Tips for your Perfect Senior Pictures

Taking senior pictures can seem really daunting, especially for someone who doesn’t normally take pictures of themselves (not referring to me obviously).

There are some people who have an outfit or two and spend about an hour at one location, which seems pretty typical, and there are some people who have 6 outfits and spend 11 hours shooting in various locations (okay this time I’m referring to me). But either way, even if you don’t want to take pictures, your mom will probably force you to do it, so I came up with a list of tips so you guys can have the best senior photos possible!
1.  Don’t try too hard
This is easier said than done, but if you’re trying too hard to pose and get the “perfect” pictures, your stiffness is gonna show. Take a big breath and relax, it’s fun to have your picture taken! You’re a senior and you’re finally the big fish at your school! Let your confidence shine through, confidence is KEY.
2.  Posture and modeling
Slouchy is the worst look to translate through pictures because it makes you look unconfident (remember, confidence is key) and sometimes it makes you look heavier than you are. Always roll your shoulders back and push your chest out a bit, but not too much or you’ll look like you’re trying to show off your girls (or pecs for my guy readers). Keep your back straight and you should be good. Along with posture, the way you use your body to pose can also make or break a photo. I recommend are to not stand with your arms just hanging next to you, it tends to look pretty awkward. Try and use your hands in your poses, maybe putting them in your pockets, running them through your hair, or crossing your arms.

Here’s a little example of how a subtle difference in hand placement and posture can really affect your pictures. In the first picture, the girl’s arm is crossed awkwardly over her chest, causing her to hunch her back and just isn’t a great look in general. In my picture, my hand is not as flat as hers and I’m resting my head on it to look more natural.
3.  Face Placement
Your face is kinda important in this because, well, senior pictures are a thing to show off your face. I learned this from years of being unphotogenic in middle school, always tilt your head down in pictures! Tilting your head up makes it look rounder and isn’t a flattering look, unless you’re a VS model or something. Tilting your head down, however, makes your jaw look sharper and face look slimmer. Also play with your angles. If you don’t know your good side or what angles make your face look the best, just practice in a mirror or take some selfies. I typically tilt my face to the right side but that’s just me.
4. Facial Expressions
This is equally as important as face placement because you don’t want to look dead inside, right? Try to smile with your eyes, even when you’re not smiling because it makes your eyes look brighter and more lively. This is another good thing to practice in a mirror if you don’t normally take pictures. In almost all of my pictures, I have a little smirk (I think I’ve mastered the smirk by now), and that’s fine, but you’re also going to want to smile with your teeth for senior pictures. Look happy!
Although this is a pretty extreme example (I hope none of you will be sporting this hairstyle or makeup in your pictures), It emphasizes how important tilting your head down and smiling with your eyes is!
5.  Outfits
My favorite part! My mom is a graphic designer and has edited senior pictures for 17 years so when she gave me tips on what to wear and what not to, I took them to heart. It’s better to stay away from busy patterns in senior pictures because it takes the focus off of you. She also told me that shorts don’t look the best on camera, which is something to take into consideration. I would recommend mostly sticking to solids with the exception of a very discreet pattern (I’ll show you guys an example of that). Another thing to stay away from is anything white, cream is usually fine but white blows up on camera and can be hard to tone back down. Maybe mix up your outfits too? Like have a casual outfit and a dressier one. Whatever you do, make sure to pick outfits that show your style and personality!
The dress on the left would be way too busy for senior pictures and would take the emphasis away from you. My romper on the right, however, has a very subtle print and keeps the focus on me.
6. Personality pictures
A lot of people take pictures that showcase activities they participated in in high school. For example, a football player might take some pictures on a field in his gear. Or a violinist might take some pictures with her violin. For mine, I used a musical scarf for a pic because I’ve been in choir all 4 years, I took some at the Buell Theatre because I’ve been in theatre, I took some pictures with my favorite books because I love reading and literature, and I took a few with my journal because I love writing. Be creative with it!
7. Location and Lighting
Okay so I merged these two together because for some people, the location is out of their control. But, if you can pick your location to shoot your senior pictures, I would highly recommend doing some research. Looking at your location helps you to decide which outfits work with the look you’re going for, and which would be better suited somewhere else. My mom also told me that simpler background are often better because, once again, they focus on you more rather than the background. As for lighting, your photographer should know the difference between good and bad lighting. I hope they do. But as I’ve been saying to my friends for the past 3 years, lighting is EVERYTHING when it comes to taking pictures. Good lighting is typically not direct sunlight because sun creates shadows and shadows distort pictures. Shade is always better, but there’s a fine line between good shade and too much shade so, like I said, your photographer should know lighting.
I think this was the most in-depth post I’ve written on my blog thus far but I really hope this helps you guys!! I know a lot of people have already taken senior pictures, but I’m sure there’s plenty of people who haven’t and, regardless if you have or not, you can use this whole post as more of a “guide to being photogenic” sort of thing. And, of course, I have to thank my amazing photographer, Karla Kotara, and my mom who retouched the photos to make me look as good as I do. Taking great pictures is way easier when you have a great team to help, but even if you don’t have a professional photographer, you can look like you did with these tips! Now go take some bomb pictures!


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