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What to Wear: Senior Sessions

You’ve booked a senior session and you’re ready to set-up location spots when the looming question of what to wear arises.  As a professional photographer, it’s important to know how to perfectly style a session so the images turn out amazing. Instead of anxiously waiting for shoot-day, worrying about what your clients will show up in, try to guide your seniors into selecting the perfect outfit. Follow these 3 steps and get perfectly styled senior sessions EVERY time.

  1. Give your seniors specific outfit guidelines.

Whether you are meeting your client for a person consult, or just discussing via email, you should always provide every senior with specific guidelines for choosing and styling their outfits. Most girls have trouble deciding what to wear, or they just don’t know how to put together a cohesive look that works well for their photos and look. In my experience, they are always grateful for any help and advice you can give them. Most clients don’t even realize how important choosing the right outfits is, or how bad images can turn out if they choose the wrong one. When I meet with my seniors, I always give them the following guidelines:

  • Avoid neon colors, graphic shirts with big words or logos.
  • Stay away from fabrics that are prone to wrinkling or cling to you in unflattering ways.
  • Choose both casual and formal outfits to offer variety during the shoot.
  • Incorporate a variety of colors that are still consistent with your everyday style.
  • Avoid too much solid black. Break it up with other colors and patterns.
  • Choose flattering fits, styles, and fabrics that complement your natural shape from all angles.
  • Accessorize with hats, scarves, necklaces, etc. but don’t go overboard.
  • Never be afraid of incorporating patterns, as long as the pattern isn’t overwhelming.
  • Be yourself and comfortable in your outfit choices so you can focus on the shoot, not fixing your clothes, throughout the session.

  Senior-Session-Long-Dress-2  Senior-Session-JeanSkirt


2. Encourage your seniors to run their outfits by you before their session.

Let your seniors know that you are always available to give them input on outfit options. I invite all my clients to text or email me images of anything they are considering wearing, and I’m always honest with them. If I think they have too much of one color, or if their choices wouldn’t go well with their locations, I will let them know. Usually, their outfit decisions are good, but with just a few simple adjustments, we can get everything styled perfectly. The clients are always grateful for the input, and they end up being super confident with their outfits at their session.

Senior-Session-Duo  Senior-Session-Guitar

3. Build a client closet.

There are many advantages to building a selection of clothes for all of your senior clients to use for their sessions. Besides being a great marketing tool to attract new clients, it’s a perfect way to guarantee that all your seniors end up with perfectly styled outfits because they have been hand-picked by you. Currently, I only keep maxi dresses and skirts in my client closet, but you can keep all kinds of outfit pieces to lend out. By building your own selection of clothes you know photograph well, you can easily encourage your seniors to make great outfit choices. When you start building your closet, I recommend choosing a variety of pieces of various sizes and shapes. I also recommend adding pieces slowly over time so you don’t spend too much at the beginning and can update the pieces regularly as well as stay current with fashion trends.

Senior-Session-Jeans  Senior-Session-Long-Dress

By following these 3 steps, you will almost always end up with senior sessions that look like styled shoots. Additionally, your clients will feel like they’ve received the best, most personalized session experience possible from all the individual attention and time you gave to ensure they chose the right outfits for gorgeous images.  

About the Author: Becca Mathews, Naturally Vivid Photography

Becca-MathewsBecca is a 23-year-old photographer specializing in senior portraits and equestrian sessions. After launching her business 3 years ago, she now offers the most sought-after senior portrait experience in Maryland and enjoys mentoring other photographers to help them build the business of their dreams. Based out of gorgeous Carroll County, Maryland, when Becca’s not with her photography clients, she spends as much time as possible outside either with her dog or horseback riding.


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