8 Tips for Designing your Senior Portraits

High School Senior poses for her senior shoot

Jenny’s Senior Shoot

I love collaborating with seniors, and that was certainly the case with Jenny.  Jenny scheduled her senior photos with me, and then during her virtual consultation we designed a session that she had been dreaming about. She knew what she wanted and what she didn’t want, but she also left room for me to help her. I think that is one of the best scenarios. It’s always good to come in with a few ideas, and I especially want to know what you DON’T want. But it’s also beneficial when seniors have room for my ideas and knowledge.

Jenny laid the foundation for her session, and then we built on that. We discussed wardrobe ideas, and she texted me different looks she had in mind. She eliminated some of the things on location that she didn’t want in her shoot like metal staircases and murals, and then I created a shoot list with plethora of colorful backdrops and scenery. During her shoot we set up different scenarios and poses and found what was most natural and comfortable for her. Collaborating together, we created beautiful images downtown and at the Celery Bog, and she was really happy with the outcome!

So how should you approach designing your senior shoot? Here are a few ideas:

Come with a location theme in mind.

Do you like nature? Are you drawn more to a downtown look? Do you want a sport venue to be considered? Do you like rustic or modern? You don’t have to decide on your location before we talk, but it is great if you have an idea of what you like.

Consider special places.

Do you have a park that your family always visited? Do you have a special building or staircase that you love? Is there a family-owned venue that means something to you like a farm or old schoolhouse? Is there a part of town that brings back memories? Consider these things as we narrow down your location.

Let me think about light.

We all have special places we love, but they aren’t all equal when it comes to photography. Light is so important for your images, and that’s where I come in. Once you share your ideas with me, I help narrow them down so that they are special, yet they also are conducive to great images. I want your images to glow; I don’t want you covered in shadows or glaring sun. So as we discuss location, timing and light are always on my mind.

Share your wardrobe ideas with me.

Do you have different looks in mind? Have you considered a more dressy outfit and a casual outfit? Once you narrow down your choices, we will look over them together. I always have clients text or email me photos so that I get an idea of color and theme.

Let me guide your looks.

There are some things that look good in real life and then in photos, not so much. Once we discuss your outfit ideas, I will help you narrow down to the best prints, colors, and shapes so that it looks good in camera and also with the location you’ve chosen.

Don’t forget layering.

I always advise seniors to bring layers for their outfits. We can change up  a look so quickly with a jacket, sweater, hat, scarf, or tie, and it’s easily done without a changing room. It gives you so much variety once you get to your Reveal & Ordering session!

Think about the outcome.

Once we’ve created beautiful images, what do you want to do with them? I am a print-based photographer, so I offer collections that allow you to have prints, digitals, canvases, framed art, social media packs, and albums. Which of those suits you best? What sizes do you need? Is there a family member that would like a print for Christmas (I’m thinking of you, Grandma!)?

Lastly, have fun.

Designing your senior shoot only happens one time, so enjoy it! Have fun collaborating with me and designing what you want. Capture memories you’ve made over the past 12 years. Laugh when I ask you to fake laugh for the camera (people always do). Treasure this time – you deserve it!

If you read this and you’re getting excited about designing your senior photo shoot, give me a call or send me a message. Let’s set up your virtual consultation and session today!

Jen Ritchie

I'm a nature photographer who loves capturing beautiful landscapes and wildlife from our yearly trips out West and parks here closer to home.

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