This time of year used to be my least favorite time of year… back to school. I love the warm days of summer almost as much as I hate the cold weather of winter, and back to school always brought the end of summer fun and the beginning of school and homework. Although I’m obviously no longer in school, these feelings often still creep in!
I try to combat the negativity by thinking of all the fun things to come in the fall – apple picking, cozy sweaters, warm coffees, football games… and now, senior photos!
Taking senior portraits has quickly become one of my favorite things to do. I love connecting with each senior and learning their plans for the future, if they’re excited for or dreading the end of high school, and where they want to spend the next four years of their life! Hearing their stories (YOUR stories!) resonates so much with me, and reminds me vividly of the many emotions I had throughout my own senior year of high school! Plus, seniors are so dang cute and fun to photograph!
(side note… I really wanted to include my own senior photo in this post, just for laughs… but I can’t find it on the internet. That’s how old I am. 😐 anyways…)
So, everyone has to get a senior portrait taken, but how do you make yours feel like its yours, and not just a copy of everyone else’s? How do you get your best possible senior photo? Here are my 5 tips to getting a bomb senior photo. (do you kids still say bomb? fleek? lit? dope? I don’t even know).
- Invest in a photographer you trust.
These are YOUR senior photos. Let me tell you from experience, THIS is the photo that your parents, grandparents, aunts… basically everyone will keep hanging in their home for the rest of eternity. Besides that, this is a special time in your life, full of changes and excitement. It deserves to be documented well! Whether you choose to use me as your photographer, or choose someone else… pick someone who will give you the type of portraits you’ve been dreaming of, ones that you’ll still love looking at years down the road!
2. Time > location.
By “time”, I really mean LIGHT. If you want a beautiful, glowy, soft light for your photos (like these AMAZING portraits of my Senior Rep Elyssa), you probably need to have your session be shot around an hour before sunset or a few moments after sunrise. Anytime during the rest of the day, the sunlight will be much harsher and less flattering. The way the sun lights your shoot will ultimately determine more of how your photos look and feel than the location itself.
When you’re thinking about this, keep in mind how much earlier sunset gets as we creep towards winter. (I’ll help you with this part). Sunrise also gets later, which makes sunrise sessions much less horrible! 🙂
3. Location is still important.
Pick somewhere that is personal to you! Here in New England, we have SO many options for gorgeous backdrops… rocky coastlines, rolling hills, mountains with ocean views, sandy beaches, quaint downtowns, forests, busy cities, abandoned military forts, apple orchards, your grandparent’s farm… the possibilities are endless. This can be a big factor in making your photos feel like they are uniquely yours. Just because your friend had beautiful photos taken in one location doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY place to get great photos! Don’t be afraid to ask about “weird” places either… sometimes the most unconventional backdrops can create the most amazing portraits.
4. Treat Yo Self.
Ladies – you heard me. Treat. Yo. Self. I would HIGHLY recommend having your hair and makeup done before your shoot, even if you’re not a “hair and makeup” kinda gal. Why? A skilled HMUA will discretely hide blemishes and flaws (and definitely do a better job at it than you or I could on our own!) while also subtly highlighting your best features. My senior reps this year had their hair and makeup done by Christine at The Crown in South Berwick, and she did an AMAZING job helping them to look and feel just a little more polished than normal without making them feel like they had way too much makeup on… Although I’m sure she would absolutely crush a more dramatic makeup look as well, if that’s what you’re looking for! A fresh manicure is also important – you don’t want chipped nails for this portrait!
For our male friends, although you probably don’t want to get your hair and makeup done, you can still take care of yourself! Skin care is extra important for a few weeks leading up to your photos, and a haircut about a week or so before is a great idea as well.
5. Buy that new dress you’re obsessed with… or wear your Vans.
Or, wear both! As I keep saying, you want your photos to feel like YOUR photos. But, don’t be afraid to get just a little fancier than you would in your every day life!
I would suggest splurging just a bit on a new outfit or two. My go-to wardrobe recommendation for senior girls is one more casual outfit such as jeans, shorts, or a skirt and a cute but comfortable top, and one dress – bonus points if it’s a maxi dress. I love Lulu’s and Abercrombie lately for cute and reasonably priced dresses, but if you want to go all-out Reformation or Rent the Runway have some AMAZING options! I’m also in favor of neutrals (gosh, I love a good black and white outfit) and muted tones, but honestly, these are YOUR photos – wear what makes you feel beautiful!
By the time you’re at your actual senior portrait shoot, it’s time to stop stressing for a few minutes and feel like America’s Next Top Model. Let me make you feel like a rockstar! You’ve done the prepwork, and you look dang good, so don’t worry! This will be one of the easiest parts of your senior year. 🙂
I hope this blog will be helpful to you as you plan your own senior portraits! If you’re interested in choosing me as your photographer, head on over to the contact page of my website and let’s talk! I’d love to get to know you more and help you plan your portraits!
Thanks for looking! 🙂