How to Prepare for your Senior Portraits

Preparing for your Senior Portraits in Richmond, Virginia

It dawned on me when I was brainstorming for my blog that I have all sorts of educational posts for brides, but nothing for my seniors who I love just as much as my brides! That's crazy! And everyone needs guidance before a photo shoot. I think some people feel a strange sense of guilt in asking me questions about how to prepare for their photo shoot... and they totally should NOT. I'm actually relieved when a client cares enough to ask me questions and usually I feel guilty that I hadn't anticipated the question to begin with! Seniors ESPECIALLY have most likely never been professionally photographed, and will naturally have some questions.

Hopefully this list helps you prepare for your senior portrait session!

1. Pick a Great Location

This is going to be different for everyone, but think about places that are meaningful to you or that really fit your personality. Are you a soccer player? Then a soccer field is an easy choice. If you love reading, then maybe a library would be perfect for you! Remember, we can take a few photos at that location and then wander for a new taste of scenery. There are often really great spots for photos in the places you least expect them.

Michaela's senior portraits were taken at Tuckahoe Plantation because she wanted a natural, colorful style.

Jordyn wanted senior pictures that were more rustic to suit her sweet and Southern personality! So we went to a nearby vegetable farm!

Marco wanted urban senior portraits so we went to the canal walk near Shockoe Bottom in Richmond.

Ashley chose the Hanover government complex where she had interned for her senior pictures... it was a brilliant and PERSONAL to her choice and I can't wait to share those images on the blog very soon!

2. Bring an Outfit Change

I think seniors should always have at least one casual outfit and one dressy one. Ashley in her red dress is STUNNING, and Michaela in her floral T shirt looks so everyday beautiful and natural. Having that variety is a perfect way of showing off all your best sides.

As far as what kind of outfits to wear, pick clothes that are comfortable and not too revealing, that show your personality, and have a pop of interest. That interest could just be color, like Ashley's red dress, or an accessory like Jordyn's necklace. I have inspiration on my senior style Pinterest board, but Pinterest in general is a gold mine for this kind of thing!

This is outfit PERFECTION. Her accessories are popping, we can see her personality, and it's an outfit that she can move freely in without worrying about showing too much or holding its shape.

3. Bring Props

Only bring props if those props mean something to you. If you play the cello, a photo of you doing that would be beautiful! But if you just bring things to bring them, they will probably only be distracting. So bring props if they're YOU, but be picky!

4. Have your hair and makeup professionally done

It makes a HUGE difference in photos to have hair and makeup expertly done. I know I am not the greatest at this sort of thing. It's just never been one of my skills to apply potions to my head and face and wind up with anything except a mess. Professionals know how to enhance your beauty without going over the top. I have plenty of contacts to recommend to you, and you can always get creative. One of my seniors recently told me that if she made a small purchase at a makeup store, they would provide a free makeup application so that's what she did and it turned out great! 

5. Relax and Have Fun

Yeah, I know, this is so obvious. But nothing photographs as beautifully as confidence and joy. So just embrace this experience and this turning point in your life. This is supposed to be FUN. Let yourself get a little dirty in the process. It will be well worth it and you will love the results when you let go a little bit!

In all honesty, my seniors are great at emailing and texting me with their pre-session questions, but hopefully this post addresses the basics! If you have any other questions that I should add to the post, make sure you leave them in the comments below!