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What to Wear for Your Senior Portrait Session

Tips & Tricks

July 15, 2021

I’m sure if you have ever been getting ready for a big event or any type of photo session, you have probably wrestled with knowing what to wear! Whenever clients book a Senior Portrait Session with me, I make sure to include a Style Guide that walks through *almost* every scenario and helps them to make some of those decisions on knowing what to wear and feeling confident about their outfit choices for their portrait session! In this blog post, I want to give you a little sneak peek into some of my top tips for knowing what to wear during any Senior Portrait Session!

When I’m preparing for a Senior Portrait Session with my clients, it’s super important to me that you feel comfortable! It’s my goal to make sure that your photos reflect who you are. I’m all about authenticity and want these photos to truly reflect your personality and style. I certainly don’t want you showing up in a ball gown if that’s not who you really are! But at the same time, it’s my desire to elevate your look and make you feel confident in front of the camera. I want you to be comfortable and feel confident… not awkward.

When it comes to a Senior Portrait Session, I like to start out with a short questionnaire that helps me to get to know my clients and bring them out of their shells a bit and ensure that I can bring out the authentic person behind the camera. I want to know what my clients like or hobbies and activities that really get them excited or they are passionate about.

I’m also there to help my clients style themselves. When someone books a Senior Portrait Session with me, I send them a Style Guide to review to help them decide on what to wear and I also guide them through the process of creating their outfits. With my ultimate senior portrait session, clients are able to have multiple outfits during their Senior Portrait Session.

What to Wear for Your Senior Portrait Session:

  • Wear bold colors! While there is a place for neutrals, the bold colors are great to help you really “pop” in your images when the background is likely to be more neutral. When your session location is outdoors with white walls or columns, you will want to have some color to help you stand out from those backdrops.
  • Avoid busy patterns. If you are going to wear a pattern, make sure that they are really big patterns – not small pattern prints. Consider big flowers or stripes, but avoid tiny flowers or anything too small and busy.
  • Bring a dress or a skirt! This can add some great movement to the images that I promise will look absolutely stunning!
  • Watch your sleeve length. My style guide includes some great information and suggestions on sleeve lengths that work (or don’t work) depending on your arm size. For bigger arms, you want to make sure to avoid a “cap sleeve” (ladies) that could make your arm even bigger. In that case, a 3/4 length sleeve is going to be even more flattering (and really is the most flattering on everyone!).
  • White jeans. These are always a hit for the ladies! Especially when you can add a bright pop of color on top!
  • Accessories! Bracelets and necklaces (or watches for the guys) are a great way to add more personality to your images and your styled outfit during your portrait session. Just make sure that you are choosing accessories that truly reflect your authentic style and personality. If you love gold or rose-gold, make that a priority in your accessories. Hats can also be a really fun way to bring out some personality within your styled outfit. Just remember – it’s always way easier to remove some accessories than it is to add something that you didn’t bring! So include those fun accessories when you get ready for your portrait session.
  • Shoes. Bring several options for shoes for your outfits, but also consider going barefoot! Especially if your session is outdoors, or if you want to step into a stream of water. Ladies, if you are considering heels, just make sure you have something to wear to walk around outdoors or in the grass until you get to the spot where you need to wear the heels for your outfit.
  • Layers. Even in the summertime, it’s a great idea to have a few layers that you can incorporate into your look. Perhaps a nice suit jacket or bomber jacket for the guys, or a cardigan or favorite sweatshirt for the girls. In the fall and winter sessions, this is more natural and layers of outerwear or sweaters can add a great element of personality to your photos.

Things to Avoid Wearing:

  • Fluorescent colors. Hot pinks, neon yellow or green, bright orange… these colors are almost never flattering to the camera and can possibly wash you out in your images.
  • Super short dresses & shorts. You don’t want your dress, skirt or shorts to be too short during your session. I know that short dresses and shorts are popular, but they can be really difficult to make you look flattering in front of the camera. Pro Tip: If you can’t sit down on the ground in your dress, then it’s too short for your portrait session.
  • Skinny straps. Super skinny straps for dresses and shirts are not actually flattering. It often requires a lot of tweaking of your arms to try and get you to look good. Strapless is better than skinny straps, because we can do some things with your arms to avoid making you look bad.

Feeling comfortable in your outfit choices is the key to making sure you feel confident and look incredible in your Senior Portrait Session photos! And as your photographer, making sure that you look your best in your Senior Portrait Session photos is about more than just the outfits. I come to our session prepared with an array of positions for posing for both guys and girls. After years of working in photography, I know what looks good for different body shapes, skin tones, or poses that work for guys vs. girls. Not only do I help walk you through your outfit choices, but also guide and direct the whole way through your session to make sure we get the most incredible and flattering images that reflect your authentic self!


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