The Best Time to Schedule Your Senior Portraits

Are you a junior?  Even if you a sophomore, it's not too soon to start thinking about your senior portraits.  This is a milestone that is worthy of documentation.  These will be images that you will keep for the rest of your life.  It's definitely not an event you want to put on the back burner.  

So which month is the best for portraits?  Some months have their advantages, but there really isn't a simple answer.  Let’s look at the pros and cons.

July:  School hasn't started yet so there is plenty of time to plan.  Life is probably pretty stress free during the summer.  However, it most likely will be SUPER hot so not so great for hair and makeup.

August:  School is starting and practices for extracurricular activities for sports and band ramp up. Weather is still really hot.

September:  School is underway and everyone is getting back in the groove.  Temperatures are slightly cooler.  Time may be stretched thin depending on extracurricular activities.  Late September is actually a popular time for senior sessions.  Getting this task accomplished early in the year can be a relief with all the things on your to-do list.  Plus, you can be one of the first to show off your images!

October:  October is a great time for senior portraits.  The weather is cooler.  Routines are set.  October is a busy month in general, though.  Another thing to keep in mind that is in Texas, October is still green.  Lots of people associate October with fall colors, however, fall does't arrive here until November.  

November:  If you are wanting fall colors for your senior pictures, November is THE month.  Autumn is short lived in our neck of the woods.  The fall colored leaves only last about three weeks.  The weather is usually still good.  Maybe cool but not cold yet.  Who knows?  It might still be hot on the day of your November session!

December:  By December, the leaves are mostly gone and the greens have usually faded into brownish tones.  The temperature can be all over the place.  December is a super busy month for most people.  Not that you can't schedule senior pictures for this month, but not an ideal time.

January/February:  I am lumping these two months together.  These months are the least desirable, in my opinion, for outdoor portrait sessions.  The weather is very unpredictable.  Many cold and windy days during this time.  If you do decide to schedule during these two months, I recommend finding some urban locations to use.  Also, expect reschedules due to weather.  

March:  March is the month where everything comes back to life!  March is a very popular month for portraits and usually fills up quickly.  Everything is green again and the flowers are starting to bloom.  Weather can still be unpredictable at times, so be prepared for reschedules in March as well.  Keep you extracurricular activities in mind, too.  Often March is a busy month as far as student events and commitments are concerned.  

April:  April is gorgeous in New Jersey.  Everything is green and lush and the flowers are blooming.  The weather is warmer and generally pleasant.  Another bonus is that you will probably have received you cap and gown at this point to wear during your session.  However, graduation is approaching quickly and you need to think about timing as far as graduation announcements are concerned.  You want to make sure you have time to get those in the mail in a timely manner.  Also, by April, yearbook deadlines for senior pages and such may have passed.  

So there you have it - the pros and cons for each month throughout the year.  I hope this helps you make a decision about when to schedule your senior portraits.  Keep in mind the most popular months fill up the fastest so the sooner you can schedule your portrait session, the better!

6 Outfits to Consider for Your Senior Portrait Session

THERE are a lot of factors that contribute to an amazing senior session and your outfit is one of them. We recommend bringing more than one type of outfit to your senior session, here are a few ideas to get you started. 

OUTFIT #1:  YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE
Bring along an outfit that you simply love wearing. Not only will it let your unique personality and style shine through but it will also make you feel comfortable and confident during your senior session.

OUTFIT #2:  SIMPLE & CLASSY
Choose an outfit that you can use for some formal shots. Keep it simple by choosing safe, solid colors such as white, black or brown. Basically, bring an outfit that you would wear to church or a formal family gathering.

OUTFIT #3: GET CREATIVE
This is your chance to let your unique personality really shine through. What inspires you and gets you smiling? Who do you want to be? Keep this in mind when choosing this outfit. 

OUTFIT #4: ACCESSORIZE
For your next outfit, simply adding in a few accessories such as a hat, scarf or sunglasses will give you a completely different look. You can also choose to throw in a few props to add some interest to the shot.

OUTFIT #5: GO TRADITIONAL
If your culture and family traditions are a prominent part of your life, why not use a traditional outfit or one that represents your culture as one of the clothing changes during your senior session?

OUTFIT #6: GET ACTIVE
If sport was an integral part of your life at school, bring your sports uniform to your senior session as an outfit change. You can even add in bats, helmets or gloves as props to add interest to the shot. 

Senior Sessions Guide on Clothing, Hair & Makeup

In this blog post we go over the do's and don'ts on your senior session. From clothing to hair & makeup.

Part of my job as the photographer is to relieve as much stress as possible before the day of the session arrives, so that my client can fully enjoy their senior portraits with no worries! The addition of the Senior Styling Traveling Studio has helped with this SO much, because it relieves some stress regarding wardrobe choices + styling issues. However, there are still TONS of other ways that you can prep before your senior session in order to make it the BEST possible experience!

CHOOSING OUTFITS: Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your senior portrait session! I know that sounds dramatic…but, if you accidentally wear something that isn’t flattering on camera or something that you don’t feel confident in…it can ruin the experience for you! So, here are some of the best ways to choose what to wear:

1. Be COMFORTABLE: If you do not like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home! So, if there are pieces in your closet that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait wardrobe! Additionally, we will most likely be sitting on the ground, laying down, walking and doing other things that could be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable.

2. Be BRIGHT + THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX: On camera, solid black + white can make skin tones look very washed out and unflattering. So, when choosing outfits for your senior session, try to choose colors that POP and that compliment your hair + skin colors! Primary colors like red, royal blue and yellow photograph beautifully as well as emerald green, bright purples, pinks, oranges and any other colors that really POP! Sometimes, color combos that may seem odd in-person end up photographing BEAUTIFULLY on camera! 

3. Add LAYERS: In the cold months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest + statement necklace or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options! Even in the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim vest over a dress!

4. Play with TEXTURES: Sometimes textures like sequins, furs and sparkles can be considered “daring” or “over the top” but, in portraits, they are the BEST! Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull! Combining textures that you may not normally use together like sequins + cable knit sweaters or leather + fur make GREAT pairs!

5. Don’t be afraid to ACCESSORIZE: When planning your outfits, don’t forget to plan accessories!! Stacks of bangles, long necklaces, statement pieces, scarves, hats, bright shoes and other add-ons can make or break an outfit! Don’t be afraid to over-accessorize, either…it’s always better to have more than not enough!

6. MIX it up: When planning your outfits, make sure that you have a VARIETY of looks! I tell all of my seniors to choose from these categories: casual, cozy, dressy, school-related, sports-related, preppy or edgy. I always recommend choosing 2-3 of those categories and finding outfits accordingly. This provides a beautiful array of looks during your senior portrait session, so each outfit looks dramatically different!

HAIR + MAKEUP: This is another HUGE part of a senior session that can completely alter the overall outcome of your images! I HIGHLY recommend professional hair and makeup to ALL of my clients for SO many reasons. It all makes all the difference after a spa day when you feel fresh and like a brand new you!

1. They are TRAINED professionals: When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists are TRAINED to do hair + makeup so that they photograph well. While your makeup may look AMAZING in person, it will look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference! They will conceal spots you don’t like, contour your face so it looks the best in every light, use colors that compliment your skin to make it look flawless, make your eyes POP with false lashes + shadows, manicure your eyebrows to perfection and more! 

Some may think that there isn’t a difference…but I PROMISE you, the difference is HUGE! Trust me, not only is it my job to know as a Portrait Photographer, but it's also my job to know this being a daughter of a makeup artist & skincare specialist.

2. Less STRESS: Preparing for a senior portrait session is stressful in and of itself. Trying to do your hair + makeup by yourself can make things ever harder. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every little detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see) so hiring a professional makeup artist is the best way to go.

3. Who doesn’t like being PAMPERED!? I don’t ever want my seniors to feel like their portrait session is just simply “taking pictures”, I want it to be an EXPERIENCE. So, if my seniors arrive after an hour of being pampered + beautified, the entire experience has already started on a good note! If a senior arrives frustrated or stressed, it can affect the entire experience, including the way you look in photographs!

4. Don’t Neglect the Nails! In all of the chaos of senior session prep…don’t forget to pamper your nails! During your shoot, a lot of the poses we do will have your hands close to your face and in the frame, so make sure that your nails look just how you want! Try to avoid any chipped polish or crazy patterns. French manicures, light/natural colors and even nails with no color at all photograph best!!

5 Mistakes to avoid for your Senior Session

1.  WEARING THE WRONG OUTFIT.
The wrong clothing can really make a big difference to your senior portraits. If you want your photos to look great, make sure that your clothing is fitted and suited to your body shape and type. You also want to stay away from bold patterns, luminous colors, and logos.

2.  CUTTING YOUR HAIR JUST BEFORE YOUR SESSION.
Your hair plays an important role in your overall look and if you decide to get a haircut or try a new hairstyle too close to your senior session, you could end up with photos that you hate. If you will be cutting or changing your hair, rather do so at least a week before your shoot.

3.  CHOOSING THE WRONG PHOTOGRAPHER.
You need to feel completely comfortable around your photographer, which is why it’s important to take your time and do your research before you decide on someone. Be sure to meet with photographers face to face too, to make sure that they’re a good fit for you. If you’re going to feel uncomfortable during your shoot, it’s going to show in your photos. Also, if your photographer isn’t experienced enough, you’re only going to end up being unhappy with your photos and angry that you wasted your money so make sure that they have experience with senior portraits before you pay. 

4.  RUSHING THROUGH YOUR SESSION.
If you want to be happy with the results of your senior session, it’s very important not to rush.  Your photographer is a professional and knows that a successful senior session is going to take longer than 30 minutes so prepare yourself to be in front of the camera for several hours. The results will be totally worth it. 

5.  FORCING A POSE OR A SMILE.
The more natural you are in front of the camera, the better your photos will look. If you’re feeling nervous or aren’t sure how to pose, rather ask your photographer to guide you so that you get the senior portraits you’re hoping for.