Okay, summer’s on its way, school is almost out, and senior portrait season is just around the corner. So let’s talk about how you can prepare for your senior portrait session and make sure you come away with beautiful, amazing, and unique senior pictures!

Preparing in advance for your high school senior portrait sessions can make a huge difference in the look of your senior pictures.

This is one of the reasons why all of my senior portrait sessions include a pre-session consultation, I spend as much time on the phone with my senior portrait clients as we need, and we can text or email back and forth as we work together to plan your perfect senior portrait session – from outfits to props to location and more.

Click here to learn more about everything that’s included with a high school senior portrait sessions with my studio.

Below are some tips to help you plan for your session and make sure you look your best. As always, if you have any questions at all, whether you are a current client or not, don’t hesitate to

Lake Oswego High School senior portrait of girl in black dress on the campus of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon..

Go out in style with the perfect senior portrait outfits!

Your high school senior portraits should show off your personality, style and be as unique as you are. So take the time to find clothing for your portrait session that is comfortable, looks great, and reflects who you really are. My senior portrait sessions come with unlimited outfit changes, so there’s plenty of room to be creative and try new things.

I always encourage my senior portrait clients to bring A LOT of clothing options. We might not use all of the outfits you bring along, but we’ll be able to mix and match and make adjustments so that your clothing matches the environment and background. Group your outfits as best as you can on hangers, and make sure everything is ironed because wrinkles WILL show in your senior pictures!

Click here for more tips on choosing outfits for your high school senior portrait session!

Use props to show the world who you are!

Props are great too! Don’t be afraid to bring some of your favorite things that show off your hobbies and interests. Popular choices include

                  • musical instruments
                  • items related to activities like dance or school clubs, sports uniforms
                  • sports equipment like soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, and bats
                  • hunting or other outdoor recreation equipment,
                  • family pets
                  • your car or truck.

Bring anything along that you feel speaks to who you are and what you love. Just like clothing, I encourage you to bring as many props as you can to your senior portrait session. We might not use every one of them, but the more props you bring with you the more options we’ll have for creating senior pictures that are unique to you.

It’s best to gather your props and accessories together at least a week before your senior portrait session, that way you’ll have plenty of time to find items you might have forgotten about.

Portrait of High School Senior Girl and Rabbit with Picture at Sunset

Hair and Makeup can make your Senior Portraits Pop!

For girls, professional makeup has the potential to elevate the look of your senior pictures by enhancing your natural beauty.  I have access to talented hair and makeup artists and I am happy to help you add a professional stylist to your senior portrait team. If you are doing your own makeup, take care to keep your makeup as natural looking as possible and choose colors that are close to your natural skin tones.  Your senior portraits are not a time for creative or overly glamorous makeup. Instead, quality makeup applied well will even out skin tones and give your favorite facial features some extra pop in your senior pictures.

Regarding your hairstyle, be sure not to make any drastic changes right before your senior portrait session. Chances are you’ll regret your last minute decisions! And, be sure to bring hair spray, clips, pins and whatever other tools you might need to keep your hair out of your eyes, especially if we’ll be outdoors and it might be windy. You’ll also want a brush and small mirror for quick touch-ups (or bring along a best friend to help you out). I do my best to help you look for out of place hairs during your portrait session, but having an extra set of eyes and some helping hands can never hurt!

Don’t be afraid to accessorize!

Tasteful jewelry can really compliment your clothing choices and will add polished detail to your senior portraits. You can also consider little embellishments like hats, scarves, and jackets.  Small additions such as this can really elevate the look of your senior pictures and will increase the variety you’ll see in your senior portraits.

But, keep it simple! Big, shiny jewelry or outfit additions that are too bold can be distracting. We want you to be the focus of your senior pictures, not your accessories. Just like clothing, bring along a lot of choices and we can mix and match during the shoot.

Beautiful fashion portrait of a Sunset High School senior girl posed with picture next to birch tree in Portland park.

Beware of sun-kissed skin!

Many senior portrait sessions occur during the hot summer months, so hydration is key.  Be sure to drink plenty of water before in the days before your senior portrait session. It will boost your energy and help prevent headaches that can come with standing and posing in the sun and hot weather.

It’s also important to take care of your skin.  Be careful about how much time you spend in the sun the week before your senior portrait session.  If you have red, sunburned, or peeling skin, it will likely show in your senior pictures.  These issues are difficult and sometimes impossible to “fix” in photoshop, so it’s best to avoid the problem altogether.

And don’t forget about your hands!  They’re going to be in the photos too and sometimes close to your face. Make sure your nails are clean.  If you wear nail polish, be sure that the polish is not chipped or apply fresh polish before your senior portrait session.

Check your Attitude!

Come to your senior portrait session prepared to have a ton of fun! Forget about all of your other plans and worries for a few hours and let yourself just live in the moment. The emotions you are feeling on the day of your shoot are going to have a big impact on the expressions that you’ll see in your pictures. Don’t stress about what you’re going to look like or how you will pose! On the day of your portrait session, we’ll teach you how to pose like a model and we’ll work together to create beautiful, amazing photographs that you will love!

Picture of Glencoe High School senior girl with senior portrait in a black and white plaid shirt.

Timing is Everything!

Chances are good that if you booked a senior portrait session with my studio we carefully chose a specific time of day for your shoot to take advantage of the perfect outdoor lighting. As a professional photographer, I can photograph in almost any lighting condition and I bring a variety of my own lighting tools with me to my on-location senior portrait sessions. But, there’s no getting away from the fact that the sun can produce different looks and effects in your senior portraits depending on the time of day—especially during that “golden hour” that occurs about a half-hour before sunset.

Even in the summer months, as we approach sunset, we start losing natural light very fast. This can impact the types of images we can create. So, be sure to be on time for your portrait session so that we can maximize the amount of time we have to create beautiful senior pictures. Make sure you plan for things like rush hour traffic and that you know in advance how to get to the shooting location we’ve decided upon.

What other questions do you have about preparing for your senior portrait session? Send me an email and I’m happy to give you my best advice! And, for more information about planning and styling your senior portrait session, Click here to get my free senior portrait style guide!