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Outfit suggestions for the Ladies!


Outfit suggestions for the Fellas!




Some people are all about clothes.  Clothes express their sense of style, and their personality.  Clothes are a representation of their very being.   They’ll bring an entire suitcase of clothing into the studio for their senior portrait session.

Then again, some don’t care as long as their body is covered and they are in something that is allowed by Mom.

Your clothes are an extension of you, an expression of your style and how you see yourself, they’re also an important part of your senior picture session.

So here are some tips and ideas, some "soft" guidelines on what to choose and what to bring.


For many years, there have been guidelines in the portrait industry as to what looks good in a traditional portrait. Well, we aren't traditional for sure.   Solid colors, longer sleeves,  theres a bunch of them, and all other things being equal, if we follow those we’ll create better looking photographs.

What do you feel good in?  What do you LOOK good in? What are you comfortable in?  In short, those are the things you want to bring.

Think in terms of the different aspects of your life.  What do you wear?  Is this an aspect that you want included in your senior portrait session?  Then you should include something in this style.

However, clothing is important.  Your wardrobe is an ext

If you are an athlete, bring clothes that represent you.   You're work out gear, your uniform, pads, hats, bats, track spikes, hurdles, what ever it is,  it's part of who you are.  If you aren't a suit and tie guy, DON'T WEAR IT for your shoot.  Ladies, if you aren't into heels, and getting all dolled up, Don't.  Be yourselves, just "clean up your everyday look a bit and the rest is up to us."


Don’t get up the morning of your senior portrait shoot and grab whatever is in the pile of laundry on the floor.  Or simply whatever happens to be clean.  You’re only going to have senior pictures done once, so take some time to plan.


If we’re going to photograph you in four outfits, don’t bring four pairs of jeans and four t-shirts, unless that all you ever wear, or there’s some special reason to do so.  Think VARIETY.

For girls this might be shorts, capris, skinny jeans, skirt and dress.  All with appropriate tops, shoes and accessories.

For guys, it might be shorts, jeans, dockers and slacks.  Again, with appropriate style of shirt and shoes.

Some people have a wide range of comfort level, others a narrow range.  But whatever your range, make use of it.

You don’t want all your senior pictures looking pretty much the same because the clothing never varies, or varies so little that nobody notices.


We’ll go through your clothing when you first come in for your session, but what I want to see is what you would wear together, not just a random inventory of tops, bottoms and shoes.  In other words, i don’t want to sort your laundry for you, nor do we want to spend a big part of your time simply trying to figure out clothes that go together.


You probably already do anyhow, but think in terms of the colors that go best with your complexion and hair coloring.  If I wear white, it drains all the color out of my face, so even when i worked for IBM, i wore off-white shirts.

What color are your eyes?  If you wear at least one top that matches your eyes, it tends to make your eyes glow as if they had batteries in them.


Some guys especially are very clothing challenged, so if this is you, and  if you have a girlfriend, or a girl friend who has a great fashion sense, get her advice.  She’ll be more in tune with what’s in fashion than your mom will, but remember, in most cases your mom is paying for the senior portraits so she may have some say.  We generally end up doing at least one mom/grandma series.

Girls, have some fun with it.  Get some of your friends together and pick out what you’re going to wear.  Then bring them along as your fashion consultants/dressers.



Bring A LOT of options. The more outfits we have to choose from, the better. This will give us flexibility in matching your clothing to backgrounds and the surroundings.

Group outfits together on hangers. Make sure items are ironed and ready to go.

Plan on changing quickly. The faster you change, the more time we have to photograph and the more photo choices you’ll have later.

Make sure you’re comfortable in your clothing and that it flatters you. This will ensure that you like how you look when viewing your photos.

If you’re self-conscious about your arms, avoid sleeveless or cap-sleeve shirts and tank tops, as they tend to make arms look fuller.

Avoid stripes and plaid. Solid colors photograph much better than busy patterns.

Bring a variety of colors and mix the level of styles. Some should be dressy, some dressy-casual, and some casual.

If you’re comfortable in dresses, bring them! They photograph really well and offer a nice variety from your other casual clothing choices. We can mix dressy and casual dresses for some great looks.

If you’re going to wear dresses or skirts, wear something underneath that will give us the maximum flexibility in what we do with HOW SHORT the garments are.  We don't need any wardrobe issues with the possibility for an embarassing situation .  Some girls wear spandex or something like "spankies" under a skit, and this is a great idea.  You know best what the possibilities might be.

Also, if you wear a tank or something similar underneath your outfit, it makes it easier to change if we need to change in the car.

Also, help minimize bra straps.  Bring the appropriate type of bra for each outfit.  Bra straps can be outright distracting.

Neural colors for undergarments work best.  Don't be caught with your white pants on and your favorite pair of purple polka-dotted knickers showing through. YES the camera will see them too...



We cannot say it loudly enough. Wear heels! Whether pumps or boots, dressy or casual, plain or sassy, heels really make you stand out and look glamorous.

Flats also work well if you mix them with the right outfit.

We will not photograph you in flip-flops. Yes, they’re comfy and we all love them, but they don’t photograph well.


Although we try to help with hair, it is hard to know what your hair “is supposed to look like.” Make sure you like the look or let the photographer know your preferences. Better yet, bring your best friend with you for the session and he or she can help. Hair style is ultimately YOUR responsibility. Any hair changes during the session should be quick and simple so you have as much camera time as possible.

Bring hair spray, clips, pins, and whatever else is needed to keep your hair out of your eyes if it’s windy. Also bring a brush and mirror for quick hair touch-ups.

Do not make drastic changes to your hairstyle right before your photo session. This could add unneeded drama to your life.


Makeup that is well done is one of the best preparations you can make for your session. It will even out skin tones and help give your photos that extra pop for a model-like look. Even if you don’t normally wear makeup or wear very little, take the time to do it well and your photos will look their best.

Makeup should only be slightly heavier than normal. Mascara should be clean and not clumpy. Avoid makeup with an SPF because it tends to create a shine. Summer shine can be controlled by using translucent powder that knocks out shine without adding additional color.


Keep it simple. Big, shiny jewelry can distract from the important subject, you. If you have different jewelry for different outfits, you might put each set of jewelry in a plastic baggie and hang it on the hanger with that outfit.

Variety is nice and it never hurts to bring numerous options with you.


5-9 Outfits is what you should bring. The more clothes we have to choose from, the better. This will give us flexibility in matching your clothing to backgrounds and the surroundings. Group your clothing together on hangers. Make sure items are free of wrinkles and ready to go. (Please don’t come everything stuffed into a gym bag like many guys have done.) Make sure you’re comfortable in your clothing and that it flatters you. This will ensure that you like how you look when viewing your photos. Avoid stripes and plaid. Solid colors work much better than patterns. Bring a variety of colors and mix the level of styles. Some should be dressy, some dressy-casual, and some casual. Bring black and/or dark gray t-shirts to wear under other shirts. White undershirts stick out and photograph poorly. Avoid t-shirts with large graphics or logos. They distract from the main subject, which is you.


We don’t expect you to get as excited as the girls about shoes, but bring a variety of casual and dressier shoes. Avoid gym shoes or flip-flops since these will appear too casual when viewing your photos. Make sure your shoes are clean, polished, newer laces, and ready to wear.  Please don't show up with shoes you mow lawns in or brand new shoes that you need to lace up and take the paper out of.  This all takes time away from your photo shoot.


If you have longer hair, make sure it will stay out of your eyes during your session. Have it trimmed if necessary. Don’t make any drastic changes like shaving your head or dying your hair around your session date. Otherwise you’ll look back at your photos and wonder “What was I thinking?”


They’re great! Bring props that help show who you are. Some popular choices are:

  • Sports equipment (football, basketball, baseball bat, etc.)
  • Sports uniforms
  • Musical instruments
  • Activity related items (dance, art, school clubs, etc.)


There’s a saying in photography that says... "learn all the rules so you can creatively break them."  Here are a few that might make your sessions go smoother..

1.  Solid colors photograph better than patterns.  Patterns take the eye of the viewer away from the face and to the clothing.

2.  Generally, shirts with large writing on them don’t work as well as plain shirts, or maybe shirts with a simple logo.

3.  Think in terms of the colors in the environment we’re going to be photographing you in.  For example, if we’re doing fall colors, don’t wear pink.  That’s not a color you’d see in fall, and your clothing will clash with the colors in the background.  For downtown, just about anything works, because we’ll find the right place that works with your clothing rather than the other way around.

4. Sleeves are generally better than no sleeves, and longer sleeves are better than short sleeves.  This is simply because they eye goes to the lightest, largest item in the picture and if this is your shoulders and arms, it will take the viewers gaze away from your face, which is generally the center of attention.    The larger the arms and shoulders, the more the distractions.  So if you want to wear a spaghetti strap dress, a wrap over it might be a great choice.

But long sleeves in the summer might look out of place, so just keep this overall guideline in mind when you’re putting together your outfits.