Senior Planning Guide
by Cassie Clarkson
Clothing to AVOID:
Encouraged Clothing (for both Ladies and Gentlemen)
Encouraged Clothing for the Ladies
Form fitting clothing. This is true mostly for the ladies who want to appear slim and slender. Selecting clothes that hugs your shape is the absolute best option for me to pose you in the most flattering way. I get to focus on you and your best angles rather than battling the bulk and flow of loose fitting clothing that will make you appear larger than you are! If you want flowy styles because are worried about "rolls" during seated poses (that ALL of us have), don't be! I can usually spot when this happens and adjust the pose or I can give it a quick tuck in photoshop also.
Sleeves. ¾ sleeve shirts are the most flattering for portraits on most body types, completely sleeveless can be unflattering for some. If you are often self conscious of the appearance of your arms in photos , I would encourage you to select wardrobe options with sleeves. However, if you are super confident with yourself feel free to rock those shoulders! It depends on you and if you want to show off your arms or if you are self conscious about your arms. There is no right or wrong for all, just what is right for YOU.
Necklines for the ladies. V-neck shirts or similar styles where the neckline is not tight against the throat are great for portraits. It elongates the neck and shows off your collarbones. Turtlenecks can be okay on some ladies with longer necks, just be mindful that it will make your neck appear shorter in photos which can be undesirable for some depending on your body type and preferences. A plunging neckline that shows cleavage probably isn’t appropriate for senior portraits, so don’t get too carried away with that one! 😉
Other Things to Consider
Make sure your hands are clean and nails well groomed. Your hands will be prominent in many of the poses we do.
Avoid radically changing your hair before your session. Haircuts should be done a week before your session to look their best. If you color your hair, don’t forget your roots. Highlights should be touched up two weeks prior to your appointment. Try to tame flyways as best you can. They will stand out and can be quite distracting. If you have bangs make sure the length isn’t hitting at the level of your eye, the camera will focus on your hair rather than the eye itself.
Quick hair changes during your session are great, but make it easy and fast or you lose valuable camera time.
Do not over-do the tanning bed or sun. A three day rest from tanning is recommended before your session. Redness in your skin will show up much more in portraits than it does in person. If you have tan lines, make clothing selections to conceal them.
I get so many questions about makeup and there really is no right answer that fits everyone. Many of the girls you see in the photos on my website are wearing little to no makeup at all and others are wearing full face makeup. I make sure your skin is flawless, your eyes are popping, and your face is contoured in post processing and I do it in such a way that no one looks "over edited" rather they look like the best version of their genuine selves. So essentially... I photoshop your makeup whether you wear it or not. What it comes down to is what makes YOU FEEL the MOST CONFIDENT?! If you LOVE getting dolled up; DO IT! If you dread getting dolled up... DON'T!
Makeup in person looks much different than makeup in portraits, so please follow these guidelines to look your best in your portraits.
Do not go heavy with foundation or concealer. I will correct acne and undereye circles in post processing. The more makeup that is caked on your skin, the less natural the result may appear. If you are using a foundation be sure you are using the right color so your face matches the rest of your skin. Use only matte makeup, avoid any makeup with shimmer or glitter.
Lip color and gloss goes a long way!
False eyelashes are FANTASTIC for portraits. THAT SAID: if you are not used to wearing them, have them applied by someone who is, preferably a professional. Please do not attempt to teach yourself the day of your session. I would prefer no makeup at all to poorly applied makeup or lashes. Please no heavy handed mascara or eye lash clumps, the camera will magnify that and it is exceptionally unflattering.
Use all matte makeup, no shimmer no glitter.
A friend, a pet, your car, motorcycle, sports equipment, uniforms, trophies, books, instrument, hunting gear, computers, etc. are always welcome.
Every family dynamic is unique. In my personal experience as a high school senior portraitist, some of my seniors feel more comfortable and relaxed without an “audience”. Many people don’t like others staring at them while they have their picture taken. The presence of siblings in particular and sometimes parents can often bring tension to the portrait session that will be noticeable in the facial expressions and body language of the senior. That said, there are other seniors who are very close with their families and/or friends and want them present for the event. Sometimes it's a great idea to have a support person tag along who is really good at making you laugh or helps you feel relaxed. We want this experience to be as positive, optimistic, and relaxed as possible. I welcome anyone who wants to join in and tag along of course! Just consider what situation fits best for your unique personality and preferences.
Side note: you can always have a family portrait done at the beginning or end of the senior portrait session at no additional cost. Many families take advantage of this and I think it’s wonderful!
Pets are always welcome! I am a Registered Veterinary Technician so I am quite experienced working with them. I am happy to photograph cats at your home, but please do not attempt to bring cats on location. If you are bringing a dog make sure you have a designated handler to care for your pet. Typically we do pet portraits first, and then the designated handler takes them back home following that.
Please know the guidelines and requirements for your schools’ yearbook prior to your session. Every school is different; some schools prohibit the use of certain props or sleeveless shirts. Others require the traditional in-studio headshot etc. There will also be deadlines you will need to be aware of to plan accordingly. I am happy to send the picture to your school on your behalf just please provide me with the appropriate email address.
Might sound crazy... but practice!
I have seen seniors have GREAT success by practicing! Get together with your girlfriends and your cell phones and practice posing and having your picture taken by someone else. Many of us are so used to selfies adjusting ourselves as if we are looking in a mirror and then seeing/evaluating the images immediately... doing it another way can be an adjustment. This isn't "homework" but it can be so much FUN and can help you feel so much more relaxed when the real photoshoot comes. It will give you an idea of what facial expressions, poses, and body postures you prefer and you will default to those preferences during your shoot if you have practiced. The more you are able to relax into the experience of your photoshoot and the less guidance you need with posing and posture, the more time we can spend actually TAKING photos which results in more photos delivered to you in the end. Of course I will pose you, guide you, and help you relax during the session but if you are aware of your own tendency to slouch or you have an awkward fake smile when the camera comes out... practicing doing it another way can really help.
Most Importantly… bring your CONFIDENCE!!!!
The absolute key to looking your very best is to exude CONFIDENCE during your portrait session. I cannot stress this enough. You can ignore all the other advise here, and JUST be 100% confident… you will love the end result. Confidence is what makes or breaks it. If a pose feels strange or awkward you can tell me and I can change it… but you should trust me. This is what I do. It is my #1 priority to make you look your BEST! I would not pose you in a way that wasn’t flattering. So wherever we end up, however you are posed… OWN IT. ROCK IT. Even if you are unsure, “fake it til’ you make it”. Easier said than done, I understand! Most people are very uncomfortable with a camera pointed at them, myself included. Just do your best to relax, and enjoy the experience. It's your day! Celebrate it! Own it! Enjoy every moment!
Text me (740-630-7737) pictures of your outfits a couple days before your session so that I may plan and coordinate sets and locations to compliment your wardrobe selections! If you ever need advice, or a second opion on an outfit, text me ANY TIME! I am here to help you every step of the way!