The summer going into fall is the perfect time to schedule a high school senior portrait session. Most Colorado high schools require the yearbook photo submission by the end of September or first part of October. By scheduling your session early you ensure that you can find a great photographer available to meet your needs. Since Colorado is also a beautiful state with lots of outdoor background opportunities many students want to have their photos taken outside. We offer both an outdoor or an indoor session depending on the desire of the client. Whether you are doing an indoor studio or outdoor session you’ll want your outfits to coordinate with the backdrops. It’s a good idea to discuss the types of looks you are wanting with your photographer so if you’re doing an outdoor session they can suggest locations that will work with your wardrobe or they can pick out some studio backdrops that compliment your chosen outfits.
Here is some suggestions on how to style your wardrobe for your portrait session:
1.) Choose Solid colors over patterns and prints! If you do choose an outfit with a print it’s a good idea to break up some of that print with some solid color items like a belt, scarf, jacket etc. A pattern with a larger scale print is going to look better than a smaller pattern that can be distracting to the camera. I also find that some patterns can really “date” a photo. Choosing a solid color outfit is going to give your portraits a more classic look that will look good hanging on the parents’ wall for years. If you have chosen a session with multiple outfit changes then incorporating one or two outfits with a little bit of pattern isn’t bad.
2.) Consider a casual and a more dressy option. A casual option would be jeans and a couple different shirts. A more formal option is a dress, skirt or cocktail dress (this can even be your Prom dress or other dress from a formal dance). For men a dress shirt, jacket and even a tie if they so choose. It’s just nice to have options! One of your more formal photos might even be great addition to a job resume in the future!
3.) Make sure your outfits fit well! I find that clothes that are baggy or oversized are not very complimentary on almost all body types and will make you appear larger than you actually are. If your outfit is supposed to fit-to-size, make sure it actually does that and doesn’t fit too tightly or loosely, especially when it comes to your straps, bust area, mid-section area, and hemlines.
On that note, wear something you feel comfortable sitting, standing, and kneeling down in as we will also be incorporating those types of poses. Don’t forget to iron your clothes! If you show up to your session with wrinkly clothing covered in cat hair it’s going to show in all of the photos. Extra retouch costs will be assessed if wrinkles and hair need to be removed in the photos.
4.) Keep the location, weather and season in mind. A summer dress in the middle of winter might not only look out of place, but will keep you shivering during the photoshoot. Chunky sweaters and layered looks are always great for Fall and Winter sessions. Spring and Summer is the perfect time to wear a cute skirt, tank tops and shorts!
5.) Don’t forget the accessories! Jewelry, scarves, shoes and more can only improve a photo! This is also a time to show off your school spirit by bringing your letterman jacket, musical instruments that you play, items that go with the sports you do such as a basketball, football, tennis racket, etc. And if you are into something else like collecting stuff, art, etc. you are always welcome to bring some of those items to commemorate your love for whatever you’re into. Years from now it will be fun to look back at the hobbies you enjoyed as a teenager saved in your senior photos!
6.) Stick to your known style. While it may be fun to get experimental with your clothes for creative photo-shoots, I don’t really recommend it for senior sessions. This goes for hairstyles and make-up as well. My biggest regret from my own senior session years ago was cutting off my signature long hair to above my shoulders a week before I did my senior photos. While it was a fun change, it’s not how I usually looked and I hated my senior photos. It’s best to capture you the way most people know you before you go wild with a new look!
7.) Think about reflections. We use additional lighting in almost all of our portrait sessions so wearing glitter make-up, highly reflective glasses or anything else that can reflect light is not a great idea. If people are used to seeing you wear glasses on a regular basis and you want to wear them in your photos look at removing the lenses for just the photo-shoot or borrowing a set of frames from your optometrist. We can also incorporate poses that minimize reflections in glasses, but that can also limit the types of poses we can do with you during your session so if you can help us out by removing the lenses it makes the session run smoother. Some reflections can be removed in retouch later, but again that’s an additional charge for the work involved.
I also recommend bringing a translucent make-up powder that can be used to cut down the shine on faces. If men are not into using powder, then I suggest at least bringing some blotting sheets to use when you are a bit too shiny. Make-up should look natural and not too heavy. If you don’t wear a lot of make-up or any then at least bring some chapstick for dry lips.
8.) Lastly, have fun with it! It’s great to pick up a few new items before the shoot, but don’t discount some of your old, but favorite outfits! Your senior session should ultimately represent “YOU” and be a fun way to remember your last year of high school!