SENIOR PICTURES: Top 10 Important Tips for High School Seniors and Parents

April 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”— Paul Caponigro


Truth be told, I LOVE shooting Senior Pictures. There is something special and magical about such a huge transition in a young adults’ life. Seniors, you are the stars of the show, you are bravely going into the world with faithful hope, and unlimited dreams, and I wish we were all a little more like you. I love that you take bits and pieces from your past and combine them with your future and show up to shoot with me with intention. Each Senior has their own unique style and vision for life and it always spills over into our photo shoot, it is true brilliance.

I have come up with the Top 10 list for you and your parents to stick to when getting ready for your big photo shoot day. Each step is as important as the other and we want to create photos that you are still proud of in 10 years! Let’s roll!



Seems obvious right? Get…some…sleep. This is usually a pretty easy task for a teen (we  have three of our own). Sleep refreshes you, it can assist with relaxing your nerves, and it is your time to let go of your day and rest. The night before you shoot with me, GET SLEEP! This will get rid of bags under your eyes, it will balance your energy and it will help prepare you for your photo shoot. This is a biggie!



If you have already done a photo shoot with me, you probably remember me asking you to send me pictures of your outfits, hair and make-up styles you like, and to tell me all about yourself. It is so important to me that we create photos that represent who you are. Sometimes this can be a lot for seniors to pick out what they want to wear, to pick a location, but I am here for that. Please ask questions like, "Do these look good together?" Or, will this hair style look good with this outfit?" And the obvi questions, do you know where they have red barns, waterfalls, horses, tall grass, mirrors, and graffiti?" Every question is important and I will always make time to answer them! 


The day before your photo shoot be mindful of how much water you drink. Not pop, not juice, or coffee, just simple and pure water. This is your best friend for giving your skin a beautiful glow. It will also prevent bags under your eyes. Drink plenty of water the day before your photo shoot as well as the day of. Trust me, water is your bff.


Snack, snack, snack. Please snack the day of your photo shoot. Stay away from eating large meals that may leave you tired and wore out. One of the little secrets to getting though a photo shoot is to eat snacks. I always have some handy for my photo shoots, and parents you will appreciate the extra half hour or hour that your Senior spends with me because they have enough energy to get through. Snack on items such as protein bars, little cute packets of almonds, fruits and veggies, a peanut butter sandwich, but please stay away from the junk, it will fill you up and leave you tired and hungry all over again.


This is for everyone. Take care of your little toes and your fingers. The day before your photo shoot take a little time and pamper yourself with painting your nails, getting old nail polish off, and clean them well. It adds so much to a photo to show that you have taken care of your nails. If your preference is to not wear nail polish then just take a couple minutes and clean them up a bit. This is something that should not be done the day of the photo shoot.



Please don’t act like you don’t take selfies! Everyone does it, and I love that because it gives you practice. Posing for your photo shoot is such an important piece to getting the right shot. I will be giving you lots of direction as well as my assistants but we need you to feel comfortable with your face and your body. If you are wearing special shoes, put them on a couple days before your photo shoot, throw on Pandora and work! Get moving around and even ask a friend to take some cute pictures. Sounds cheesy, yep, I know, but it really does get you thinking about how your body moves and works and you will know exactly what I mean when I ask you to pose a certain way, or to bring your chin down. Practice makes perfect!


What are your favorite things? Your pets? Your skateboard? Maybe to paint, draw or play basketball? (We are a basketball, dance  and volleyball family!) Think about what you really enjoy doing and incorporate that with your photo shoot. Seniors have brought everything you can imagine to their photo shoots with me.  I want your pictures to be about you. This is your time to show your best self and it really brings out your personality to bring items that you care about.


This is the most asked question by both seniors and parents. What am I supposed to wear? This is what I suggest, look in your closet and pick out your favorite items. I want you to feel comfortable with what you are wearing and sometimes it feels weird to try a new style. With that being said, I shoot concept Senior Pictures all of the time. Bring your prom dress, or your tux, let’s shoot in a water fountain or a beautiful pool. The more creative the better and this will be planned out well in advance of your photo shoot. I always ask that you text me the outfits you have picked out, and the more the better! This is such a big part of the photo shoot because I know a ton (literally) of locations and I am good at styling the photo shoot to what you are wearing. I can see an outfit and know right away where your location should be. P.S. I adore cowgirl hats and boots, just saying!


The day before your photo shoot get all of your outfits and accessories and props together. Get everything ironed or steamed, and put them on hangers. Again, lists are such an important tool to keep you organized. Write your outfits down. Put down what shirt, or dress, with whatever shoes and accessories. This will save you so much time. Put everything together sorted by outfit and we will be able to spend more time shooting than getting organized during your session. The time before your photo shoot can easily be organized and well thought out. Seniors, remember, this is a big day! You have worked very hard for the past 12 years to get to this point. Take an hour the day before and set everything out in one area so you can see what is missing, or if you need to add anything to your items. Lists are invaluable, I use them for everything. Make a list, check it twice, and give yourself the gift of being prepared.



Get your hair and make-up professionally done. Yes, it is important. I would say almost 100% of my clients get their hair and make-up done professionally before their photo shoot and there are a couple reasons. This is a special day and you deserve to be pampered and to be stress free when it comes to getting ready. It should be fun and exciting! Teens are experts at doing hair and make-up, however, when you are doing a photo shoot, your make-up needs to be done in a way that is complimenting you for the camera. I work with a professional hair and make-up artist and she is fabulous. I can’t say enough about how creative she is and she makes a world of difference to my work. If you are getting a hair cut before the photo shoot and your hair is short, do it at least the day before the photo shoot to get rid of some of the redness from the clippers and to give your hair a chance to settle down. I don’t recommend coloring your hair or trying a new style right before your photo shoot. I want to ensure that you are comfortable with how you look and it just isn’t the time to try new adventurous styles. Let my hair stylist come up with something creative for you if you are looking for a change in a few of your photos.



Senior pictures are so much more than hair and make-up, your pictures are timeless art that exhibits your personality, your ambition and the way you see the world. Follow this list and you will be very prepared, and you will have fun, because in the end it’s all about you.






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