Your Senior Photo Experience Part 2: Previsualizing and Planning For Your Session

High School Senior photo season is right around the corner (typically spanning June - September in my area).  That means now is the time to start planning for this exciting time in life! 

This is part 2 in a new series called YOUR SENIOR EXPERIENCE for soon to be seniors and parents to give you a little glimpse into the "behind the scenes" of planning for, taking senior pictures and then what to do with the pictures from your session.  Especially if this is your first time I know it can look like an overwhelming experience and this series is here to answer some of your questions and help you out along the way. 

This 4 part series covers what to expect coming up to your senior pictures along with some tips on planning, the session itself and then we will wrap up with what to expect after your session and what you are supposed to do with these images anyways.

Planning for and Pre-visualizing your high school senior session | Detroit Lakes Area Senior Photographer

Planning for your session can feel a bit overwhelming.  What to wear, what props to include and how do you make sure your personality shines through?!?!  Here I have a few quick tips to help make that planning process smoother and give you a few ideas to get you started.


Setting the Style & Mood

To start things off, when I talk about planning for your session, I am talking about setting the styling and mood for your session, this can be done through a number of ways, the most common being outfits, props and location.  As we have discussed in past posts, most sessions take place at our farm near Audubon, MN, so if you are coming to me for your senior pictures, you probably already know you are going for a slight country girl, rustic or natural look to your session.  Now on to the clothes and props (props don't have to be "things", they can also be your favorite 4 legged friend or your BFF).  Read on for some easy tips to plan your session's style. 



There are multiple ways to go about creating an inspiration or mood board for your session, such as clipping out images from magazines or printing off inspiration from the internet, but Pinterest boards really have changed the game here.  Pinterest as many of you know is an excellent tool to curate ideas and also help plan for your session!  One thing we want to be careful of though is copying someone's ideas.  It is alright to use your Pinterest board for inspiration, but in my opinion not okay to outright copy the work of others.  With that said I have a few tips to help make the most of your Pinterest board. 

Tips for your Pinterest board:

  • Keep it small - keep your board to 15-30 pins, it can be easy to get excited and pin everything that looks pretty, but it will be the most help if you narrow your board to help create a distinct look and style for your shoot
  • Take advantage of the pin caption!  Use the pin caption area to write a short note of what you like about the image, maybe its the outfit, or the hair or perhaps the background or the posing.  This not only helps you narrow your style, but also helps your photographer understand your style if you choose to share the board with him/her

I regularly pin images I find inspiring or unique, you may enjoy following me on pinterest!  Here is my high school senior inspiration board.


I find that getting to know you a little better helps me ensure your personality shines through in your images.  For this reason I send out a short questionnaire to each of my senior clients and ask questions like what are your favorite sports and describe your personality in 3 words or less.  Expect to see this questionnaire shortly after you book your session. 


A Few Great Examples From Past Clients

Molly did a great job of creating a country/horse styled shoot that took place at her parent's farm.  As part of the process Molly created a shared Pinterest board with me to help me visualize the natural and very "real" look she was going for. 

Country & Equine Styled shoot with Molly | Frazee, MN Senior Session

Emily is very active in FFA and wanted to make sure that shined through in a few of her senior pictures.  We achieved this look through the traditional FFA dress and a classic "red barn" background.

FFA Styled Shoot | Detroit Lakes, MN Senior Session

Grace has a huge talent on the basketball court and wanted to include basketball not only in the traditional basketball shots, but we also incorporated it in the background whenever possible. 

Basketball Senior Styled Pictures | Detroit Lakes, MN High School Senior Pictures

Leah has a love and appreciate for being out on the water, so we were sure to include that in her senior session along with other hobbies such as running.

Water Senior Pictures | Senior Pictures on Cotton Lakes, MN

Sheyenne has a passion for her animals and shows in FFA and Junior Point shows so of course they had to make an appearance in her senior pictures!  (we also got some shots with her pig)

Senior Pictures with a Sheep | Audubon, MN

Aubrey has a love for dance, so naturally we had to schedule a dance styled session!

Dance Styled Portraits | Audubon, MN

Derek has a passion for fishing, so we went out on the water and captured that along with the standard portraits and some track styled images.

Senior Pictures on Little Cormorant Lakes, MN

Holly has a passion for travel and did not want the typical suitcase images so we included a map, globe and other travel styled props into her session.  Along with travel, Holly loves her dogs as well as track, her session was full of fun styling as well as the traditional senior pictures.

Travel Styled Senior Pictures | Frazee, MN High School Senior Pictures


There are many more examples I could show you, but I think I will leave it here.  As you can see, there are many ways to include your interests and hobbies into your session so it becomes so much more than just a stiff standard pose, it becomes an experience all about you and styling your beautiful life into your senior pictures!

Also be sure to check out PART 1: Picking a Photographer!


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