How to dress for your senior session even if you have no idea what to wear

One of the most asked questions I get is "What should I wear?" In the next coming months, I will have some blog posts for many session types like this one, for couples/engagements, families, children, & just portraits. This one is all about seniors! I have collaborated with a few people, Indianapolis Blogger, Trendy in Indy, and Paige Lorentzen, to give you some great tips on what to wear for your senior session. 

Tips from Trendy In Indy:

Senior year is such an exciting time. Between planning for your next step in life and celebrating many "lasts," senior portraits also take high priority. These photos will be on your open house invites, displayed in frames in your childhood home, and probably used as your Instagram profile picture for at least the next six months. 

I wanted to share some tips on what to wear for these senior photos so that you don't look back in 10 years and think "what was I thinking?" 

1. Highlight your hobbies/sports/involvement. Typical senior photos usually showcase what you did in high school. If you were on the dance team, maybe you want to incorporate your warmup jacket in some way. If it's something important to you, this is the time to use a photo to capture that memory.

2. Think about your setting. If you are taking photos with a mostly green setting such as a forest, avoid wearing green. Instead wear a color that will pop such as yellow, orange, or blue. 

3. Time of year is critical. You want to make sure your outfits are weather appropriate. If you want to wear a dress outside, shooting in December probably won't be ideal. 

4. Variety is encouraged. Let's say you describe your everyday style as athleisure. Well, you can incorporate that here, but also consider adding something more dressy. Variety is good when it comes to photos.

5. Color is important. When trying to decide what to wear for senior photos, don't pick a color that you've never worn or that washes you out. You want to select colors that will brighten your skin tone or bring out the color of your eyes (as cheesy as that sounds). 

6. Think about what the outfit says about your personality. These photos are meant to capture a special year in your life. Make sure that the outfits you select align with who you are. For example, I have a more trendy style. Therefore, I wouldn't select to wear a sweatshirt for my senior photos because that just isn't who I am. 

7. Avoid graphic tees. Unless the shirt has your future college name or you're wearing your letter jacket, don't wear anything with wording. It can be distracting and will likely not be in style in the next 10 years. 

The bottom line is you want to be proud of these photos and feel like your best self. The outfits you select play a huge part in that feeling. If you need further inspiration, check out Pinterest for more great style guides. 

[ Check out the photos below to see some ideas! Click each photo to enlarge]

Tips from Paige Lorentzen:

Hey everyone! This is Paige, Kaytee’s sister. I am here today to give my experience and tips on how to style for a senior photo shoot. For as long as I can remember I have been interested in fashion and the expression of one’s self through clothing and beauty. I have worked with a designer and a modeling agency in the past few years to see what all goes on behind the scenes of the fashion industry. As well as working with people in the fashion industry, I follow multiple bloggers and YouTuber’s/vloggers for everyday fashion advice and inspiration. Here are my tips for how to style for a senior session.

1)  Be yourself! You want to be comfortable. Don’t wear something that you would never wear in a million years, but everyone says that it is “in” or all of your friends are wearing it. First of all, you’ll probably never end up posting that picture on Instagram because you will hate how uncomfortable you will look, but also it will sit in your closet forever until you finally realize you wore it once for twenty minutes and have always hated that style.

2)  Be clean. Make sure to trim and clean your nails. Dirty nails are always such a distraction and it’s honestly one of the easiest ways to look more put together. Treat yourself to a manicure or do an at home manicure (make sure you are using all your regular “everyday” products, this is not the time to try out new products just to have an allergic reaction and forever hate your senior photos).

3)  Pin it. Go on Pinterest, Google, Instagram, and find the outfits you love. This will give you inspiration and guidance. Again, try the outfits out beforehand and wear them out to see if you feel comfortable in them. This will also give you the chance to tweak what you already have working for you. Maybe you don’t like the earrings you’re wearing or the shoes you chose are only so-so and you know that the pair of boots at the back of your closet would transform your look. Don’t be scared to make a mistake once, you will be able to utilize that knowledge to better enhance the outfit.

4)  Try everything out before the shoot. Try the new make-up look; try the new hairstyle. YouTube and Google are the two main knowledge banks for make-up and hairstyles. Think about the styles you utilize in your day-to-day looks and see if you can enhance what you already know how to do. Unless you have a ton of time beforehand (the non-procrastinators) you will want to utilize the skillset you already have. Try out the smoky eye with the nude lip, or the bright lipstick (that makes you feel like a goddess) with a shimmery gold eye shadow. You want to look like yourself, but with a little more ump. Make sure to take pictures of these looks beforehand to see what looks good on camera. I would suggest using a smart phone with the natural sunshine as lighting.

5)  Iron/steam & lint roll. Make sure your clothes are looking fresh. There is nothing more noticeable than wrinkles. I personally never used to care about this, but it makes all the difference.

Tips from other sources:

Use your go-to outfit. 
Tip from Dawne Carlisle: “I’m all about being who you truly are. I tell my senior clients to think about being the best versions of themselves during their senior sessions. For me, that does not mean going out and purchasing four new outfits. In fact, I always advise them to look in their closets and pull out the outfit that is their very favorite. Everyone has a go-to outfit that they choose when going out with friends, the outfit that fits perfectly and makes them feel fabulous. I tell my seniors to bring this outfit along so they are certain they will have one outfit that fits perfectly and reflects who they truly are at this stage in life.”

Let hair move.
Tip from Allison Gipson: “I am a Hawaii portrait photographer so I prefer longer hair to be left down to showcase movement. I disclose to many a client that in the land of sunshine and rainbows we also have wind and breeze. Perfectly kept hair will not happen. I joke at all sessions, ‘Many famous people pay for expensive wind machines and Mother Nature is giving us one heck of a deal today!'”

Baileigh's Sneak Peek

This was my first time doing a session with someone on the east side of the state and I am so glad we decided to do the session at Mill Race Park and Apple Works. Baileigh is a senior at Edinburgh High School and is a dancer and a cheerleader. She was so fun to work with and I am so happy I was able to take these photos for her! Check out some of my favorite photos from the session.