Planning what to wear for your senior portraits can make even the sanest senior a little bit bonkers. Pinterest is filled with style boards, Instagram has fashion feeds you love, and mom has her own ideas but when it comes down to it there are a few simple ideas that no one is telling you about what to wear for your senior pictures. At My Friend Teresa Studios we go over most of these ideas in our planning meeting so we can tailor our suggestions to match your personal style. A few days before your session we stop by for a design appointment where we look at what you’ve put together and make sure you aren’t missing any last minute details. If you’ve hired My Friend Teresa Studios for your senior portraits you can be sure we are going to take care of you. If you haven’t hired us, we still want to help!
What to Wear for your Senior Portraits
1. Avoid the color red and any color that has ever appeared on a highlighter, especially if you are using a natural or garden setting. If you’re surrounded by a lush green forest or the perfect overgrown field and wearing red everything will have a Christmas-time look that is hard to get away from. As for those highlighter colors, they are hard to blend and match to almost any surrounding. Natural, solid colors will photograph the best (blues, greens, grays, whites). Natalie looks beautiful in a blue and white sundress in a perfect field of wildflowers for her senior portrait session in Chapel Hill, NC.
2. Wear your glasses, but avoid these mistakes. If you wear glasses every day, you should wear them for your senior pictures. With that said, there are two things that are hard to photograph with glasses: glare and transition lenses. The easiest solution? Remove the lenses before your session. You’ll still look like you but without the glare in the lens. Transition lenses are extremely difficult to photograph, if you can’t remove the lenses and you don’t have a pair that doesn’t have progressive lenses, you can try keeping them in your pocket until right before the shutter clicks. This will give us the best chance to show off your eyes in your senior portraits before your glasses turn to shades. Meg looked amazing in her glasses during her senior portrait session in Durham, NC.
3. Stick with clothes that you already own, and love. We know picking out what to wear for your senior pictures can seem like a fun opportunity for a shopping trip but you run the risk of picking something too trendy or that you won’t love as much the second or third time you see it. We all have that outfit that we wore only once or twice and never wore again, you don’t want the clothes you are wearing in your senior portraits to distract you later. The perfect outfit, looks like you on your very best day. Now is not the time to be someone other than who you are. Jonathan is at home at the lake or strumming his ukulele for his senior portraits at Jordan Lake.
4. Make sure that hilarious graphic tee is going to make sense in 10 years. In general we suggest staying away from t-shirts with graphics on them because they really date a photograph. Also they sometimes create cringe-worthy moments when the full phrase or word isn’t shown because of angles or tucking the shirt. Everyone loves these superman senior portraits of Izhan in Raleigh, NC.
5. Show off your culture and traditions. You might not wear a Lengha to school, or Hawaiian Leis to school but they can be beautiful elements in your senior portraits that tell the story of who you are in photographs. A good photographer will be able to use these pieces without it being too cliche or cringe-worthy. Most people don’t know this, but Soumya’s senior portraits in Morrisville, NC were the inspiration for all of our branding. The circles in our logo are meant to mimic her bangle bracelets, as if they were dropped on a table.
6. Make sure your outfit looks just as good whether you’re sitting, standing, or kneeling to pet a cute puppy. If your shorts have a weird diaper look when you sit in them, don’t wear them. If your dress only fits right if you’re standing up, it’s probably not the right outfit. In your senior portraits you want a variety of poses so don’t wear clothes that restrict your posing options. The best outfits will give room to switch from standing to sitting to squatting to laying on the ground. For Evie’s senior portraits in Downtown Durham we were walking down the road when the cutest labradoodle puppy walked by. We had to get a portrait of them together.
7. Get that underwear right y’all. From bras to boxers, what you’re wearing under your clothes is as important as what you’re wearing for your senior portraits. Make sure that bra has your boobs in the right place, the straps aren’t visible, and the color isn’t showing through. If you’re wearing white, you should be wearing flesh-colored undergarments. Guys, you’re not off the hook here either and while we won’t get in to the mechanics, lets just say make sure that your boxers aren’t peeking out from your shorts when you sit down, and nothing is bunching up under your clothes. When you’re laying out your outfits, make sure you’ve pulled the undergarments you’ll need too. You’ll look and feel more comfortable when you’re not fighting with your bra straps. It only took two tries to get this amazing dancer senior portrait of Lauren at her senior portrait session at West Point on the Eno. Her talent was breathtaking to watch.
8. Bring all the gear. If you’re going to wear a sports uniform, bring the whole thing, including the equipment. No one believes the football player with the perfect hair and jeans, holding a football in his jersey actually just got done playing football. Bring your full uniform for your senior portraits and whatever racket, bat, lacrosse stick, or golf club goes with it . . . and don’t forget the ball! If you like to go camping, bring your camping pack and make sure it is full of gear, there is nothing more obvious than an empty backpack. We had to get special permission to borrow Tyler’s Cary Academy baseball jersey for his Cary Academy senior portrait session. The look wouldn’t have been complete without it.
9. Mix it up. Make sure there are different styles and levels of dressy in your outfits. In our senior portraits for My Friend Teresa Studios we have time for three outfits. We encourage you to give a diversity of styles in those outfits. A more dressy outfit, a work-casual outfit, and a totally casual outfit is what most people bring. If you love dresses and only want to wear dresses for your session, that is great, but make sure there is variety in lengths, textures, and features (like pockets!) to give us diverse posing options. You don’t want your portraits for all three outfits to look the same and giving your photographer a variety of styles and looks will help. Alisha went from traditional Indian, to casual, to dressy all in the same senior portrait session in Downtown Raleigh but one thing that stayed the same was her beautiful smile.
10. Step away from the spaghetti straps and don’t even try that strapless. But sleeveless is awesome! No doubt you look amazing in a summery dress with spaghetti straps . . . in person. In photographs spaghetti straps and strapless dresses will make your shoulders look wider than they are and make you look bigger. It isn’t flattering and there isn’t much way around it even with the most creative posing. Sleeveless looks fantastic and photographs well, but avoid the spaghetti straps. Nothing Katie wore could outshine her beautiful blue eyes in her senior portrait session in Raleigh at one of our favorite locations, Raulston Arboretum.
11. Still overwhelmed? Use the “First Day of School” theory. We suggest thinking about the clothes you like to wear on the first day of school, when you have had months to prepare and are still trying to look extra cute. This is a great place to start for inspiration. If you’d wear it on the first day of school, it probably matches your personality and style and would be a great choice for your senior portraits. Katie was bookish and adorable in her favorite elephant cotton t-shirt and she looked right at home in the school library at Cary Academy for her senior portraits.
Don’t spend all of your time trying to figure out the perfect outfit for senior portraits, and forget to hire the perfect photographer. A great photographer will consider your style and help you plan clothing that will flatter your body and match your personality. Our senior portrait clients love our in-home design service where we go through your closets, sort through your accessories, and make sure your senior style matches who you are. Our styling is included, at no cost, with every senior portrait session we do. We love to take care of our clients and earn our reputation as the best senior portrait photographers in North Carolina one session at a time. Can we help you too? We’d love to learn about you and show the world how fabulous you are, so get in touch.