Give consideration to color

Solid colors are recommended for most or all outfits, and darker shades tend to make people look slimmer.   Try not to wear flesh-tone or neutral colors such as white, beige, tan, pale peach or pink, or gray, as these can dominate the picture and make you look washed out.

For outside pictures, I recommend spring and summer colors of sky blue, pale green, watermelon and dark peach to complement the outdoor setting.   “Fall” tones look great, too:  red, gold, deep orange, emerald green and dark green.   Most importantly, go with a color that compliments your skin tone.

Use clothing to accentuate your best features

Girls may want to forego short sleeves or spaghetti straps if their arms are heavy, since these styles will only accentuate that feature.   Round and square faces look good in a square-neck top, while thin faces or pointed chins are attractive with rounded-neck tops.   Also check to see if you have tan lines that will show with the different outfits you are going to wear.

Go easy on the bling

Avoid wearing attention-grabbing jewelry.   Again, the photograph should accentuate your face, eyes and personality, not draw unwarranted attention to your jewelry.   Jewelry can also tend to date a photograph very quickly, so classic, simple jewelry pieces are best.

Apply makeup normally

It’s tempting to get very “glam” when having pictures taken, but this could very well make you look like a stranger in your senior portrait.

Apply your makeup as you normally look on a day-to-day basis, and bring your makeup and hairspray along with you.   That way, if you need a touch-up, or maybe a bit more blush or eyeshadow, it can be done on location.   Make sure that your face make-up is blended well into your neck, so that when you look in the mirror your neck is not an entirely different color from your face.


Avoid glitter or sparkly anything (powder, eye shadow, blush) – it tends to reflect the flash and leaves white spots.   Also, avoid too much lip gloss.   It can also leave white spots from the flash or make you look like you’re drooling.   (Funny, yes… but not for this occasion!)

Also, if you have it, bring along some translucent powder.   While in real life, a bit of shine to the face gives you that “dewy glow,” it unfortunately can look like “too much glow” in photos.   Having the powder along gives the option to dab some on your forehead or nose.

Go with practiced hairstyles

Getting senior portraits done is not the time to leave your hair uncombed for that “natural” look.   Also, avoid experimental hairstyles.   In general, friends and family prefer to remember you as you looked most of your senior year, not just during the period when you had your pictures taken.

I would suggest working with your desired hairstyles a few days before the photo shoot to get the look you want in advance.

Styling changes or haircuts should be done at least a week in advance to give your hair a chance to adjust and look natural.   Girls having their hair professionally styled for the session can, of course, wait until the photo session day to get their hair done, but they should practice with their hair stylist beforehand so there are no surprises on picture day.

Guys need a fresh shave

A fresh shave for guys is recommended.   If not clean-shaven, any facial hair should be neatly trimmed.


Don’t worry about blemishes

Don’t worry about a blemish or bruise.   There are retouching options to get the most attractive portrait possible.   Keep in mind that excessive digital retouching can be expensive, however.   Girls, don't use too much make-up trying to hide blemishes.   It will be easier for me to retouch your prints if you keep a more natural look.   Don't worry... your final prints will look great!

Stay away from fake tans and sunburn

Don’t overdo the tanned look.   For one thing, it looks unnatural.   For another, your pictures could reveal peeling skin or a cherry-red nose.

Help your glasses avoid glare

If you wear glasses, you can do a couple things to prevent glare and reflections from the glass.   Either buy or borrow a pair of suitable frames without lenses to, or you can ask your optician to remove the lenses from your frames for the photo session.   Most will do this for you at no charge, but give them plenty of notice so there is no rush.

Make sure your hands are presentable

Like shoes, hands can show up in some of your favorite poses, so be sure to take the time to make them presentable – guys should trim their nails, and girls might need to touch up their manicure.


Only take the photos if you’re feeling your best

When the big day comes, if you’re not feeling your best due to a bad cold or too little sleep, call and cancel your photo appointment.   We will surely understand how important it is to look your best and will simply set up a follow-up time.


Other students who have had their pictures taken already can offer senior picture tips from their experience.   The bottom line is that you should plan ahead to take photos that will make you look and feel your best.   Planning ahead will make the busy day more manageable and arm you with the confidence you need to take outstanding senior pictures that you can be proud of the rest of your life.