in Blog | Senior Graduation

You’ve booked your session (yay!) and now it’s time to focus on what to wear for senior pictures!

Trends change constantly, but here are a few simple, timeless ideas to help you look amazing for your senior portraits. First, make sure to select clothes that are true to your personality. The tips that follow are simply suggestions, not firm rules. Whatever you choose, your wardrobe should make you feel amazing and confident!

Although senior portraits are a great excuse to add a few new pieces to your wardrobe, you can often find what you need in your own closet. Since you are showing the camera your true self, what better place to start than with the clothes you already have? However, if you’re looking to include something truly special, you can always try Rent the Runway and rent a beautiful dress or outfit. If you want to see what some other teens are wearing, you can see some other sessions here.

While you can wear one outfit or several for your photo shoot, most teens arrive with two to three outfits. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


1. Casual Outfit


  • Jeans + top + sneakers
  • Flowing (short, midi or long) dress + sandles or sneakers
  • Jumsuit, romper to two-piece set
what to wear for your casual outfit for your senior portraits


  • Jeans + t-shirt + open button shirt + sneakers
  • Pants + button shirt + sleeves rolled up
  • Graphic t-shirt + shorts + sneakers
what to wear for senior portrait guys casual outfit


2. Formal or Timeless Outfit


  • Longer dress (or even your homecoming or prom dress) + heels/wedges
  • Shorter dress + heels or dress shoes
  • Dark denim jeans + blouse + dress shoes
formal dress ideas for girls senior pictures


  • Tailored suit + button-up shirt + dress shoes
  • Dressier pants/slacks/khakis + dress shirt + dress shoes
  • Dark denim jeans + sweater + dress shoes
dress up for a more formal look for senior pictures with slacks or khakis for guys


3. Personality/Fun Outfit

  • Sports uniform + sports equipment
  • Dance outfit or cheerleading uniform
  • Musical instrument
  • Hobby items like a fishing rod, rock climbing shoes, paints, or even a pet!
  • College sweatshirt, banner, etc.
  • Graduation cap and gown
  • If you’re into fashion, select something that’s on trend and shows your style. Be bold!
wear your sports uniform for your senior pictures to show off your personality



Color is an important factor when selecting your outfits. Once we’ve picked out a location, consider the colors of the background.

If you’re surrounded by nature, earth-tones, such as greens and browns, can look beautiful and blend with the scene.

earth tones in natural scenery work well for senior portrait outfit ideas

Going for a more urban look? Check with me on which colors will be around you. We might be in front of a mural, red brick or gray cement. This is usually a great opportunity for a pop of color, like red, yellow or pink.

do your senior portraits with an urban look in downtown sacramento in front of a mural

Want to play it safe? Neutral tones like cream, gray, black and denim will go with practically anything. Pastels often work well with outdoor scenery, too.

Try to avoid wearing pure white up against your face. It can make even the whitest teeth appear yellow.



  • It’s important that you are comfortable in whichever clothes you choose. If your clothes are uncomfortable, painful or itchy, it will strain your expressions.
  • Remember to accessorize! Hats, scarves, jewelry, a nice watch — these all help to add visual interest to your pictures.
  • Layers can make one outfit look like two!  Add on a denim jacket, blazer or cardigan, especially if the weather is cooler.
  • Make sure your clothing is wrinkle-free and put your clothes on hangers while traveling to your shoot.
  • If you plan to get a hair cut, do it at least two weeks before the shoot to give it some time to settle in. Guys, if you’re planning to shave your face, it’s best to do it the morning of the shoot, but try to avoid nicking yourself.
  • Check your teeth for food. Yup, I said it.
  • Select appropriate undergarments so bra straps and underwear don’t show.
  • Balance loose clothing on the bottom with more form-fitting clothing on the top and vice versa. If your top is loose, wear something tighter on the bottom.
  • Bring along some translucent powder or oil blotting paper to take the shine off your face. This is especially useful in warmer weather.
  • For makeup, go with what you would normally wear. There’s no need to do anything too dramatic. If you opt to have your hair and makeup done professionally, give yourself much more time than you think you need. Things like traffic, lack of parking and taking the wrong freeway exit can add on time. Also, avoid any makeup with glitter. It can look like there are dirt specks on your face in the final image.
  • Don’t forget to take care of your nails. That could mean getting a manicure in advance or simply removing chipping nail polish.
  • Feel free to bring a bunch of clothes and accessories to your shoot and I will be happy to help select the pieces that will work best for you, the location and the weather. You can also text or email with clothing ideas before the shoot if you would like some feedback on the best options.
  • Lastly, this has nothing to do with clothing, but make sure you’re not hungry for your shoot! Your face is the best “piece” in your wardrobe and a hungry face is not a cute face.

That may seem like a lot, but the main points are: be yourself, be comfortable and I’ll do the rest to create some fun and beautiful images for you. I look forward to seeing you at your shoot!

– Jill

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