One of the questions I get asked most often is “what should I wear for senior pictures?” As such, all of my senior clients get a very detailed What to Wear Guide AND access to my exclusive styling website where you can personally curate & purchase clothing/accessories for your shoot – but I thought I’d give EVERYONE the TEN STEPS of selecting your senior portrait wardrobe from a professional high school senior photographer!
This informative blog post will serve as a starting point on choosing what to wear as you begin planning your Reno/Tahoe senior photoshoot.
My hope is that these TEN steps of the senior portrait process help you feel confident and inspired as you begin to put together your incredible looks for your once-in-a-lifetime senior shoot!
Step 1: Choose your style first for your senior portraits
Choosing your style first before thinking about locations allows you to make sure you’re showcasing your personality first and foremost – rather than prioritizing a specific background. If you LOVE the idea of an edgy look for your senior portrait session, that will serve as the whole VIBE for your session. Then, we can choose backgrounds to coordinate! It’s important to make choices that express your personality FIRST so we can choose locations to go with THAT, instead of the other way around.
Step 2: Determine your color schemes
There are lots of different color schemes you can decide for your senior pictures. How do you feel about pastels? Vibrant colors? Dark tones?
You can find guides online about what colors look best with certain skin tones, but at the end of the day – every senior should wear colors they love.
Neutral colors are great to incorporate into your senior portrait outfits. Black, white, grey, ivory and shades of khaki or brown can be so powerful in your portraits.
Pastel or muted colors are great for spring/summer sessions and our meadow & lake locations in the Reno/Tahoe area.
Vibrant colors can also be excellent in the summertime, but also especially look gorgeous in the fall and winter. But be careful! Neon colors produce color-cast on skin and don’t photograph well. If you pick a vibrant color, I suggest choosing a darker VS brighter tones (ie: mustard yellow instead of neon yellow, cranberry red instead of cherry red).
Patterns can be used beautifully, but you have to be careful with them! Busy or small patterns don’t photograph well, and larger patterns can be pretty distracting as well. It’s always a good idea to run a pattern by your photographer to see what their opinion on it is.
Did you know? Fifth and Chestnut Seniors get my in-depth What to Wear Guide which has even more detail on what SPECIFIC colors/patterns to avoid for senior portraits? Email me if you want to see what being a Fifth and Chestnut Senior is all about!
Step 3: Decide fashion styles
Should I wear a dress? How about a romper? How about a two-piece top and skirt? What I always suggest is to pick at least one dress, one outfit with jeans (or shorts) and one other outfit (rompers are so cute). This is one of the easier decisions to make once you have your colors decided! You know what looks best on your body. If you want an outfit to elongate your body, consider long pants or a long maxi dress. Want to show off your legs? A mini dress is super cute!
Step 4: Consider your accessories
Hats, scarves, jewelry and sunglasses can all be used to change up your senior photos and provide lots of visual interest. Sunglasses especially have that fun “instagram influencer” look that can be exciting to try!
It’s definitely important to choose accessories that go seamlessly with all of your outfit choices.
Step 5: Don’t forget to choose the right shoes for your senior portraits!
Shoes are a really fun way to be unique with your senior photos. Make sure that your shoe choice fits the season we’re shooting in. Examples are boots in winter, flip flops in summer! And also consider your comfort because we do have to walk around a bit!
I love when seniors choose shoes for their photoshoots that really add to their outfit but don’t distract from it. As with outfits, your senior photographer can help you if you run your ideas by them!
Step 6: Go shopping for your senior picture outfits!
If you shop online like most seniors do, you’ll want to purchase items in different sizes & shades so that you can pick the best options out of the bunch.
It’s better to order too much and have to return some things than have to wait for an additional item because you weren’t sure you LOVED the first round of clothes.
Step 7: Final try-ons & lay out outfits
Get a bird’s eye view of your outfits all together. Do these all look like they mesh well with your locations? Do they all work TOGETHER well? Think how pictures of you in all of these outfits will look in a photo album. Do you really love these looks? You should LOVE seeing these outfits layed out together. If you don’t – make some changes!
Step 8: Get your hair & makeup inspiration ready
With your locations in mind and your outfits decided, search Pinterest for hair and makeup inspiration to provide your professional hair and makeup artist(s) so they can give you the exact look you’re going for.
Step 9: Plan for your nails
Not everyone loves getting their nails done, but I highly recommend at least giving yourself a mani/pedi with a neutral nail color that will go nicely with ALL of your outfits. This is an important step because your nails will be visible in your senior pictures!
Step 10: Enjoy your senior portrait session!
Now that you’ve taken all this info and carefully selected your clothing and accessories, it’s simply time to enjoy your time in those beautiful senior portrait outfits!
Don’t forget that your senior photographer should be helping you through EVERY part of the senior photography experience, including getting ready for your senior photoshoot! That’s big reason to choose a Photographer who really specializes in Senior photos, since photographers who don’t specialize in this may not have the know-how to help you in the best ways. Want MY help? Make sure to email me ASAP and get on my calendar with plenty of time to spare so you have ample time to plan everything closely with me and do all of your shopping!