How to get GREAT senior pictures!

Senior pictures are a big deal. Not only is this a parent’s way of capturing their baby on the brink of adulthood, but it’s a time for the senior to express who they are! They likely will be showing off all of these images on Facebook and Instagram with their friends, and it’s important to look your best in the images. So I’ve compiled a few handy tips for senior pictures that I usually tell all my seniors. Memphis Senior Portrait Photographers

Tip #1 Talk to your photographer beforehand and look at their work!

Check out your photographer’s work beforehand. You need to like their work. Plus, this gives you a good idea of what to expect out of your session. You also will want to talk to your photographer beforehand. If the parent is the first person to contact me, I always then ask to talk to the senior to manage their expectations for the day. It’s so important that you have fun and talking to the photographer beforehand lets you learn their personality and vice versa. We want you’re your session to be a blast. That can’t happen if you don’t like us. We’re going to make you look great, and you’ll have a great time. Just relax. Sure you’ll probably feel slightly awkward, but that’s totally normal. Relax. We will tell you if you aren’t posing right.

Tip #2 Listen to what your photographer says.

No one will be able to predict exactly how your session will go, but your photographer will be your best bet for planning the little details out. They’ve likely been doing this a while, so trust their expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If you want me to check your facebook pics out and see if there are any outfits I like best, I will totally do that. If you want me to recommend locations, just ask! val

Tip #3 Be on time!

Today’s younger generations have a tendency to run a few minutes late – which easily can turn into 30 minutes late. I know this to be true, because I am guilty of it myself. In most cases, photographers have a time limit on the session and have people booked after you. So you are only stealing time from yourself by being late. My advice – If you typically run 30 minutes late and your session is at 4PM, then plan on getting there at 3:30PM.

If you’re coming from out of town, give yourself plenty of time to find your way around. Memphis isn’t exactly the easiest city to navigate and having some buffer time in case you get lost will save you some stress.

Tip #4 Be yourself!

Normally, I have to reiterate this to girls more than guys. Wear outfits that make you feel good about yourself. I usually recommend to seniors that they bring several outfits that just make them feel awesome about themselves. Also, bring an outfit or two that your mom loves. You may hate the outfit, but these pictures are for your momma too! You don’t have to share them on facebook!

With that said, pajamas make me feel awesome about myself. That doesn’t mean I would wear them to a photo session. Aim to wear outfits that you would wear out with your friends for dinner to celebrate an occasion. You really want to feel amazing in the outfits.

Memphis senior portrait photographers in TN

Tip #5 Bring a ton of clothes but organize them first

Some of my seniors somehow manage to bring their whole closet. I like seeing what clothes you have!! It gives me options and flexibility in choosing backgrounds and your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographers opinion. But also, don’t bring outfits you hate. If you hate your arms, avoid sleeveless or cap-sleeve shirts and tank tops, as they tend to make arms look fuller.

Try to bring a wide variety of colors and styles too. This will give you more variety in your images. Some should be dressy, some dressy-casual, and some casual. At least one of every color in the rainbow is a good rule of thumb. But if you are like me, you don’t own that many clothes, so just try to bring many color options. Some people say to avoid heavy patterns. I’m not totally sold on that. While solid colors photograph much better than busy patterns, don’t hesitate to bring that adorable chevron top if you love it.

Group your outfits together on hangers prior will help you change quickly. Make sure items are ironed and ready to go. Changing quickly will help you max out on your picture-taking time.

Also, dress accordingly. If it’s freezing cold outside, embrace it! Wear the cute pea coat with some mittens and a cute hat. If you want to attempt a summer dress, make sure your bring a warm coat to cover yourself until it’s time to pose. If it’s super hot, probably steer clear of long sleeves. Use common sense though when it comes to attire.

Tip #6 Shoes and Jewelry

Again, don’t steer too far away from who you are normally. Heels, flats, boots, etc – all work! It just depends on what you like the most. Same goes for jewelry. Accessories always help your pictures stand out, but don’t wear anything that you would never wear in real life. These pictures need to look like you.

Be sure to organize everything the day before. Having to untangle your necklaces will be an instant time waster.

Also, bring a pair of comfy walking shoes. In some cases, you may have to do some walking. The last thing we want is that you start limping by the end of the session. Nothing kills a session like discomfort.

Tip #7 Do your hair and makeup like you normally would. … And pay attention to your nails (girls and guys)!

These pictures need to look like you. This isn’t the time to bring out 2 cans of hairspray and lift your hair up 2 feet – unless you do that daily. If you normally wear your hair down and straight, wear it down and straight, but may tease it to add a little volume or curl the ends a bit – this adds subtle changes but nothing drastic. You look the way you look every day because you probably LIKE that way. Plus, you are probably best at doing that hair style. Your senior pictures aren’t the time to experiment with a style you’ve never tried before. Trust me, you don’t want that drama.

If you change your hairstyle during the session, make it a quick change. Bring hair spray, pins, a brush, and mirror to help battle if it’s windy outside.

All of this advice applies to your makeup too. Go with your normal look but just spend a little more time to make it perfect. Your makeup should be slightly heavier than normal. Avoid makeup with an SPF because it tends to create a shine. Summer shine can be controlled by using translucent powder that knocks out shine without adding additional color.

If you paint your nails, make sure they’re done well for your session. Chipped nail paint will show and distract from you. Avoid bright colors that will distract from you and may not work with all your outfits. Instead, opt for basic or natural tones.

Tip #8 Bring Props!

Props are awesome. Don’t bring random ones though – Bring ones that MEAN something. Do you play soccer? Bring your letterman and/or uniform and a soccer ball! Play an instrument, bring it! … And maybe sheet music of your favorite song! Do you like art? Bring paint to splash on yourself at the end of the session or paint something during your session. You can bring your favorite works so far too! If you need suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask your photographer!

Memphis Senior Portrait Photographers

Tip #9 Bring friends and/or parents that help.

Having your mom or your best friend is always a good idea if they are able to help out (i.e. carry clothes, make you laugh when it’s important, etc). However, if they are too distracting, it may be best to meet them when the session is over.

Tip #10 Bring appropriate undergarments

Please make sure the colors of your undergarment coordinate well with your outfits and don’t show through your clothing. If you need a strapless, please bring one to your session. Tucking or moving straps will not always work or give the most pleasing look. Check ahead of time to ensure that undergarments don’t leave unpleasing lines underneath your clothing.


And that's it!  With the right amount of planning, you are guaranteed to look awesome in your pictures!  The key is to just not get too annoyed when your family starts ooohhing and ahhhhing as they cry over how grown up their baby looks in their senior pictures!  :)


Memphis senior portrait photographers in TN