So you've finally finished junior year and it's time to start enjoying all the luxuries of being a senior in high school. One of the most sought after senior year events is the experience of having your senior pictures taken. Maybe you've been scrolling Pinterest looking for the perfect senior picture ideas on posing and outfit ideas and your scanning your brain trying to remember the best locations in town that could be great places to take your senior pictures. Maybe you're freaking out because you think you are awkward in front of a camera or don't know how to pose. But don't worry friends, I've got your back.
I've put together some senior picture ideas to help get you started, as well as answer a few commonly known anxiety triggering thoughts about being photographed.
1. WHERE TO GO
Find locations that suit your style. Are you a city person? Or do you enjoy the outdoors? Urban settings will offer a variety of back drops such as colors, textures, walls, brick, and much more, while natural settings will give a more earthy and softer finish to your style. Thankfully, in Sun Prairie Wisconsin there are an abundance of beautiful settings that offer a variety of different options for senior pictures. Being so close to downtown Madison is also a huge plus! Keeping in mind that light changes at each location during different hours of the day, so it’s best to ask your photographer about the right locations at the right time.
2. WHAT TO WEAR
Be YOU! Stick with your style. You want to love the way you look in your images. Some tips for selecting outfits that flatter you the most are to avoid large graphics, logos, and clashing colors. Subtle patterns, florals, and stripes (usually vertical), are good options for mixing it up as long as you pair it with the right accent colors. Don’t forget to mix it up! Work in a casual look with a fancier outfit to mix up the results at the end of your experience. Don't forget to consider under garments, shoes, and accessories!
3. HOW TO POSE
Find a photographer you feel comfortable with. It will first and foremost be what will help you relax and bring out authentic postures and body language through your movement and expressions. My strategy is to always make sure that the senior knows what they are doing 100% of the time. From standing to sitting to head positions and hand placement, I always want my seniors to feel confident in how they look in front of the camera. Finding a photographer that can do just that will really turn your experience from good to great!
4. DO I SMILE?
While your photographer may direct the type of expression they want from you, I always encourage my seniors to mix it up! Smiles are always welcome and are a safe and traditional way to photograph. Don’t be afraid to mix it up by trying various expressions such as a softer smile with the eyes, a more serious expression if you’re showing off your favorite uniform, or even expressions where you’re not looking at the camera are always good to try. You just never know what you might love! Of course laughing and genuine smiles are always authentic, and finding a photographer you feel comfortable with will really help bring out those genuine expressions.
5. WHAT IF IM AWKWARD?
Don’t worry – we all might feel a bit awkward in front of the camera, at least at first. I like to remind my seniors that I understand that they are not paid fashion models and most don’t have much or any individual portrait experience. With that, it’s good to keep in mind that you can rely on your photographer to help guide you in feeling and looking comfortable in front of the camera. Don’t be shy! Feel free to let yourself open up, move around, and be willing to experiment with different arrangements guided by your photographer. It might take a little bit to warm up, but once you get the hang of it it should be so much fun! Invite a friend to help ease any nervous tension you may be feeling. In fact, friends are great assistants. They can help with hair malfunctions, lipstick touch ups, and holding your accessory bags.
6. INCLUDE WHAT YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
So you're a football player, a swimmer, musician, or part Chef Ramsey. Maybe your known for your passion to read, ski, or write. Maybe you're into theatre, drumming, or going green. Whatever it is that drives you and gives your life purpose, can be used to showcase your personality and who you are in your portraits. Brainstorm with your photographer to help figure out unique ideas to show off your best self!
7. WHAT DO I DO WITH THE PORTRAITS?
There is an abundance of ways to display your senior pictures after your session. Of course finding a photographer that offers what you’re looking for is an important component. Based on my experience with senior portraits some of the most popular items are senior books and albums which make great graduation party displays and lifetime long keepsakes. Other popular senior products include accordion books, framed prints, and canvas imaging. Chat with your family and see what you’re looking for ahead of time. Going into the session with an end is mind is smart planning and allows the photographer to think ahead to make sure they can capture the specific style of portraits that will fit with the products you want.
8. WHAT HAPPENS IF I BREAKOUT ON PICTURE DAY?
Pimples. The annoying little guys that pop up just when we don't need them to. We all have them from time to time, and let’s face it, being a teenager means we might have more of them than usual. Don’t worry. It’s part of life and it shouldn’t stop you from looking forward to your senior pictures. The beauty of digital retouching makes removing blemishes a do-able task. Feel free to use make up or find a make-up artist if it makes you feel more confident, but always remember that acne doesn’t not define you or your looks. It is just a temporary part of being human!
9. SELECTING YEARBOOK IMAGES
Seeing your image displayed in the back of the yearbook at the end of your senior year is a rewarding and exciting vision. While every high school is different and may have different high school yearbook requirements, it’s good to keep in mind some of the best options for selecting your yearbook image. Because they often appear small, choosing portraits that are close up (heads and shoulders) will really make you stand out. Direct expressions at the camera are good because it allows yearbook visitors to easily see who you are so when they reminisce on their yearbook in 30 years they will recognize you without a doubt! Don’t forget to check with your high school about appropriate yearbook guidelines and deadlines.
10. HAVE FUN
Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience. You are only a senior once (at least hopefully), and this is a milestone worth cherishing. Always remember to remain confident, don’t compare yourself to others, and find a style that works for you. Lastly, find a photographer you can relate to and that you enjoy working with. With an abundance of options of artists who do great work, building a relationship with the one you choose will really help in bringing out the best version of yourself.