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Mary Maletzke

Helpful Timeline for Senior Portraits

September 27, 2019

Filed in: FAQ, Seniors

The senior year is a bittersweet moment for many parents. It’s filled with so many lasts in your child’s life at the same time they’re preparing for so many firsts. As parents, we are going through a lot these things for the very first time, too! Which is why I put together this helpful guide to navigating the Timeline for Senior Portraits.

Helpful Timeline for Senior Portraits

Timeline for Senior Portraits

When to Book Your Photographer

Whether you are looking for a photographer for your Class of 2020 senior or already looking forward to 2021, the best time to schedule your senior session is now.  It is hard to believe, but I am already scheduling sessions for spring for the Class of 2021. When possible, I prefer starting to photograph your senior in the spring of their junior year, so that we can get a variety of looks. But if you find yourself scheduling in the fall (like now), it’s not too late. The yearbook deadline is in early December. By scheduling now you will meet that deadline, and your senior will still be able to have both fall and winter photos.

I have very limited sessions still available for this fall, so I recommend that you set up a consultation today so that we can discuss location options, sports, and activities that interest your senior and ways you’ll want to display their senior portraits.

Helpful Timeline for Senior Portraits

One – Three Months Out: Plan and Shop for Outfits

The wardrobe is one of the most important factors in your senior portrait experience. They can set the tone for the session and play an integral part in expressing who your senior student is now. Are they sporty? Artistic? Fashionable? Classic? Hipster? A Gamer?  Their clothes can say so much about who they are! Which means planning for them ahead of time is important.

I recommend doing this as soon as possible but also keeping in mind the season. It might be difficult to shop for fall clothing items in mid-summer so keep that in mind!

Having trouble agreeing on what your teen should wear? My advice is to create at least three basic looks.

Helpful Timeline for Senior Portraits



Helpful Timeline for Senior Portraits

The first is the classic look (aka, the parent pleaser!). This look is going to be a timeless, moderate reflection of your senior. You want to make sure it’s something that makes your teen feel like themself but also makes you happy! After all, these are photos that will be seen in your heirloom album or on your walls for decades to come.

Next up, Senior’s Choice! Let them get creative, with an outfit that expresses themselves.

Timeline for Senior Portraits


Timeline for Senior Portraits

Lastly, an outfit that reflects their interest. Does your senior play sports? Are they in a book, art or photography club? The marching band? The sports, clubs, and activities your senior does make up a big part of their high school experience.  For one of their photo session outfits, have them bring a team jersey, dance costume, favorite books or hobby accessories to commemorate their achievements.

Girl with guitar senior photography

Timeline for Senior Portraits

Timeline for Senior Portraits

Review these helpful styling tips we put together for you: Style Tips for Your Senior Picture Session.

Two Weeks Before Senior Photos: Haircut or Trim!

This goes for guys and girls and we don’t recommend doing it any sooner. Two weeks leaves time for hair to grow out a bit from the cut. It also leaves time to correct any mistakes if another trip to the salon is required.

Timeline for Senior Portraits

One Week Before: Gather any activity equipment.

Sometimes teens aren’t allowed to take home certain elements of their activity equipment. If you need to make arrangements to have these items at your session you should do so now!

The Night Before Their Session

Layout outfits and accessories. Make sure their clothing choices are free of wrinkles and remove any tags. Instruct your senior to shave, moisturize, trim fingernails, touch up nail polish, and set aside their makeup and hair products. Be prepared for this activity to take you back to their first days of school as young children pretty quickly!

That being said, here are a few tips to make sure your hair, skin and face are camera ready for your senior photo session.

  • Make sure you’re well moisturized the morning of – lotion and chapstick!
  • Clean, trimmed fingers are important. Avoid dirt under your nails, paint-stained hands or chipped nail polish.
  • Avoid overtanning. Orange skin is never in style and the camera really picks up on orange tones.
  • Guys, facial hair needs to be neatly trimmed or clean-shaven.
  • Girls, shaving your legs may be the last thing on your mind but most get

The Day Of Their Session

After a good nights rest you will want a ensure they have a healthy breakfast and a low key day. Plan to arrive at their appointment a little early, so we can talk over our itinerary for the day, dial in their favorite music, and get started!

comments +

  1. Amanda

    September 27th, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Helpful tips paired with some awesome Senior pics! I love helping my Senior clients with wardrobe. It’s the best part!

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