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5 Tips For Creating Meaningful Senior Pictures

You want meaningful senior pictures, and who can blame you? I consider this one of my specialties - creating photos that aren’t like everyone else’s.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Evelyn, a Westerville North student, to create senior photos tailored for her. Even though we shot in the fall, we were able to create images that had a summery vibe, and we even made a trip back to where it all began - her elementary school.

I’ll walk you through Evelyn’s session and give you five pointers on how wardrobe, location, props, and including family can make senior photos more meaningful.

But first up, let’s talk about wardrobe.

collage of senior pictures of a girl with brunette hair in multiple outdoor locations for her session in ohio

1. Choosing the Right Wardrobe for Your Senior Pictures (Hint: Variety!)

Choosing the right wardrobe for senior pictures is a topic I’ll never get tired of discussing. It’s one of the most common questions seniors have, and for good reason. You want to look your best, and I’m here to help.

Go-to tips on choosing what to wear:

  1. Comfort. Wear clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.

  2. Style. Choose items (and accessories) to showcase your personality and style.

  3. Variety. Bring a variety of clothes - dressy, casual, and a favorite outfit.

  4. More is better. Bring extra clothes if you’re still unsure. I can always help you narrow things down during your session.

Variety is key for senior pictures, whether you have them created in the studio or outdoors. But more importantly, wear outfits that make you feel comfortable and confident. When you feel good, you look good, and it translates to your photos.

If you have a favorite outfit that’s “out of season,” bring it along too. We can work out the logistics later.

For instance, Evelyn wanted to wear her favorite summer maxi dress during her fall session. To make it happen, we chose a location where she could stay warm and cozy in her car until I was ready to shoot.

Despite the chilly and windy weather that day, we captured all the photos she needed in 5-10 minute bursts. You would never know it by looking at the final images.

series of four photos of senior pictures of a girl in a summer maxi dress holding a bouquet of flowers
You would never guess these were taken on a cold, windy day. They would easily pass for summer senior pictures.

Bringing along multiple outfit options is a great way to showcase your style while creating variety in your photos.

Evelyn did a fantastic job at choosing outfits to mix, match, and showcase her style. Though her photos were taken in the fall, they could easily pass for spring, summer, or fall photos.

series of four photos of a brunette high school senior posing outdoors in urban locations in westerville, ohio
Variety in clothing and location is key for senior pictures.

Next up - dealing with Mother Nature!

2. Weather Worries? No way!

There’s nothing “easy” about photographing outside in the Midwest. But I’ve learned to adapt and work in just about any condition - yes, even a little rain won’t stop me.

If we’re shooting outside during the cold season, I work quickly. Not rushed, just quickly. So there's no need to worry about the weather; I’ve got some tricks to help.

Some pointers on senior pictures and the weather:

  1. Keep a warm car nearby. If it’s cold outside and you want to wear something “off-season,” as Evelyn did with her summer dress, we can do it. Usually, this means we shoot at a location where you can easily hop in and out of a warm car between shots.

  2. Layers are your best friend. It’s pretty easy to bundle up in a warm jacket and pass it to a parent to hold onto during your photos.

  3. Don’t worry about the weather; embrace it! I’ve worked in every weather condition imaginable. So I’m always happy to help clients navigate whatever weather Mother Nature deals us.

series of photos of a girl posing outdoors in westerville, ohio for her senior pictures on a windy fall day
These are a perfect example of working with the weather, instead of against it. The wind gave her hair movement, which looks great.

three photos of a high school senior girl posing near a brick wall in westerville ohio
Perks of layes here. By simply removing her school jacket, we created three different looks.

3. Incorporating Special Locations for Senior Pictures

I was so excited when Evelyn suggested doing some senior pictures outside her elementary school. It felt like documenting a full-circle moment in her life. It was nostalgic for her and her mom (who accompanied her during the session.)

There are plenty of gorgeous metro parks around Columbus, Ohio. But if you have a place that’s meaningful to you, let’s go there instead. The significance of your special locations will have a longer-lasting impact anywhere else.

two photos of a girl standing in front of her old elementary school for senior pictures
These two are probably my favorite of the series. Evelyn lit up when we arrived to her elementary school, making the photos even more meaningful to her.

photo of a girl standing in front of her old elementary school for senior pictures

two photos of a girl standing in front of her old elementary school for senior pictures

4. Props & Special Interests

Check out these vibrant flowers! Believe it or not, Evelyn almost didn't bring them to her session because she thought it was a silly idea. But they added a pop of color to her photos, which looks great!

collage of four photos of a high school senior girl posing for her senior pictures

I won’t know your ideas for your senior pictures unless you share them with me. While I try to make suggestions, if you have an idea, even if you think it’s a far-fetched crazy idea, share it with me. I’ll let you know if it will translate well in your senior pictures.

Things like props and putting your own spin on things make your senior pictures look different from everyone else’s.

Need more ideas on how to include props or your special interests for your senior photos?

5. Including Family in Your Senior Portraits

Lastly, I love to include parents in senior pictures. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy. It can just be a quick photo at one of your locations.

Usually, seniors have a parent come along for their senior pictures. So if you’re parents will be with you, have them be somewhat camera ready, so we can snap a photo of you two together.

Big transitional times, like graduation photos, are sentimental moments for parents. Show them some extra love by including them in your session. Trust me; they’ll love that you suggested it.

And if you want to include your entire family, we can do that too. It doesn’t cost extra to bring your family members and won’t cut down on your senior photo time with me.

To add family photos to the end of your session, I usually suggest having the family meet up toward the end of your session. We’ll gather everyone for a few photos and call it a wrap. It’s quick and easy but packed full of meaning.

I hope this post has given you some insight and how we can work together to create meaningful senior pictures for you.

If you're interested in learning more about my senior photography services, I'd love to chat with you and learn more about what you have in mind.

Schedule a free call with me here. I look forward to hearing from you.


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