You can think of a million things you’d rather be doing than having your portrait made! It’s completely normal to feel a little awkward when taking senior portraits. Some seniors tend to feel self-conscious about their appearance, but with a little preparation, you will have the confidence to rock that senior session! Below are my top five tips for taking on your senior portrait with grace and poise, and creating photos that you will love for years to come.

1. Use your eyes.

Use your eyes to express emotion. When you smile naturally your whole face lights up and your eyes look bright and awake. Before the photo session practice smiling in the mirror and use different expressions to see what you like the best. Do not be afraid of an authentic smile or laugh. Those pure emotions will show through in your eyes and make for great pictures!


Great photos happen when you are relaxed and confident. Let the excitement of your photo session show through the lens as you take a moment and breathe, relax and just have fun. Showing a calm and soft demeanor in your portraits always looks best.

3. Breathe.

This may sound obvious but taking a deep breath is key to capturing a natural look! Take time to  practice taking a deep breath while smiling in front of the mirror.  Slowly release the air while holding the smile and notice how your face and eyes settle into a natural and relaxed expression. Allow your eyes to “smile” by focusing on the apples of your cheeks pressing upwards. When in doubt, just breathe. You may feel silly taking a deep breath and letting it out during your session, but you will enjoy seeing the results in your images.

4. Move.

Staying stationary can sometimes produce a very staged and cheesy look. Just because you are sitting or standing still doesn’t mean you can’t change the angle of your body to create a look that is fresh and inspired. Try leaning into the camera slightly to appear more engaged, shift your weight from left to right, or simply move your chin slightly up and down for different shots as this gives us a variety of facial expressions to work with. Creating movement in your body by twirling or walking creates movement and interest in your pictures for a different view point.

5. Beautify.

When you look your best, you feel your best and when you feel your best, you are naturally more confident. This most likely goes without saying, but make sure your hair is brushed, your face is shaved (gentlemen), makeup done (ladies), and clothing looking sharp when you have your session. Go the extra mile to walk into your senior session feeling confident, attractive, prepared, and inspired. It is easier to fix something before the picture is made rather than having to “fix” things in post processing. You will be glad you arrive prepared!

You will be so happy to have these senior portraits during this exciting time in your life. Enjoy the process, have fun and be ready to create some great images!