Top Tips for Rocking Your Senior Portraits

It's that season again..almost. Time for juniors to start thinking about their senior portraits and everything that comes with them. That can be overwhelming, however, we have your back with the top tips for ROCKING your senior session.

Book early.

Don’t put off getting your senior portraits booked. While you are procrastinating (because who REALLY wants to call or text a bunch of people you don’t know) there are other seniors booking their sessions during prime months. If you want an outdoor session in a field of green, book your session for May through July. Looking for fall tones and gorgeous colors of leaves? Schedule your session for September through October. Unless you love the snow enough to include it (and the cold) in your session, get booking. Make sure to know when you need to have portraits in to your school for the yearbook. Williston needs them by December, whereas Watford City doesn’t need them until March or April.

Plan your vision.

It doesn’t have to be down to the minute details, but at least have an idea of what you are looking for out of your session. Are you more of a trendy, downtown person? Or do you prefer a wide-open

field, with gorgeous sunlight? Do you have an outfit that you absolutely must include in your session? Or are you sporty and NEED to show off your love of basketball or football? Knowing a bit about what you are wanting as far as location, backdrop, outfit, sport, etc. will help guide you through our next tip, choosing a photographer.

Do the leg work.

There are MANY photographers out there, all saying they can do your session. Look for someone who has been in business a while (i.e. more than 6 months) and has a portfolio to back it up. You don’t want to have a specific vision of what your portraits should look like and then get back something that falls short of that. It’s heartbreaking. Look for the best value. Sometimes you may have to pay a bit more, but it will include awesome service extras like free hair and makeup or extra locations. Make sure to do this part with parental units though, you don’t want to find THE PHOTOGRAPHER, only for mom and dad to say no.

Meet them!

When you find the photographer for you (and your budget) make sure to meet them in person. You want to guarantee that you will feel comfortable around them, so you get the best pictures! Most photographers should be willing (if it’s not already part of their process) to meet with you, whether it’s at their studio or in a coffee house somewhere.

Plan your session!

Now that you feel super comfortable with your photographer, comes the fun part. The possibilities really are limitless. You can go with comfy casual in the middle of a field, wearing a gorgeous sundress (or shorts if dresses aren’t your thing) in the middle of June with the sun cascading down. Or set yourself up in the gym at your high school with all the equipment, wearing your jersey and looking boss. If you have chosen the right photographer, you can even include 2-3 locations in your session to get THE MOST variety possible. Make your session as unique as you are.

Hair and makeup.

This part depends on which photographer you chose. Girls, if you chose a photographer that doesn’t include hair and makeup, make sure to keep to a style that defines you and you wear often. The only thing I would suggest is that you do it up just a bit more than normal. It’ll stand out better in your portraits. You truly don’t want to look dated by your hair and makeup like most of the people from the 80’s. If your photographer does include hair and makeup, look up pictures like what you want before your session. Guys get your hair trimmed or cut about a week before your session and shave the day before to reduce razor burn. For everyone, don’t try new hair or skin products in the week before your session and try not to pick too much at any acne you may have. That can be fixed in photoshop. Promise.


I’ll try to sum this up even though I have an entire brochure on it. Pick items and outfits that first and foremost make you feel your best. Even if it goes against my guidelines. If you don’t feel comfortable in it, it will show in your pictures. Choose classic items that will bring out your tones. If you are a “summer” go with warm toned colors. If you are a “winter”, choose cooler tones. Something that makes the color of your eyes pop is a definite yes. If you have any questions about outfits, ask the photographer what they think of your outfit. They should be able to guide you if there are some tweaks to be made. Be prepared if you are outdoors for changing. Not every photographer carries a changing room, so wear a tank or undershirt so you don’t have to find a room to change in or bring a friend and a sheet to hide from the public.

Make sure to show up on time! As the star of the session, it can’t start without you. However, showing up late (even fashionably late) can cost time and lost picture opportunities. Photographers will sometimes not let you make up the time you are late which means less gorgeous (or handsome) portraits for you later, and possibly worse lighting.


You may still be nervous, and that’s ok! A photographer should be able to take a few minutes and connect with you before putting the camera on you. If you chose the right photographer, he or she will be able to get amazing shots and you don’t have to worry. Now, go find an amazing photographer!

Better yet, sign up for our Street Team and get the top senior experience in western North Dakota! Click here for more information.