A. Rivas Photography | So your senior portait session is booked....now what?

So your senior portait session is booked....now what?

January 14, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Being well prepared for your senior portrait session can make all the difference in the world!  Your photos can go from average, good looking portraits to absolutely fabulous by following a few tips.  You only have senior portraits taken once, let's make sure you're as prepared as you can be!   


Relax.  Come to your session and be ready to have fun!  I'm going to make you look great and you're going to have a blast- after all that's why you chose A. Rivas Photography right?

Did I mention to relax?  I'd like to think I'm a pretty laid back guy and easy to get a long with.  I have a very natural posing style and I help you with it so there's no pressure on you.  Just step back, take a deep breath, and repeat after me; Relax.


If you or your parents forgot just shoot me an email or give a call or text.  Otherwise, don't be late for your appointment.  Showing up late just means you lose camera time and we defiantly don't want that!


Some people are all about clothes.  Their clothes is a representation of their very being.  Others just don't care all that much as long as they're covered up and won't get arrested.  <----that last part's the joke by the way.  Did you get it?  Are you chuckling? Ok- moving on....

Just as clothes are an important part of you who are, in one way or another, they're an expression of your style and how you see yourself.  That also makes your outfit selection a very important part of your senior portraits.         

What to wear is probably the single most asked question prior to ANY portrait session.  The best answer is....whatever you want.  That being said though, here are some tips:

  1. THE CLOTHES YOU BRING SHOULD REPRESENT YOU.  I want your style and your personality to shine and come through in your photos.  What do you FEEL GOOD in?  What do you LOOK GOOD in?  What are you COMFORTABLE in?  In short, those are the outfits I want you to bring.
  2. THINK ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS IN ADVANCE.  Don't wake up that morning and put on whatever is clean or whatever is under your bed.  You only have your senior photos taken once so take some time to plan.
  3. THINK IN TERMS OF DIFFERENT "LOOKS".  Don't just bring 3 pairs of jeans and 3 different t-shirts.  Unless that's all you ever wear and only have jeans and t-shirts in your closet.  Think VARIETY.
    1. For girls this might be shorts, capris, skinny jeans, a skirt, or dress.  All with appropriate tops, shoes, and accessories.
    2. For guys, it might be shorts, jeans, slacks, or dockers.  All with appropriate style of shirts and shoes.
    3. Some people have a wide wardrobe comfort range, some a narrow range, make the most of yours.  The more variety in your outfits the less your photos will all look the same. 
  4. THINK IN TERMS OF TOTAL OUTFITS.  Have you noticed I've been saying the word "outfit" throughout this whole thing?  Don't bring a bunch of random pieces from your closet.  Think about the total outfit from the shoes all the way to accessories and jewelry.
  5. WEAR COLORS YOU LOOK GREAT IN!  You probably already do.  If you bring at least 1 top or shirt that matches your eye color it tends to make your eyes glow!  Just putting that out there.
  6. GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT.  Let's face it, a lot of guys are clothing/fashion challenged.  If this is you and you have a girlfriend, or a friend who's a girl, with great fashion sense, get her advice.  She'll probably be more in tune with current fashion than your mom will.  That being said though, remember that mom is probably the one paying for your senior portraits so she should have some say in what you wear. 
  7. LADIES, HAVE FUN WITH YOUR OUTFIT CHOICES.  Get a couple of your friends together and pick out what you're going to wear.  Then bring them along to your session to be your dressers/fashion consultants.
  8. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS CLEANED AND PRESSED/IRONED.  Nothing ruins a great outfit that would look amazing in photos than it looking like you just pulled it out from the bottom of your dresser drawer. 

An extra thought for the girls; if you're going to wear skirts or dresses wear something underneath that will give us the maximum flexibility in poses with the least chance of embarrassment.  You know what's best here.  Spandex shorts or cheer pants (aka spankies) are a great idea!  They also make quick changes in the car a whole lot easier.

If you wear a tank or something similar underneath your outfit it will make quick changes a lot easier too. 

Lastly, help minimize bra straps.  Wear the appropriate style for each outfit.  Let's be honest, bra straps are downright distracting.      


There's a saying amongst photographers that says know the rules so you know when, and how, to break them.  The same saying can go for a lot of other things and clothing is no exception.  Here are some general guidelines that, everything else being equal, will help make your portraits better.

  1. Solid colors photograph better than patterns.  Patterns draw the viewers eye away from the what's important in your photos....YOU.
  2. Shirts with large writing don't work as well as plain shirts or shirts with a small logo.
  3. Think about the environment and season that your portraits will be taken in.  For example if we're shooting in fall colors don't wear pink.  It's not a color you'd see during the fall.  For downtown, just about anything will work though. 
  4. Sleeves are generally better than no sleeves, and long sleeves are better than short.  Is that to say you can't wear a spaghetti strap?  No, but having a wrap over it might be a great choice.
  5. Plan outfits for quick changes.  The quicker you change, the more camera time we have and we want that!


Makeup that is well done is one of the best preparations you can make for you session.  Even if you normally don't wear makeup, or wear very little, taking the time to do it well will make a difference in your portraits.  Get a friend, or sister, to help you if you need to.

Makeup should be applied only slightly heavier than you normal.  DON'T OVER DO IT, especially on the mascara.  Mascara should be clean and smooth, not clumpy.


You don't have to go out and get your hair styled.  Keep your hair simple and easy.  The more flexability you have with your hair, the more variety we get in your photos.  Bring some hairspray and hairpins to help with quick touchups and to keep your hair out of your face.  This is where bringing a friend or two along can really help.  Oh, and it would probably be a good idea to bring a mirror and brush.


Yes!  Bring props that help show who you are .  A soccer ball, baseball bat or glove, a musical instrument, whatever you want.  Bring it!


I require a parent to be at all my senior portrait sessions.  No parent...no shoot. 

I encourage you to bring a couple friends along.  Like I mentioned earlier, they can really be a big help with hair touchups, outfit changes, etc.  However, if they distract you it may be better to meet them after your portrait session is done. 

I'm more than happy to take a couple shots with a boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, parent, or sibling.

Well  hopefully this post has answered a few questions for you and maybe eased a little nervousness about your senior portrait session.  My biggest thing to keep in mind is let's have a good time and make some awesome portraits!  I can't wait to see you at your session!








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