Today I wanted to talk about senior session preparation tips because there are so many little nuances that contribute to the overall success of the session. My main goal with photographing high school seniors is to make them feel beautiful and confident in themselves. I’m positive that these tips will help you with this process.
Hair cuts can sometimes be awkward for the first week because of the weight reduction, as well as a new and unfamiliar styling regimen. We recommend if you are considering a new ‘do, to get it cut at least a week in advance. This will allow your hair to look its best on the day of your session. Getting your hair colored is a fun and exciting way to change up your look. Sometimes when color grows out though it can look skunk-like. Make sure that if you color your hair, to have the roots touched up a week in advance to the session. If you are unsure of how to style your hair, I recommend getting it professionally done at a salon (not by an intern or apprentice) before your session. While apprentices are less expensive, they are still learning and take longer than an experienced stylist. This can cause you to be late to your session or your wedding in my case.
Avoid makeup with SPF as it can cause the applied areas to appear white when light hits it. This may cause your skin to look splotchy. Similarly any makeup or lotion with glitter will create an appearance of white specks to the applied areas. Neutral eye shadow tones that are matte or shimmery are recommended so they match any outfit you bring. Applying Vaseline on your lips the night before your senior session will also prevent any lip chapping or cracking when smiling in your pictures. A new tube of mascara will also ensure there isn’t any clumping of your lashes. Makeup application is usually diminished on camera , so applying it a little bit darker than you usually do will help it to show up on camera. Feel free to bring your makeup for touch ups as well, which are sometimes needed after outfit changes. If you are unsure how to apply your makeup, I recommend Olivia DeChiara from Flair Styling Studio. Here is a picture of a makeup application she did for me in this Gatsby inspired shot.
While the Jersey Shore trend of religiously tanning is over, there are still a couple tanning rules to keep in mind. About 3-5 days before your session avoid traditional or spray tanning since it can cause tan lines, burning, peeling or splotchy skin. While the aforementioned can be fixed in Photoshop, it tends to make the subject look like plastic.
A fresh manicure or neutral nails are recommended. Bright colors or chipping can easily distract from the subject of the photograph since the hands are usually posed touching the neck, hair or face. If in doubt, french manicures are a classic.
Make sure that you bring undergarments needed for certain clothing styles such as a strapless bra for a strapless top. While tucking in bra straps works as a temporary fix, it will create unflattering bulges underneath clothing. Also if you are wearing clothing that may be light colored, bright colored undergarments may show through in bright outdoor light.
I recommend bringing extra outfits in addition to the 3-4 looks that we will be photographing in case of any wardrobe malfunctions or unflattering clothing. While things like flowy tunics look good in person, they make the person wearing it look 10-20 pounds heavier on camera. Try to coordinate outfits that are form fitting in different styles such as formal, semi-formal or casual. Make sure all clothing is freshly pressed and hung on hangers when transporting to prevent wrinkles.
3-4 different pairs of shoes are recommended. Where your senior session is located will also determine what kind of shoes to bring. Wedges and heels look great with urban or architectural shots, while flats and sandals (not flip flops) look good with nature shots. This also prevents you from sinking into the ground.
Accessories such as scarves, hats, jewelry and belts are highly recommended. 1-2 accessories per outfit can take the outfit from bland and boring to polished and stylish. A few of my favorite places to shop for accessories are Charming Charlie, Maurices or J.Crew.
Props are always encouraged and personalize your senior session to make it truly unique. Sports equipment/uniforms, instruments, or items pertaining to extracurricular activities are a few examples of props that can be used.
If your high school does not hire out a yearbook photographer, they will have a deadline and certain criteria for their yearbook images. Please research this information and provide the criteria to us a week before your senior session so that we can accommodate the requirements.