Tips to Help You Prepare For Your Senior Session | Wisconsin and Twin Cities Senior Photographer
You've Googled and searched Facebook and Instagram for the perfect senior photographer in your area. You've found the perfect photographer and nailed down a date for your session. Now comes the planning! This is where many seniors and their parents tend to get nervous or hung up! I get asked so many questions about clothing, makeup, posing, and locations so here is your one-stop place for all the tips and tricks you need to have a successful senior session!
I'm here to help you with tips and tricks to plan your flawless senior session. Everyone is going a million miles a minute and before you know it your senior session will be sneaking up on you. How do you properly prepare? Here are some ways:
What To Wear for Senior Sessions
What you wear is going to depend on what YOUR personal style is. I recommend 3-5 outfits, but feel free to bring along more than that if you're just not sure. Some females refuse to wear skirts/dresses and that's ok, but if you're not opposed, I recommend a mixture of jeans/nice tops and dresses/skirts. I tell seniors to choose a few from the following categories: casual, cozy, dressy, school-related, sports-related, preppy or edgy.
1. Have 1-2 outfits that "play it safe" - less trendy, more classic
2. Have 1-2 outfits that are a little more "over the top" - something you wouldn't wear every day but you feel AMAZING in it and you're ready to model your little heart out. Think interesting shoulders, flowy sleeves, boho patterns, textures like leather or corduroy, etc.
4. Colors/Patterns - There's no real color that photographs worse or better necessarily and patterns can look very nice as long as they aren’t overdone. Any color that looks like it will POP (pinks, greens, blues, yellows, etc) is fair game! However, I'm of the belief that muted or soft colors photograph more timelessly and will look better in photos than, say, a lime green dress. Stay away from neon please - these tend to cast the color onto your face and that’s a big no no.
5. Feel free to add layers! Bringing along a flannel, boho kimono, or a leather/jean jacket to wear over an outfit can easily create an ADDITIONAL outfit without much work!
6. If you have areas on your body that you don't like (such as your upper arms) then avoid sleeveless shirts that bring attention to that area. Or if you don't want to bring attention to your belly, choose a dress or top that is semi-fitted (so you don't look larger than you are) but not extremely form-fitting (so problem areas show).
7. I love accessories, like hoop earrings, bangle bracelets, pendant or choker necklaces, and especially a good floppy boho hat :)
8. Bring your jersey! I love incorporating sports jerseys into senior photos; pair with white or denim jeans or shorts
9. Males - bring a suit jacket if you’d like! Pair it with nice jeans so you don’t look like you’re going to an interview but I promise that the classic look never goes out of style!
Hair/Makeup Tips For Senior Sessions
Again, makeup is going to depend on your personal preference and style but if you are a regular makeup-wearer I suggest going a little more dramatic than normal. You will see your makeup stand out in person more than it does in photos.
For hair, I suggest straightening with a straightener or curling it with a curling iron. Bring a hair tie in case you want to put it in a ponytail for a few (but DON’T wear the hair tie on your wrist). For the most part, we will be doing hair flips and running your fingers through those locks so it's important your hair looks well put together :)
1. Avoid glitter makeup
2. Avoid high-shimmer products like shimmer bronzer, shimmer lipsticks, shimmer blush, shimmer eye shadow, etc - the more matte the better
3. ALWAYS wear lipstick/lip gloss, even if very subtle. The separation between your lip and the rest of your face is important. Bring it with so you can reapply as needed. Also, moisturize those lips for days before so they aren't cracked!
4. Don't forget about your nails! Choose a neutral color that will go with most of your outfits. Or if you don't like nail polish, at least ensure your nails are well manicured.
5. Bring a hairbrush/comb/hairspray to do hair touchups.
*If you're looking for a professional hair/makeup referral, please contact me!
Posing Tips for Senior Sessions
I will be guiding you through posing for most of the session but I want you to come prepared to pose and move move move! Movement in a photograph comes across beautifully and creates some of the best candid shots. Too much stagnant posing gets boring. It's all about expression!
1. Never stand stick straight unless you’re doing a superwoman type pose (you badass you); your body needs to have shape! Pop a hip out, bend a knee, lean back and place weight on one foot, tilt your head, throw your hand up to your face (keep your elbow and hand loose), and make sure your fingers are always gentle (like ballerina hands)
2. Play with your hair, like ALOT!
3. Put your hands on your hips to create shape and accentuate your waist; be asymmetrical (one higher than the other)
4. Cross your arms
5. Turn to the side (profile) and tilt the shoulder closest to the camera down slightly, and bring your chin down to the shoulder.
6. Be happy, flirty, smiley (like, OVER THE TOP); we will also do some serious looks. Here's a great video showing movement, energy, and expression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMniaEXNCy4
7. Here's a great video on how to elongate your body if you're a little shorter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KNI6GoXAvE
Choosing Locations for Amazing Senior Sessions
I always ask my seniors and their parents if they have any location preferences. What do you envision your senior photos looking like? Are you in a field or meadow? Are you walking downtown? Do you have big architecture behind you? Are you in the forest? Are you at the beach?
I allow for multiple locations in close proximity (10-15 min) from each other. If we can fit it into the time frame allotted, then it’s fair game! I help you decide on the best location to achieve what you have in mind.
Wisconsin: I have photographed clients in Hudson, River Falls, Plum City, Ellsworth, Black River Falls and in central Wisconsin by Wausau and Marshfield. I have some go-to spots in these areas, but I am always looking for new ideas! I’m also open to traveling to locations for a fee, such as Madeline Island, Hayward, Eau Claire, etc.
Minnesota: I have photographed clients in Stillwater, Woodbury, Hastings, Edina, St Paul, Minneapolis, Chaska, and Wayzata. I’m open to traveling to Taylors Falls, Duluth, Red Wing, and beyond for a fee.
One Last Tip for Flawless Senior Sessions
Just show up and be prepared to GO WITH THE FLOW. I'm incredibly laid back and want you to relax and have fun. This is your ONLY time to take senior photos - don't allow yourself to be nervous, stiff, and in your head. Allow me to lead you in getting creative and come with your own ideas to try too. Sometimes my favorite shots are the ones we didn't even set out to capture :)
Family members are totally welcome but I ask that they stay out of the way. When too many people come along for the ride, it can make my seniors nervous and then they aren't giving their best. Moms: let your senior do his/her THING. Try not to insert yourself too much during the session (unless you know EXACTLY how to make them laugh, then PLEASE do this!) and sit back and watch your son or daughter just kill it. In the end, my goal is for you to see how I see your high school senior through my lens and perspective.
If you haven't booked a photographer for your senior photos yet, what are you waiting for? Contact me today to book your senior session. I have seniors from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota come to me, and I also travel for a fee! I fill up quickly and only have a handful of dates left! If you’re a current Andrea Wagner Photography Senior then I can’t wait to meet you and create some magic!!!