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Tag Archives: High School Senior Portraits
Want to know how to dress for your senior portraits to rock style and personality?
1. Define Your Style Point of View
If you’re a typical Colorado high school student, whether male or female, there’s one thing you KNOW about… and that’s STYLE!
We are inundated and intoxicated with ads showing “the beautiful people” at Abercrombie, Hollister, Forever 21, and Banana Republic sporting the latest and greatest in jeans, accessories, and shoes (or lack thereof).
And part of the reason we LOVE the clothes they’re wearing is because of the mood created by the photographer in the fashion ads. Elements that create our LOVE MOOD are:
- Black and White vs. Color (and whether the color is vibrant or washed-out)
- The setting (graphic elements like tree branches, a bridge, sun flare), stark grey, black or white background
- Props such as a horse, dog (giant or tiny?), car, motorcycle, barn
- Textures like soft grass blowing in the wind, bricks or stone on a downtown building, rustic fence beams, water
These elements, along with the clothing, shoes, and accessories will create a senior portrait that will define your personality at this time in your life. Work with a photographer who stays on top of the latest trends and fashions, so they will be able to help create the perfect pictures for you.
You will look back on your senior portraits in 20 years with your spouse and children, so be prepared to “defend your style choices.”
Your high school senior portrait photographer should schedule time to meet with you and your parent(s) before your actual shooting session. In this pre-portrait consultation, he or she will ask you lots of questions to find out whether you have defined your style. If you haven’t, that’s okay! You will be given suggestions on locations, clothing, etc. based on the feedback about your personality, likes, dislikes, etc. Plan to include lots of accessories, and items that you love, even if they seem out of season or strange (i.e., scarf, knitted cap, favorite book, instrument, etc).
You can also get some great ideas by looking at current-year senior ambassadors and senior models for Denver-Area schools.
2. A Word About Hair and Senior Portraits
The focus of 95% of your senior portraits will be your EYES. Trust me, your mom and grandmother will INSIST on it. Since your hair frames your eyes and face, it can either complement, or distract from your eyes. In some cases, it can distract from the entire picture!
Facial Hair: keep it trimmed, but don’t do anything drastic the day before your senior portraits. Shave anything that you want to appear smooth the day of your session.
If ANY of your session will be shot without a hat, don’t wear a hat/ballcap before you arrive to your session. To avoid “hat-hair,” your photographer will shoot any pictures with hats last in the series.
Girls: Curly vs. Straight?
If you like to interchange curly and straight hair, and want to show those looks as part of your “style,” you should look for a photographer who will shoot your senior portraits in two separate sessions on different days. It’s very difficult to straighten curly hair, or curl hair that’s been flat-ironed, within the time-limitations of your portrait session. And since it’s so hard to decide which way to go, just choose a photographer who will let you do both! (Preferably NOT during the same shot, as in the photo above).
3. Make-up can make or break your Senior Portraits!
Can you imagine thumbing through ANY issue of ANY fashion magazine or catalog, and seeing models dressed in the latest killer outfits, with super-cute jewelry, shoes, and handbag with a completely clean face? I think not! Even when the “bare-face” look is “in,” make-up has been strategically applied to:
- even out skin tone
- cover up blemishes and under-eye dark circles
- define lashes
- add a kiss of color to cheeks and lips (yes, even for the guys!)
Of course, the opposite is true for going “overboard” with make-up that is too heavy or over-applied. Heavy make-up CAN be used to create an artistic, dramatic “look” in a portrait… IF that is your intention (and you have planned with your photographer ahead of time). Just be sure that your hair and clothing also reflect the look that you are going for in your senior portraits.
One suggestion that I offer to my female senior portrait clients is to go to any major department store with a make-up counter, and ask to try the latest colors and application techniques. The salespeople are often estheticians and make-up artists who are more than happy to give helpful advice and demo all the latest products for you.
Fake Eyelashes are the secret of every female fashion model and celebrity! Eyelashes help to define and “pop” the eyes, so plan to apply them for your senior portraits. If you have never applied false eyelashes before, you will need a few practice sessions to learn how to apply them correctly. Be sure to do this BEFORE you get to your portrait session, or you will end up frustrated and out of time (and neither of those make for cute pictures).
4. Glasses in Senior Portraits: to wear or not to wear?
Some high school students see eyeglasses as part of their “image,” while others wear them because they simply don’t have a choice. If your glasses are part of your “Style Point of View” that I mentioned above, then you should definitely wear them! Just be aware that there are a couple of things to consider, such as glare, distortion, and darkening lenses.
Your photographer may ask that you remove the lenses prior to your session if you are shooting indoors, since studio strobe lights tend to create more glare problems than when shooting outdoors.
Also, if you have very thick lenses, your face may appear distorted in pictures, and the lenses should be removed.
If you are shooting outdoors, you won’t be able to use photochromic lenses (glasses that darken when you go outside). Unless you are shooting a “fashion shot” in direct sun, your eyes should be visible in your senior portraits, and these types of lenses will obstruct the view of your beautiful eyes.
If you are worried about any of the situations above, you can take your glasses off, or wear contact lenses for your senior portraits.
Above all, BE YOURSELF and HAVE FUN!
Have a question about creating style in your pictures? Post it in the comments below!
If you’re a Colorado high school student, and you want even MORE great tips, click here to get “10 Best Tips to Create STYLE for Your Senior Portraits” delivered in small bites by email over the next 10 days.