Sunday, October 25, 2009

Formal Senior Portraits

I've been taking a lot of pictures lately, and wanted to share a few tips for moms out there who have high school Seniors. These tips have been snagged from various online articles and websites, and I've found them useful to pass on.

That being said, please note that most of the pictures I take of seniors DO NOT adhere strictly to these guidelines. These tips are geared more toward studio portrait sessions. Most of the stuff I do is outside and informal--and I'll share those guidelines with you tomorrow.

Senior Picture Photo Tips--Formal Studio Sessions
Hair--bring along a hair brush or a comb to the photo shoot. Avoid using too much product beforehand, as you'll want to look natural. If you're outside and the wind blows, you don't want helmet head. Avoid getting a last minute hair cut, trim or color. Usually 1-2 weeks after is best. If you use ponytail holders, don't hold them around your wrists.

Fingernails--Be sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed. Avoid wearing black, dark blue or neon, as they draw attention in the photograph, and come off as too trendy. You want to go for a classic look that will still look good in 20 years.
Tanning--Be careful to not tan the week of your photo shoot. Spray tans or tanning beds sometimes result in uneven skin tones, and those are extremely difficult to edit out. Natural skin tone is best. Avoid sunburn and tan lines, as they are extremely difficult to correct when editing photographs.

Make-up--Oily skin is your enemy, usually creating glare in a photograph. Be sure to bring along translucent powder or blotters to the photo shoot to touch up and avoid make up with spf protection in them (as they usually are oil based). Using a fresh tube of mascara will help you avoid clumps, and since many head shots are taken in a senior portrait session, you'll want to look good. Avoid wearing any frosted or glittered eye shadow in senior portraits, as they also result in shine. They also have the tendency to flake off and leave residue on your face, creating other shine spots. Chapped lips are going to show, so be sure you moisturize them the night before and/or before the photo shoot. Guys need to be sure they are cleanly shaven.

Jewelry--Ask for a close up of your class ring or wear it to the session. If you're wearing a pendant, be mindful of the fact that it will sometimes get displaced during sessions, and that may bother you. Jewelry is often difficult to edit. If you do elect to wear it, have it organized with your clothing in a baggie with the outfits you select.

Clothing--Your face should be prominate, not your clothing. Never wear a lighter colored pant with a darker top--it will accent your bottom half instead of your top. Avoid wearing a solid white shirt if possible, as white can be draining and doesn't look right in a lot of photographs. For the same reason, avoid new bright white tennis shoes. Since you'll be moving and posing a lot, girls may want to consider not wearing skirts or dresses because they can be difficult to adjust during the session. Busy patterns are not flattering and draw attention, and the attention should be on YOU. Experiment with varied necklines and colors at least a week before the photo shoot. Jackets are great as an accessory and give you an entirely different look, so those are great. Sweaters and textures also read well generally. Be sure your clothing is clean and ironed the night before. Wrinkles and dirty necklines will show up in photographs. Girls need to try on their clothing beforehand and be sure they're wearing the proper undergarments. Long sleeves or three quarter sleeves usually photograph best. Be sure the clothing fits and isn't too clingy.

Bring along a water bottle and be hydrated. Get a good night's sleep the night before. You don't want dark circles under your eyes, or any puffyness. Make sure your teen eats well in the days before their session - Teens looking to slim down for their senior pictures may take an unhealthy route towards losing a few pounds, such as fasting or taking diet pills. Make sure they're eating well and focusing on feeling good over looking good. Not getting enough nutrients can cause skin problems and sickness during the shoot. Eating fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of water will actually help the complexion. If your teen is worried about their size, help them choose slimming outfits and remind them that there are many poses that will show off their best look, no matter what size they are.

Take as many poses as are allowed - The key to taking good senior pictures is to take a bunch of them and then weed out the ones that didn't come out so well. A studio will allow you a good number of poses and an amateur photographer may offer you even more. Take advantage of this and let your teen work with the photographer to pick poses he or she is comfortable doing. This is the parent's turn to sit back and watch while the teen has fun playing model for their senior pictures.

Compromise with your teen on the final choices - When the proofs come in, there's undoubtedly going to be some senior pictures you really like and some that your teen really likes. There's also a good chance they won't be the same ones. Depending on how many your budget will allow you to choose, work out a compromise with your son or daughter to get some they like and some you like as well. Keep in mind that these are reflections of them, and that image is extremely important for most high schoolers. Let them take an active part in the choosing process and respect their decisions for which photos they want to give their friends. Taking steps to make the whole senior picture process easier on your teenager will undoubtedly make things less stressful for you as well. Give them room to express themselves while setting certain limits (e.g. financial boundaries, type of dress) and things will go smoothly, giving you both a good collection of photos to celebrate your teen's last year in high school.


BabyBokChoy said...

Love your suggestions, I can't wait till my kids are seniors and go to college and out of my house! LOL

Jana Eubank said...

Wonderful tips, Trish! These would be great for anyone!