Senior Session Experience
What to wear & what to expect
"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Stuck on what to wear? I’m here to help! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you guide your outfit choices!
Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your senior portrait session! I know that sounds dramatic... but, if you accidentally wear something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in...it can ruin the experience for you! So, here are some of the best ways to choose what to wear.
1. Be Comfortable
If you do not like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home!
Personally, I try to steer clear of items that are fitted in the tummy area (don’t we all?) just because it makes me self- conscious and I’m constantly wondering if it looks bad. So, if there are pieces in your closet that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait wardrobe!
Additionally, we will most likely be sitting on the ground, laying down, walking and doing other things that could be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable!
2. EMBRACE SOLID COLORS AND LARGE PATTERNS
Solid colors paired with large patterns, textures or stripes will look spectacular. If you prefer a dreamy look, choose pastel colors, off-whites, and soft prints. If you are wanting to achieve a dramatic look, choose colors that are bright and bold. Don’t be shy about mixing colors/patterns. Be creative.
Small prints and stripes do not photograph well. The camera reads them and creates its own unique pattern called “moire” and it isn’t desirable. Staying away from small, tight stripes and prints will save your photos!
On camera, solid black + white can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. So, when choosing outfits for your senior session, try to choose colors that POP and that compliment your hair + skin colors! Sometimes, color combos that may seem odd in-person end up photographing BEAUTIFULLY on camera!
3. Add Layers
In the cold months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest + statement necklace or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options! Even in the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim vest over a dress!
I recommend finding clothing with a lot of visual interest. Look for clothing tops with lots of texture, layers, and ruffles. Pair these textures and layers with something simple on the bottom.
4.PLAY WITH TEXTURES
Sometimes textures like sequins, furs and sparkles can be considered “daring” or “over the top” but, in portraits, they are the BEST! Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull! Combining textures that you may not normally use together like sequins + cable knit sweaters or leather + fur make GREAT pairs!
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCESSORIZE
During a senior session, or any photo shoot, the more the merrier!! When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan accessories!! Stacks of bangles, long necklaces, statement pieces, scarves, hats, bright shoes and other add-ons can make or break an outfit!
6. MIX IT UP
When planning your outfits, make sure that you have a VARIETY of looks! I tell all of my seniors to choose from these categories: casual, cozy, dressy, school- related, sports-related, preppy or edgy. I always recommend choosing 2-3 of those categories and finding outfits accordingly. This provides a beautiful array of looks during your senior portrait session, so each outfit looks dramatically different!
Hair & Makeup
Additionally, I highly recommend all of my senior clients invest professional hair and makeup. If it is in your budget, hiring a professional for your hair and makeup will make a drastic difference in the quality of your photos and senior portrait experience. You are already making a large investment in your senior portrait experience, so why not make it the best it can be?!
So, why exactly is it so important?
1. THEY ARE TRAINED PROFESSIONALS
When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists are TRAINED to do hair + makeup so that they photograph well. While your makeup may look AMAZING in person, it will look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference! They will conceal spots you don’t like, contour your face so it looks the best in every light, use colors that compliment your skin to make it look flawless, make your eyes POP with false lashes + shadows, manicure your eyebrows to perfection and more!
2. lESS STRESS
Preparing for a senior portrait session is stressful in and of itself. Trying to do your hair + makeup by yourself can make things ever harder. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every little detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see) so hiring a professional makeup artist is the best way to go.
3. WHO DOESN’T LIKE BEING PAMPERED!?
I don’t ever want my seniors to feel like their portrait session is just simply “taking pictures”, I want it to be an EXPERIENCE. So, if my seniors arrive after an hour of being pampered + beautified, the entire experience has already started on a good note! If a senior arrives frustrated or stressed, it can affect the entire experience, including the way you look in photographs!
Here is a list of amazing artists that I recommend in the Omaha area (they are available for travel, too!):
If this is not in your budget, plan to wear slightly heavier make up than normal, including blush and lipstick/gloss that are at least slightly darker than your lip color. I also highly recommend false eyelashes. These can be purchased for very affordable prices at CVS or any pharmacy in the area.
DON’T NEGLECT THE NAILS!
And, one last tip!! In all of the chaos of senior session prep...don’t forget to pamper your nails! During your shoot, a lot of the poses we do will have your hands close to your face and in the frame, so make sure that your nails look just how you want! Try to avoid any chipped polish or crazy patterns. French manicures, light/natural colors and even nails with no color at all photograph best!!
I am so excited to work with you and your Senior during this beautiful time of life!
xoxo - Nikki