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10 Tips for Killer Senior Pictures

by Feb 29, 2016Photography, Senior Pictures0 comments

10 tips for killer senior pictures.

Now that you’re a senior (or almost a senior), one of the great things about being top dog that you may be looking forward to is taking your senior pictures. That’s probably why you’re reading this. But how do you make sure you get the photos you want, the ones that make you say, “Wow!” instead of, “Eh, I look okay?” It takes some investigation, forethought, and preparation.

To help you get the senior pictures you want, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips. From what to look for during your senior photographer search to preparing for your photo session, this time-tested advice is a great cheat sheet to getting those picture-perfect shots.

10 tips for killer senior pictures.

1. Look For A Connection – You need to find a photographer you can connect to and be yourself with. Feeling comfortable during your photo session is the number-one most important thing if you want to have great, relaxed photographs. When you’re relaxed and comfortable around someone, you become more natural in front of the camera, allowing for even better pictures.

2. Fill Out That Survey – This is a very important tip. The point of the survey is to let us get to know you better, to make your photos reflect you. Once we have a sense of who you are, we adapt your photo session accordingly. We really care about what you want, and we want that care to show in your senior pictures.

3. Get the Parental Units InvolvedNo way, you may think—but hear us out. Your parents have different tastes and ideas, but they do want what’s best for you, and they are paying for these pictures (usually)! Plus, they do have the added advantage of being around a little bit longer than you.

You may want to wear every trendy outfit for your pictures, but parents know you might regret this in the future. You need at least one outfit that will stand the test of time, one you can look back at and not be embarrassed! That may be hard to visualize as a senior, but your parents most likely have been through this. What was trendy to wear in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s doesn’t always look so cool now. If you still have any doubts, Google “The Mullet”.

Yeah…don’t be that guy.

Yeah...don't be this guy in 20 years.

4. Consider What to Wear – Be Outfit-Savvy – This may seem like a simple task, and it is. The main thing to remember is “be yourself.” Try on your outfits ahead of time - we would even suggest to have a friend over to help you with this. Layering your outfit is a good idea also. It gives us many options and gives you many different looks - taking off or putting on a scarf, jacket, hat, etc.

Resist the temptation to hit the stores and buy stuff you’ve never worn before. Why? One of the biggest regrets we see in our senior clients is someone who was talked into a new outfit, then looks at his/her images and says, “That’s not me”. So instead of shopping, look in your closet. Consider outfits that you live in, things that people would recognize you in. Try it on and see if you feel good in it. You find out if you don’t feel good in that outfit, you will project it in the photos.

5. The Devil is In the Details – You might be the type of person that waits to the last minute, but don’t try to rush through your senior portraits. Just like trying on your clothes before the session, you might want to test-run other things so the session goes as smoothly as possible.

A couple of examples, don’t over tan! If you tan before your portraits, don’t do it the day before. Build it up slowly, so the look is more natural…and you don’t burn. Thanks to our experience photographing seniors, we’ve discovered that if you do your hair right before the session, you’ll be concerned about it the whole time (especially you girls). That’s why we suggest doing a test-run with your hair and makeup at least a week before the photos.

6. An Amazing Secret Revealed!   Okay, you and I have to talk about blemishes here. If you have some, (and who doesn’t?), you’re probably worried about whether or not they will show in your portraits. 

A huge mistake that almost every senior makes when they ask Uncle Henry or Aunt Betty to take their Senior Portraits is not knowing whether or not they can get rid of blemishes in the finished product. These pictures are important, and you want to look really great in them, so we need to talk about this blemish thing.

Here’s the big secret: Be absolutely positively sure that your photographer is going to carefully and painstakingly retouch all your portraits. You want to still look like you, but you want to look like the you on your best day. In my humble opinion, a portrait that is not professionally retouched is NOT A PORTRAIT! It’s just a “picture” that no one cares enough about to properly finish and produce to the highest quality!

10 tips for killer senior pictures.
10 tips for killer senior pictures.

7. PROPS- to make the portraits all about you. This is where it gets fun.  Everyone always says senior pictures are all about you. Well, let’s make your photo session REALLY all about you!  Do you play a sport or an instrument?  Are you an artist or a hunter?  Do you have a car or a pet?  Bring the things that are special to you for photographs of what you love at this moment in your life.

8. Remember the Emergency Supplies.  So often seniors forget a few of the basic and so basic things that you need to help get that great portrait.

Here’s a small list of things over the years that we needed, but some have forgotten:

  • Hair supplies- curling iron, brush, comb, stuff to hold hair back
  • Clothing accessories- belt, shoes, jackets
  • Make- up
  • Bottles of drinking water, maybe an energy bar

Really the list would be endless, but just think ahead.  Maybe ask a friend to come along to help you pack and keep track of that little stuff.

9. Be Comfortable In Your Setting.  We have picked out several locations in many of the local towns and parks that we use for our location shoots. But, if you have a certain location that you would prefer or feel more relaxed at, let us know.  This place might have special meaning to you or you really feel comfortable there. 

10. Bring Mom (or whomever is the most important adult in your life). Of course every family is different, but most often, Mom is the one most concerned with senior pictures.  In all the years of experience we’ve had, we have learned that if Mom is not happy with the pictures, you will come back for retakes.  So save yourself the trouble and bring Mom with you the first time.  This way she gets to see how and where we pose you, how your hair (and makeup) looks, and she’s able to make any adjustments she wants.

BONUS TIP: Remember, these are all just suggestions.  Above all, be yourself & have fun!  Follow this advice, and your senior picture session will be an event to remember!

As you can see, it takes more than a nice camera to get those great senior shots you want. It takes finding a professional who’s invested in training and techniques, someone who knows how to hide your little flaws and bring out your best features. Someone who will go above and beyond to make you happy, comfortable and satisfied.

10 tips for killer senior pictures.

Michelle Anderson

Web Design & Graphics

Michelle Anderson, web designer. Fifth World Design in LaSalle, Illinois.

Ted Anderson

Portrait & Wedding Photography

Ted Anderson, portrait photographer. Fifth World Design in LaSalle, Illinois.