what to wear senior portraits

So I get a lot of questions from parents and students about what to wear or to bring for their high school senior session. My first response is to be yourself. While I have some guidelines for what can look better in photographs, if your style is bright neon plaid, go for it! I would suggest bringing a change of clothes with less bright colors though. For all of my senior photography sessions, you can bring several changes of clothes for a couple of different styles. The main goal for clothing is to try not to take too much emphasis away from your face. This is most easily accomplished by  colors that aren’t too bright or are neutral tones like blue, black, grey, green, brown, etc.  However some people do really well in lighter or bright colors, so it really depends on you.


Some notes:

  • Try to avoid patterns or words on your clothes.  If there is a word people will read that instead of looking at you.  Some kinds of patterns can be slimming but most are distracting.  In the shots of Scott below, I might have preferred if his orange shirt did not have the pattern since it was a bit distracting (Scott really liked it though!), and the color transition on the blue shirt worked great.
  • Plaids.  So all of my clients want to wear plaid, but often it can be really distracting for photographs since it draws a lot of attention.  Sometimes plaid can work well, if it is muted or over an undershirt, but try to avoid bright plaids with sharp transitions.  Anna did a great job selecting hers here.  Also be aware that plaids tend to hang loose, which may lose some of your shape.
  • Make sure your clothes fit well.  Girls especially tend to do better in something fitted that can show their waistlines.
  • Be aware that short sleeves, sleeveless shirts, and the shirts with the cut-out shoulder (cold-shoulder tops) can draw attention to your upper arm.  I like the shape of my upper arm in this picture of me, but if I was not comfortable with my arms I probably would not have chosen this shirt.
  • IRON your clothes before the session!!  While I can remove some clothing wrinkles in Photoshop it really takes some time.  Same for facial hair.  Guys If you don’t want the scruffy look, make sure you shave first.
  • Accessorize.  I love cool hats, sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, etc, if that is your thing! For these it is ok to have bright colors or interesting textures.high school senior photographers

What props to bring?  Pretty much anything goes.  I do a lot of sports pictures, so your uniform and gear are good.

If you’re into music, bring your guitar or your record album collection.  I’ve taken photographs of seniors with their cars and horses too, so let me know what you’re thinking and we’ll plan out a session location that fits for what you want to bring (obviously couldn’t bring the horse in the studio!).  Pets are totally welcome for outdoor shoots and I’ve even had them in the studio on occasion too as long as they’re well-behaved and someone else comes with you to watch them when they’re not in the picture.

I also  really encourage family members to be part of senior sessions.  I usually like to get a few family pictures too if everyone’s there, or even just a mom and daughter or father and son.  It can be a great time for a family picture since you likely don’t have an updated one.

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Any questions, give me a call?  You’re also welcome to text outfit choices to me (315-244-5220) or set up an in person meeting before the session to go over locations and outfits.