Melissa Schaetz Photography | Senior Portrait FAQ

Senior Portrait Frequently Asked Questions

 

When should I have my senior photos taken?  Usually the summer/fall before your senior year.  Some even wait until a few weeks before graduation (usually the guys), but booking sooner gives you a much better chance to have them done exactly when you want.

How long is this going to take?  Within the booked session time, we shoot until we “get the shot,” until we aren’t having fun anymore, or most commonly, we are so happily tired that we can’t move another inch.

Can I bring someone with me on the shoot?  Of course!  Bring mom, dad, friend or anyone else who is important to you.  General rule is...bring whoever you need to make you be most YOU.

How do you pick the style or location where you shoot?  The location is decided depending on the style and look you are after.  Of course you can request a location.   Feel free to email me photos of suggested locations, I love new places!  My locations are near White Oak (within 20 mile radius), travel fees apply other areas.  Areas frequently used are downtown Longview and Kilgore, Synergy Park, Maude Cobb, and a few fields I have permission to use.

I’ve seen photos online that I like – can we try something like that?   Feel free to send me links...this tells me a lot about your style and the direction you want to go.  I love unique challenges.  I can't always promise I can replicate, but we can try to get the style you are trying to achieve.

What Clothing Should I Wear for My Senior Pictures?

  • The clothes you bring to your senior picture session should represent you.  Solid colors, longer sleeves are usually the general rule, and all other things being equal, if we follow those we’ll create better looking photographs.  But if I have a  senior who only wears Hawaiian shirts and I were to photograph him in a polo shirt would be to totally ignore who he is.  It might look good, but it just wouldn’t be him.
  • Whatever you bring, think about in advance. Don’t get up the morning of your senior portrait session and grab whatever crawls out from under the bed.  Or simply whatever happens to be clean.  You’re only going to have senior pictures done once, so take some time to plan.
  • Bring a variety of different looks.  If we’re going to photograph you in four outfits, don’t bring four pairs of jeans and four t-shirts, unless that all you ever wear, or there’s some special reason to do so.  Think VARIETY.
  • Wear colors that you look GREAT in. You probably already do anyhow, but think in terms of the colors that go best with your complexion and hair coloring.  What color are your eyes?  If you wear at least one top that matches your eyes, it tends to make your eyes glow.
  • Get help if you need it.  Some guys especially are very clothing challenged, so if this is you, and  if you have a girlfriend, or a girl friend who has a great fashion sense, get her advice. Girls, have some fun with it.  Get some of your friends together and pick out what you’re going to wear.  If you’re going to wear dresses or skirts, wear something underneath that will give us the maximum flexibility in what we do with the minimum possibility for embarrassment.   Also, if you wear a tank or something similar underneath your outfit, it makes it easier to change if we need to change in the car. Also, help minimize bra straps.  Bring the appropriate type of bra for each outfit.

 

General portrait clothing guidelines

There’s an old saying in photography that says learn all the rules so you can creatively break them.  That applies to clothes as well.  Here’s the general guidelines we use that will, all other things being equal, make your portraits look that much better.  But we fully expect to creatively break them when it makes sense to do so:

1.  Solid colors photograph better than patterns.  Patterns take the eye of the viewer away from the face and to the clothing. You do not want to be in competition with your clothes in the photo.  The first thing people notice should be you.

2.  Generally, shirts with large writing on them don’t work as well as plain shirts, or maybe shirts with a simple logo.

3.  Think in terms of the colors in the environment we’re going to be photographing you in.  For example, if we’re doing fall colors, don’t wear pink.  That’s not a color you’d see in fall, and your clothing will clash with the colors in the background.  For downtown, just about anything works, because we’ll find the right place that works with your clothing rather than the other way around. 

4.  Sleeves are generally better than no sleeves, and longer sleeves are better than short sleeves.  This is simply because they eye goes to the lightest, largest item in the picture and if this is your shoulders and arms, it will take the viewers gaze away from your face, which is generally the center of attention.    The larger the arms and shoulders, the more the distractions.  So if you want to wear a spaghetti strap dress, a wrap over it might be a great choice.  But long sleeves in the summer might look out of place, so just keep this overall guideline in mind when you’re putting together your outfits. 

Makeup

1. Go slightly brighter/heavier on your cheeks, eyes, and lips than you normally would. Make-up tends to look much more toned down in photos so in order for it to look like you are wearing any at all you need to go slightly heavier and colors that have a tiny bit more pop.

2. Stick to matte make-ups unless you really know what you are doing.  It is super easy for shiny/glittery/shimmery makeup to reflect light and make you look oily (or spotty) in a photo.  So stick to a nice matte finish powders and eye shadows for flawless looking skin.

3. Always wear a powder over your makeup to set it and also to continue to keep it matte.

4. Fake eyelashes can feel awkward or ‘heavy’ at first but they make an awesome impression in photos and are a great way to add some flare without looking too unnatural. (for an even more natural look try individual lashes)