Whether you wear your emotions on your face or you're a brick wall, I've done this long enough to know that about 99.9% percent of people that arrive to a photo shoot come as a nervous wreck. On the outside, you're hoping that your super cool outfit and smooth smile are hiding the fact that inside, you're thinking: I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, WILL SHE TELL ME WHAT TO DO, I KNEW I SHOULD'VE PRACTICED IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR BEFORE I GOT HERE, I HOPE SHE DOESN'T MAKE ME DO SOMETHING DUMB, I DON'T LOOK GOOD WITHOUT SMILING, WHAT IF SHE DOESN'T CATCH MY GOOD SIDE, WILL SHE TELL ME IF I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY TEETH, WHAT IF SHE'S AWKWARD, WHAT IF I'M AWKWARD...
The list could go on for days. One of my favorite moments in every session is the response to the first thing I tell everyone I've shot with since day 1: "You don't have to think AT ALL on this shoot. I will guide you on where to look, what to do, what expression to make, where to put your hands, EVERYTHING. If I see any loose hairs, wardrobe malfunction, ANYTHING, I will fix it all for you. I want everyone I shoot with to have fun and people can only do that if they don't have to think so LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!"
Here are some general planning tips to start thinking about as you begin preparing for your senior session.
You're going to want to have ZERO stress on the day of your session. You don't want to be thinking about where you need to be afterwards, or feeling rushed that day. Be sure to ask for the day off of work, have your mom or dad ask for the day off work if they're planning to come to the session with you, let your coach know you won't be at practice that day, and clear your schedule of any obligations.
Whether you are planning to put together outfits from your closet, head to a friend's house to borrow their clothes, or purchasing new ones - be sure to set aside one day (or a whole weekend!) to get your outfits selected for your session. This will take some time and you want to make sure you try everything on. Use the style guide below to help you. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT wait until the day before your session to start picking outfits. Trust me on this one! Put your shopping day on your calendar NOW.
If you are planning to get your hair colored or trimmed, or get a fresh mani + pedi before your session, make those appointments now. Hair appointments should take place within the 7 days leading up to your shoot. Nail appointments should take place a day or two before.
Stuck on what to wear? I’m here to help! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you guide your outfit choices. Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your senior portrait session! I know that sounds dramatic, but if you accidentally wear something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in…it can ruin the experience for you!
You will photograph in a few different outfits, so be sure to bring at least 6-8+ outfit options. The day of your session, I will go through the outfits with you and help to make sure we have the perfect outfits for your body type, skin tone, and shooting location choices.
Nude and appropriate undergarments - if you wear a strapless top or dress, be sure to bring a strapless bra option!
Outfits that make sense for the season
Functional clothing - if you want to get the most out of your poses, you need to be able to sit, squat, stand, etc.
A variety of outfits that show off your true personality - not ALL shorts, or dresses, or pants, etc. Mix it up!
Clothing that fits you well and accentuates your best assets - make sure to try every single piece of clothing on before bringing it to your session!
Wrinkled clothing - make sure to iron or steam everything and bring it all on hangers
Undergarments that don't match or bra straps that show
Dresses, skirts or shorts that reveal too much when moving/posing
Crop tops - they look cute in person but are not flattering on most people in photos!
Tight or ill-fitted outfits that accentuate problem areas
Too many outfits of the same type or color
When planning your outfits, you can never go wrong with neutrals. Start with these neutrals: black, white, grey or denim. When choosing whites - the brighter the white, the more contrast it will give with your skin which will pop. Add color from there!
On camera, colors that are neon, pastel or bland can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. Try to avoid these colors. Warm and rich tones end up photographing beautifully on camera and will really compliment your hair + skin colors. Think of colors that are BRIGHT, RICH or BOLD. Think of these colors: reds, maroons, oranges, bright or deep yellows, blues and teals.
When looking for patterns, again - think BOLD. Stripes, gingham, big floral or leaf prints, etc. Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull. Combining textures that you may not normally use together like sequins + cable knit sweaters or leather + fur make great pairs!
When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan accessories. Stacks of bangles, long necklaces, statement pieces, scarves, hats, bright shoes and other add-ons can make an outfit REALLY stand out! These items not only help your outfit look better and more put together, but it helps you with posing as well - it will give your photos more variety and interest.
I'll be sending you a senior session questionnaire soon, where you will answer questions that will give me an idea of the "look" you are wanting for your session. I LOVE collaborating with my seniors and their parents to create a unique portrait session for them and one of the ways to customize your session is with your location choices. I'll give you a few categories to pick from and you'll choose your top two. Start browsing through the photos below, others on my website and Instagram, or even searching on Pinterest, to see which location types are your favorite.
Having a professional for your hair and makeup will make a drastic difference in the quality of your photos and senior portrait experience. You are already making a large investment in your senior portrait experience, so why not make it the best it can be?! I work with a small team of hand selected makeup artists that I have chosen to work with my clients. I'm VERY picky when it comes to choosing makeup artists, so you can be sure that you are getting the best of the best.
When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists know how to do hair + makeup so that they photograph well. While your makeup may look amazing in person, it will look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference.
Preparing for a senior portrait session is stressful in and of itself. Trying to do your hair + makeup by yourself can make things ever harder. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every little detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see) so hiring a professional makeup artist is the best way to go.
I don’t ever want my seniors to feel like their portrait session is just simply “taking pictures”, I want it to be an EXPERIENCE. So, if my seniors begin shooting after an hour of being pampered + beautified, the entire experience has already started on a good note!
Use this checklist as a guideline to make sure you have everything ready for your session so you can feel confident and excited coming in without worrying about forgetting anything!
TWO DAYS BEFORE SESSION:
All 6-8+ outfit options purchased/picked out
All clothing ironed or steamed and put onto hangers
Undergarments for each outfit cleaned and packed in your bag
Accessories and shoes for each outfit packed in your bag
Order appointment scheduled. If you haven't scheduled yet, you can do so by clicking this link here. Be sure to schedule it for at least 7 days after your session date.
DAY BEFORE SESSION:
Nails and toenails filed and free of chipped polish. Make sure you have a clear or neutral polish!
Drink plenty of water
Get at least 8 hours of sleep
Exfoliate your face and body
Pack some water and a few snacks to take with you tomorrow
Set aside a cash tip for your makeup artist - typically $10-$20 is the normal tip range
DAY OF SESSION:
Wash and dry your hair
Arrive with a clean and moisturized face
Eat something, even if you're not hungry!
Make sure to grab all clothes, shoes, accessories and undergarments that you packed
Leave with plenty of time to get to the studio, get all your stuff inside, and get settled in before your appointment time begins. We will need to begin hair and makeup right away so it's very important to be on time.
You're ready for your session. You've made all the preparations, followed this guide step-by-step, and now you're ready to show up and blow this session out of the water! I can't wait to create beautiful images and have an absolute blast with you!
Feel free to email me (email@example.com) or text me (707-999-8970) if you have any additional questions!