Fast forward 20 years. Your daughter has entered high school and wants to see your yearbook and senior pictures, or your sweet 16 pictures! A wave of fear overcomes you as you carefully explain that they must have been destroyed in a hurricane! Thanks to Shannon, our guest blogger from Prep Avenue, you'll be spared embarrassment as she shares tips and tricks on how to take fantastic photos for Senior Pictures (Juniors, start taking tips now!) and Sweet 16 photos... or any other grand occasion pics.
The last thing you want is to be humiliated. Senior pictures are something that last a lifetime. They get hung on multiple walls throughout your house, get placed in your senior yearbook for the whole school to see, printed on graduation announcements, carried around in your dad’s wallet, and if its up to your mom posted all over Facebook!
There are a couple tips and tricks I have learned from being a senior myself about the do’s and don’t of senior pictures, which would also apply to Sweet 16 photos or any other photos for a special occasion.
1. Do your homework- One of the smartest things you can do in preparation for your shoot is to make Pinterest your best friend. Do your research! Pinterest is the perfect place to get inspiration and ideas to show your photographer exactly what you’re aiming for. Printing off a few of your favorites, along with a list of suggestions will help your photographer make your experience the perfect Senior Shoot.
2. Stalk photographers- What I mean by stalk, is really look in to a variety of photographers. I found my photographer through Google but I looked at a number of websites before I found the perfect one for me. Most photographers have websites and blogs that allow you to look at their past work. This will help you decide if you like their “style”. I also learned the hard way to ask for a price list before you decide. Pictures are very expensive and some offer deals for the off -season.
3. Simplicity is key- I highly suggest not going overboard on the jewelry, hair, clothes, and especially the makeup. Bright, overwhelming patterns will take the emphasis off of you! It is important to bring 4 to 5 outfits with you so you can change based on the back- drop and setting.
4. Speak up- Do not be afraid to tell your photographer what you like or don’t like. Use your voice. If you don’t like the way they posed you for a picture, then share your suggestions. This is your shoot, you should get what you want.
5. Plan- The night before, plan out every outfit, down to the accessories. I also suggest trying the outfit on, especially if it contains something new that you have never worn before. Keep in mind hot pink polka dots don’t look great under white pants.
6. Know when to stop- Keep the make-up very simple. I suggest doing the same makeup routine you do everyday. Steer away from any bright or bold eye shadow colors. Remember, you want to show your children these photo’s one day! Think natural and neutral!
7. Practice makes perfect- As lame as this sounds it’s completely true. As embarrassing as it is, practice your poses in the mirror. This will give you more confidence and you will feel more comfortable when you’re posing in front of the camera. Another great idea is to look back at all your Facebook pictures. Find pictures that you really like of yourself and really study why you like it so much. This can help you figure out what poses look best on you.
8. Props- Good ole’ props! So I think there is a fine balance when using props. They can either make or break a picture. I decided to stay away from most props to avoid the cheesiness that often comes with senior pictures. I decided to bring my cruiser bike and a picture of myself when I was little. Other good ideas are:
Guitars Umbrellas Balloons Sport Equipment People! (As in best friends or siblings)
9. Weather.com- Be aware of the weather outside. It’s important to know what time of year you want your pictures taken. Most photographers really play off the seasons. There’s pluses and minus for all seasons, but know what kind of outfits you want to incorporate and go from there. The last think you want is to be standing outside in the height of winter with goose-bumps because you want a picture in your favorite dress!
10. BE YOURSELF- This is the most important tip. Know what makes you, well you. If you aren’t a guitar player, don’t pose with a guitar. These pictures are symbols of who you are today.
Look how my senior pictures turned out!
P.S. Although I have a tendency to get super awkward and stiff behind cameras, I have found it really helps if you just relax. Take a deep breath. The more relaxed you look, the more natural (and less cheesy) your pictures will come out!