How to Look Your Best

10 Ways to Prepare for Your Senior Portraits

Your Senior Portraits are a BIG deal! But before you get in front of the camera, make sure you're style is on point! Here's 10 Tricks to make sure you're looking your absolute best!

Wear What You Love

Okay, sure, you want to look your best for your senior portraits. Duh. But you may be WAY overthinking your choices. 

So here's the secret... What you'll look your best in outfits that you feel comfortable wearing. No... this doesn't mean your sweatpants and fuzzy socks... It means wearing clothing that makes you feel confident! When you feel good, you look good.

Bring your go-to pair of jeans. Your favorite sweater. That top you always wear for a fun night out. Bring the clothes that make you feel like you could take on the world!

We promise that if you're clothes make you feel confident and comfortable, it'll show in your portraits. And confidence is always in style!

Bring a Variety

So you have your own personal style. Perfect! We want you to dress in a way that expresses who you are! But you know what we don't want? You to wear the same t-shirt just in 3 different colors...

Instead, bring along a wide range of different looks to your photoshoot. We'll help you find the outfits that work the best with each background. Bring a mix of both casual and formal. You can bring both collared shirts and t-shirts, skirts and pants, dress shoes and tennis shoes... and a pair of jeans are a must-have! Long, dark jeans are really versatile and look great in photos.

Also bring a mix of different fabrics and looks. We suggest keeping the majority of your outfits in solid colors, but feel free to throw in a few prints or patterns to mix things up. And changing fabrics (lightweight vs heavy knits, etc) will give your portraits different "feels." 

When in doubt, bring more outfits than your session calls for. We'll help you decide!

Pay Attention to What You Wear Underneath

Finding a variety of looks and outfit choices that you feel comfortable in is step one. But what you wear underneath is almost as important as what you wear on the outside!

For the ladies, make sure you have a nude bra or one that matches your top. Bra straps show sometimes. It happens. If it does, you just want to make sure it's a color that won't be distracting. Nude bras are your best bet to make sure the color won't show through a light colored top, too.

Also, bring spandex to wear under skirts and dresses. This just insures that nothing will show when sitting or moving between photos. It'll help you stay covered and stay comfortable!

Now this one is also for the guys, if you wear an undershirt for any outfits (with a collared shirt etc.) bring colors other than just white. Depending on the outfit, white can sometimes be a little too bright if it shows. So bring along a grey and black undershirt was well. That way you can change into something more neutral or darker if you need to.

Try Everything On Beforehand

This goes back to making sure you feel comfortable in what you're wearing. It's perfectly okay to go out and buy new clothes for senior portraits. A clothing haul can be fun! What you don't want to do is have the first time you wear your new clothes be the day of the photoshoot. 

Try on every outfit ahead of time. It might feel silly, but wear each outfit, stand, crouch, sit, lift your arms over your head, twist your torso and just move around in your clothes. This way you know exactly how each outfit behaves and you won't be surprised at how it looks or feels the day of the photography session. 

You can also address any problems ahead of time by doing this. Are your jeans too tight and won't allow you to bend or sit comfortably? You may want to find a more relaxed fit. Does your stomach show when you lift their arms and you'd rather keep it covered? Now you know that you may want to bring a longer undershirt to wear with it. You'll be so prepared, nothing will catch you by surprise the day of the photoshoot!

Think About Where People Will Be Looking

Besides making sure you're comfortable, the number one thing to keep in mind is how viewers will see the finished photograph. People's eyes go wherever skin shows. This means the easiest way to control where the focus goes is by choosing what the outfits cover. Some seniors love wearing crop tops and shorts and that's great! Go ahead and rock the look! Just keep in mind that people's attention will be drawn to your bare skin. On the flip side, some seniors are uncomfortable with the way their arms and legs look, and that's okay too! Just wear longer sleeves and jeans to keep the focus on your face.

Stay Organized

So you picked out a variety of outfits and tried them on. Now you just have to keep all of the pieces in order! One of the best things you can do is put everything on hangers. This keeps it all wrinkle free and easy to sort through and look at during the photoshoot when trying to decide what to wear when. To go along with this, you may want to iron or steam shirts, dresses, and slacks ahead of time to make sure they're ready to go.

Another great way to keep organized is to put accessories in plastic baggies. If you have specific accessories that go with a particular outfit, you can even attach the bag with all of those pieces to the outfit hanger. That way no pieces get forgotten and you don't have to dig trough a jewelry box between every clothing change. 

Style Your Hair

With the clothing situation figured out, the next thing for you to consider is how you're going to style your hair and makeup. Alright... so the last thing you might want is someone telling your how to do your hair... but bare with us. Here's a few things to keep in mind:

Full-bodied hair works best. Your hair will naturally flatten throughout the photoshoot, so starting with volume will insure that it won't look too dull by the end. Curls or waves work super well. The extra bounce also looks great on camera as it adds depth and texture in an otherwise flat image.

If you want to wear makeup, make sure you feel comfortable in it.  Don't wear so much that your facial expressions feel awkward. When in doubt, go with a light and natural approach. A little mascara and eyeliner goes a long way!

Pay Attention to the Details

The little things can make a huge difference. Three little things in particular you should pay attention to:

Fingernails. Make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed. If you wear fingernail polish, we suggest putting on a fresh coat of polish before the photoshoot so there aren't any cracks or chips. 

Glasses. We use professional lighting with all of our senior portraits which, unfortunately, can sometimes cause glares in glasses lenses. If you wear contacts, that's the easiest way to avoid the issue. But if your glasses are a big part of your personal style, consider getting a second set of frames without the lenses. That way you get the look without the glare.

Dry skin. Always have chapstick and lotion on hand! Dry skin and lips can feel really uncomfortable and it doesn't look the best either. So come prepared, just in case.

Bring a Friend

Your Senior Portraits are all about you! But feel free to bring along a friend to tag along on the experience! Having someone you can have fun with will help you stay relaxed and enjoy the photoshoot even more. Plus, they can help make sure you looks their best by checking your hair and clothes and helping with any touch ups between pictures. You can also bring along a parent. Sure, you might not want Mom hovering, but she'll probably being there.

Trust Your Photographer

You want the best possible Senior Portrait experience. So do we! We've been in the photography business for 25 years and have taken hundreds of seniors' portraits. With so much experience, you can trust that we know how to bring out your best!

And we aren't just talking about knowing how to use a fancy camera and professional lighting. We know how to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere so you can be comfortable and confident in front of the camera. We also know how to bring out all different sides of your personality so you get a variety of beautiful images.

So for amazing Senior Portraits, you really don't have to stress. Trust that your photographer knows how to bring out the best!


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As a full-service photography studio in Dubuque, Iowa for over 25 years, Elite Images really knows how to make Senior Portraits awesome! With fun, fully-guided photoshoots specifically created to bring out your best, confident self for images that you both fall absolutely in love with. Every Senior Portrait session at Elite Images features professional lighting—even outdoors!—and all images are color corrected and fully retouched to bring out your best qualities. We even offer a wide range of fun wall art and display products so you can proudly show off your favorites!

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