What to Wear For Senior Pictures | Columbus, Ohio Senior Photographer

Updated: Aug 25

As a high school senior, you’re probably starting to think about planning your senior photos. And specifically what to wear for senior pictures.

This blog provides plenty of senior picture outfit ideas with photo examples for all genders.

I'm covering what to wear to showcase your personality, casual photos, formal photos, highlighting your heritage, and how to include school and sports uniforms.

But that’s not all. I'm covering tips for layers, colors, patterns, accessories, shoes, undergarments, hair, makeup, and nails. We’re covering it all!

By the end of the post, you’ll be well on your way to planning amazing senior photos!

Ready for some inspo? Read on!

various photos of columbus ohio seniors showing what to wear for senior picutres blog

How to Infuse Personality and Style In Your Senior Photos

Your senior photos are not the time to have a cookie-cutter experience. They’re a time for you to celebrate a huge milestone while showcasing your personality and style!

So how is that achieved? Great question!

You can make your senior photos really stand out by including favorite clothing items and props that showcase your hobbies. Don’t be afraid to show some personality - embrace it!

photos of a high school senior holding her professional camera for senior pictures in columbus ohio studio
Take one guess what her hobby is? Hint: It's my favorite thing too!

Graphic t-shirts can add personality to a casual look!

Can you tell Sadie is a HUGE David Bowie fan? And Madison chose to wear her future college shirt, Capital University!

The graphic t-shirts aren't the focal point of the photos, but it highlights their personalities. While the words "Senior Photos" and "T-Shirts" don't seem to go together, trust me: adding a few photos in your favorite t-shirt can be meaningful and fun!

two photos of high school seniors wearing graphic t-shirts for casual senior pictures

photo of high school senior wearing snowgear and posing with his snowboard at Highbanks Metro Park for senior pictures

CJ is such an adventure-seeking guy that we knew his senior session needed something special to match! These snowboarding photos captured him in action doing an activity he loves!

Other Ideas to Show Your Personality in Senior Photos:

  • Props to show your hobbies (musical instruments, books, art supplies, camera, or dance uniform)

  • School or sports uniforms (mentioned further down in detail)

  • Colorful wardrobe pieces (colorful shoes, ties, or shirts)

  • Graphic T-Shirts (Yes, it’s worth mentioning again)

  • Include a family pet

  • Bring a best friend!

  • Go to your favorite outdoor location for props (like the rainbow bench below!)

photo of high school senior posing on rainbow bench for senior pictures in worthington ohio - lgbtq friendly senior photographer

Whatever makes you YOU - plan to include that into your senior pictures!

What to Wear for Casual Senior Pictures

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about casual senior pictures is a favorite pair of jeans and your best top. You can’t go wrong with wearing your favorites!

portrait of high school senior wear white button up shirt and jeans for casual senior photos in columbus ohio studio

Kayla has had multiple photo sessions with me over the years. For two sessions, she wore her same favorite pair of jeans. When you love something this much, wear it - especially if you feel comfortable in it!

Casual wardrobe examples:

  • Sundress and sandals

  • Halter top with shorts and sandals

  • Maxi dress and sandals

  • Rompers with fun sneakers

  • Jumpsuits with strappy sandals

  • Jeans and a graphic t-shirt

  • Jeans and a solid-colored t-shirt

  • Jeans paired with an unbuttoned shirt

  • Khakis or shorts with a polo shirt

photos of a blonde high school senior showing what to wear for senior pictures - she's in a sunflower field wearing a brown top and khaki shorts

photo of girls wearing ripped jeans for casual senior pictures in columbus ohio

photos of two senior girls wearing sundresses for casual senior pictures

What to Wear for Formal Senior Pictures

The word “formal” feels a bit stuffy, doesn’t it? So when most high school seniors hear the words “formal senior portraits,” they tend to think of boring headshots. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Think about formal senior photos as a fancy, modernized headshot. These photos are perfect for high school yearbooks, college applications, grandparents, and even young adults starting their professional careers to use on a LinkedIn profile! (You'll look professional before everyone else is even thinking about it.)

While they’re a little more modern, they’re far from boring. Some wardrobe suggestions are listed below.

Formal wardrobe examples:

  • Off the shoulders shirts create an elegant look

  • Fitted business pants with a nice blouse

  • Blazers are IN! Pair it with a nice shirt or blouse

  • Suit jackets with a nice button-up shirt

  • Formal dress - prom or homecoming dress

  • Graduation cap and gown

what to wear for senior pictures - two girls wearing off the shoulders black shirts
Off the shoulders look great for more formal senior pictures

photo of high school seniors wearing their cap and gowns for senior photos
Commemorate the year by wearing your cap and gown!

A pattern I’ve been seeing is that some clients love an outfit but almost don’t bring it.

Brenna had this stunning lavender prom dress. She said she almost didn’t bring it but was glad she did because she loved the final results.

senior portrait of a blonde hair girl wearing a lavender color prom dress for senior pictures
Want great photos of a dress you wore once? Bring it along!

Are these examples of senior photos formal? Technically, yes.

But are these photos boring? Not at all.

The takeaway: Wear something a little fancier than you’d typically wear in your day-to-day life. You may love the results!

Embrace Your Heritage with Symbolic Wardrobe Pieces

If you come for a particular heritage with traditional clothing, you may want to embrace it in your photos.

Sasha wore this woman’s barong from the Philippines. It’s gorgeous, unique, and has significant sentimental value to her and her family.

If you have something sentimental, maybe a watch or piece of jewelry, I suggest wearing it for a couple of photos. The sentimental item paired with a portrait will mean a lot to you one day.

School and Sports Uniforms

I usually get mixed feedback from clients when I mention wearing school or sports uniforms. Most seniors think, “What’s the use? I’m almost done with this activity or sport anyway.”

But consider wearing them for one last hurrah!

Even though it’s your last year of high school, it’s also an opportunity to recognize your passion for an activity or sport. The photos will be great to look back on in a few years' time, and the sentimental value will only grow more each year.

I say, "Go for it!" Wear the uniforms, especially if they played a huge role in your high school career.

what to wear for senior pictures - school uniforms. Photo shows a girl in a cheer uniform, and a guy in a band uniform.

Layers, Colors, and Patterns


While layering can add bulk, if done well, it can also add visual interest - so try it out!

Great layering options:

Denim jacket

School jacket



Open button-down shirt

Flannel over a t-shirt


photos of girls in westerville ohio posing for senior photos in hoodies and jeans
Hoodies and jackets make great layering options!


You can’t go wrong with the basics - black, white, and tan. But on the flip side, if you’re a bright and colorful person, don’t be afraid to wear bright colors in your senior photos!

Grace wore a bright yellow shirt for some of her senior photos, which contrasted beautifully with her dark skin!


If you’re feeling adventurous and want to add some fun patterned clothes, go for it!

Make sure the patterns aren’t too distracting, or it can take away how nice everything else looks.

These fun patterned shirts show some personality!

Accessories, Shoes, and Undergarments


Accessories are a great way to dress up or dress down an outfit to make it go from basic to stunning!

Some accessories to consider: