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  • Writer's pictureAdriana Spetter

Senior – Preparing for your photo shoot

When having your portrait taken, there are five areas where a little advanced preparation can make a huge difference. Neglect them, and an otherwise perfect photo could end up with distracting elements which take the focus away from where it should be.(‘Ahem’ Your beautiful eyes, of course.) The five areas are: Face, Hair, Hands, Skin, and Clothes.

The week before your shoot ( or sooner, if you’ve booked ahead) is a time for planning. Decide on outfits, choose which beautification steps you will take, and schedule the appointments (even if they’re just with yourself) . Remember, these tips are here to help you think of ideas for preparing for your shoot, but are definitely not required, or even necessary for everybody. Just choose what fits in with your budget, lifestyle, and a current beauty regimen, and go from there!


  • Whiten Teeth. Crest sells white strips that whiten in a week or less for a quick whiteness boost.

  • Lips – You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your smoochers look their best.

  • Don’t pick. A pimple is a very easy to cover with makeup, but scabs, wounds and flaky patches are more tricky. But if you have blemishes it not a problem, we can remove them from the photos.

  • Red eyes – Visine is your friend.

  • Waxed/pluck Eyebrows. If you decide to have your eyebrows waxed, plucked or threaded, be sure to schedule the appointment for at least a few days before your photoshoot. Otherwise , an eyebrow trim/touch up at home could be a day or two before the shoot.

  • Make-up. A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. Bring your makeup for touch up to the photo shoot.

  • Facial hair. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Guys, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your board, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs.


  • Touch Up Your Roots. If you dye your hair, touching up your regrowth threes days before your photo shoot is ideal. Take my advice: this is not the time for drastic changes. Trust me.

  • Get a Trim. Neat, healthy hair is youthful and vibrant. If it’s been a while since your last haircut, even a subtle trim can make a world of difference.

  • Hair cut. If you’re getting a hair cut for your shoot, do so about two weeks beforehand, just in case it goes wrong – you just never know. For guys, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine.

  • Hair accessories – If you’re shooting outdoors, be ready to put your hair up and make it look nice in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.


  • Get a Manicure/Pedicure. Book the mani/ pedi for the day before your shoot. Soft, neutral colors work well for fingertips. Toes can get away with any color, (think about the outfits you’re bringing and be sure to choose the color that will compliment your choices.) Painted or not but be sure to remove old polish from your nails. Guys, make sure your nails are clean and trimmed.


  • Wax or Shave. If you go the waxing route, give yourself a few days to heal before your shoot. Shaving can be done the night before. Be sure to get your legs and underarms, and if you’ll be wearing short or short dresses.

  • Tanning. For best results, avoid using artificial tanning products. Avoid getting sunburned before your sessions it can cause traumatic tan lines Just embrace your inner pale.

  • Birthmarks or scars. Some people feel that these markings are part of who they are, while others would rather have them “photoshopped “ away. Which is right? Whatever you want. It’s your face, your body, your photos.


  • Bring a variety of outfits – cap and gown, something casual, something stylish, ladies slip a dress in there to throw folks off, guys try a formal look to impress wear something dark. Bring at least one dark outfit or top. Black, Navy or Charcoal work best here. Something Fun/Funky. This outfit is your chance to really show your personal style. Wear what you think you look best in, but take the opportunity to also try a new look, just to surprise folks

  • Layers the better! Layering adds depth and appeal to your photo. So try sandwiching short sleeves over shirt, or wearing a jacket or sweater, tights or legging with a dress or skirt, etc.

  • Consider Necklines. I love to be able to see your collar bone, so boat neck, scoop neck, square neck, deep V and off-the-shoulder are my favorite necklines. Whatever you choose, try to make it more interesting than the basic T-Shirt neckline. If you love turtlenecks, go for it! Feel free to bring whatever calls to you. Mixing up the necklines will add variety to your shots, so try not to bring all of one style.

  • Simple is also nice; what you wear everyday! Jean and whatever looks good on you!

  • Avoid Prints. Patterns and prints are distracting. We want people to look at you when they see your portrait, and even the most beautiful print will steal that attention.

  • Fit Your Form. Fitted clothing that shows your shape work best for photographs. Skip that billowy, blouson top, or anything with dolman or batwing sleeves. While they might be flattering in person, they will not be slimming in camera. This applies to any body type. Choose outfits that will hug your curves, especially your waist, hips, arms, and chest.

  • Undergarments – Bra straps won’t do anything to help your outfit look its best. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden.Shoes – Ladies, can’t go wrong in heels ,wedges or your favorite sport shoes. Guys, just make sure your shoes are clean. Dress shoes are best, if not that just boots or your sport shoes will work just fine!


  • Bring props that recall your high school years – band instrument, sports gear like a volleyball or baseball bat, your beloved (or cursed) high school car, letter jacket, sunglasses. Most of all, rep your style, whatever that may be. Your senior photo should be unique to your life and personality.

  • Accessories– Bring jewelry, scarves or hats that goes well with your outfits and personality!


  • Ironing – If you iron, iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.

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