Prepping For Your Senior Photo Session: What to Wear

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It’s your Senior year, and its your time to shine!  There are so many things to consider when planning your wardrobe for a Senior session,  so I’ve broken it down for you.  In this post you’ll get the complete lowdown on the best tips for what to wear to your senior photo shoot.

Clothing Choices

First of all, you get unlimited outfits, so bring a LOT of options!  The more outfits to choose from, the better.  This will give us flexibility in matching your clothing to the background and surroundings.  Bring a variety of colors and styles.  You’re gonna need some dressy outfits, some casual outfits, and some outfits that fall somewhere in between.   Girls, if your comfy in dresses, bring them!  They photograph really well.  Guys, bring a couple of collared shirts!

Make sure you are comfortable in the outfits that you choose to bring and that they flatter you.  If you’re self-conscious about your arms, avoid sleeveless or cap-sleeve shirts and tank tops, as they tend to make arms look fuller.

Choose clothing that is rich in color, limited in pattern.  Solid colors tend to photograph the best.

Make sure the colors of your undergarments coordinate well with your outfits and won’t show through your clothing.  If you need a strapless bra, bring one to your session.  Tucking and moving straps will not always work or give the most pleasing look.  Make sure ahead of time that your undergarments work well with your outfits and that you don’t have any unpleasing lines under your clothing.


Ladies, time to bust out the stilettos!  Seriously, bring heels.  They make you look glamourous.  Another great option to bring?  Boots.  Whether tall, short, casual or dressy, they can add some serious style to your outfit.  Flats are great with the right outfit, as are sandals.  For the gentlemen, I’d really like for you to bring boots and dress shoes.  Try to steer clear of sneakers, unless we’re talking classic Converse.  With all of the wild colors and patterns, they can be distracting.

Flip Flops are a big no for everyone though.  I know they are comfy, but they don’t photograph well.

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If you wear glasses, this is super duper important!  Most lenses tend to produce a glare in photographs.  The best option is to check with your eye doctor and ask if they’ll loan you a similar pair of frames with lenses for your session.

Jewelry & Accessories

As far as jewelry goes, keep it simple. Big, shiny jewelry can distract from the important subject: YOU. However, the proper jewelry can really complement your outfit. It’s nice to have a variety to choose from and it doesn’t hurt to bring numerous options with you. If you have different jewelry for different outfits,  put each set of jewelry in a plastic baggie and hang it on the hanger with that outfit.

Also, other accessories can be fun to bring:  hats, scarves, etc.  Now is not the time to try something new though…  Remember, we want YOUR style to shine through!


I can’t stress this enough:  Bring a few props!  They’re great! Bring props that help show who you are. Some popular choices are:

  • Sports equipment (soccer ball, basketball, softball bat, etc.)
  • Sports uniforms
  • Musical instruments
  • Activity related items (dance, art, school clubs, etc.)
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Hair, Makeup & Nails

First of all, I highly suggest having your hair and makeup professionally done. But if you choose to do them yourself, keep these things in mind…

Hair style is ultimately YOUR responsibility. Any hair changes during the session should be quick and simple so you have as much camera time as possible.  Bring hair spray, clips, pins, and whatever else is needed to keep your hair out of your eyes if it’s windy. Also bring a brush and mirror for quick hair touch-ups.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE:  DO NOT MAKE DRASTIC CHANGES TO YOUR HAIR RIGHT BEFORE YOUR PHOTO SESSION.  It’s a really bad idea, and could add lots of unneeded drama to your life.

Makeup that is well done is one of the best preparations you can make for your session. It will even out skin tones and help give your photos that extra pop for a model-like look. Even if you don’t normally wear makeup or wear very little, take the time to do it well and your photos will look their best.  Makeup should only be slightly heavier than normal. Mascara should be clean and not clumpy. Avoid makeup with an SPF because it tends to create a white, ghost like cast in photos.  Shine can be controlled by using translucent powder that knocks out shine without adding additional color.  I suggest visiting a makeup counter a few weeks before your session and having a mini makeover to create the look you are trying to achieve.  You will get expert tips on application and what colors look best on you.  Remember, though:  Your photos should look like you.  Don’t go for some super trendy look, or something out of character for you.  We wanna see YOUR style.

If you paint your nails, make sure they’re done well for your session. Chipped nail paint will show and distract from you. Avoid bright colors that will distract from you and may not work with all your outfits. Instead, opt for basic or natural tones.

Tanning & Skin Complexion

Tanning has been super popular the last several years.  I personally am not a fan, but if you are choosing to tan before your session, please don’t overdo it.  You don’t want to look leathery in your photos or have tan lines.  Tan lines can be very distracting and can take away from your photos.  They are also incredibly difficult to edit in post production.  I suggest that if you are choosing to tan before your session, use varied swimsuit tops to minimize tan lines.  Spray tans are an alternative to a tanning bed, but please be very careful.  Oompa Loompa Orange doesn’t look good on anyone,ever.

If you are dealing with minor breakouts, don’t stress over it.  Makeup helps a lot here.  I had some pretty rough acne trouble when I was younger, so I understand!  Even if your acne is more severe, you’re still okay .  I do retouch your photos, and I’m happy to help you out in this department!

I hope this helps you better prepare your wardrobe for your senior photo session!  If you have any questions, I’m happy to help!  Also if you’re looking for inspiration, check us out on Pinterest!  We have boards on great poses, what to wear, makeup tips, and more!

Until next time,

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Got any other great tips to add to my list, or maybe have a question?  Comment below!  I wanna hear them!



About Suzanne Barnes

Suzanne is a professional photographer in The Woodlands, Texas, specializing in families, maternity, newborns, seniors.  She's a Christian, wife, a mom of two boys, and a self-diagnosed Pinterest addict who basically runs on caffeine.

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