Senior Portraits Fashion & Makeup Guide

Class of 2022, it's time to start planning for your senior portraits! Here are my tips on what to wear, what NOT to wear, makeup advice, and more to make your photos as epic as possible.


This photo was taken in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden during high sun. This brick structure was perfect for blocking the harsh light. And I love the contrast between the white outfit and dark brick!

What NOT to wear


Here are a few things that you'll want to avoid: Logos on clothing, multiple patterns and busy patterns, neon colors, sweatshirts, and lots of accessories. I don't recommend choosing clothes that show your belly. This can be very distracting in the overall image. I also don't recommend clothes that are too tight OR too baggy. We want to see your shape, but we also want to keep it classy. Nor do we want to lose you in your outfit!


I'm a huge fan of simple when it comes to portraits. The less distracting your clothes are, the more we will see YOU in your photos.


Keep the location in mind when deciding on shoes. An urban area? The sky's the limit! In the woods or on a beach? Heels are a no no.



What to Wear


For one of your outfits, I recommend something flowy. A flowy shirt or dress is great for capturing movement, like a subtle breeze or catching that movement as your turn towards the camera.


If you're choosing to capture a sport or extracurricular activity in your photos, we want your outfit to reflect your that activity. This can be quite literal or we can put a creative spin on it. For example, if you're a dancer, you may choose to wear the exact outfit you dance in OR you can pair your ballet shoes with a flowy dress. If you're a musician, maybe you want to wear exactly what you'd wear to a concert OR maybe you wear your nice shirt with jeans. What I prefer to avoid is an outfit that doesn't mesh with the activity at all.


Depending on your collection, you may have time for a couple outfit changes. I recommend giving each outfit 25 minutes and basing your number of outfits on our shoot time. For a two hour, two location shoot, I recommend 3-4 outfits. Of course, you don't have to change at all! But what I like about utilizing different outfits is that it helps capture different aspects of your personality. This can be more simple than a full outfit change too. You can swap out a jacket, bring a headband or a hat, change your shoes, etc.


Check out this Pinterest board for some outfit inspiration! Need ideas for where to buy clothes? I gotchu.

  • Lulus - Trendy & affordable

  • Missguided - European & affordable. Ships to the states! Plus, students get an extra discount.

  • Shein - Adorable & affordable


Choosing your colors


Another thing to keep in mind when choosing outfits is colors that go well together. Consider your location when picking out your colors. If the background has a rich color, like the lush green of summer, I recommend softer, more neutral colors. (Also a good idea not to match your background.) If we're hanging out in an urban location (think concrete and buildings), then it's okay to go a bit more bold with your color choices. Choosing what colors to wear doesn't come easy to everyone. I'm more than happy to set up an outfit consultation at no additional charge.



Go ahead and hire a makeup artist if you want. But keep it simple!


You might want to have your makeup professionally done. It all adds to the experience and being pampered can be a huge confidence booster! However, it's not a have-to. No joke, I almost didn't have my makeup done for my wedding. And the makeup that I did end up getting done was super natural and soft. My wedding photos turned out gorgeous. In my opinion, having your makeup done has more to do with boosting confidence than creating an epic photo. I want you to feel confident and beautiful, and having your makeup done can help with that! Not your thing or not in your budget? Don't worry! Professional makeup won't make or break your photos.


If you choose to hire a makeup artist, keep it simple. I recommend asking for a natural look. After all, you still want to look like YOU in your photos.


Here are my recommended makeup artists:


Tips for doing your own makeup


Use a matte foundation (and concealer if you use one). Shiny and glossy foundations can make you look oily, and we want to avoid that.


Keep it simple and stick to what you know. While you may want to go a little heavier on the mascara, don't overdo it. And don't go trying something new for your photo shoot. I know, it might be tempting to try a new eye shadow or do something bold, but excessive makeup can be quite distracting.


Props


Feel free to bring props that will showcase who you are and what you love! Some of the more obvious ones are sports gear and instruments, but this can also include books, pets, favorite accessories (like a hat or sunglasses you wear all the time).



Before your photo shoot...

  1. DO try on all your outfits. Something might look nice on the hanger, but you feel frumpy with it on. When you try your outfits on, check the details. Make sure your bra straps aren't showing, etc.

  2. DO hang up your clothes to prevent wrinkles.

  3. DO drink lots of water and get good sleep the night before!

  4. DON'T make a huge change to your appearance. Think spray tan, crazy new hair color, etc. It can be tempting to do something drastic. You're a senior, figuring out who you want to be, an adult ready to take on the world! But you might regret a bold statement later, so I say, don't.

  5. If you're concerned about bloating, DON'T eat a massive meal and load on the salt.

  6. DO spend some time thinking about your "isms." What are those things unique little things that you do. Ask your mom or dad to point them out. A nose crinkle, the way you hold your hands or fidget with your watch. It's so fun to capture these!


Planning for your senior portraits should be a fun and exciting time! If any part of this stresses you out, shoot me an email at karajoyphoto@gmail.com and let me help! Looking forward to celebrating you and creating awesome portraits!