How to dress for your Senior portraits

Uncategorized Sep 07, 2020

As the premier senior photographer in the Treasure Valley, I frequently photograph my senior clients in Eagle, Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna, and beyond! 

The number one question I always get is... how do I figure out what to wear!?

The basic senior session will involve 3 different outfits/looks.

A basic outline of these are...

1. A hobby or sports outfit to highlight what you love.

2. A casual outfit that speaks to your style.

3. Something a little nicer, business casual for boys, and a dress or formal gown for girls.

Obviously these rules can be broken, but this is the basic outline that works like a charm!

Within each of these categories, there are some things you should keep in mind.


The right clothing allows your face to take center stage in the portrait. Keep in mind that all other elements in your photo should be secondary.

For this reason, I discourage busy patterns and bright colors in your clothing, they will draw the eye to the clothing instead of the subject

  • Short skirts or dresses can limit your posing options, so think carefully before choosing a lot of this type of clothing
  • Small/Big logos across your chest are not only distracting, but they’re also going to date your portraits
  • Strive for a classic, timeless look
  • Sweaters and other garments with textures are a good choice
  • Jackets can be added for a completely different look
  • Include scarves and hats to add more looks
  • Wrinkles WILL show up in your portraits. Iron your clothes if necessary and bring in on a hanger
  • I discourage clients from wearing white tops for most portraits because white detracts from the face of the subject.
  • Bright white tennis shoes will stand out as well so avoid them  


  • Girls and guys should have fingernails clean and filed
  • Remove chipped nail polish: it will show
  • Don’t wear dark polish for your senior portraits
  • Neon polish may draw too much attention and will clash with most outfits.
  • Girls should stick to neutral tones, light to mid pink is a good choice.


  • Wear foundation that doesn’t have oil in it and if you do have oily skin, refresh your makeup with translucent powder during the shoot
  • Use a fresh tube of mascara so you don’t have clumps, or even better, false lashes can really make your eyes pop!
  • Neutral eye colors, such as grays and browns are best
  • Avoid pastel shades and especially highly frosted shadows
  • Don’t use eye shadows, lotions, blush anything with glitter in it
  • Chapped or cracked lips are going to show in your portraits 
  • Don’t wear super glossy lipstick or lip gloss because they make huge white spots from the shine on your lips wherever the light hits it.
  • Nude lipstick is trendy, but absolutely awful in portraits. If you want to look like you have lips, please wear a little bit of color.


  • Keep in mind that too much jewelry can be distracting
  • Organize jewelry by putting in baggies and slipping over the coordinating outfit hangers so you won’t be hunting around for it. 


  • Girls should have shaved under your arms the day of your session, since poses may have your arms over your head and stubble may show and it won’t look pretty
  • Boys should make sure to shave their beards for the same reason. No stubble!


  • Don’t forget to take your ponytail holder off of your wrist
  • Don’t get a last-minute haircut or hairstyle change, give your hair a week or so to grow in a bit from a haircut.


Of course, there are always exceptions, if your favorite outfit in the world falls under any of these categories, send me a text of it so I can plan accordingly or give suggestions.



  • Be prepared to change outfits quickly. That way we can spend more time shooting photos.
  • Have accessories ready in baggies like previously discussed
  • Have a friend or family member come along to help fix hair and outfits. Preferably MOM - it's a fun, special time, and then we can snap a couple of images of you together to remember the day
  • Bring props for whatever your hobbies may be as discussed in your planning session


I've done this a LOT. I am the pro, and I can tell you immediately if something will work, so make sure to send me some pictures of your outfits. I can tell you if you need to add or subtract anything, so we can get right to work on the day of your session.

Want to book your session? Just send me an email at [email protected] and we can get you all set up!


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