The 4 Fs of Senior Portrait Wardrobe

And by F’s we don’t mean a failing grade, yo.

blonde senior girl in bold red, off the shoulder shirt in an urban setting

It’s almost senior season and I am chomping at the bit to get shooting again. One of my favorite parts of every session is when my seniors start laying out their clothes so we can make a custom plan for where we are shooting. We really try to customize each session so you stand out in every location and so your fashion choices really shine! But in order to get to that session, you have to pick your clothes first. All of my clients get the spiffy What to Wear Guide, but if you’re not a client and need a little help, here are the 4 F’s that I try to follow in photos and really have my seniors follow.

blonde senior boy in fitted gray jacket but chipped white wall


Your outfits should fit you well. Having an outfit that fits your body shape well does WONDERS for your senior portraits. Think tailored jackets or dresses that fit curves well. Overly baggy shirts can add bulk where there is none or overly tight clothing can limit your ability to get a variety of different poses. Having outfits that are flattering to your shape will give you tons of variety. Now, we will touch on it later but if you feel confident in something, you should absolutely wear it. It’s our jobs as photographers to make sure that no matter what you bring, we can photograph it in a flattering way for you. Sometimes, that means a little trickery like tying up the back of an overly baggy sweater with a hair tie I took out of my own hair. But guess what? If it looks the best it can, and you love it I’m all for it. I’ll want that hair tie back, though.

brunette senior girl in a floral kimono twirling in green trees

2. Feel

We touched on this above, but you should feel great in your clothes. All of my seniors get the same shpeel in their consult. My two stipulations of what they wear have always been the same: 1. You feel confident. 2. You feel beautiful/handsome. If you don’t feel great in your clothes, it absolutely shows in your images. I can always tell when someone isn’t totally comfortable in what they are wearing because it shows in their face and their over all body language. Seniors who aren’t totally at ease are constantly tugging at the hems of their clothes or making adjustments. It’s so imperative for your session that you FEEL great in the clothing. It doesn’t have to be something bold like a floral kimono. What do you feel most comfortable in? Is it a simple black dress or just jeans and a cute top? Wear that!

blonde senior girl in black shirt dress and brown fringe boots

3. Fun

I’ve had so many seniors who tell me that they see an image in a fashion spread or in an ad or on Pinterest and they love everything about it and try to replicate it. How fun! Your outfits should be fun and totally reflect your personality. If you see something you like and feel like it’s a true representation of who you are in this season of your life, that absolutely should be one of your outfit choices for your session. The amount of times I’ve made some sort of awkward squealing noise as seniors lay out their super fun outfits cannot be added into a single blog post. And I can always tell that’s their favorite when they hear my reaction. Their whole face lights up and it makes shooting the fun outfits even better. Even if it’s an outfit you aren’t sure about, but you super love it, take it! You don’t have to wear it the entire time.

blonde senior in a black sun hat and yellow jumper overalls posing in an urban setting in Omaha Nebraska

4. Function

Ok. So this one is definitely more a photographer thing than a client thing but stick with me. If you ask any photographer what one of the hardest parts of posing is, they will likely say, “I don’t know what to do with my client’s hands.” Enter, outfits with function. Can I pose a senior who doesn’t have pockets in any outfit? Of course. Do I want to? No. (Excuse me fashion industry, but girls and women need pockets, too. And I’m not talking about a fake pocket. We need to carry stuff too). I digress, you give me a jumper, romper, dress or pair of pants that actually have pockets and I’m like a kid at Christmas. Flowy skirts that move in the wind or we can twirl in? I’m here for it. Super beautiful summer hats that give your hands something to do? Yes all day… Twice on Sunday. Gorgeous accessories that you can hang on to with dainty, ballerina fingers? Mhhmm. Yep. If it has some function to it, it gives more variety (and let’s face it, it makes my job that much easier).

I hope this was just a little bit helpful in your search for the picture perfect portrait-wear. If you’ve got questions or want to leave a comment, be sure to leave it below or in the link on facebook!