The Senior Guide on What to Wear, Avoid and How to Accessorize Your Senior Outfit

Wearing the right outfit is essential to a successful senior session.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful the location is, or how many poses you try, if you aren’t wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident you’ll probably be unsatisfied with your pictures. That’s why I’ve compiled some of the “do”s and “don’t”s I’ve compiled over the years to help seniors get those stunning pictures that they’ll love for years. 

Let’s start with the “Do”s. 

  • Do wear natural colors.
  • Do wear something you feel comfortable in.
  • Do wear comfortable, and nice shoes.
  • Do keep it subtle.

When taking pictures in the rural midwest I’ve found that wearing natural colors that fit the season is usually the perfect way to balance the gorgeous landscape while still making YOU the focal point. Sundresses in blues and pinks look amazing in the colorful flower fields of August and July but don’t flow as well in the autumn leaves. Knowing which season it is can help you find a great color scheme to incorporate into photos. 

There are two big components to a comfortable outfit, making sure you feel like yourself wearing it, and making sure it will keep you at a comfortable temperature. Sundress pictures in the summer are a great way to stay cool while shooting, and if you are the kind of senior to rock a sundress outside of your pictures this makes it a great outfit choice for you. For the colder months, this can be a great time to layer and strut those cozier looks. Not only does this add to your pictures, but we can incorporate ways to use the layers as props and enhance your pictures even more!

high school senior boy posing with truck in Wisconsin

The last major takeaway is that subtle colors tend to look best in pictures, especially in rural landscapes. When you choose bright and bold colors the clothes can drown out the senior. I would recommend going for a subtler, and natural-toned outfit. That said I’ve photographed stunning pictures with vibrant colors so always prioritize wearing what makes you feel best. 

Now for the “Don’t”s 

  • Don’t just choose an outfit because everyone else is wearing it.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to fake tan!
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to find your makeup look.
  • Don’t wear a million different accessories.
  • Don’t have HUGE logos on your clothes. 

Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. We are looking to make these photos unique to you and your personality. That is why it is so important to be authentic in these pictures. There is nothing worse than taking a picture just because everyone else is, and then receiving it and realizing you hate it simply because it doesn’t feel like you. 

It’s also important to recognize that some of the landscapes may not be suitable for certain footwear or vibrant colors, making sure you plan your looks in advance can help you achieve a clean look that is special to you, and looks great in your locations. It also helps to make sessions run smoothly, which is why I ask to see your photos in advance. This way we can eliminate wasted time from changing at every location. The last important thing to take into consideration prior to the session is fake tanning and makeup, I recommend fake tanning 4-7 days prior to your session so that it has time to fade and look more natural. Also, make sure to try your makeup looks in advance, don’t wait until 30 minutes before the session and end up taking pictures with a look you hate. 

Lastly, don’t wear too many accessories or have HUGE logos showing on your clothes. Accessories when done well elevate every outfit, but when you wear too much it can be distracting and take away the focus from the senior. Visible logos have a similar effect. When you wear a shirt with large logos it can be extremely distracting. 

Top Girls Clothing: sundresses, rompers, skirts, jeans, shorts, vests, sweaters, simple t-shirts, tank tops, crop tops, body suits, off-the-shoulder tops, blouses, jackets, shackets, etc.

Top Guys Clothing: jeans, nice shorts, polos, khaki pants, button-up shirts, henley shirts, 3-button colar t-shirts, quarter zips, flannels, etc.

Accessories: Necklaces, earrings, brimmed hats, bracelets, rings, etc.

Layering-Specific Clothing: Jackets, Shackets, Cardigans, Vests, Scarves, fitted long sleeves underneath a shirt, etc.

I hope these tips have helped and give you some guidance when trying to decide what to wear to your session. As always refer to the girls’ gallery or the guys’ gallery if you are still feeling lost. These photos can provide inspiration when finding those outfits that you can alter to make just right for you. Want more inspiration check out the portfolio page.

Check out the complete Senior Welcome Guide which includes what to wear online.

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