How to Prepare for a Senior Portrait Session | Tips from a Saint Paul Senior Photographer

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Senior year of high school is a huge milestone and senior portraits are all about celebrating this accomplishment and the hard work that led to a diploma. As parents and seniors begin to plan a portrait session, we have a few important tips to keep in mind as you start the process!

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First, a Few Quick Tips for the Parents:

  1. Be sure to book your senior’s portraits in advance. Most seniors do their portrait sessions the summer or fall before senior year so these dates book up quickly. In addition to nice weather, the reason for the earlier portrait sessions is that many schools  have an early yearbook photo deadline so keep this in mind when booking!
  2. When booking with Block Portrait Studios, you can add a professional hair stylist and makeup artist to your senior’s session, as well as a professional wardrobe style consultant to help your senior choose the perfect outfits for the session. Ask us about these options when booking your senior’s session!
  3. Prior to your senior’s session, you and your senior will meet with our team to discuss how portraits will be used, provide advice on outfit selections, and determine what backgrounds will work the best. Before this meeting, we encourage you, your senior, and other family members to have a good idea of how everyone would like to use the portraits for any final artwork such as wall art, albums, and print options. For wall art, know which room the portraits will live in and take photos of that wall space to share with our team.
  4. A portrait session is a great way to inspire your senior’s creativity and personality. We encourage parents to be open to your senior’s ideas for their portrait session. With multiple outfits, there’s room for more traditional portraits, as well as more unique portraits that truly allows your senior to express their passion and feel comfortable and confident. 
  5. With that being said, choose final outfits and props together so you are able to help gather items and ensure they are in great condition! Keep in mind, the day before or morning of your senior’s portrait session, your senior may need you to help iron clothes, polish instruments, get a car wash, or get the dog groomed – depending on what your senior may want to include! Your senior and your photographer will greatly appreciate you for this!
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Seniors: 5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Senior Portraits

1. Choosing the Perfect Outfit(s)

Most seniors choose at least one dressier outfit and one casual outfit. Often, a sport jersey or other club gear/uniform is included. Our best advice is to choose clothes that are comfortable, a proper fit, and that you love! We strongly encourage solid colors and two layers (such as a shirt and a light jacket). Aside from your school logo, we advise not wearing clothes with brand logos, graphics, or distracting patterns. As you choose your outfits, also consider any accessories such as shoes, jewelry, scarves, class rings, hats, etc. Use colors that compliment each other. Here’s some outfit inspiration!

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2. Beauty & Skincare Routines

The week of your portraits, get plenty of sleep and drink a lot of water! Not only is this healthy for you, but it’s also a trick for great looking skin! Additionally, do your regular skincare routines and don’t try any new products leading up to your portrait session! It’s hard to know how your skin will react to something new, so now isn’t the time to switch face washes. 

With that being said, here a few quick tips for great photos:

  • For whiter teeth, start using whitening methods a few months before your portraits! 
  • Shave the night before to reduce redness and bumps.
  • Moisturize and wear sunscreen on any sunny days leading up to your session! You don’t want to be sunburnt for your summer session! 
  • Remove any chipped nail polish and clean out any dirt under your nails.
  • If you plan to do your own hair and makeup, practice a few times to ensure you are happy with how it looks!
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3. Selecting Props

Senior portraits are a fun way to include the things you love the most! Many seniors choose to bring sports equipment, a musical instrument, or other representations of favorite hobbies. We’ve also seen cars, heirlooms, and beloved family pets! Whatever props you want to include, make sure it’s clean and photo ready! So polish that tuba, shine the trophies, wash the car, give the dog a bath, wipe up the soccer ball, etc.! 

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4. What to Bring With

The day before your portrait session, gather up everything you will need for your session. For items you can’t place in a pile, make a post-it note so you don’t forget!

  • Place each of your outfits on a separate hanger. Put any accessories in a bag to place around the top of the hanger. Don’t forget to iron!
  • Wearing makeup? Pack a makeup bag so you can quickly apply any touch-ups. 
  • Put your props next to your outfits once they are cleaned. 
  • If your pet is joining, check out these pet portrait tips! Be sure to gather items your pet will need, too!
  • Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes for any outdoor locations.
  • Be sure to get plenty to eat and have enough water the day of your shoot! It’s a great idea to pack a snack and water – posing takes up a lot of energy! 
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5. Have Fun!

For many seniors, this is the first time being professionally photographed. If you have any questions or preferences, communicate with your photographer! This experience is all about celebrating you so we want you to have fun, feel comfortable, and be yourself! Our photographers will find your best angles and natural ways to pose you won’t have to worry about where to place your hands! 

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By following these tips, parents and seniors can expect a great senior portrait session experience. We cannot wait to create portraits and artwork for your family to mark this huge milestone. Congratulations, seniors!

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