Help! What to wear for your senior session!

Ladies, we all have that love/hate relationship with our closet.  Am I right?  The joy of buying new clothes can sometimes turn to frustration when trying to decide what to wear for your senior session.  You want to be trendy but not too trendy. Fun, sassy, stylish. Basically, you don't want to look back at these pictures 10 years from now and say, “Why in the world did I wear that?”

PS - shout out to my mama who talked me out of wearing a denim miniskirt from Abercrombie and Fitch with Ugg boots for my own senior session…. What can I say?  It was totally the style!


The first rule of deciding what outfits to wear for your senior session is this:

YOU need to feel good in what YOU are wearing.

I always suggest finding one outfit YOU feel great in first. Then build the other outfits around that.  I don’t have strict guidelines about how many outfit changes can take place during a senior session, but in general I find 3 outfits is plenty.  Changing outfits (especially for the girls) can be really tricky when we are out and about. And it gets pretty exhausting. Seriously! So I usually suggest 2-3 outfits for most sessions.

Here are a few suggestions to help create stunning senior session outfits:

  • Use colors that are opposite on the color wheel of your photo location.  So if you are going for rich fall colors at a park, I would avoid wearing mustard or rust-colored clothing.  Instead, I would look for navy, deep purple, cranberry or emerald colors to pop out against the yellowy-orange backdrop.  Likewise, if you are heading downtown and will be surrounded by a lot of grey cement, have fun with a bold color like a pop of bright pink or fun red and black buffalo check.

  • Layer, layer, layer.  Stylize your outfit by layering on statement necklaces or scarves.  Wear a blazer or jacket over a silky tank. We can photograph that outfit with and without the jacket so you basically get 2 looks in 1!  Don’t be afraid of layers. Use vests and tights and boots. Basically put on more clothes then you probably would have if you just put on this outfit to go to dinner.

  • Jewel tones flatter almost every skin tone.  I tend not to favor pastels or neon colors. Basics like white, ivory, cream, grey and black are always a safe bet!

  • Don’t be afraid of texture.  Have fun with chunky knit sweaters, furry vests, leather or suede detailing, sequins, silky blouses, etc.  Texture in clothes is another great way to give visual interest.

  • Wear functional clothing.  To get the greatest variety of poses, you will need to be able to bend, sit, squat, etc in at least of a few of your outfits.

Here is Kayla, rocking sequins to jazz up an all-black outfit.

Here is Kayla, rocking sequins to jazz up an all-black outfit.

Here are a few things I would avoid:

  • Small-scale pattern.  Small-scale pattern (like gingham, houndstooth or tiny stripes) do funky things in the camera.  Pattern itself is totally great to incorporate, just make it large in scale. Plaid, buffalo check, wide/thick stripes, large polka dots, florals, geometric patterns are all fine!

  • Too loose of clothing.  I know you might feel like an oversized sweater will make you feel less self-conscious but really, I can’t see any shape of your body in those types of clothes.  If you are feeling stressed about a certain part of your body, pick a fabric that skims the body, not clings, but still shows off your curves. And when in doubt, wear Spanx.  (Seriously, I wear Spanx for every photo shoot I’m in. It just makes me feel tighter, toned and less worried about the tacos I ate the night before.)

  • Cleavage baring tops or clothes with excessive rips and tears.  Let me just say, less is more when it comes to revealing skin. I’m not trying to be a prude, it truly photographs better.

Shannon looks stunning in a large-scale floral pattern on this pretty vintage dress.

Shannon looks stunning in a large-scale floral pattern on this pretty vintage dress.

Whatever you do, shop from your closet first.  

Please don’t feel like you have to break the bank buying new clothes just for your family photos.  And if you do buy some new items, make sure you love them enough that you will wear them time and time again (after your session).  My favorite places to shop for senior clothes are:

  • Worn

  • Forever 21

  • The Gap

  • American Eagle

  • Dillard’s

  • Plato’s Closet

  • Wanderlust

Your clothing choices can set the tone for your session.  Don’t feel pressured to dress a certain way. If you are a casual or sporty person by nature, let that show through in your clothing choices.  If you love getting all dolled up, then go for a more dressy option.

You do you. There isn’t a right or wrong choice.