Tips For “The Week Of” Prep for Your Senior Session

Senior portraits are one of the highlights of your senior year of high school.  You want it to go well, have a fun experience and, on the flip side, have some awesome images to remember your senior year.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Hold up.  It IS easy, BUT-  you have to plan.   Even if you are not a planner, it’s a good idea to put some extra effort into this one and make sure you have done everything you need.   I walk my clients through everything they need to do in order to have a successful session, start to finish, but in this post I will outline some key things you can do before your session just in that last week, leading up to your big day.


Outfit & Accessories Prep

This is the biggest thing.  Having your outfits chosen, accessories matched up, and all the extras (hats, sunglasses, scarves if you’re a scarf person (I’m not), and shoes, don’t forget shoes!)  means you will not have to worry about what to wear.  Hopefully your shopping is all done by this final week, but if not, go early in the week and finish up that list!  Some other tips for clothing and accessories:

  • PRESS PRESS PRESS.  Especially if you are wearing flowy, smooth fabrics that wrinkle easily.  This makes a huge difference in how your clothes look in photos.  Not great with an iron?  Outsource to your local dry cleaners- they can clean, press, the whole 9.   Money well spent.
  • Really consider how you feel about jeans with holes.  They are “in” now, but will you be happy you wore them when you look back?  If you are going for a super casual look with some Converse sneaks, flip flops, a t-shirt, etc., then they are probably fine.  However, if you are upgrading your look with heels, a blouse, a tailored jacket… holes may not be the best option.   The best solution?  Bring both.
  • Avoid limiting clothes that change the shape of your body or cover your hands.  An example of this is bell sleeves, which are very “in” right now.  Yes they are pretty in day-to-day life, but in photos they often go all the way to your finger tips, and therefore you look like you have no hands if we want to do a walking shot in them.  This will limit what we can do in terms of posing.
  • Hang what needs to be on a hanger.  Fold what can be folded (usually pants, short skirts, etc.)
  • Everything that will show matters, including socks (if they are white, below-the-ankle socks, they should still be WHITE, not dingy, tired gray), bra/bralette straps, layering tanks, etc.  If it is old, worn, tired, etc., consider carefully whether you should chance it or just get a nice new one.  Probably the only exception to this one is Converse sneakers.
  • Organize.  My clients receive 2 garment bags with hangers, and an outfit sorter about 3 days before their session.  This makes it easy to contain everything, carry it around during our session, and keep track of everything.

Hair & Makeup Prep

Whether you’re going the DIY route or having your hair and makeup done professionally, consider the following:

  • Is your hair freshly cut? I recommend getting a hair cut a few weeks prior to your session so that your ends are fresh and calm.
  • HYDRATE.  This helps both your skin and your hair.
  • REST.  Try not to do anything crazy or stay up too late the night before your session.  If you’re tired it may show up under your eyes, or even IN them.   Well rested = sparkly, happy eyes. 🙂
  • Exfoliate, but not the day before.  Sometimes exfoliating your skin can give it a pink hue for a while, so try to exfoliate 2-3 days prior to your session so your skin is fresh and happy.
  • Don’t forget your fingernails!  They don’t have to be polished, but if they are, fix those chips, or just take it all off.
  • Doing hair makeup on your own? Be sure to do a practice run.  You don’t want to get to the hour before your session starts and hate the way everything is looking.
  • Having your hair & makeup done professionally? Don’t be afraid to speak up!  If you look in the mirror and aren’t sure about what you’re seeing, ask them to tell you more about what they are doing before they proceed. If it doesn’t feel right, say something.  Ask me about this one- I have a GREAT story to share about my biggest lesson in this!

General Tips

  • Always ask questions.  Ask me, ask a friend, as someone.  If you aren’t sure of something- ask!  Better to get feedback than to show up and realize you should have asked sooner.
  • Want to take a fashion risk?  Go for it!  But, bring a second option just in case.
  • Once you arrive at your session, take a deep breath, relax, and know that it’s now time to have FUN.   This is YOUR moment to shine, and I can’t wait to photograph you!


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