4 things to do before your senior photos!

Grass valley Senior portrait photographer

Let’s keep in mind these photos are SPECIAL! You are only a Senior once and it’s definitely worth celebrating! You should be proud of yourself I know your family is! Let’s talk for a minute about what is actually important for these photos. First of all, not all of your senior photos will be taken from far away so let’s make sure the close-ups are perfect! Here is a list of 4 things to do before you have your senior photo session!


This is hands down the most important thing you can do to influence your session (ok maybe location too) but this is in your hands! While the hour session you have allows for an outfit change, there is rarely a place for you to change outfits. I shoot mostly at gorgeous outdoor locations, this leaves you with changing behind a bush or hiking back to the car to change which greatly shortens your shooting time. Believe me, I would lengthen golden hour if I could! But the sun sets on its own time schedule so once the sun is down your session is over. SO! I suggest you pick an amazing outfit that you LOVE and are happy with your whole shoot being in that outfit.

NO short dresses!!! I can not stress this enough. This basically leaves you with only standing-up poses. Not only that but they have little to no movement which looks stale in photos. Go for a long flowy dress that you feel incredibly glorious in!! Here is a link to a Pinterest page I have made with styling ideas. I suggest going nicer than you originally were thinking of. Having an incredible dress will only make your photos better! For men try to stay away from jeans!! And please remember to iron wrinkles out of anything as they show up in photos and just look plain tacky. If you buy a new shirt iron the fold lines out so it sits softly instead of as if it’s still folded! Yikes! Suspenders and driving caps are awesome in shoots too!

For girls, I also recommend shawls or wraps to create more movement. Stay away from funky patterns, bold prints, plaid, polka dots or stripes! Solid colors are easier to work with.

Senior portraits Grass Valley CA


Make sure to have your hair cut and colored no more than 2 weeks before your shoot. That gives you enough time to get it fixed if need be (hopefully not!) and still not look outgrown by the time of your shoot. No one wants roots showing for the shoot! Try not to pick a new stylist or new style for this one. Go with something you already know you love and look like YOU! Everyone looking at these for years to come, including you, wants to remember you the way you were not the way you plan to look just for these photos.

If you are getting your hair styled for the shoot. I highly recommend doing a trial run. The easiest way to do this is to have your stylist play with it after your 2-week prior appointment. I highly suggest not doing a fancy updo. Or anything too pulled back. Those can look stiff and too hair-sprayed. Soft bohemian waves are always lovely and look great in the wind (fingers crossed we have wind!)

Senior portraits Nevada City


Nothing is worse than blue-chipped nail polish when you show up for your session! I am most definitely not suggesting that you get long acrylic nails if you never wear them. If you do! Then go for it! Just make sure they are beautiful and fresh. Stay away from color. Do a nude or bare nail for your session. The last thing you want is for everyone to look at your nails instead of you in your photos! By all means feel free to do them at home, just make them clean and have no chipped polish.

Spray tan:

Let’s just say if you don’t regularly spray tan then just DON’T do it! Hahah. we all have seen orange tans, cringe! That being said, I do it all the time!! I love it! I am white as can be and have been doing it for almost 20 years. Make sure you test it out at least a couple of times before your shoot. Make sure its not splotchy and that your hands are not orange! A spray tan is nice but I have found the booth sprays to be horrible and not usually the right color. Everyone needs different color solutions, no one is a cookie-cutter color. So let’s just leave this with, only do this if you are confident that you are going to get it right!!!! One place locally that does amazing spray tans is Bodyworks Salon in Grass Valley. I highly recommend them.

Waxing and brows

This is a little less relevant now than it was 10 years ago since it’s so popular to have natural brows. If, however, you usually wax your lips or brows, make sure you have this appointment done a week or so before your shoot. Not so long that you have regrowth, and not so recent that you are still red. Keep in mind I WILL get close! You will have senior portrait photos that will be far away and show your whole body and some that will be very close up. So let’s prepare for that!

I am excited to work with you and will absolutely be here to guide you every step of the way. So please never hesitate to shoot me a text! Please take a moment to look at my Senior portraits page on my website and then fill out a contact form so we can get you on the books! Once school starts and the fall color starts to show I book up quickly!

I am a Northern California senior portrait photographer, based in Grass Valley and Nevada City. If you have any further questions about how to prepare for your Senior Portrait session not mentioned here in my “4 things to do before your senior photos!” blog, just reach out!