3 Common Mistakes Photographers Make With Senior Photography

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3 Common Mistakes Photographers Make With Senior Photography


Senior photography is quickly becoming one of the more coveted markets to be in.  With today’s trends it almost mimic’s fashion photography.  You would think you can’t really go wrong with youthful and excited girls that love to be in front of the camera. But you can.

Here’s three common mistakes senior photographers make and how to fix them:

1. Mistake: Being Critical. Never use statements that could be interpreted as critical.  Don’t ever say things like, “Oh your hair keeps falling in your face.” or “Ok, that smile is a little too big.”  Girls at this age are vulnerable, if they feel that they aren’t looking good, they will tense up and stress for the rest of the session.  Instead give genuine compliments, such as, “You’re hair is so beautiful, I think it’s more flattering when we keep the left side behind your shoulder and “You have a beautiful smile.  Let’s get a variety by trying a few soft smiles too.”

2. Mistake: Making the subjects look too edgy and grown up. As previously stated, senior photography is trending towards mimicking fashion photography.  While you might want to give your seniors a little bit of an edgy look, keep it appropriate.  Remember they are young girls, and likely not the ones purchasing the photos.  Mom and Dad are never going to buy an overly sexy picture of their young daughters.  Achieve the edgy look with facial expressions and appropriate poses, but don’t cross  lines.



3. Mistake: Making the subjects look completely different. It’s best to keep things somewhat natural. This one might be more a matter of personal preference, but even though we are going for a flawless look remember to keep it somewhat natural. Snake eyes and porcelain skin are maybe fun to experiment with and might even be perceived as cool to the senior girls.  Remember that mom and dad are ultimately in charge and they are more likely to invest in something that helps them remember their daughter the way she really is.  Soften skin at a low opacity if desired, but preserve some texture.  If your style includes brightening eyes in post processing, try to avoid changing the authentic color of your subjects eyes.


Kristin Wilkerson is the author behind this post and you can find her on Facebook or on her blog.


Need help with posing seniors?  Check out the MCP Senior Posing Guides, filled with lots of tips and tricks for working with high school seniors:

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  1. January 7, 2014 at 11:04 am —

    Very good article you must stop and think before the shoot !

  2. October 4, 2013 at 8:24 am —

    Great tips, but for once I would like to see photo examples of a girl who is over size 6 and not a future model. Most clients don’t look like they walked off the pages of Cosmo, but out of Target..

  3. September 30, 2013 at 11:46 pm —

    Really great article i hope after reading your post all photographers never do these types mistake !!

  4. September 30, 2013 at 11:22 pm —

    Great Article. To me, the Best result is that they look fabulous and are also recognisable to family and friends.

  5. September 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm —

    Real great article – it is a MUST share!

  6. September 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm —

    Good tips Kristin and I agree completely. Especially when I sometimes see overly photoshopped images that make the senior look like a completely different person or too sexy for her age.


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3 Common Mistakes Photographers Make With Senior Photography