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The Secret to Senior Photos

Updated: Feb 28

One unexpected joy this year has been the opportunity to photograph high school seniors. Even sweeter, these shoots are with the sons of some beautiful mamas that I know. I am a #boymom of one, so working with a handful of mom and son duos has made my heart extra happy.

Getting senior photos taken is an exciting rite of passage for both parents and teens and these photos will be shared with and cherished by many people. Similar to any other type of photo shoot, it is important to plan ahead and complete certain to-do items in the days leading up to the shoot. However, no matter how prepared you are, your shoot isn't going to be memorable or fun if you don't do one very important thing. Want me to let you in on the secret? JUST BE YOURSELF. PSA FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS: This photo shoot is the time to showcase your own unique style or hobbies. Don't worry about replicating what your classmates, teammates or siblings have done before you; rock these photos your way!

For a fun, authentic and stress-free senior photo shoot, I have put together a list of tips and tricks that both parents and seniors can use.

  1. Book your shoot between July and October leading into senior year. Most yearbook deadlines are in November or early December so you want to allow yourself and your photographer enough time.

  2. Pick a location that is special to THE SENIOR. If your son or daughter loves nature, schedule the shoot at their favorite park. If they love water, schedule the shoot at their favorite beach. If they love sports, schedule the shoot where they compete. If they love architecture or being in the city, schedule the shoot in Downtown Milwaukee. You get the idea.

  3. Pick multiple locations. Yes, this is ok! Many photographers are open to taking photos at more than one location. If you want both a natural and urban feel, there are various locations around the Greater Milwaukee area that can accommodate both within a small radius.

  4. Select multiple outfits. It's perfectly normal to have a couple of outfit changes for senior photos. Here are some common examples/combinations:

    • Outfits in different colors (for those who have two favorite colors like I do!)

    • One formal outfit, one casual outfit with jeans

    • One formal outfit, one with an athletic jersey, uniform or letter jacket

    • One formal outfit, one with a school t-shirt or sweatshirt

    • One formal outfit, one with a band uniform

    • One formal outfit, one with a dance costume

5. Bring props. This could include sports equipment, musical instruments, artist easels, ballet shoes, flowers, etc.

6. Pets welcome. If you and your pet are attached at the hip and you want a shot or two with them, bring them along!

7. Bring a friend or sibling along. If your friend or sibling makes you laugh or smile and you feel their presence would add even more fun to your session, bring them along if it's OK with Mom or Dad.

8. Play music. Yes, this! If being in front of a camera makes you nervous or if certain songs inspire you and make you feel more confident, bring your phone and let's hear your favorite playlist. I love music.

9. Speak Up. If you like a certain pose or don't like a certain pose, if you like a certain background or don't like a certain background, please let your photographer or parent know! We are here to shine the light on YOU, so let us know what you want and what you need.

In addition to the senior-specific items above, here are some general tips for photo shoot prep that are also important to review!

"Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential." - Kerry Washington. Your photos are also YOUR story. Congratulations to all of the high school seniors out there! The future is bright!

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