You’ve booked your senior session with Kali, so now what? You’re officially a #KPSenior and I’m SO excited to work with you! It’s time to decide on a look for your session and choose your outfits carefully. This is one of the most exciting ( but also overwhelming ) parts of the experience – there are so many options, but I am here to help!
Keep reading to find out my go-to tips and tricks for preparing for your senior session. This guide will help you get the absolute most out of your senior portrait experience, and make sure that you love all of your images!
Your session is going to begin at a pre-determined location, based on the answers to your senior questionnaire and the session length you chose. We will meet there a few minutes before we plan to start shooting so that I can help you finalize any outfit choices! Please try your absolute best to arrive on time, if not a few minutes early. As a natural light photographer, your session is scheduled around the time that the sun sets or the best lighting possible. Therefore, if you arrive at your session even 15 minutes late, it can affect the length of your session. If you are more than 30 minutes late to your session, we will need to reschedule for my earlier convenience (which is often 2-3 months out).
Stuck on what to wear? You can also get some “what to wear” inspiration on my senior style Pinterest board HERE
Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you guide your outfit choices.
1. Be YOU!
The most important thing is to be authentic! A lot of times we view picture day as a special occasion, so we want to go out and buy something for the occasion. And a lot of times, we choose things we wouldn’t normally wear. I get it, you want something nice, and you want it to be special. My advice is to find something special IN YOUR OWN STYLE – you don’t need to go buy a new ball gown or an over the top outfit that you would never wear again. Often, when you try something you typically wouldn’t wear, you can feel uncomfortable and this can reflect in your images, it’ll feel awkward. If you don’t like tight fitting clothing, leave them at home! Personally I try to steer clear of tight fitting items around my belly, or too baggy on my arms, because I’m constantly wondering if it looks bad. So, if there are items in your closet that make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait wardrobe! If something doesn’t fit you quite right, it may not be something you want to bring either. I will most likely have you sitting on the ground, walking, spinning around, laying down, or doing other things that would be difficult if your clothing is uncomfortable. So – when you go in search of the perfect outfits, be sure to look for fun pieces that you will wear even after senior pictures are taken. You will be much more comfy, and you will look like YOU in your images!
2. PLAY WITH TEXTURES
Of course, I do my best to select the perfect locations for your session, however as pretty as the scenery is, YOU are the star of this show – I want you to stand out! One way to do this is to avoid pieces that are too plain or solid in color. Wearing prints, patterns and textures is a great way to add a little pop and interest to your images. I shoot images with a beautiful blurry background, with you as the subject, and this will help make you POP! Nothing looks better against a smooth, blurred background than a pretty floral dress or a fun textured sweater. A graphic tee is also a fun way to add a little detail if you aren’t into patterns. Adding textured materials to your wardrobe also helps if you do truly love solid color pieces.
3. Don’t be afraid to ACCESSORIZE!
Details are arguably the most important part of your wardrobe. They add interest and depth, and are the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. It’s that little bit of icing on top of an already beautiful outfit! A statement necklace, rings, bracelets. A trendy hat (LOVE HATS. A scarf. ALL THE THINGS YA’LL! There are so many ways to accessorize, so the combinations are endless. Do you still love your solid colors? Are you a plain t-shirt kinda person? GREAT! Wear those things, but then add a little touch of detail by adding a super cute necklace and a fun hat. Accessories are a great way to change something up a bit that is more on the simple side. And it just adds more layers to your outfit, thus adding the perfect pop to your photos.
4. Be BOLD with colors!
There is a lot to be said for classic black, and I’m not going to tell you to avoid it when choosing your outfits. However, I will tell you to keep the plain black to a minimum, especially if it has no texture to it. We live in a beautiful place, and there are so many location options…. from the woods, to a pond or river, city lights, or a flower field…. and everyone of those places is a perfect location to bring in some color! Color not only looks great in your images, it makes YOU look great in your images too! Very few of us can truly pull off full white or black without it washing us out. Pure black often times looks a little more grey in my style of images, since they are lighter, so they are safer to skip – unless its just a little here and there. Grey is trendy but can sometimes get lost amount the greens in a field or the concrete grey of a city sidewalk. I love shooting lighter colors, as well as greens, peaches, blush, yellow, and any colors that really POP! Color just takes everything up a notch, so be sure to add a little into your outfits, either with your clothes or your accessories. Sometimes, color combinations that may seem off or “too much” in-person end up photographing PERFECTLY on camera!
5. LAYER IT UP!
Okay, I know. We live in a state that can get VERY warm in the summer, and your session could be just plain HOT. BUT – layering does not mean heavy. It just means… ya know, layers. Summertime layering with kimonos, dusters, and light scarves is a great way to add detail, depth and color. Fall/Winter layering with boots, cardigans, and knit scarves keeps you warm during your shoot, but also takes your outfit up a notch! Layering can take a simple outfit from blah to WOW, AND you can always just take a cardigan or jacket off in a few shots for a variety in your look. 2 outfits in 1 – HECK YES! Not sure what to do with your hands in photos? Well, I will worry about that, but layers are a great way to give your hands something to hold onto, fuss with, or wrap up in when posing!
6. Mix It Up
When planning your outfits, make sure that you have a VARIETY of looks! I recommend you 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 (number of outfits dependent on the session you chose). This provides a beautiful array of looks during your senior portrait session, so each outfit looks different and not like you wore jeans and a shirt for every set!
HAIR + MAKEUP
The Full Senior package includes professional hair and makeup, and this section below explains a lot of why I include this service in your session. If you did not purchase the full senior session, and it is in your budget, I would love to set you up with one of my partners – just ask at the time of booking!
I highly recommend that all of my seniors invest in professional hair and makeup for their senior session, and here is why! If it is in your budget, it will drastically improve the quality of your images and your senior portrait experience. You are already making a large investment here, so why not make it the best it can be? The answer is DUH! So why exactly is it so important?
1. Hello, 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 and makeup artists are trained to do this service so that they photograph well, and some makeup products or application methods do not. 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 and outfits to make it look flawless, make your eyes POP with false lashes and shadows, manicure your eyebrows to perfection and more! My favorite part of my makeup and hair team is that I’ve specifically selected them for my seniors – I have trusted them for years to keep my seniors looking like the best version of themselves! So they will leave those CUTE freckles visible and make sure you look fab!
2. Less Stress Preparing
Your senior portrait session is stressful in and of itself – picking outfits, making it on time, keeping fly aways down, etc. Trying to do your hair + makeup by yourself can make things even harder and create more stress. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see sometimes!) so hiring a professional artist is the way to go, always!
3. Who Doesn’t Like to be Pampered?!
I never want one of my seniors to feel like their senior portrait session is simply “taking pictures”. It should be an EXPERIENCE! So, if my seniors arrive to their session after an hour or so of being pampered and beautified, the entire experience has already gotten off to a great start! If a senior arrives frustrated or stressed, it can affect the entire experience, and become more of a stressful one, and it can show in your photographs.
4. Don’t Neglect your Nails!
In all of the chaos of senior session prep, don’t forget to pamper your nails! This is my most frequently forgotten tip. 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 them! I recommend avoiding chipped polish or any crazy colors/patterns that you won’t want to look back on. French manicures, light/natural colors or even nails with no color at all photograph best. Some of my favorite nails for seniors have been white, blush, mauve and taupe. For nails, I highly recommend contacting Shawna Campbell at Rapunzel Salon in Clarkston for some really pretty nails! If you’re in a pinch, stick on nails are one of my favorite new products. Stick those on that morning, and you’re good to go!
If professional hair and makeup is not in your budget, plan to wear slightly heavier makeup than normal, including blush and lipstick/gloss that are at least slightly darker than your lip color. I also highly recommend false lashes – they make an INCREDIBLE difference in your images! If you have trouble getting them on, please just bring them (and the glue) to your session and I have NO problem applying them before we start! These can be purchased at very affordable prices at Ulta Beauty, Walmart, or any pharmacy in your area.
Feel free to email me if you have any additional questions! I’m so excited to work together!!!
Below are a couple pros from the LC Valley area that I HIGHLY recommend to take care of you. Make sure to contact them as soon as you have your date booked – to reserve your spot with them. Some of them book out a couple months in advance.
Amber Leitner @ Chic Impressions – Amber is my main hair + makeup gal, and if you book a full senior session with me, you will get to meet her!
Destiny Tyler @ DT Studio
Diana Bly @ Blondies
Phone : 509-432-4830
Jenna Tank @ LIVID
Phone : 208-791-6107
KOSMO Salon – Kami + her team
Shoot Day Checklist!
- POWDER AND LIP COLOR : As the shoot goes on, your makeup may need a little TLC, so be sure to pack some powder to keep the shine away. Lip color can also fade, so bring a tube or two of your favorite gloss or lipstick to reapply as needed.
- BRUSH/COMB + Hairspray : If you tend to have fly always, or your hair gets tangled easily, be sure to bring a comb or brush to your session. We can always pause for a minute so you can tame it back down.
- COMFY SHOES : While those killer heels are going to make your outfit WOW us, they will probably be fairly difficult to walk in (or stand for that matter) over rough terrain. Bring a pair of flip flops or slides to wear to get into position, then we can change back into them once you are set!
- PROPS : If you want to include your favorite books, band instrument, pet, or anything else you love, be sure to bring those items with you! Make sure to have a friend/parent available to hold your pet or bring them to the session halfway in so they are not stuck in a car during the session.
- YOUR PHONE : You are going to have a TON of fun, and I want to see you document the whole thing! Be sure to bring your phone so your mom or besties can use it to snap some behind the scenes photos that you can share on Instagram or TikTok later!
- A FRIEND : Bring someone along who is going to hype you up – alongside me – and someone you feel comfortable being a little silly with! We will even add them in the session toward the end.