If there's one thing I've learned after over a decade photographing seniors, it's that choosing your senior portrait outfits is one of the more stressful parts of the senior portrait planning process. And let's be real, it's a BIG decision! If you've chosen to invest in senior portraits, you want to be thrilled with the end result, and wardrobe choices can really make or break your session.
Most senior clients are not regularly photographed by professionals, and choosing outfits that will be flattering on you and flattering on camera can seem like a monumental task. This is one reason why my LHP senior clients receive a lot of hands-on help in choosing their portrait outfits - I want them to feel confident about their choices so they can be as relaxed as possible on our shoot day and enjoy every second of it!
Now I want to help make sure that YOU feel comfortable picking your own portrait-perfect outfits, whether you are an LHP senior or not. Here are my top tips and tricks when it comes to choosing your senior portrait wardrobe!
LOOK FOR LAYERS
I always recommend clients look for ways to integrate layers into at least one or two of their portrait outfits. Whether it's a classic denim jacket, a long cardigan, a heavier coat with a hood or a cool jacket like the one Kendal is wearing in the very first image above - layers are a great way to introduce some depth and variety to your outfits, as we can shoot the base outfit both with and without the added layer. Layers also offer variety in posing and movement, whether it's utilizing pockets on a jacket or twirling in a long cardigan. And hey, even if it's on the warmer side during your shoot, there are plenty of lightweight or sheer options!
A TOUCH OF TEXTURE
There are SO many interesting textures available in clothes right now - you will definitely want to take advantage of that when narrowing down your outfits! Just like layers, mixing different textures in your outfits adds some dimension and interest that is pleasing to the eye in a two-dimensional portrait. Chunky knit sweaters, lace and sheer overlays, tulle layers in a skirt, or maybe even a simple top with a ruffle trim - there are so many options! There is nothing wrong with a simple cotton top, but this is a good tip to keep in mind if you are narrowing down and need to choose between something with texture and something more plain.
CAMIS & BANDEAUS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
I know, I know, this may be many seniors' least favorite tip, but it's a really important one! My photographic style involves movement. And while that low-cut top may seem to stay perfectly in place as you stand in front of the mirror, I can promise you that once we are on location and I have you moving around or using your arms in different poses, it won't. Believe it or not, even though the senior portrait process is all about you, Mom and Dad (especially) may have a say when it comes time to ordering images if you've left too much exposed. Wearing a cami or bandeau underneath can protect us from having to ditch entire sets of images when a shirt won't stay put or wasting a lot of valuable shooting time fixing it in between every small adjustment in pose. If you want to keep it discreet, make it nude colored or match the color of your top.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ACCESSORIZE
The right accessory, whether it's a belt, simple necklace, or a statement pair of shoes, can really put an outfit over the top from "good" to "amazing"! Accessories are a great way to tie an outfit together. My recommendations to clients when it comes to accessories is always this: when in doubt, bring it! Once you are wearing an outfit it's easier to choose the right piece of jewelry or pair of shoes to finish it off. For LHP clients, I have some fun hats you can borrow and I also bring a case of jewelry to every session that is available for you to pick through and use as you'd like! And just like layers, don't feel locked in to an accessory for the whole time we are shooting that outfit. You may bring a hat and only want a few shots in it - that's great! It's just another way to increase the variety in your final gallery.
THE NUMBER ONE RULE: BE YOU!
The number one overarching rule that I always tell my clients is that you should feel GOOD in your outfits and they should reflect YOU! The whole point of senior portraits is to capture who you are right now. So if you aren't a big jewelry person, don't wear a bunch of statement jewelry! If you would never be caught dead in a jean jacket, please don't bring one. If you don't feel confident in what you are wearing, it will show in the pictures. You want to choose outfits that reflect your personality and accentuate your best features so that you can look AND feel your best during your session! Pssssst - while we don't have the space to cover ALL of it here, LHP clients receive detailed guides on what to wear based on body type, colors to wear based on skin tone and more. I've got your back!