Portrait Thursday - Get Ready For Senior Portraits / by brandon burkhardt

Senior Portrait Thoughts & Considerations

Let me totally clear upfront. All of this information is something I read from other sources in the last 24 hours. I did, however, completely 'make it mine' in both words, sorting and details. But, I did so immediatly after reading other sources. (noted at bottom of the post) All the other sources were also trying to sell you their service every third sentence. I didn't want to do that with this post. =-)

That said... Its timely information of which I was researching for myself. I know the photography piece. I can make a beautiful image. However, all the other considerations of senior portraits is something I need to know before asking to do your senior portraits. So... here is some of the information I compiled. The top 10 things to do prior to or in preparation for you senior portraits. 

  1. Timing - You don't have as much time as you think... your year is going to be jam packed with all sorts of activities from regular school activities, college visits (highschool students), Job Interviews (college students) and frankly, spending time with friends you might not see again! The moral of this story... schedule something SOON! Especially if you want them to be ready for the year book or other timely needs.
  2. Hair & Make Up - Part 1 - Speak with your photographer about hair and make up team. Do they have recommendations? Do they provide it as part of the shoot? If you schedule hair or make up appointments prior to the shoot, give at least 1 hour buffer time between get ready and your session.
  3. Hair & Make Up - Part 2 - With regards to the look of your make up, by a professional, or if your doing it at home... Be you! Do your make how you normally would for a nice occasion. DONT GET CREATIVE. You want to be YOU today!
  4. Outfit Part 1 - When picking what outfits you want to bring, coordinate where possible. You can maximize your time shooting and number of images to pick from if by not spending as much time changing.
  5. Outfit Part 2 - When considering those outfits keep a few looks in mind:
    1. Mom & Pops - Bring an out fit you know they will be happy to show off!
    2. Make it Yours - That outfit you love, look your best in or just really want to get pictures in.
    3. Activity - Bring a prop, jersey, ball, instrument, etc... what ever it is which tells the story about who you are or what you enjoy!
      1. Example Here (image from Prestige as noted below)
  6. Outfit Part 3 - Now that you have considered what outfits... make sure you book enough time with your photographer to get this all covered. Figure at least 45 minutes per outfit. 30 minutes shooting, 15 minutes changing. That's IF your close to a place to change easily and quickly.
  7. Ladies - Consider all the little details.
    1. Make sure bras are colored appropriately. No dark bras under light shirts...  
    2. Bring your lip stick / limp balm... no one wants chapped lips.
    3. Did you get your nails done... your hands will be in some pictures!
    4. Accessorize (modestly!) - I'm no help here. I'm a dude. I can tell you less is more, but you do want some cute coordinating things to wear.
  8. Guys - this ones for you: Get a hair cut, SHOWER, and SHAVE (unless your sporting a beard... then don't shave... but clean it up!). Consider getting your hair cut a few days before the shoot. The day of, make sure to shower and shave and do your hair. Don't show up with bed head...
  9. GET SOME SLEEP - Get. Some. Sleep. Bags under your eyes don't look good in pictures. I'm talking to you high school guys. I know how late you are staying up.  
  10. Communicate with your photographer! This one is huge. You should have a meeting with your photographer PRIOR to the shoot. You need to be able to get along and laugh. If you're not enjoying your time... your not smiling. If you're not smiling in your images... do I need to go on? Senior portraits (for that matter, any portraits) rely a lot on communication and trust as the photographer asks you to move, sit and stand. You have to be able to get along.

The People I borrowed all this information from: