© Adilfa Ford

How to Look Good for Senior Portraits

Long gone are the days when senior portraits only include girls wearing a black drape and guys wearing a classic tuxedo. Today, senior portraits are used to artistically capture a high school senior’s accomplishments and personality. After all, this occasion only happens once in a high schooler’s career, so it’s important to make it memorable.

1. Getting to Know You

A good professional photographer will first spend some time getting to know you to ensure that they create images that fit your personality and style. They’ll discuss your likes and dislikes, what makes you laugh, and what inspires you. They might ask you about your favorite things, your hobbies, and your favorite places to get a better idea of you as a person.

2. Picking the Best Location

Together with your photographer, you will pick the location that best fits your personality and the look and feel you want in your final images.  As your photographer gets to know you, they will be able to narrow down the best locations for you. This can be anywhere from a park, an urban landscape, a sports field, or any place that is meaningful to you or fits who you are.

3. Prep Your “Props”

Real-life “props” are a great way to help depict your personality and remember the things you enjoyed as a high school senior.  Maybe it’s your guitar or baseball bat, ballet shoes or new car… if it is something that represents who you are today, plan on having it as part of your session. Just be sure it is camera-ready! 

4. Test Your Hair and Makeup

If you’re getting your hair and/ or makeup done professionally, test the look before you have your photos taken. This way you’ll avoid unwanted surprises the day of your photo session!

Even if you don't normally wear makeup, mascara and concealer are great ways to highlight your natural beauty. At the bare minimum, you should bring chapstick with you to keep your lips hydrated.

It’s always a good idea to bring makeup or have oil-absorbing sheets on hand for some extra touch-ups before you get in front of the camera. 

5. What to Wear

Choose clothing that you feel good in and that shows off your personality. Bring 4 or 5 outfits, so your photographer can help you narrow them down or mix and match. 

Aim for a range of clothing options ranging from casual to formal to create a variety of looks for your photos. Don't forget to incorporate different necklines, textures, and fabrics in your selection. If we’re shooting in autumn, consider layering your outfits. Keep an eye out for stains or snags on your pieces and wash them accordingly. 

Whatever colors you choose to wear, they should complement each other. Incorporating a color scheme for each outfit will give you a put-together look with minimal effort. However, make sure your outfits don’t upstage you. You’re supposed to be the focal point of the images, so your outfits should enhance your looks not take away from them!

Plan your outfits ahead of time to avoid the stress of choosing them the night before. Don’t forget to actually try the outfits on, too, so you can see how the pieces work together.

After you’re done trying on your clothes, remove the wrinkles with an iron or steamer, and place them on a hanger so they are ready to go!

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Accessorize

Accessories are a great way to show off your personality: hats, scarves, jewelry, and so on. Keep accessories in mind and bring a selection with you to the session. These can also be a great way to add a pop of color and interest to your images.

7. A Few More Things to Keep in Mind

Pack a comb or hairbrush and any necessary make-up for last-minute touch-ups. Bring some snacks and a water bottle, and always arrive on time.


Follow the tips above and you, along with your photographer, will create stunning images that you’ll be excited to share with your friends and family!