Sunday, September 9, 2012

Senior Pictures + Preparing

After shooting an absolutely stunning senior yesterday, 
and receiving several requests for how to prepare for upcoming senior pictures, 
I decided to use this young lady's portraits as inspiration for some tips in preparing for senior pictures.
Many of the suggestions can be used in other portrait sessions as well.

As anyone who has willingly or unwillingly been in front of the camera knows,
being the star of a frame can be not only intimidating, but embarrassing.
How to hold your hands, how to swing a hip, where to look, whether to smile, and, then of course, before one even gets this far, what to wear...all of these inquiries can make the experience less than enjoyable...dare I say it, even dreaded.

what to wear. 
If you're bringing a change of clothes, start with the ensemble you feel most confident in. You want to feel comfortable, prepared, and excited about the outfit. Layers are nice and provide interesting textures in photos. Accessories also give an element of togetherness. Decide if you like the idea of looking back on the senior year with fond memories of the trends of the times, or if you want a more classic appeal to the photos. Both have their advantages. 
If the session will take place outside, ask the photographer about the location to plan appropriate clothing. For instance, casual cowboy boots will be even cuter in a field where as bold colors and black jackets will stand out even stronger against an urban background. 
Have a casual, comfortable outfit, and consider a dressier option additionally. 
Let your style speak for your personality, interests and priorities. 

what to bring.
Pinterest is a great place for inspirations in senior photo props. Sunglasses, blankets, books, hats, athletic gear, musical instruments, letter jackets, all of these small things can be incorporated to create a cool statement representing the finale of the high school years.
Take some time to look through friends' photos and online for ideas. Share the ideas with your photographer and don't be afraid to ask for specific poses or props. 
Look around the session location for items or natural occurrences that could serve as a prop. 
Again, these photos are to represent you. Speak up and be excited to share your ideas!

When finally stepping in front of the camera, 
try to forget it's there. 
Consider bringing a brother or sister who makes you laugh or a friend who will check your teeth at the last minute. Make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Do what feels natural to you. Ask the photographer for suggestions on how to hold your hands or where to look and trust their eye if they give directions. 
This all being said, sometimes being in front of the camera requires an element of acting. If you're nervous and can't manage a smile quite yet, start with looking around while still remembering the location of the camera. 
Make conversation with your friends, family or photographer to help yourself get loosened up. Ask them about their experience with senior pictures or where their favorite place to shoot is. 
Sit up straight and hold the shoulders back even if you think the photographer isn't even taking a shot quite yet. 
Sometimes it's the impromptu moments that make the most beautiful candids.  Try out different places for your hands, different stances with your body, different expressions with your eyes. Be bold. 

All in all, realize that most can get a little nervous when stepping in front of the lens. 
Instead of second guessing the experience, focus on what makes you feel the most confident, and then rock your chance to star in the shoot.

In the Kansas City area, contact Allison French with Life: by the Frenchs Photography for natural, fun senior sessions that bring out your personality and capture your beautiful life. 

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