Props are a must-have for senior pictures photography. The right props will capture the unique senior’s personality, set the tone of the senior pictures, and help the senior remember what was important to them in high school.
Senior Portrait Prop Ideas
A unique senior portrait is an opportunity to capture a unique moment in a teen’s life. A teen’s senior year marks the end of a life stage and the beginning of a new one.
The right props in the senior pictures should reflect the unique senior’s experience and capture their excitement for the next life stage they are entering through a senior portrait. Here are some unique senior portrait photography prop ideas to help you plan your next senior portrait photography session!
Senior Pictures Props Help Clients Stand Out
These prop senior portrait prop ideas will help you capture unique senior pictures. We have listed photography prop ideas for classic senior portrait photography as well as some original photography prop ideas so you can capture an unusual senior portrait.
Sport a Sports Jersey
A sports jersey is a simple but effective prop you can use for an athlete’s senior portrait session. Featuring their jersey in the background as a photography prop or having you’re the senior wear the jersey will celebrate their achievements and commitment to their favorite sport through a memorable senior portrait.
Fun with Ballons
If you want portrait ideas that involve using colors, we think balloons are classic portrait prop. We like using balloons for senior pics because these props are a way of adding a touch of color and evoke the senior’s fun side.
You can have the senior hold a colorful balloon to create a contrast between your pop and the neutral background, or tie these props to a fence or chair to create an exciting background.
Tie in Things They Love
There are other senior photography ideas that call for using sports equipment during your photography session. You can incorporate sports gear in a senior portrait by having the senior hold a ball or football helmet. You can also create a display with sports equipment in the background.
Are you looking for ideas for a photography session with a senior who played in the school’s marching band or who has a creative side? Posing with their musical instrument will reflect these formative experiences.
If a senior is passionate about music, you can use a photography prop like headphones or a record to capture a fun senior portrait with an original photography prop!
Incorporate a Car
Getting their first car is a big deal for a teen, and seniors will love posing next to their prized vehicle for a senior portrait. You can capture a fun photo by having the senior sit on the hood or lean against the car.
Flowers are a classic portrait prop for teen girl senior portrait. You can have the senior hold a bunch of flowers, or use a flower crown to create a feminine look. There are plenty of other ideas to explore with flowers.
You can also use flowers as a colorful prop for a guy’s senior portrait, for instance, by adding a flower on the lapel of a tux if they opted for formal wear.
Bring Out the Books
Books make fun props that evoke academic achievements in a senior portrait! It’s one of the most versatile photography prop ideas because you can have a senior pose in front of a bookshelf, stack some books in the background to introduce a touch of color, or feature a book cover as a prominent prop if it’s an item that is significant to the senior.
Pets should be featured in at least one senior portrait. You can have the senior hold their pet or capture an adorable senior portrait with their beloved pet sitting next to them. The senior will love your portrait ideas that involve their pet!
A sign with the senior’s graduation year is a must-have prop to capture a classic senior portrait! You can use a sign as a prop by placing on the ground and having the teen pose next to it, or exploring creative ways of having the senior hold this prop
Bring a slate sign to the photo-shoot and have the senior write their own message on this prop! The senior can use this prop as a way of expressing their excitement at the idea of graduating.
Ask the senior to select a few items that have a special meaning to them. It can be something they created, a gift from someone they care about, a favorite clothing item, or even the book bag they used throughout their high school years!
You Can Always Combine Props, Too!
A lot of photographers choose a theme for each senior portrait and have their model swap their outfit and props for each senior photo.
Don’t hesitate to take a more creative approach and combine props in an unusual manner. If the senior played sports and has a passion for chemistry, why not have them wear a lab coat while holding a football helmet?
Funny Props That Make Them Laugh
One of the ideas we like is to use a funny prop to capture a senior portrait. If the senior possesses a unique sense of humor, suggest using unusual props. Ask them to hold an unexpected prop while making a serious face for a hilarious result!
You can also bring some fun props the senior can use to play dress-up. Colorful hats, oversized glasses, and funny signs make original senior photo props.
Ask the Parents!
If the senior has a hard time coming up with prop ideas, ask their parents for some information and suggestions before the photography session. Ask about the photography ideas they like. They know their child well and will be able to tell you more about their personality, activities, and what they like.
General Senior Photography Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to capture amazing senior portraits.
1. Schedule a Fun Pre-Consultation
Seniors are often posing for their first photography session with a professional photographer. That experience can be intimidating.
It’s best to schedule a pre-consultation so they can get to know you better and so you can figure out a few senior portrait ideas together.
2. Incorporate Teen’s Personality and Hobbies Through “Sets”
We like the idea of creating different sets or backgrounds with items that help reflect the teen’s personality and hobbies because you can easily move from one set to another during the shoot.
Using different sets is a way of capturing different things that are important to the senior and to showcase different aspects of their personality.
3. Don’t Forget the Classic Cap and Gown Senior Pictures
There isn’t always time to capture good senior pictures on graduation day! A senior portrait session is a great way of capturing some unofficial graduation pics. Have the senior pose with a cap and gown so their parents will have some professional quality graduation pics.
4. Make Sure to Scout the Location
It’s best to visit photography session locations in advance so you can identify potential backgrounds for the photo-shoot and get a better idea of how you can work with light in these locations. You will probably get some original ideas while visiting these locations.
5. Light, Space, and Patterns for More Visionary Photos
You can enhance natural light during your session by bringing a softbox and reflector. This gear will give you more control over lighting when shooting in overcast conditions, and you can create some noteworthy lighting effects by placing these lights in front of the senior or lighting them from the side.
Think about using white space when composing a senior photo if you need more ideas to explore. You can add white space to make the senior stand out and guide how people read the senior photo. Adjust your settings to blur the background and emphasize white space, or play with light settings to reduce shadows.
Patterns can be fun portrait ideas. You can look for patterns in a natural background or bring a backdrop. If the senior asks you for outfit ideas, bring up geometrical patterns!
6. Invite Their Friends
Teens will love having a photograph of the friends who made their high school years fun and exciting. Bring a wide-angle lens so you can capture some group shots, and place your subject in the center or have them wear an outfit that will help them stand out in a group senior portrait.
7. All About Outfits
Too many outfit changes can break up the flow of your portrait session. We recommend three outfits for senior pics, including a casual look, a formal or semi-formal outfit, and a few senior pictures with the traditional cap and gown graduation outfit.
Encourage the senior to use accessories to add variety, and to wear layers if they want more outfits featured in their pics.
8. Lighten the Mood with Some Music
Music will help your subject relax and express their personality during the photo-shoot. Play some current pop hits or let the senior choose a playlist they like!
9. What Makes Them Unique
We covered classic prop ideas like sports equipment, books, or musical instruments, but there are plenty of other ideas to explore.
Ask about activities, clubs, and hobbies. A teen who took part in a school play could use a prop they wore on stage, and a creative senior can pose with a piece of art they created. Here are additional senior picture ideas to explore:
- Posing with a skateboard or surfboard.
- Bicycles are fun and unexpected props.
- A teen who loves traveling should pose with a suitcase and other travel-related props.
- Why not have the senior pose with their favorite food or drink as props?
- Additional senior picture ideas include using a colorful umbrella.
10. Ask Parents Not to Hover (Politely!)
Having a parent around during the photo-shoot can inhibit the teen. You should chat with the parents at the beginning of the photo-shoot to get a better idea of what they expect and politely ask them not to hover so their child can relax.
The Best Time for Senior Portraits
You can offer senior picture packages as early as March so that the images can be used for graduation announcements. Most senior photo-shoots happen in June, July, or August since there is plenty of time while school is out.
However, you can capture a senior portrait with colorful leaves during the fall, or have some fun with snow by offering photo-shoots in the winter.
The Best Locations for Senior Pictures
A house with a yard will provide you with plenty of amazing locations for taking unique senior pictures. There are other options to explore:
- Are there any nearby places with interesting natural landscapes? Think about local beaches, forests, fields, vineyards, or mountains.
- If you live in an urban area, you can use parks, ponds, or bridges for your photo-shoot. Historical houses and buildings with unique architecture are interesting choices.
- A theme park or botanical garden can make for unique portraits.
- Are there any restaurants, diners, or coffee shops with original décor?
- Shooting on school grounds is an opportunity to capture a unique senior photo in a location that is meaningful.
- Talk to the senior and ask if there are any spots that are meaningful to them.
The Guy’s Wardrobe
Teenage boys can wear a casual look that includes jeans and a hoodie or T-shirt for their unique senior portrait. A polo shirt or dress-up shirt can create a more formal look.
Remind the senior to match their socks to their pants and to choose clothes that fit properly. Recommend that they wear a belt for the photo-shoot and encourage them to use layers, accessories, or to simply change their shoes to create different outfits.
The Average Cost of a Senior Portrait Session
On average, a unique senior picture package will cost between $100 and $300. Most photographers bill around $175 per hour for their services.
Pricing will vary depending on how many senior pictures are taken, how long the session lasts, how far the photographer has to travel, and how much time they spend editing the senior pictures.
Festive Senior Picture Ideas
Do you need more senior picture ideas for a senior photo-shoot? Here are some creative senior picture ideas:
- Capture the senior in front of a local mural.
- Look for a place with unique architectural features.
- Stairwells make for some great unique senior pictures.
- Have the senior pose with a vintage car.
- Bring a school chair to the photo-shoot.
- Wrought iron gates make for interesting backgrounds.
- Find a busy street and use a blur effect on everyone except the senior in post-processing.
- Have the senior wear a formal outfit in an unusual setting.
- Water is always interesting to work with.
- Capture an action photo if the senior is into sports!
- A classic black and white photo will make for an amazing unique senior portrait.
The best props for a unique senior portrait are the items that reflect the unique senior’s personality. Props are something you should discuss with the teen so you can get a better idea of which items you can use to capture senior portraits that reflect their personality.