Tips for taking great senior photos!

December 14, 2017

Over the last few years photographing some amazing young adults, certain patterns have emerged to get the most out of your photo shoot.  Please read through the following tips to help you prepare for your shoot.

1) Know what you want before the shoot and share it with me.  Do you want to highlight your interest in a specific sport, have a favorite downtown location you want to include, or do you want to do an out of the box 1950’s Rockabilly themed shoot?  All of these things are possible, but not if you wait to tell me at the start of the session.  I need to plan for lighting, timing between locations, and to make sure we can get a variety of angles and expressions.  If I know beforehand, I can already have our shoot laid out for maximum impact when you show up.  If you surprise me with new requests, I can accommodate you but it will not be as polished of a final look.

2) Check out Pinterest for ideas.  Pinterest or other photo websites are fantastic for helping you decide if you want a more casual or formal look, what type of background you are drawn to, and what type of poses you like.  One word of caution though about Pinterest ideas.  If you show me a picture done in a garden with a mansion clearly in the background and the girl is wearing a Versace Gown with professional hair and make-up, that is great.  Do you own a Versace Gown, have access to a mansion, and plan to get professional hair and make-up beforehand?  This is why talking through the shoot with the photographer beforehand can really help.  We are trained to notice the details and why you are drawn to a type of photo.

3) Do not bring an entourage to your shoot.  It is best to bring one parent and that is it.  Most people get uncomfortable if their entire family is watching them closely having their picture taken.  This leads to forced smiles and the senior just wanting to the shoot to be over with rather than focusing on getting the look they wanted.  Also, bringing friends to a shoot is an equally bad idea.  I guarantee too much time will be spent taking selfies and them giving us a “new great idea” for a picture to try.  Shoots generally last an hour and with an outfit change we are already down to 45-50 minutes of actual shooting time.  Do you really want to waste another 10-15 minutes talking/taking selfies with your friends?  It would be better to just meet them afterwards and give them the run down.

4) What to wear???  The typical shoot involves two outfits.  I encourage at least one of the outfits to be a classic casual look.  You want something that fits well and has a timeless vibe to it.  No one wants to look back in twenty years (when this photo is still being displayed at your parent’s house) and see huge baggy jeans, purple converse, and a coordinating flannel.  That may or may not have been the look that was cool twenty years ago when I graduated high school.  The second outfit can be more trendy, or highlight your interests.  Here are a few bullet points to follow when picking outfits:

                A) Keep it Visually Simple - no wording on t-shirts, wrinkles, or loud patterns

B) Consider what colors look best on you.  Solid colors tend to photograph better.  Darker colors can be slimming, but a quality fabric and good cut are always more important.

C) Accentuate the positive.  If you are uncomfortable about your arms, do not wear a sleeveless shirt.  Again, quality fabric and good cut are so important to looking your best in photos.

5) Grooming is good, but not the day before your photo.  You should get a haircut, eye brows waxed (if you do that), or try a face mask to look your best.  All of these things should happen a week or so before the shoot.  That will allow time to fix a bad haircut, give any red skin a chance to calm down, and a break out from a face mask time to subside.  On a related note just before your shoot, pay special attention not to get sunburned.  That is a tough edit.  Also, drink plenty of water.  It helps your skin look its best.  Do not try and pop a zit the day before a shoot.  Zits are an easy edit, redness from aggravated skin is much harder to make look natural.

6) When applying make-up, remember you are young and gorgeous.  You do not need a ton.  If you want it to be more glam, feel free to up the blush and eye make-up by 30%.  However, avoid sparkly eyeshadow, shiny lip gloss, and SPF in your foundation.  All three of these things tend to reflect light and leave white spots.  Bringing blotting paper or a translucent powder is also a good idea to keep shine at bay.

7) Guys need a fresh shave unless you want 5 o’clock shadow in the photoIf you have some serious facial hair also consider using a real razor verses an electric.

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