6 Creative Tips for Awesome Senior Portraits, Rochester, NY ~ DJ

Admittedly, DJ was a senior in 2011, but I was doing some figurative housekeeping and came across these photos.  DJ's family is amazing for about 100,000 different reasons and I have to say that out of this session came some all time favorite images.  His sister is now a senior - those images are coming up soon (and she's gorgeous!).  The colors, the variety of backgrounds, DJ's awesome smile...  you can't go wrong with a photo if it makes you smile.

Which got me thinking that he's a great example of how to nail a senior portrait session.

#1: The location is 50% of the photo.  If there's a place that you think represents you (like a pool if you're a swimmer) then that's fantastic.  It could also be a place you love to be, or even just a place with lots of different options.  These photos were shot on the University of Rochester Campus, which has a track, nature, architecture, etc.  DJ's shots were varied - which is great.

A little stadium, a little green nature, a little fall nature, some architecture...

#2: Clothing changes are your friend.  Since it's just you, it's basically the background, you in different positions (women have more options with this than men), and your clothes.  So even just two different outfits can go a long way toward variety.

This is the second choice, you can check out the purple shirt in the above photos.
#3: Bring something along that's important to you.  DJ runs track, and so we met at a track and he brought along his running shoes.  Some people bring musical instruments, other types of sports equipment, etc.

#4: Add an effect.  I'm not a big photoshop person.  I try to avoid it.  I mainly do this by trying to get the image right in the camera and I kick myself if I have to leave Lightroom, but this effect works really well.  If you see some Photoshop type thing you love, let me know and we'll recreate it.

5.  Have your colors analyzed.  If you're super hard core about this, I highly recommend Kerry Stitch at Indigo Tones.  I was a skeptic (I'm a skeptic about pretty much everything), but I have to say that after having my colors analyzed, it's something I come back to all the time.

A lot of us wear colors we like, or colors other people wear, or just what's on sale.  We can't figure out why we never pick that yellow shirt, or why black seems to wash us out.  It turns out that there is a reason, and knowing what colors look best on you will help you photograph better than ever.  There's not one magic color - it depends on your complexion.

After my analysis Kerry said, "You get to wear the colors everyone else wears but shouldn't."  Meaning black, brown, dark red, etc.  But I can't wear yellow.  Somehow I knew this but kept buying light colored clothing anyway.  I don't anymore and it is incredibly liberating!

6.  Bring a friend, or your mom, or someone to make you smile.  Even having someone to challenge you to a staring contest can evoke some great facial expressions.

Have any tips to add?  Leave a comment below!


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