How to Prepare
for Your Senior Photoshoot
I just wanted to get in touch with a few tips about what to expect, what to wear, and to get excited about how amazing your Seniors Shoot is going to be!
Remember, this is for you. Well, and future you, too! It’s not for the Instagram post, it’s not for your parents, and it’s not for the little square in the yearbook. It’s a great opportunity to spend a day just looking after #1 and taking some time to reflect on what it feels like to be on the cusp of one of the biggest transitions of your life. You will look back on this time forever.
Feelin' nervous? Rest easy knowing that this is my passion. I do this all the time, and go to great lengths to make you smile. I also have lots of little tools in my toolkit to make sure you’re feeling at ease and natural during our shoot.
what to expect
During the photoshoot, don’t worry if you don’t know what to do because I will direct you! Most people just automatically look at the camera and smile, but I’ll probably tell you to look away or to let yourself be absorbed in whatever you’re doing. We’ll dance, chat, walk, act, and laugh, and you’ll be so busy enjoying yourself that you’ll forget that you’re having your photo taken.
I promise I’ll let you know when it’s appropriate to look at the camera. Until then, just do your thing and let yourself be as silly or as serious as you want to be. Just know that there is no ‘right’ way to do things! If I tell you to walk towards the camera, do it in the way that you normally would – and I know this bit is hard, but try not to overthink it!
My goal is for you to feel as authentic and comfortable in front of my lens as you can. I will take care of you, and all you have to do is show up and watch the magic happen.
time & season
If you haven’t already decided on a date or a time, there are a couple of things to consider when booking your senior shoot: lighting, weather, season, and when your yearbook deadline is!
If we’re shooting outdoors, the best, most magical lighting for me is either 1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours before sunset. If it’s cloudy, we can shoot basically anytime, and if we’re shooting indoors, then timing depends on what kind of lights we’re working with and what direction the building is facing. Personally, I’m a bit partial to a cloudy day. The light diffuses through the clouds in a way that will make your skin look amazingggg. I don’t mind a bit of wind, there’s something about the way it adds movement to photos that I’m a real sucker for. And a little drizzle here and there never hurt anyone. Basically I just love taking photos, so almost anytime works for me! The only thing is, I prefer to avoid the middle of the day for taking photos outside because we’ll likely end up with quite a few photos of you just squinting into the camera.
That being said, I’m not one for hard and fast rules for anything! So if you have your heart set on a particular time of day, let’s chat.
Let’s discuss Plan B’s for what happens if the skies crack open and it starts to pour. Do we reschedule? Do we brave it? Do we shoot somewhere else?
If the heavens are looking a little inclement, here are some things to consider:
Bringing an umbrella! Not just functional, but a pretty damn cute prop too!
Layer up so you can modify your outfit to the conditions.
Bring a change of clothes just in case it pours and the sun comes out right afterwards.
Considering seasons is a big part of choosing the best time to capture your memories. There’s something special about every time of year with fresh snowfalls in winter, lush greenery of spring, long hazy days of summer, and the crunchy oranges of fall ... but no matter what season you choose, you’ll have epic photos regardless.
I highly recommend scheduling your session at least four months before you need to start printing photos for graduation invites or graduation notices and things! This allows a comfortable amount of time for selections, edits, designs, printing, and delivery.
this is about you
Every senior that I work with brings their own special sparkle to the shoot, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want you to bring your whole shiny self to the session!
I’ll send you over a questionnaire so that we can start this friendship for real. I’m interested in knowing who you are, what matters to you, what your plans are after high school, what keeps you up at night, what kind of ice cream you choose every time. The more comfortable we are around each other, the better your photos will be, and what better place to start with than real connection? Feel free to fire some questions of your own back at me too, it’s only fair you know who’s telling your story.
finding the right spot
Ok, so let me just get one thing straight: locations are not just a pretty backdrop. They are a huge part of your session, and not only do they have a big visual role to play, but they greatly influence your mood and mindset as well. The way you feel at home will be vastly different to the way you might feel walking down a bustling city street or a wild craggy cliff.
I know that sometimes choosing a location can feel pretty overwhelming – there are SO many beautiful and photogenic places in this world. But instead of looking to the ‘gram for inspo, my advice would be to choose somewhere that’s meaningful to you.
Don’t worry if nowhere comes to mind, I have so many places up my sleeve that you would look amazing in! But let’s try to settle on a location with lots of time to spare so that we have time to seek permission and permits if need be.
what to wear | ideas
If you only read one part of this section, let it be this: wear something that feels like you, and make it comfortable.
Look, I get it. Dressing yourself in the morning is tough enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera. It’s normal to want to shop for new fancy clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine if you want to glam up. But usually the best route is to go with something that you know is comfy and fits well. If you’ve been spending the past couple of years working your butt off for a varsity sport, bring your jersey. If you’ve taken center stage with your drama troupe, bring your costume! If there’s any traditional dress that you know one of your parents would cry to see you wear for your photos, maybe bring that too. We’ll work with lots of options so we can tell your story in the most well-rounded way possible.
When selecting the right footwear, think about what’s appropriate for the location. Heels on the beach? Maybe not. If we’re shooting at home or at a park and you want to ditch the shoes altogether I’m up for that too.
Wear something that’ll keep you cool in summer, warm in winter, and that’ll make you feel like the stunning human that you are. Bring a couple outfits so that we can play with different options and combinations, and get a little sandy/wet/muddy if the moment calls for it! If you have anything in your wardrobe that is textured, sheer, or billowy, fabrics that flow turn up so beautifully in photographs because they capture snapshots of movement – avoid starchy, stiff-seeming garments that get crumpled in weird spots and need adjusting.
Be careful with prints, logos, and bright colors as sometimes these detract from the most important parts of the photograph – you!
Once we pick a location together, we can discuss color palettes that will help you stand out beautifully against your environment.
If you’ve read all of this and you feel like you want a little bit more info, I’ve got a full comprehensive guide on this that covers it all! Just let me know and I’ll send it over.
hair, make-up, props
If there was one object that represents your High School years, what would it be? Is it your camera? Your volleyball? A chessboard? Your guitar? All of these things are super relevant in helping to tell your unique story. Bring them along! But remember to keep it real. Authenticity is in the details.
If you feel like getting a little glammed up, there’s absolutely no reason not to get your hair and makeup done. Just try to keep it as natural as possible. Fancy and intricate hairdos can sometimes look a little out of place at home or in a national park, and I love the motion that is captured with hair blowing in the wind.
what to bring
Pack things that will make you feel great. Lots of things fall into this category, like extra clothes for if the weather changes or you get a bit muddy. Or snacks for when you’re starting to feel that mid-afternoon slump. Or water to keep you feeling hydrated while we adventure around. Or a portable speaker for an impromptu boogie.
Getting your head in the game
Unless you've had a stint in the world of reality TV that I don’t know about, there’s a chance you might feel a little bit weird about the idea of a camera following you around for a couple of hours. This is totally normal!
Set aside some time to do an activity that you love before the shoot and get all of that good-feeling juju flowing so that you arrive feeling calm and excited to do this thing.
Make some time buffers around the day so that you aren’t rushing from one thing to another. Get all your stuff ready the night before so that on the day of the session you’ve got plenty of time to get ready, pack some extra little props, and get mentally prepared.
after the session
I’ll send you some sneak peeks 48 hours after your session via text, and the full gallery within three weeks via a downloadable web gallery. You’ll be able to create favorites lists, share online, or download your images so your parents can put your beautiful face all over their walls!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide! I imagine you’ll have a few questions bouncing around your head, so give me a call and let’s talk through all the things: locations, group photos, props, Plan B’s, outfits, playlists, and snacks.
Most importantly, snacks.
Your photos are going to be amazing. I can’t wait!