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Senior Picture Dos and Don’ts

Whether you love being in front of a camera or are a little camera shy, your senior photo session will be a unique experience in which you should invest some time preparing for. These are some simple, time-tested guidelines that can help you make the most of your look. Follow these senior picture dos and don’ts to find the right balance for your photo session.

Do Wear…

No matter what style or colors you choose, you’ll want to select clothes that represent you at your best so you can look great, but still feel like yourself. Here are some senior picture dos to consider for your session.

Solid colors

It’s generally best to stick to solid colored clothes so that what you’re wearing doesn’t steal attention away from you.

senior boy photo

Muted colors

Choose classic colors that compliment your skin tone without blending in, such as earth tones, blues, greens, and medium to dark tones.


Layers can help define your shape and also add more complexity to an outfit without distracting.

Simple neck-lines

With clothing styles constantly changing, choose a top with a normal neck-line for a timeless look.

Long sleeve shirts

senior girls milwaukee

Trust us on this one – long sleeves give you a completed look that really make you look sharp.


Accessories are often one of the most fun and unique ways to customize a photo session. Bring items that represent you or have special meaning to you, including jewelry, bowties, hats, scarves, shawls, sunglasses, flowers, feathers and more.

Don’t Wear…

Just by reading this list you can greatly improve your photo session by avoiding common senior picture pitfalls. Here are some senior picture don’ts to consider for your session.

Wrinkled clothes

Wrinkled clothes are not easily fixed in post-production and steal the eye’s attention. Lay out your clothes in advance to know what needs to be ironed before you run out the door for your senior pictures. And don’t let new clothes fool you – those creases can often be extremely prominent!

Mismatched clothes

Avoiding mismatched clothes and colors might be a no-brainer, but take the time to think through your outfit from top to bottom. It’s okay to match more than you normally would, and even coordinate things like your shoes with your belt. Make sure all layers are complimentary colors and styles.

Busy patterns

Stripes, plaids, checks, and bold prints easily steal the attention in a senior portrait. No matter what the fashion trend is right now, you are more important and should be most prominent in the images. Choose clothes that compliment you without distraction.

If you have a favorite pattern, however, there are tricks to incorporating it, but work with your photographer to find the right balance. This rule also applies to logos on shirts – don’t wear any shirts with text or logos unless they represent a favorite hobby or pastime.

Bright colors

Avoid colors such as red, orange, pink and fluorescents to keep the focus of the portrait on you.

Bare shoulders or spaghetti straps

Bare shoulders often portray a careless look and can make a subject look heavier. This is especially best to avoid when you have uneven tan lines.

Sandals and sneakers

Even if you think you’re just signing up for one picture in the studio, match your shoes to your outfit. You don’t know what ideas your photographer will come up with for you so it’s best to be prepared. For ladies, dressy sandals can be a great option, especially for a beach session. But let’s all agree that you should never even leave the house with sandals and socks. 😉

Something grandma wouldn’t approve of

You know what we mean here, but just in case: ladies, avoid skirts that are too shorts and revealing tops and guys, avoid baggy pants and graphic tees.

Rules are made to be broken

senior girls waterfall photo

Now that you know your senior picture dos and don’ts, you can make an informed decision when breaking the rules. Senior picture styles are always changing, and that’s part of the fun! We recommend that you choose multiple sessions and outfits to embrace every style that you love.

For even more senior picture tips, download our free Senior Style Guide Guide. You’ll get tips about how to dress for your body type and skin tone and view some of the most popular styles to get ideas for your own look!

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