How to Look Amazing in your Senior Photos

You've found a photographer, the dates on the calendar, and your clothes are ready to go; your senior photos should be as stress-free as that, right!?

Of course, we know that's not always the case! Your senior photos are usually the first time in your life that you're going to be in front of the camera lens all by yourself, and it can be...well...kind of terrifying. But it doesn't have to be! Senior photos should be nothing but fun. Here are a few ways to make sure you're totally prepared to be the star of your own show.

How To Look Amazing in your Senior Photos // Mad Photo and Design

1. Plan

Work with your photographer to make sure everything is talked through before you even get together on your session day. I love to grab coffee with my seniors and their moms before the session--sometimes even before they book me!--to talk through the details. We discuss what kind of senior photos you've seen before that you've loved...and that you've hated. We talk about your style, your activities, your taste in fashion, and if you have any ideas of where your session should be. No ideas? No problem! While I love using seniors' ideas and places that are special to them, sometimes it can be hard to think of something. I get that! I have a ton of unique locations that we can use.

I also tell my seniors that any help they need before their session day, I'm all ears. Standing in Target not sure what shirt to put in your cart? Text me a photo. Torn between two fun makeup ideas? Let's talk. I totally get that you've never done this before, but the great thing is I have! Use me however you'd like to make this easier on you.

2. Pin

Pinterest can be a really great thing...and it can be a really bad thing. Personally, I love when clients use Pinterest as an inspiration board. Pin some of your favorite ideas and shoot your senior photographer a link to the board! It's super helpful to be able to see what kind of a look you're going for. Plus, if there's something super crazy, I need to know about it ahead of time to make sure we can do it--or let you know if we can't. That way there are no surprises the day of when we can't do an underwater shot because I didn't get the right gear!

3. Prep

There are so many ways to prep for your senior photos, and I think they're all important! Here are just a few ideas:

  • Get your nails done a few days before your session. Your hands will be in almost every shot. A classic French manicure or bold shellac gel look amazing in photos, and you'll love looking super put-together.
  • Don't get a spray tan or hit up the tanning bed right before we shoot. I totally get wanting to look like a bronzed goddess - I'm a super pale chick! BUT the reality is porcelain skin photographs so much better than Cheeto skin. Sorry, but it's true! A little glow is just fine, but keep it under control so you don't look orange. When in doubt, your natural skin color is where it's at; I promise. 
  • Choose outfits that you feel good in. You're not going to look natural if you're uncomfortable in what you're wearing. Even if it's the cutest dress in the world, if you're not comfy in it, skip it!
  • Pay attention to trends, but most importantly, be you! Just because everyone is rocking rompers doesn't mean you have to, unless it's a style that you love, too.
  • Don't be afraid to kick off your shoes. If you can't decide on the pair of kicks that go perfectly with a certain outfit, skip it! Some of my favorite photos are the ones where the senior goes barefoot. So cute!
  • Super nervous about your hair and makeup? Don't be afraid to hire a professional! I love working with professional hair and makeup artists (HMUA) because they know exactly what to do to make you look like the very best version of you, without looking crazy done-up or like a different person. They make sure you look perfectly classy, and never try to sell you on using more makeup than you're comfortable with. When my clients use HMUA, I notice that they have even more fun that day. It's a blast to get all dolled up and get a day that's totally all about you. You don't need to worry about anything. You literally show up with clean hair and just sit there! It's awesome. I have a few artists that I work with on the regular that I'd love to put you in touch with.
  • Ask your photographer if it's OK to bring props. I love when we can use fun accessories like jewelry, hats, and scarves. If you have sports uniforms, soccer cleats, a cheer box, whatever--those could all be super fun to work into photos.
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4. Pose

When your session date rolls around, don't forget to relax! I direct my clients what to do, so you don't need to come with a ton of poses and ideas. Of course, you can, but don't let it stress you out! That's what I'm here for. 

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There's a few things you can do to make sure your session goes super smoothly. I love throwing in some snacks and bottles of water for my clients, especially if we're shooting in the summer. If your photographer doesn't do that, throw them in! Sessions can be long and it's nice to have something to munch on between locations. And staying hydrated is always important! 

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Also, talk with your 'tog beforehand about how many outfits you should bring. I like to tell my seniors to bring 3-5, depending on what package they've selected. This seems to be the perfect amount for a ton of variety, but not so much that you spend half the time changing clothes. Keep in mind that typically, the more outfits you bring, the fewer poses you get in each outfit. It can make it really hard to pick favorites! Plus, the session is about you...not your closet ;) 

I also think it's really fun to mix up your hairstyles during the session! Often times I'll have girls throw their hair up in a top knot or spunky pony for the last few frames. It adds a ton of variety to your gallery, and I love that it brings even more focus to their beautiful face! Chat with your photographer to see if this is an option. I've also taken a quick break between sessions to do a total hair change, which can be really fun! 

I hope this helps you prepare for a fabulous senior picture session day! When it comes down to it, just make sure you're paired with a photographer who's style you love, and who you trust. When all that falls into place, you're sure to have a blast!