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  • Writer's pictureJeannie Tribe

Senior Prep Guide

FOLLOW THESE TIPS Here are some general planning tips to start thinking about as you begin preparing for your senior session.  Clear Your Schedule You're going to want to have ZERO stress on the day of your session. You don't want to be thinking about where you need to be afterwards, or feeling rushed that day. Be sure to ask for the day off of work, have your mom or dad ask for the day off work if they're planning to come to the session with you, let your coach know you won't be at practice that day, and clear your schedule of any obligations. You never know what can happen on the day of your session and what delays can come up while we are out shooting.

Set Aside Time to Shop Whether you are planning to put together outfits from your closet, head to a friend's house to borrow their clothes, or purchasing new ones - be sure to set aside one day (or a whole weekend!) to get your outfits selected for your session. This will take some time and you want to make sure you try everything on. DO NOT wait until the day before your session to start picking outfits. Trust us on this one! Put your shopping day on your calendar NOW and give yourself plenty of time. Schedule Beauty Appointments If you are planning to get your hair colored or trimmed, or get a fresh mani + pedi before your session, make those appointments now. Hair appointments should take place within the 7 days leading up to your shoot. Nail appointments should take place a day or two before. It is HIGHLY recommended to have a natural colored (light pink or nude) manicure. This is so important! Acrylics, bright or very dark nail polish, or chipped polish is not ideal and will stand out in your photos.

Stuck on what to wear? We’re here to help! Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to help you guide your outfit choices. Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your senior portrait session! I know that sounds dramatic, but if you wear something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in…it can ruin the experience for you! You will photograph in a few different outfits, so be sure to bring at least 6-8+ outfit options. The day of your session, we will go through the outfits with you and help to make sure we have the perfect outfits for your body type, skin tone, and shooting location choices. GENERAL TIPS: What to Wear

  • Nude and appropriate undergarments - if you wear a strapless top or dress, be sure to bring a strapless bra option!

  • Clean shoes that go with each outfit

  • Complimentary layers

  • Outfits that make sense for the season

  • Functional clothing - if you want to get the most out of your poses, you need to be able to sit, squat, stand, etc.

  • A variety of outfits that show off your true personality - not ALL shorts, or dresses, or pants, etc. Mix it up!

  • Clothing that fits you well and accentuates your best assets - make sure to try every single piece of clothing on before bringing it to your session!

What NOT to Wear

  • Wrinkled clothing - make sure to iron or steam everything and bring it all on hangers

  • Undergarments that don't match or bra straps that show

  • Dirty or worn out shoes

  • Dresses, skirts or shorts that reveal too much when moving/posing

  • Crop tops - they look cute in person but are not flattering on most people in photos!

  • Tight or ill-fitted outfits that accentuate problem areas

  • Too many outfits of the same type or color


THE BREAKDOWN: Start With Neutrals When planning your outfits, you can never go wrong with neutrals. Start with these neutrals: black, white, grey or denim. When choosing whites - the brighter the white, the more contrast it will give with your skin which will pop. Add color from there! Bold + Warm Colors On camera, colors that are neon or bland can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. Try to avoid these colors. Warm and rich tones end up photographing beautifully on camera and will really compliment your hair + skin colors. Think of colors that are BRIGHT, RICH or BOLD. Patterns + Textures When looking for patterns, again - think BOLD. Stripes, gingham, big floral or leaf prints, etc. Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull. Combining textures that you may not normally use together like sequins + cable knit sweaters or leather + fur make great pairs! Accesorize When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan accessories. Stacks of bangles, long necklaces, statement pieces, scarves, hats, bright shoes and other add-ons can make an outfit REALLY stand out! These items not only help your outfit look better and more put together, but it helps you with posing as well - it will give your photos more variety and interest. We LOVE collaborating with our seniors and their parents to create a unique portrait session for them and one of the ways to customize your session is with your location choices. Once we know the type of location you want, we will go through all of the locations we have and select the best ones for your desired look as well as the outfits you bring on the day of your session. The day of your session, we’ll go over the locations with you and make a game plan to coordinate with each outfit. GOING PRO Having a professional for your hair and makeup will make a drastic difference in the quality of your photos and senior portrait experience. You are already making a large investment in your senior portrait experience, so why not make it the best it can be?! Our studio works with a small team of hand selected makeup artists that we have chosen to work with our clients. We are VERY picky when it comes to choosing our makeup artists, so you can be sure that you are getting the best of the best. You can choose from an extremely natural “barely there look”, to a more dramatic contoured look, or something in between. Trained Professionals When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists know how to do hair + makeup so that they photograph well. While your makeup may look amazing in person, it will look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference. Less Stress Preparing for a senior portrait session is stressful in and of itself. Trying to do your hair + makeup by yourself can make things ever harder. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every little detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see) so hiring a professional makeup artist is the best way to go. Adds to the Experience Your senior portrait session is so much more than just simply “taking pictures.” It is an EXPERIENCE. So, if our seniors start off their session with an hour of being pampered + beautified, the entire experience has already taken off on a good note!

CHECK IT Use this checklist as a guideline to make sure you have everything ready for your session so you can feel confident and excited coming in without worrying about forgetting anything!  TWO DAYS BEFORE SESSION:

  • All 6-8+ outfit options purchased/picked out

  • All clothing ironed or steamed and put onto hangers

  • Undergarments for each outfit cleaned and packed in your bag

  • Accessories and shoes for each outfit packed in your bag

  • Haircut/color completed

  • Nail appointment completed or happening soon (remember - no acrylics, crazy colors or chipped polish!)


  • Drink plenty of water

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep

  • Wash and dry your hair (it’s important to have freshly shampooed hair)

  • Exfoliate your face and body

  • Pack some water and a few snacks to take with you tomorrow

  • Set aside a cash tip for your makeup artist - typically $10-$20 is the normal tip range


  • Arrive with a clean and moisturized face

  • Eat a little something, even if you're not hungry!

  • Make sure to grab all clothes, shoes, accessories and undergarments that you packed

  • Leave with plenty of time to get to the photography location and ready to start on time.

...and that's a wrap! You're ready for your session. You've made all the preparations, followed this guide step-by-step, and now you're ready to show up and blow this session out of the water! I can't wait to create beautiful images and have an absolute blast with you! Feel free to email me ( or call/text (612-834-4916) if you have any additional questions!


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