EEEEeeee! It’s FINALLY here! You’re a senior – yay!!!! Your senior year of high school is a big deal, so celebrate each step!
For most girls, senior pictures is one of the highlights of their year. But trying to decide what to wear can be a major stressor.
I still remember all those feelings as I planned outfits for senior pictures. What’s considered “in” right now? Should I go super trendy? Do I stay more classic? How dressy should my senior portraits be? How many outfits should I plan?
Don’t stress! I help you feel comfortable and confident each step of the way – from planning to outfits to posing.
The entire focus of your portraits is you! Your outfits, locations, style, & details all help tell your story.
How Many Outfits Should I Plan To Wear?
I always recommend planning to wear at least two outfits during your senior pictures. Most girls wear one more dressy outfit and one more casual outfit. This gives lots of variety in your pictures, even if you selected a shorter session.
Please feel free to send me pictures of your outfits, either flat lay or preferably tried on, ahead of time. I love helping you!
Most girls actually bring three to four different outfits for their pictures, including different tops and bottoms to mix and match. I encourage you to bring more outfits than you actually plan to wear. Sometimes something just doesn’t feel right the day of when you try it on – and that’s okay!
We can go through your outfits the day of your shoot (this is why it’s key to arrive a little extra early!) and work together to find the perfect combination for you! If it helps you plan, I generally recommend for any girl to start with the more dressy option while hair and makeup is fresh for senior pictures.
Where will I change outfits during my senior portraits?
Don’t have to worry about changing awkwardly in the back of your car or in a cramped public restroom. I have a portable changing tent that measures about 4×4 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall to make changing anywhere easy and quick!
Hey Girl! What To Wear – Outfit Tips To Make Your Senior Pictures Fabulous
Stuck on what to wear? I’m here to help! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you guide your outfit choices!
If you end up wearing something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in, it can ruin the experience for you! Does that sound dramatic? Maybe – but think about it. When you look back on old pictures, you remember how you felt. Did something embarrassing happen at that party? OMG – you know that’s ALL you think about when you look back at those pictures, no matter how cute your outfit was.
Let’s make sure you don’t have any of those concerns during your senior portrait session. Here are some of the best ways to choose what to wear.
1. BE COMFORTABLE
If you don’t like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home! Personally, I try to steer clear of items that are fitted in the tummy area (don’t we all?) just because it makes me self-conscious and I’m constantly wondering if it looks bad, fidgeting and pulling on my clothes. If there are pieces in your closet that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait wardrobe!
The best way to do this is to make sure you try on your clothes a few days (and preferably a full week) before the session so you aren’t rushing around at the last minute grabbing clothes that may or may not end up working for you. Additionally, we will most likely be sitting on the ground, laying down, walking and doing other things that could be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable! (This also includes super short dresses and some styles of shorts.)
Oh! And after you decide what to pack for your senior photos, hang everything on hangers. You’ll thank me later!
2. BE BRIGHT + THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
On camera, an outfit comprised of solid black or white can make skin tones look washed out, which is never flattering. When choosing outfits for your senior session, try to choose colors that pop and that compliment your hair + skin colors!
I always recommend soft pastels for girl senior pictures because the soft, light colors will reflect back up onto your face. Neons can create a color cast on your neck, under your eyes and cheeks that is super unflattering (and needs a lot of extra editing time).
Primary colors like red, royal blue and yellow photograph beautifully as well as emerald green, bright purples, pinks, oranges and any other colors that really pop! If you choose a brighter color, steer away from poly blend materials. If they look shiny in person, they’ll look twice as reflective on camera.
Ultimately, make sure your clothing choices reflect your personality!
3. THINK ABOUT YOUR LOCATION
If we are shooting in a sunflower field, you want to steer away from yellow and dark green because those are already the main colors at your location. You’re taking senior pictures as a way to stand out, not blend into the background!
Similarly, if we are shooting in an area with a lot of dark pines, be sure to wear something lighter in color to create some contrast.
This is why your questionnaire is so important – it helps me to be able to recommend a great location, and then you can create the perfect look with your outfits! I will also talk things through with you if you have multiple locations so we can plan the best outfit for each location.
4. ADD LAYERS
In the cold months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! Try pairing a sweater with a scarf and/or a vest to add dimension to your images and stay warm without feeling too bulky. Even in the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a belt or vest over a dress!
We call this the “completer piece” – you have a top, a bottom, PLUS a piece that brings the outfit together (jacket, vest, scarf, statement necklace, etc).
5. PLAY WITH TEXTURES
Sometimes textures like sequins, faux furs, and sparkles can be considered “over the top” but, in portraits, they are SO fun! Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull!
Sequins and sparkles not your style? No sweat – something as simple as a cable-knit sweater (instead of plain cotton) will add dimension and interest to your outfit!
6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCESSORIZE
When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan your accessories, too!
Hats and scarves give your hands something to do in pictures and are always fun. Other add-ons include stacks of bangles, long necklaces, statement pieces, or bright shoes!
This is so important I’m going to say it again: make sure to try your clothing on ahead of time!
Look out for the following things when trying clothing on:
- Think about how your clothing fits as you move around.
- If you’re planning to wear a shorter skirt or dress, what will happen if it’s a windy day? Can you raise your arms above your head without giving the camera a show? 😉
- The same goes for your tops. Check yourself in a mirror from the side as well as straight on.
- While we’re on that note – make sure you have an appropriate bra for each outfit. Hint – if your bra strap keeps sliding down your shoulder, your bra doesn’t fit right. Time to go shopping!
- Can you actually walk in your shoes? I’m all for 4 inch heels (shorties unite!), but if you can’t even keep your balance, let alone walk in those cute heels, it’s going to be a drag on your photos.
- If you’re already needing to lint roll your clothing over and over at home, consider leaving that outfit at home. Some materials are extra prone to have every single fuzzy clinging to them. Save the time on your senior picture day!
Whoa, Girl! What NOT To Wear For Your Senior Pictures
There are some things that are great to wear every day but aren’t going to look good for pictures – and will seriously date your pictures when you look back at them later on.
First of all, aim for a blend of fitted and looser garments – not all fitted or all loose-fit.
A baggy sweater + wide leg pants will make you look bigger than you already are – and no one wants that! Also, I recommend against leggings – not only will they show any little lump or bump (can we say VPL?!) but they also attract everything – lint, dust, dirt, etc.
Something else to leave at home is logo tees and hoodies. Are you a paid model for Nike? Probably not, so why give them the free publicity? Really, unless they’re from your high school or the college you’re attending, tops with a brand name plastered across the chest is the number one fastest way to date your images.
Should I Wear Makeup For My Senior Pictures?
Plan to wear slightly heavier makeup than your everyday look, including blush and lipstick/gloss that are at least slightly darker than your lip color. This helps to ensure you will not look washed out on camera.
Not really into makeup? That’s okay, really – no judgement here! But you’d be surprised – a little makeup will go a long way on camera. Let’s chat and find a minimalist look that works for you.
You’d be amazed what a difference little MASCARA makes! (A great drugstore option I highly recommend is Maybelline Colossal).
Want even more makeup recommendations that won’t break your budget? I have a whole post on that here!
A Few Other Things To Consider When Planning Your Senior Portraits
IT’S SUMMER, SO I SHOULD PROBABLY GET SOME SUN, RIGHT?
… Not exactly. I do recommend you cut back on time in the sun two to three days before your session to avoid skin problems such as peeling and redness. Makeup and Photoshop can correct minor skin issues but they are not magic!
DON’T NEGLECT THE NAILS!
And, one last tip!! In all of the chaos of senior session prep…don’t forget to pamper your nails! During your shoot, a lot of the poses we do will have your hands close to your face and in the frame, so make sure that your nails look just how you want!
Try to avoid any chipped polish or crazy patterns. French manicures, light/natural colors and even nails with no color at all photograph best!
Whew! You made it through.
I hope you found this guide on what to wear for girl senior pictures helpful. Need more help? Feel free to send me an email.
If you’re not on my schedule yet for senior pictures, let’s take care of that now!
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Enjoy the VU Photography is a high school senior photographer in Houghton Michigan. Veronica provides senior portrait photography to the Keweenaw, Houghton, and Ontonagon counties.