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Tips for a Killer Senior Portrait Session | Maryland Senior Portrait Photographer

Long gone are the days of boring senior photos with a drape and a fake red rose. Senior portraits these days are less about the yearbook photo and more about capturing this rad time in a teen's life. I mean, we're documenting a HUGE milestone! For the senior, it's celebrating 12 years of school completed and a massive leap into the real world! For us mamas, it's celebrating 17/18 years of raising this awesome human. Think about the last time this baby of yours had a photoshoot that was just about them? Sure, you've had family photos taken over the years, but this time they are the star of the show. And realistically this will be their last solo shoot. I mean, not to get all sappy here, but the next round of photos you will likely hang on your wall are going to be their wedding photos (say what?!?!). So why not make this session all sorts of amazing??

Whether you're graduating this year or planning for next year, here are my top 5 tips for for planning a killer senior sesh!

1. Location. Location. Location

My goal is to make sure these photos truly represent the seniors personality. When you book your session, one of the first things we'll talk about is the location. I always ask my client's to describe their style. When planning Evan's session (pictured above), his mom said he is a dancer at The Rage Box (which happens to be the dance studio my daughter dances at) and loves hip hop. She described his style as trendy. Immediately, I knew we weren't going to do Evan's photos on a wooded trail! We needed an urban vibe for sure! I mean breakdancing in the street was a must-have shot, am I right?!?

The location completely dictates the vibe of the shoot. Emily (above) said she wanted something "pretty," so we ventured to downtown Baltimore and explored the grounds of the Rawlings Conservatory. The beautiful architecture and grounds of blooms were the perfect setting for her.

And don't underestimate the beauty of your own stomping grounds. Sports-themed shots are my favorite to shoot on the field or in the bleachers.

2. What to Wear

Just like location, your outfit selections will also help your personality shine through in your photos. My most popular senior portrait collection includes 2 outfit selections. I always recommend one casual and one fancy. Evan (above) opted for a collection with 4 outfit changes, and this guy knocked it out of the park with 4 completely different looks. While Jenna (below) opted for 3 looks that each worked in various locations as we worked our way down Main Street in Bel Air, MD.

I also encourage layers and/or accessories! When Caitlin (below) brought this awesome hat to her session, I did a little happy dance. It was the perfect compliment to her adorable romper and allowed for us to have some fun playing with it during her shoot.

3. Hair + Make-Up

OK boys, and moms of boys, you can skip this one, but girls, listen up! I added a Styled Shoot option to two of my collections last year. With these collections, my senior girls get to spend an hour before their session getting pampered by my amazing hair and make-up team, the girls of Fleurt Beauty Company. When it comes to hair and makeup, we'll work one-on-one with Rachael and Meaghan of Fleurt Beauty Co. to give each senior a style that is truly theirs, just amplified a little for the camera. I highly recommend this option as it adds to the whole experience. Girls leave feeling like true super models and in turn are even more comfortable in front of the camera. I attend every hair and makeup session, too, so this gives me some time to chat about outfits, and we get to know each other a little before I just start snapping photos of them.

4. Candid takes the Cake

Being totally candid here (no pun intended), but I hate a forced smile. I just love when I can catch a senior laughing and can sneak in a photo without them even knowing. There is just something special about a raw, natural smile.

So, during your session be prepared to do some silly things. We might throw leaves in the air. We might swing from a lamp post. We might go all GQ and model walk down an alley.

5. Natural Light vs. Studio Light

As a photographer, I'm forever chasing all the good light. There's just something so stunning about natural sunlight. Sure there's some advantages to shooting in a studio. I do most of my headshots in my in-home studio as a matter of fact, but for senior sessions I like to be outdoors. So let's skip the studio and explore the outdoors! Worried about inclement weather? Don't stress, we can always reschedule or push through. Cloudy days can sometimes be the prettiest days. Believe it or not, it was pouring down rain 10 minutes before McKaylas's shoot (above). We were even able to wrap her shoot amidst the most stunning sunset of the season!

Have other questions, shoot me a message! I'd love to hear from you!


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