young woman posing in her blue cheerleader uniform for a senior picture by Lake Ontario

I love to take a super customized approach to all my senior portrait session.  After all, this is all about YOU, and it is going to be AWESOME!  If you are unsure about the planning and preparation involved for you senior session, please use this guide as a starting point on how to look and feel your best!

The Perfect Outfit


I’ve always believed that clothing is an extension of your personality.  Fashion is fun, and you should embrace it.  That said, figuring out what to wear to your senior portrait session requires some thought. After all, those pictures are immortalized forever. Not only that, but your peers will see them and I can promise you that your parents and grandparents will have a copy of your senior portrait in their house.

Here are five tips to consider when choosing your session day outfits!

  1. Don’t stray far from your personal style. Make sure the outfits you wear are something you’d wear in your everyday life.
  2. Accessorize. For men that includes cuff links, hats, belt buckles, shoes and scarves. For women that means jewelry, bags, sunglasses, shoes and belts.
  3. Give your outfits a test run. Take photos of yourself with your phone wearing the outfits, move around in them and make sure they’re comfortable and flattering.
  4. If you are looking for outfit inspiration, check out what your favorite celebrities or professional athletes are wearing, hit up social media (Pinterest and Instagram are great) and flip through your favorite magazines.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask me if you need help. I have a lot of experience helping my clients with styling, and I would love to give you some pointers and answer your questions.

For more details on what to wear to a portrait session, view my article: Dressing for a Photo Session.

Preparing for your Session

You’ve got the outfit planned…now what? There are lots to consider when getting your pictures done. While everyone has their own method of preparation, I can definitely give you some insider tips for how to prepare and make sure your senior photo shoot is a smashing success.

Plan Ahead

A month or two before your session is the best time to start thinking about the big day. Start a Pinterest board, start dog-earing magazine pages and definitely start trying on various clothing to see what you feel best in. As the day gets closer, start narrowing down your inspiration boards and ideas. That includes outfits, hair and makeup for women, and even props.

Choosing Props

young woman on a foot bridge with sunflower and cowboy boots for her senior pictures


Speaking of props, those can be a really important part of your photo session. I will take photographs of you without props, but it is a good idea to include pictures of you with meaningful items that represent who you are if we can.

Prop ideas: musical instruments, sports equipment, your car, a pet, beautiful furniture, and vintage accents.

Choosing the Location

Selecting where you have your photos taken goes along with choosing props. I have a whole list of locations to choose from and we’ll talk details once you book. Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to get the gears turning. Think about what kind of a vibe you want for your pictures. Is it earthy? Urban? Academic?

Location ideas: lakes & streams, in the woods, nature trails, local parks, waterfalls, on the farm.

In a Rush?

Waited until the last minute?  Not a problem!  Call to see if there are any days that aren’t fully booked, and we can get your senior portraits finished in time.  Sometimes, some of the greatest ideas come when you are on a time crunch.  You can still research some ideas for your photo session on Pinterest, on my website or Facebook.

Planning for a Senior Portrait Session – Putting It All Together

If you take the time to do a little preparation, and you just relax and be yourself, your senior session will be AMAZING!  If you have any questions for me about your senior portrait session planning, feel free to email me or give me a call!  If you liked Planning for a Senior Portrait Session, sign up for the Samantha McAllister Photography Newsletter to get great content like this straight to your inbox!


Interested in a booking Sam for a senior portrait photo session?  Download my free Senior Portrait Welcome Packet Here!

Senior Portrait Photography Sessions
Service Type
Senior Portrait Photography Sessions
Provider Name
Samantha McAllister Photography,
Western New York
Senior pictures are all about personality. They are a portrait of your current self as you transition to the next great part of life’s journey.