How to Prepare for your Senior Pictures

Senior year is an exciting time in a teen's life. From college applications, to prom, to finally walking across the stage, there are a string of memorable events. One of the most rewarding experiences is having senior portraits taken. They  are a lasting depiction of this amazing stage in your life when you transition from being a kid to an adult. While they can be super fun,  making your portraits truly what you envision requires preparation by both you and the photographer.

Be Vocal

Often times, seniors have an idea of what they want their portraits to look like. From a certain pose or location to a simple prop, every client knows SOMETHING. The issue? It takes a little forethought and organization to translate these thoughts into something your photographer can see.

All of my seniors receive a free personalized information consultation. This helps me learn exactly who they are and how I can approach photographing them in their best light. During the consult, I'll ask how you dream of being photographed.

On occasion, a  girl will give me the deer in the headlights look.

To avoid this, I recommend creating some kind of album or mood board that gives the photographer an idea of what you envision. Most of my clients use Pinterest to quickly jot down ideas ranging from posing to clothing and will send this to me either at the consultation or before the shoot. Be honest! It is also helpful to know if you don't like a certain pose or expression. We would rather know now than at your image presentation.

Be Confident

Confidence is key. You know when you have studied for hours, memorized a hundred flashcards, and take an exam and just KILL IT because you know everything? You walk in feeling  awesome because you have prepared. Do the same for your pictures!

Clothing is probably the first place to start. Generally, people will bring their entire closet for their images. There are just too many options right?? Nope. Its super easy to edit down your wardrobe. Start by filtering out any pieces that feature distracting prints or over-saturated colors. The emphasis should be on YOU! For my clients, I always recommend basic solid colors or subtle prints to bring the focus onto the face. Stay away from colors that may draw the eye away from you such as bright reds, oranges, or pinks. If that color scheme makes you feel confident, bring it to the shoot along with some other choices and we can decide together. Just consider how your clothing will photograph and ultimately add to your session.

Don't forget about cosmetics! All of my senior clients receive the services of a professional makeup artist included in their session, but small things are sometimes overlooked. Every single detail will be apparent in the photo. If your nails are starting to chip, repaint them or remove the color. If you wear glasses and want to wear them in your photos, ask your optometrist if you can receive temporary frames without any lenses to avoid glare. Skin treatment should begin about a week before your photoshoot date to remove any distracting blemishes or marks. Finally, let's talk hair. If you want a dramatic cut or color change, schedule your photoshoot until a month or so after to ensure the look is exactly what you want.

Most of us are not particularly used to being in front of the camera. It can be weird having your picture taken in the woods while you are wearing a flower crown and someone is pointing a long lens right at your face. Just know that your photographer is there to make you feel comfortable! In my sessions,  we are normally laughing and hanging out like friends. Senior pictures should be stress-free. Finding a photographer who understands your vision is important, but also one who is easy to work with. If you're camera shy, tell them! It makes  and your session much less of a chore and more of a special experience.

Be Flexible

Life can be crazy busy. A soccer game in the morning, a birthday party in the afternoon, a church event in the evening, and you still have to get your homework done.  You plan in advance and often schedules are packed. In the world of portrait photography, rescheduling due to bad weather is common. Rain or cloud cover affects the lighting in your photos, so when this occurs your photographer will want to shoot another day.  When thinking about scheduling your photos, have several dates in mind for availability in case your day is overcast.  As long as you plan around deadlines (i.e. yearbook pages) accordingly, you'll be fine. Its part of the experience. Today in Texas, the clouds have opened up and rain has not let up since the early morning while yesterday skies were perfectly clear. Anything can happen, just be flexible in case something does.

As in any relationship, compromise is important between you as a client and the photographer.  My job is to ensure you look your best and sometimes that may mean stretching your comfort zone. A few of my locations may seem really...ordinary. From out of the way forests to random downtown office buildings, a first look would quickly write them off as not part of a "glamorous" portrait experience. Of course, that's not what I see. The camera can make something as boring as an alleyway into a great fashion-style image. Similarly, in posing, if you feel awkward moving your chin slightly or sitting with your arms pressed a certain way, good! The photographer sees something different than what you feel. On the flipside, you may want a pose or location your photographer isn't familiar with, but is a great idea. Our job is to deliver excellent results. The best artists know how to adapt and can use their techniques in unfamiliar places. Trust your photographer to capture what you want, but don't be afraid to try something new! Who knows, it may be your favorite image of the day.

The hardest part about senior pictures? Waiting for the finished images. Editing is the longest part of the job because we want to make sure every detail is just right.  For my seniors, I hand edit every photo that I deliver because I believe in giving the best quality possible. I promise, they will be worth the wait!

You're Ready!

The more prepared you are the more likely the end result will be all you have hoped. Senior portrait season is far from over and even if the weather is turning over a new leaf,  you have plenty of time to go into your shoot confident and prepared.

If you'd like to schedule with me for senior portraits, my Fall season is completely booked! However, spots in Spring are still available and I would love to shoot your portraits! Click the "Contact Me" button at the top of the page to receive my exclusive Senior Magazine and cross one more thing off of your checklist for senior year.