Photographer Central | Six Ways to Make Your Senior Portrait Stand out From the Pack

Six Ways to Make Your Senior Portrait Stand out From the Pack

Senior PortraitsTips to make your senior portraits stand out from the pack

Today’s seniors know what they want. They want unique and different photos that stand out. Generic graduation pictures and senior pictures are so cookie cutter. Even the behemoth photography studio Prestige Photography makes professional pictures look common and pedestrian. It goes without saying that students want their senior picture to look good, but a much more challenging task is to have your senior photo stand out and be one-of-a-kind. When the goal is to get noticed, that becomes hard when everyone is trying to stand out by going to the same Prestige Portraits photo studio. The real trick to ensure unique, outside-of-the-box portraits for your high school senior photo is to get them from a professional portrait photographer. It’s not always easy to find portrait photographers, not to mention settling on one that suits your style and budget. So here are six tips to help you achieve the senior portrait you’ve always wanted.

choose your photographer wisely

Everyone gets their studio photo taken at school, but not everyone has their own senior photo shoot with a professional photographer. This is the best way to get your senior photo to stand out from the crowd, but the tough part is selecting a photographer to work with. Choose one with a proven track record. Check out their portfolio and make sure it matches the style you are looking for. (Explore different photography styles here.) You can research local photographers on


location, location, location

Studio photography can be amazing, but there’s something about taking the photo session outside that takes the senior portrait to a whole new level. Think of places that have meaning to you. Just as important is thinking about places that are picturesque. Meaningful places are not always picturesque and vice versa, but the perfect senior portrait happens when you can get both.


schedule the shoot based on lighting

Even the best senior picture ideas can look bad when shot with poor lighting. That’s why it’s important to talk about your senior pictures ideas with your photographer to make sure you schedule the shoot around the quality of light you want in the photos. Some common tips are to avoid the middle of the day with its harsh shadows, and to consider scheduling your shoot for that lovely warm light found only in the golden hour (1 hour before sunset).


let your outfit do the talking

Photo studios will oftentimes encourage you to dress formally and/or dress for comfort. While normal graduation picture ideas include a gown and cap and a sweater shot, this is your big chance to make a statement. Be stylish! Brush up on your favorite fashion blogs and trendy catalogues. Bring a few separate senior picture outfits with extra garments to mix and match. Avoid stripes and patterns, and beware that not all body types can pull off solid black and white. Don’t forget to accessorize—hats, jewelry, boots, a splash of color—just be sure not to go overboard. Whatever you end up bringing, make sure it fits well—not too loose and not too tight.


posing like a pro

Many photography studios will give you some on-location posing tips. Try different facial expressions, including relaxing your face muscles, and showing a bit of teeth (no not smiling, just don’t clench your teeth). Lifting your head also combats the dreaded double chin. Senior portrait poses can sometimes be a bit stiff and awkward, especially at first. But a bit of body language awareness can improve any boring portrait poses simply by bending your leg, turning to the side, creating triangles with your arms and legs, and having good posture.


just be yourself

It’s hard being someone or something that you’re not. So don’t force it, and take it easy. Just be you and remember to be expressive. The best senior portraits are those that express emotion while also portraying your unique personality. Consider bringing some photography props that aren’t over the top, and most of all, have fun. It’s up to you to have a blast. Sure, it’s a little awkward getting your photo taken, but embrace it and get out of your comfort zone. This pays off since it ensures that you have an awesome time, which also shines through in the photos.


A good photographer can work with you and all your creative senior photo ideas to produce timeless images that make you look your very best. Choose that photographer wisely, and then plan to relax and enjoy yourself at the actual portrait session.  


Delores Lyon(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing these tips on having a great senior photo! I definitely agree that it is important to have a photo with a great location. Where the photo is taken will change the lighting, which is so important in the overall quality of the photo. Bad lighting means a bad photo!
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