Senior pictures capture a major turning point in a teen’s life. High school is coming to an end, and they are ready to embark on the next step of their journey.

Senior portraits should reflect a teen’s personality and high school experience. Outfits for senior portraits are an important consideration because they can express a lot about the person wearing them.

The Best Wardrobe Options for Senior Portraits

Seniors should wear outfits for their senior portraits that make you feel good about yourself, and that reflects your personality. You can have some fun with your clothes, but remember that your senior pictures are something you will cherish later in life.

For your senior portraits, we recommend wearing three different looks. Seniors should bring a casual, formal, and a third option.

Let’s Start with the Guys First

For a senior portrait, guys should pick clothes that reflect their personality without forgetting that family members will want to display these portraits.

1.      Going Casual

Guys can create a casual look that photographs well by picking a pair of jeans and a plain T-shirt or hoodie. For your senior portrait, you can wear a school hoodie, or opt for a neutral color.

Avoid large logos that might be difficult to capture or might take over the picture. If you want to dress up your every day style a little, pair a simple T-shirt with an unbuttoned dress shirt.

2.      Dress it Up

For your second portrait outfit, we recommend some clothes that will create a dressy style. You can wear a blazer with a pair of dark jeans, or opt for dress pants.

You can create something that looks more relaxed with a simple pair of jeans and a polo shirt or dress shirt.

3.      Bring a Unique Style

Have some fun with your third look! For your senior portrait, wear something that reflects your personality. We like the idea of taking senior pictures with an athletic jersey or with clothes that reflects the clubs and activities you were involved in during your high school years.

You can bring one outfit that showcases your creativity, artistic side, or sense of humor. Make sure you pick an item with an original color, and think about what would be fun to see for the people who know you well.

young man holding basketball

Image by BB1999 (Pixabay License)

Clothing Options for Girls

Jeans, sundresses, and fun accessories are perfect options for girls’ senior portraits.

1.      The Relaxed Look

Your everyday outfit should capture your personality and sense of style. A simple outfit with jeans or shorts and a T-shirt or tank top in a neutral color would be perfect. You can add layers by wearing your favorite hoodie or jacket.

Don’t forget to accessorize with a hat, sunglasses, a scarf, or some colorful shoes. Stick to one accessory if you’re worried about overdoing it!

2.     A More Elegant Option

Sundresses are a popular option for dressy senior outfits. Beige, cream, and white are popular colors, and so are dresses with flower patterns.

The bohemian style is also popular, and you can achieve it by pairing your sundress with some boots, a hat, and some loose jewelry.

3.      Packed Full of Personality

There are plenty of options to explore for your third outfit. You can choose an outfit that evokes the sports and activities that defined your high school year, wear a second dress, or dress up a pair of jeans with a nice blouse.

woman in leather jacket sitting in front of brick wall

Image by Langll (Pixabay License)

General Clothing Tips for Graduates

The senior should pick the outfits they like for their portraits. As a photographer, your role is to provide some advice and dos and don’ts.

1.      Neon Colors Don’t Work

Neon colors, red, and other bright colors are trendy, but these clothes will steal the show! It’s best to choose neutral, pastel, or jewel tones for your senior portraits.

2.      How to Photograph Glasses Without Issues

If a senior wears glasses, they should keep them on for at least a few of their portraits. Sunglasses are a fun accessory to play with. It’s important to know how to photograph glasses:

  •  Make sure the lenses are clean.
  • Don’t place a light source directly in front of the glasses.
  • Don’t use sharp light sources.
  • Don’t place a light source too close to the senior.
headshot of woman on a bridge

Image by Emz993 (Pixabay License)

3.      What Makes Them Feel Good

The purpose of senior pics is to capture a person’s personality. The go-to outfit for school would be an excellent option for your more relaxed pics. Don’t shop for a new outfit or wear clothes that are out of character for you. You can pick some dressy clothes but should also bring at least one item that is fun and reflects your personality well.

4.      Go With a Fun Graphic Tees

A graphic T-shirt with a logo or cultural reference will look outdated a few years from now. Keep in mind that not all the pics will capture the logo or image in its entirety. A band shirt can be a perfect outfit choice if you’re into music, but you should think twice before picking a graphic tee.

5.      Tradition and Culture Incorporation

Your senior portrait session should be an occasion of celebrating your culture and family traditions. For your senior portrait, you can wear a kimono, sari, kanzu, or any other traditional outfit for your portraits!

6.      Make Sure it Fits

You will adopt different poses during your senior portrait photo-shoot. Your clothes should fit properly and look good in a number of poses. Baggy hoodies and shirts are fashionable, but they don’t look good in photographs. Choose clothes that fit well, and wear a belt.

7.      Hide the Undergarments

Make sure your underwear won’t show! Avoid sagging pants, low-rise jeans, and choose socks that match your pants. If you want to wear a tank top for your senior pics, use a clip to keep bra straps in place!

8.      What to Bring to a Senior Portrait Session

What should you bring to a senior portrait photography session? Your gear should include your camera, a few different lenses, and at least one light. You can also bring additional lights, reflectors, some props, and something you can use to play music!

9.      Change it Up

You might not know what your senior portraits will look like until you get to the photo-shoot. Encourage the senior to try different poses and accessories to make the portrait session more varied!

10.   What’s NOT Recommended

Spaghetti strap tops and tube tops are a no-go. Bra straps will show, and tube tops usually don’t look very flattering in photographs.

11.   What Would They Wear at School

If the senior isn’t sure about what to wear, tell them to dress like they would for their first day of school. They should wear something that looks nice, clean, and that will make family members want to display those portraits.

12.   Show Their REAL Personality

Wear something that reflects your sense of style and personality! Your senior pics should capture what makes you unique.

13.   Dress for the Right Season

The photo-shoot won’t be pleasant if your outfit is too cold or too warm for the season. Besides, your pics might look odd if your outfit doesn’t match the weather or location.

14.   Go With the Classics

You might want to wear clothes that are in style, but the problem with trendy styles is that your senior pics will look very outdated a few years from now. When in doubt, stick to a classic look like jeans and a T-shirt.

15.   Adding Accessories, Layers and Colors

You can add some depth by adding layers to your outfit. You can wear a sweater, hoodie, or jacket in some shots and remove these items in others. You can add flair to your senior pics with some accessories! Try on different shoes, hats, scarves, bags, and other accessories.

16.   Avoid the Orange Tan

Avoid spray tanning before your senior portrait session! If you have tan lines, wear clothes that will hide them.

17.   Go Casual with a Tank Top

A tank top is an ideal way of creating a casual outfit for a spring or summer photo session. You can add a layer with an unbuttoned shirt, or use your tank top to hide your underwear if you decide to wear a light T-shirt.

young woman in plaid sitting on wooden structure

Image by 2705454 (Pixabay License)

Tips for Every Senior Photographer

As a photographer, there are a few tips you should follow to ensure that your senior photo sessions go smoothly.

1.      Always Give Your Seniors Guidelines and Recommendations

You should put together a quick guide with some dos and don’ts for picking a senior portrait outfit. Show some examples and share a few ideas. You can also make personalized recommendations based on weather and location.

2.      Help Your Clients Plan

It’s a good idea to stay in touch with clients ahead of a session. Ask about the outfits they have picked and offer a few suggestions.

3.      Build a Session Go-To Closet

Put together a client closet with a selection of go-to outfits. It’s also a good idea to have a collection of accessories seniors can use!

Things To Avoid Wearing

Are there things you should avoid wearing for your senior pictures? Remember that your senior pics should capture who you are. Avoid clothes that will steal the show!

Pick solid colors and neutral colors. Flesh-toned clothes might seem bland, and bright colors will become the main point of focus. If you want to wear accessories, pick items that match your clothes, and avoid using too many accessories in the same senior portrait.

What Time of Day Should Senior Pictures Be Taken?

We recommend scheduling your senior portrait photography session in the spring and summer so you can take advantage of the nice weather and have an outdoor photo-shoot! May is ideal, but it might be best to wait until school is out and schedule your session in June or July.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few additional questions to consider when planning a senior portrait photo-shoot.

How Can I Make My Senior Pictures Look Good?

You can make your senior pics look fantastic by picking a location that is interesting and meaningful to you. Plan your clothes and accessories in advance, try different hairstyles, and think of poses that will seem natural while reflecting your personality.

How Much Should Senior Pictures Cost?

Photographers charge between $150 and $300 for senior portrait packages or charge $100 to $250 per hour.

How Should I Do My Makeup for Senior Pictures?

You should wear a simple makeup look. Try creating a style that would be appropriate for a job interview. Wearing too much makeup can hide your features, and a trendy makeup look can make your pics seem outdated. Don’t worry about hiding blemishes since your pics can be retouched!