Tips to Prepare for Your Senior Portrait, Melissa Maillett Photography

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I am what is considered a “lifestyle photographer,” which means that I want my photographs to reflect the subject as they truly are, not some stiff “school portrait” or a representation of what people think a portrait should be.  I like to make the sessions comfortable and relaxing, have fun and capture personality; which is more important than making sure a hand is placed in the proper direction.

That being said, there are certain preparations I tell my clients will help their session be successful, most are for the girls, but some are tips for boys as well.   Here are a few:

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Clothing. Wear what you are comfortable in, but also remember that colors make an image pop – whether it’s soft pastels or bright primary colors.  We will discuss the location of the shoot and the style or colors that will complement the location, but ultimately you want to wear an outfit that reflects who you are and you’ll have fun posing in.

Layers are great also.  Bring a light denim jacket, a cardigan, a blazer, or for guys, a button down shirt over a tee shirt.  These are good for visual interest, an opportunity to change the look quickly and it gives you something to do with your hands – holding the edge of the clothing, or placing your hand in a pocket.  Scarves, necklaces, belts also help to quickly change a look and give you something to touch in a photo.

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I also encourage seniors to bring something special from high school that can be included in your shoot; a baseball or soccer jersey, golf clubs, an instrument or another prop or uniform could be included in a few shots to commemorate your primary extracurricular high school activity.  You have options to change into multiple outfits in your session, but be prepared to change fast and bring your clothes on hangers so they aren’t wrinkled.

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Makeup:  Although I like a natural face, this is an important point for the girls. Makeup that is well done is one of the best preparations you can make for your session.  It will even out skin tones and help give your photos that extra pop for a model-like look.  Translucent powder will help with any reflective shine on your face.  Even if you don’t normally wear makeup or wear very little, take the time to do it well and your photos will look the best.  Bring along extra lip gloss and powder for on-the-spot touch ups.

Hair:  I suggest you don’t make any drastic hairstyle changes prior to your session so you feel comfortable during the session.  Hair changes can be accommodated, as long as they can be done reasonably fast, so come prepared if you want do that.  Guys should be clean-shaven, stubble is difficult to retouch and may look unnatural.

Rest: Lastly, get a good night’s sleep before your session to avoid tired-looking eyes, and drink water to stay hydrated. Make sure you allow enough time into your schedule to feel relaxed during the shoot and don’t worry about the weather.  Grey or threatening skies are usually great for photo taking and if it’s blinding sun, we will find some shade to shoot in!

In summary, relax, have fun and enjoy the session; we will get some great shots!