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What to wear 
for your
Senior Portraits

Senior Portrait Style Guide: What to Wear for a Perfect Session

Senior year is a time filled with anticipation, excitement, and milestones. And what better way to commemorate this significant chapter in your life than with stunning senior portraits? Your senior photos are a timeless keepsake, a visual representation of your unique personality, and a reflection of your style. To ensure your senior portrait session is an unforgettable experience, you must consider what to wear. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the art of selecting the perfect outfits, accessories, and colors to make your senior portraits truly shine.

Before we dive into wardrobe choices, it's essential to understand the context of your senior portrait session. Many factors like location, season, and the overall vibe can determine what you wear to your session.

Firstly, consider the location where the session will take place. Whether it's an urban setting, a park, or maybe the beach, the surroundings can greatly influence your outfit choices. Try to match your clothing to the environment. For example - you typically wouldn't wear a winter sweater, jeans and boots on a beach and you wouldn't be wearing a suit and tie in a state forest. 

The season also plays a role and it can impact the colors and fabrics that work best. Here in Florida we are pretty lucky to have spring/summer weather year round so our backdrop is pretty lively for all seasons of the year, but in other party of the country Winter and Fall can offer very different element to your photos so it is important to keep that in mind when choosing your colors and types of clothing you choose. 

Additionally, defining the overall vibe of your senior portraits is vital. Are you aiming for a casual and carefree look? A timeless and classic style? or a more formal and sophisticated look? Understanding these elements will guide your wardrobe decisions and contribute to the success of your senior portrait session. 

 Ultimately, selecting the right wardrobe is an art that merges your personality, the session context, and your vision for the senior portraits.

Setting the Stage of your Session

The Classic Approach

One iconic ensemble that never goes out of style is  the classic white shirt paired with well-fitted jeans. This timeless combination effortlessly transcends generations and trends, allowing your natural beauty and personality to take center stage. The clean lines of a white shirt provide a sense of purity and simplicity, while denim jeans just photograph so well. This look works wonderfully in pretty much any environment. Whether you choose a beach, a park setting, a downtown area or an urban rooftop - you just can't beat this combo and it works great for guys and girls.

If jeans and white shirt is too boring for you, spice it up with a different color top, or add a splash of color with some cool sneakers! The nice thing with this classic look is that it can be a great starting point as a blank canvas! 

Another timeless classic is your graduation Cap and Gown. It can be work zipped up, or worn open with a nice outfit underneath, or you can even drape the gown over your shoulder for a more casual look. You cannot go wrong with a cap and gown as one of your outfits!

Casual Chic

Embracing Your Passions

Your senior portraits are a celebration of you, and your hobbies and interests should shine through. We'll discuss how to incorporate your passions into your outfit choices.

Sports and Cheerleading Uniforms: If you play a sport a uniform is a GREAT option to add some variety to you photos. You can go all out in your football uniform or play it down a bit with just a baseball jersey! Anything goes here! Caps, helmets, baseball bats and anything that highlights your sport! Cheerleader uniforms or kickline uniforms are great options as well! 

Your future aspirations; Are you interested in becoming a Doctor? An IT professional? A business owner? Think of your professional side and maybe grab a few photos in a formal business suit, these photos can make great LinkedIn profile photos as you start you job search or for college applications.

Dance and Gymnastics: Maybe you want to consider dressing in your ballet attire and grab some shots in working your magic or maybe gymnastics is your passion. These are great options as well! 

Music: Maybe you want to incorporate your favorite band's T-shirt in your session OR theme your session around one of your favorite artists! 

The options are truly endless! Think outside the box! 

Colors That Pop

Consider Your Surroundings:

Before you dive into your wardrobe, think about the backdrop and environment where your portrait session will take place. If you're shooting in a natural setting with lush greenery, bold  tones like deep blues or rich purples can make you stand out against the backdrop. If you're in an urban setting with concrete and steel, bright, contrasting colors like red, yellow, or orange can create a striking visual impact.

Harmonize with Your Skin Tone:

Colors that pop should not only complement your surroundings but also enhance your natural features and skin tone. Consider your skin tone and how it will play in your photos. Warm-toned individuals may find that earthy tones like tans, yellows, or pinks complement their complexion, while cool-toned individuals can look radiant in jewel-toned blues, purples, and teals. Neutral tones like white, gray, or black can work for all skin tones and can help highlight colored accessories you might add to your outfit.

Go Bold with Accessories:

If bold, colorful clothing is not your cup of tea, you can still add vibrant accents through accessories. A colorful scarf, a long necklace, or eye-catching shoes can inject personality and flair into your outfit without overwhelming the overall look. These pops of color can also be easily swapped out for different looks during your session, offering a lot of versatility.

Coordinate with Complementary Colors:

Consider the color wheel and how complementary colors can create a visually appealing contrast. For instance, if you have blue eyes, wearing clothing in shades of orange or copper can make your eyes pop. Green and red, purple and yellow, or even teal and coral are other complementary color pairs that can create striking effects.

Be Mindful of Patterns:

While solid colors can be a safe bet for vibrant portraits, don't be afraid to incorporate patterns and textures. Just ensure that the patterns and textures don't overpower the overall look. Subtle patterns or textures can add depth and interest to your outfit while still allowing your chosen pop of color to shine.

Accessories and Details

When it comes to senior portraits, every detail counts, and accessories are the unsung heroes that can elevate your entire look. These carefully chosen pieces not only add an extra layer of sophistication but also infuse a personal touch, making your portraits uniquely yours. Whether you're aiming for classic elegance, bohemian flair, or something in between, here's how accessories can transform your senior portrait session.

Accessories offer an opportunity to showcase personality. From flashy necklaces to funky hats, these items can speak volumes about your style and interests. A well-chosen accessory can tell a story, whether it's a vintage brooch that belonged to a beloved family member or a bold pair of earrings that reflect your love for art and creativity. Your senior portraits become a canvas for your self-expression, and accessories play a huge role in painting that picture.

Accessories have the magical ability to take a simple outfit and turn it into a stunning ensemble. A classic dress can be transformed into a fashion statement with the right accessories. A sleek belt can define your waist, a stylish watch can add a touch of sophistication, and a tasteful tie or bowtie can elevate a guy's look effortlessly. For girls, a carefully selected scarf or a pair of elegant heels can make all the difference. These details not only enhance your style but also contribute to the overall visual appeal of your senior portraits.

Accessories can tie together the various elements of your outfit and create a cohesive look. Whether it's coordinating colors or repeating a specific motif in your accessories, these small details can make your entire outfit flow together naturally. Think about how a matching necklace and earrings set can bring together your outfit in a way that is visually appealing and balanced.

The right accessory can instill confidence. When you feel confident in your outfit, it shines through in your portraits. Accessories can boost your self-assurance by allowing you to express your unique style and add a layer of comfort to your chosen look. This confidence not only enhances the quality of your senior portraits but also ensures that you look and feel your best during the session.

The Photographer's Perspective

None of these are hard and fast rules and even if they were guess what? Rules were meant to be broken. When all is said and done your senior portraits are about you as an individual, so use this as a starting point if you have no idea what to wear. I have found that many seniors these days have a great eye for fashion and do an amazing job of coming to their session looking like a million bucks!  

If you are unsure of what you should wear for your session reach out to your photographer. He or she can lead you in the right direction and have you looking amazing the day of your shoot! 

You can also bounce ideas off your friends and family. They are the ones who know you best and see you in a different light than you may see yourself and they can give you some amazing ideas! 

All in all, be comfortable, be confident and be YOU! That is what it is all about! 

If you are interested in learning some more tips and ideas for your session take a look at our Top Tips for Senior Portraits page to get some other great info to help make planning your senior portrait session easier!

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orlando florida

434 Photography is a portrait photography studio based in Orlando.

We specialize in photographing High School Senior Portraits but we also enjoy photographing family portraits, headshots, elopements and small weddings.
We are available to photograph your next session anywhere in the Orlando area but we also love to travel.