One of the first things that happens once you book a photo session, whether it's a family session or a high school senior shoot, is the question that hangs heavy in the air: What do I wear?

Much of the answer to that question depends on what type of look you're trying to capture. If you're a senior, you'll need to decide whether you're going for a natural, stylized, slightly glamorous, fun, quirky, or sporty look, there are certain guidelines and recommendations you should follow for the most successful session.

Family sessions

There was a time when a family would get all dressed up in white shirts (or another color) and jeans and call it a family picture. That look of everyone wearing the same thing tends to look dated, distracting, and void of personality.

Instead, pictures look beautiful and natural when the family is coordinated, but not matching. One way to do that is by starting with mom or daughter's outfit. Pick two or three key colors that family members will wear and add in a couple neutral colors -- grays, beiges, denim -- for layering. Repeat your key colors several times throughout the outfits. Your color choices might be vibrant and contrasting: turquoise, coral, and navy. They might be a bit more subdued: olive green, mustard, and brown.

Another way to coordinate is to choose different shades of a color family. This works well with blues and grays. Family members wear different hues of the same color family, like this family who did a beautiful job wearing varied shades of blues.

Accessorize: women and girls look great with some little extras. Scarves, big earrings, bracelets, statement necklaces, hats. They all add depth and character to your images.

Don't forget the shoes! Yes, your shoes will show in some of your images, so either make it clean and subtle, or make a statement.


A senior photo session is your chance to have fun and showcase your personality. Depending on your package selection, you'll be able to wear two or three outfits.

Some seniors like to have one outfit that is a little more dressy and one a bit more casual. Feel free to bring several outfits and I'll help you decide.

Girls: Bright, bold colors look stunning: purples, turquoises, ruby reds, emerald greens, mustard. More muted colors also look nice, too. Try to stay away from solid black or white on top. They tend to wash out skintone and often don't look as pleasing as colors. Ivories and creams, however, do work well, especially if you're going for a light and airy look. Dresses tend to look better on the fitted (but not too tight) side. Try to avoid small prints. For a more casual look, you can't go wrong with jeans and a beautiful, colorful blouse. Sleeves generally look better than sleeveless. Don't forget accessories: hats, scarves, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and fun, colorful shoes.

Guys: For a more dressed-up look, slacks and a shirt and tie are a classic option. For a more casual look, jeans or khakis with any style shirt works well. Solid-colored shirts look best as opposed to plaids and stripes. Avoid white undershirts. They look awkward when they peek out underneath the shirt. Instead, opt for gray or black. Avoid graphics or logos on shirts.