What to Wear – Senior Portraits

Portraits with personality. Your personality. No doubt, your clothes make a statement. So you are in charge.

Sometimes that means all you bring is a black t-shirt and jeans. Sometimes that means six completely different outfits with completely different styles. 

Ask yourself…

“What do I feel good in? What do I LOOK good in? What am I comfortable in? What colors look GREAT on me? Each of us has that magic color that gets the compliments, looks good with your unique skin tone and lights up your eyes. It makes them POP. Wear THAT. 

Bring your light and fresh and young and beautiful style.


It’s true that solid, rich colors photograph well. I’m a HUGE fan of true blues, dark reds, warm browns and deep charcoal grays.  

It’s true that large logos, high-contrast patterns, big stripes and prints are distracting. The white shirt, black pant combo really freaks cameras out. 

It’s true that most photographers will warn you against wearing white. I am so NOT afraid of white. Forget the warnings. If you love it, wear it.


Wash it. Iron it. Love it.

More words of wisdom? Yes! Remember your feeeeeet. Whether you cover them with socks and shoes or go barefoot…I cannot hide your feet in EVERY photo! Nor can I hide much of anything else. If you are super self-conscious about a part of your body, be sure what you wear is as flattering as possible. And please mention it ahead of time. Posing and angles can help so much. I want you to LOVE your photos.

One more pro tip…skip the “inappropriate” clothing. I don’t do boudoir photography. Seriously! Or anything potentially offensive. You’ll want to be sure to bring at least one outfit that fits your yearbook guidelines and can be framed for Grandma. Yes, that usually means one outfit with no cleavage.


Ask me. Text me a photo if you’re nervous about something. Ask friends. Look at last year’s yearbook. Look at my gallery of favorites.

Heard of Pinterest? Get a board going. Collect some ideas, get inspired and then shop. You can even check out mine for girls or boys or families. I collect outfit ideas and portrait posing ideas, too. 

Acne? Usually not a problem. I will fully touch up blemishes before you ever see an image. However, if something is swollen or making you uncomfortable, let me know. I’ll help you decide if we should go for it or postpone.


Breath and Bend (aka Not too Tight): Your session will be so much more fun if you and your clothes have some flexibility.

Hidden Layers: Wear something underneath those skirts and dresses so poses can done with the minimum possibility for embarrassment. Think about how you’ll change. Many locations don’t allow for much privacy so difficult changes are, well, difficult.

Zap the Straps: Bring the appropriate type of bra for each outfit. Bra straps can be a real bummer.

Nail Detail: Fingers and toes will show. Natural or basic work best. Your hands will be by your face and visible so be sure the nail color compliments your skin tone and your clothing choices.

Makeup Mayhem: Just keep it real. Keep it matte…no shimmery, shiny night-time makeup. How do you normally wear it? A little more than normal is fine. A lot more will look harsh…but, hey, sometimes that’s the artistic touch you want.

My biggest tip is to do your makeup with intention and to know what the camera will see. We’ll be working with natural light, so apply your makeup with natural light. Take a mirror outside and make sure you like what you see. Take a selfie! And go read this article for more camera-ready make-up tips. Be sure to bring some powder if it’s warm and whatever you need to touch up your lips…even if it’s just Chapstick. No dry, cracked lips!


Head to Toes: Already covered this, but it’s so super important. I’ll be zooming in and zooming OUT. Plan outfits completely. Pay attention to those socks and shoes. Your pants will ride up a little on the leg. Your socks will matter. Pro tip for guys…sometimes you should even wear socks.

Hair Havoc: Changing your hairstyle or hair color or cutting your hair right before your session is a little scary. Be absolutely SURE. But if you are convinced a big change is in order, don’t wait until after your session. It’s such a drag to print images that look nothing like you a month later. These photos should hopefully represent you for your whole Senior year.  Another note…quick easy hairstyle changes during your session are great. But, if it’s a straight to curly or curly to straight project, let’s discuss if we should schedule two seperate 1-hour sessions.

Shaving: Facial hair. Just make sure what’s on your face is what you want. If you want a clean face, then shave an hour or two before the session. 

Props to Props: In short, yes! Let’s do it. But we should discuss them in advance and plan our location accordingly.

Accessorize: Hats, jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, etc, give great personality and attitude to a photo. Scarves are especially awesome at adding the perfect pop of color to bring out the color in your eyes. 

Glass glare: Some prescriptions are more difficult than others. I’m sure you know if this is the case for you. That said, if you always wear glasses then we should not do a shoot without them. It wouldn’t be YOU.
I’m very good at working with the glare (I wear glasses and so do my kids), but one creative idea is to take the lenses out. Or even borrow the same frames from your optometrist…some cool docs will actually loan them out.

Bring a Pal: A BFF or parent or sibling or even a pet is absolutely welcome. I’ve had guest appearances by dogs, cats, horses and sheep so far. Bringing along your favorite someone can help relax you, tame stray hairs, hold extra clothes and tell embarrassing stories that add that great color to your cheeks and sparkle to your eye.

Braces: I can’t make them go away. I just can’t. You can minimize the effect they have by getting clear bands. And, if you know they’re coming off in the Spring, then I will offer a split session. We can get that yearbook photo done in a mini-session in the fall and then finish up big when the braces come off in the spring. 


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