Senior Session Tips – St. Louis Photographer

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Information, Senior Portraits

At last!  It’s here–your senior year!!  A few more classes, one more homecoming and prom, a handful of final exams and you are OUTTA HERE!  Oh!  And senior pictures!  Let’s not forget documenting this ALL important milestone!  Whether you are crazy excited to have some incredible pictures to show off, or are just showing up for the session because…well…MOM…  I think you’re going to be surprised at how painless and fun this whole senior pictures thing can be!  So if the session date is on the calendar, I have a few senior session tips that will help you pull this off and have a STUNNING senior gallery of senior pictures in the end!

First things first…


Senior Picture Tips and Preparation St. Louis Photographer


Yeah, you heard me right.  I want you to bring yourself to this whole gig–personality, quirks, style…ALL OF IT!  So what is your vibe?  Laid back?  Outdoor, nature type?  Quiet and behind the scenes, or loud and in charge?  Let’s chat about that because WHO you are will determine how we choose locations, outfits, and maybe even a prop or two.  If you’ve seen a friend’s session that you loved something about, let me know!  And if there’s something you absolutely detest, let me know that, too!  One senior guy I had HATED all the pictures he had seen of seniors leaning against trees.  And another senior gal absolutely loved trees–LOVED them!!  So guess who didn’t lean against a single tree his entire session and guess who climbed up into trees for several of her pictures?  Which leads us to…

Senior Picture Tips and Preparation St. Louis Photographer


There are TONS of location possibilites, and we are going to choose the perfect one for you!  Parks, cityscapes, quaint downtowns, graffiti walls, football fields, water, rocks…I think you get my point.  Maybe you have an overall feel you are going for, or maybe there is a very specific spot that means a lot to you–I’m here to make that work.  And if it’s a combination of things you’re hoping for, there’s probably a way to pull that off.  After we get your location figured out, we can move into the fun part…


Generally seniors pull off about 4 outfits in a session, give or take, to give you a number to shoot for.  (If the thought of this sounds ridiculous, don’t worry.  You don’t have to do this many.)  Now this is where you get to show off your personality!  So might I make a few suggestions?

  •  An outfit that screams YOU!  What is your usual attire?  What do you feel most comfortable in?  Now let’s do a GREAT version of that!  I want your future kids to look at these pictures one day and be able to know who you are and what you love just from looking at your senior pictures.  So make sure one outfit is TOTALLY you.  That said, keep in mind that the “best” version of this is what we are shooting for, so I’ll tell your mom that I really want an outfit that you would normally wear, and you can make her happy by making sure it is fresh and clean and whatever else will make her smile.  Deal?  Besides, you might get her to spring for a brand new version of said outfit, which makes it a win on all sides!  Examples, you ask?  Well, my son absolutely LOVES Marvel movies, so we made sure he had a favorite Marvel tee for one set of his senior pictures.  A t-shirt and his favorite jeans, simple as that.  We added a button down over the Marvel shirt for a few of these pictures–but leaving it completely unbuttoned of course, to add a little variety. Then we paired it with a great spot in our location that emphasized the look he was going for and it was FABULOUS!

Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer

  • On this next one, hear me out.  Consider doing a dressier, business casual outfit for a few pictures near the beginning of the session.  Here’s my why.  After my first son had his senior pictures taken and headed off to college, do you know what picture he consistently called home asking me for over the next few years?  The ONE senior picture that he could use as a headshot.  Applications, interviews, and who knows what else–I can just about guarantee that you will need a great headshot.  So why not knock this out at your senior session and then you won’t have to worry about it when it pops up in the future?  (Plus, it will make your mom happy.)  These might be the very pictures that hang on your Grandma’s refrigerator and make you look even more grown up than you actually are.  It will be relatively painless and we’ll knock these images out pretty quickly.

Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  • Are you in a sport or other activity or hobby?  If you have something you’re passionate about, let’s capture it!  Of course, this might mean you could bring along a jersey and ball or band uniform and instrument or whatever else.  Other things to throw in this category are a senior shirt or maybe a sweatshirt from the college you’re heading off to next year.  Play guitar?  Bring it!  Wield a katana?  Let’s do it!  Do you drive a car or truck or Jeep or something else you love?  I think you know what I’m going to say!  However, if this category doesn’t really hold any interest for you, no pressure.  It’s just something to think about.


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  • An outfit that looks amazing on you.  Is there a color that really brings out the color of your eyes?  Or is there a style that you just love?  Is there a sweater you love or a dress you look fabulous in?  Bring it!


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  • An epic finale outfit.  Okay, okay…maybe this isn’t your thing.  But if you have a gorgeous prom dress or something dramatic to show off, let’s do it!  Because this is the final outfit of the night, that means we are near sunset time and these tend to lend itself to dramatic portraits.  So think out of the box if you can.  And if you’d rather not be on the epic side, that’s fine, too.  Let’s just plan whatever you do wear to coordinate with the sunset colors so that we finish up strong.


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  • If you’re having a hard time narrowing everything down, or even if you aren’t, bring along an extra shirt or outfit or two.  That way when we’re on location and I’ve seen your options, I can tell you to throw on that extra shirt if we happen to have a cool spot that would work perfectly with that something extra your brought along.


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  • Cap and gown.  If you happen to have this at the time of our session, you’ll want to bring it along!  But if you don’t and you want to have a couple of cap and gown pictures when you do have them, let me know and we’ll work it out!


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer

Senior Pictures Tips St. Louis Photographer


Throwing in a few extra accessories is always a good idea.  A scarf, a jacket, a hat, or even a coordinating blanket can spice up any session with some variety.  With jewelry, less is usually best.  Large, clunky jewelry can often be a distraction.  And don’t forget that class ring if you have one!

Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


  •  Be careful about not going to crazy with loud prints, words, stripes, and logos–we want your face to be the focus!  Also, pay attention to the color of your undershirts that will show through clothing, as well as keeping your bra straps out of sight.  Consider going strapless if some outfits would be better off with a strapless.
  • Shoes.  Don’t forget the shoes!  (Yes, this has happened before!) Consider if you want them to make a statement on their own or if you want them to not take too much attention.
  • Generally, solid colors or muted patterns look great and aren’t distracting. Try not to wear flesh-tone or neutral colors, such as beige or tan, as these can dominate the picture and make you look washed out.  And avoid neon..trust me.
  • For more nature location,s textured fabrics and seasonal colors work well. For urban settings, consider dressing up and bring layering, which always adds depth to the image.  Choose colors that will pop off that city scene!
  • Consider your body type, as we all have features we either love or dislike about ourselves. Be careful of the clothing styles and how they will make you look and feel. You might consider avoiding sleeveless tops if you have bigger arms, wear heels or wedges if you are on the shorter side, etc.  Don’t just wear what others seems to be wearing, you want to pick a wardrobe that looks amazing on you!
  • Glasses.  This one can often be a trick because it’s easy to catch glare with glasses.  Usually, we do pictures with both glasses on and glasses off.  But some have asked their optician to remove the lenses from their frames temporarily if they want to avoid this issue all together.
  • Hands–they will be in those close-ups!  So pay attention to those nails before you come!
  • Make-up and hair.  Don’t go crazy on the make-up if that is not your normal.  And use matte make-up, it photographs much better!  For hair-cuts, make sure you pull those off several days before the session just in case anything needs a little time to grow out.


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


Sometimes bringing along a friend or family member who can make you laugh is a great way to get those authentic expressions AND make you forget that you’re in front of the camera.  If mom or dad or a sibling can pull that off, bring them!  Or if you have that one friend who is a little on the crazy side, bribe them with some ice cream and bring them along.  Of course, warn them that I will pull them in for a picture with you at least once, crazy and all!  (You’ve seen him above, but my son has been “that friend” on a couple of his pals’ senior sessions and here’s a bit of how that looks behind the scenes…)

Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


Assuming a parent, or both parents, are with you, let them know I will grab a picture with them in it as well.  This is also a big year for your parents, and I always love pulling this off when we can!

Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


Before I sign off, I just want to tell you I’m so excited for your session.  EVERY senior is unique, and I can’t wait to see how the story of your session unfolds.  Until then, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!  In fact, I’d love to know as you’re deciding outfits what you land on.  It helps me envision how to plan out the timing of your session.  But that said, if you’re a procrastinator like me, don’t feel bad if I don’t see a thing you’ll be wearing until we all arrive on the day of your session.  It’ll all work out.  It always does.

So here’s my number:  314-239-2075.  Put me in your phone and in your mom’s phone if I’m not already.  Then don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Can’t wait to see you at your session!


Senior Picture Tips St. Louis Photographer


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