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Girls | What To Wear Senior Portraits

Hey, you!   Welcome to one of the most fun parts of your senior portrait experience:  planning, and pulling outfits together!   Here are some helpful tips, to help you get ready for your once in a lifetime, super-awesome, senior photo shoot…….

Before I get started, you must know that I love fashion, accessories, makeup, and all that goes into putting the pieces together to make you not only look beautiful, but feel beautiful!  So, so, SOoo important, on the day of your senior pics!  Coordinating outfits to the style of scenery/background we’ll be using in each of your photos, will put your senior pics on another level, and this is something I’ve come to be very, very good at!  It takes both of us to make this happen though!  Please plan several outfits and accessories to bring along to your photo shoot.  Eight is a good number of outfits, so that we have options.  We may not use them all, but options are always a good thing.  Once you arrive, we can make a more definite plan.  For now, think of your outfit selections in two categories:

a) Four: “Definites”-  Outfits that you KNOW you want to wear.

b) Four:  “Maybes” – those outfits that you’re not completely sure about, bring them anyway.

You never know what we’ll come up with once we’re together that day, when making our final plans.  Sometimes we mix & match at the last minute, by mixing pieces from your “definite” outfits, with accessories from your “maybe” outfits.  

Have an outfit that you are just not sure about?  Crazy pattern? A little bit outside of your usual style? Those outfits almost always end up being the favorites of seniors and their parents!  Bring any and all outfits, accessories, and shoes that are possibilities.  It’s so much better to have plenty of options, than to not have enough outfits during your photo shoot!   Here are some more helpful tips about what to wear, and how to prepare:

Clothing Styles

Please be sure to a variety of seasons of clothing, as well as tops with various sleeve lengths (short, 3/4, etc).  Layering with jackets or sweaters will add depth, style and texture to your portraits. Please, please, PLEASE, avoid strapless tops and spaghetti straps.  In close-ups, you will look as though you don’t have any clothes on at all.

Bring clothing that is form-fitting, not too tight, not too loose, but true to your size. Baggy clothing will make you appear larger, as will clothes that are too tight. Solid colors are always recommended. Stripes and plaids generally add on about two dress sizes to your appearance, and take the focus away from your face in the the pictures. Solids will give your portraits a classic look for years to come, without looking “dated”. If you must go with a patterned top or dress, select one with a medium to larger in print. Avoid any small polka dots, pinstripes, or small patterns.

Bring lots of outfit options and accessories! If there is a certain item or outfit that you’re not sure about, just bring it along. Once you arrive for your shoot, I’ll help to make a game plan. Don‘t forget your prom dress! (or at least a “dressy dress”) These are often a favorite in portraits!  And please tell mom not to worry. We will not take portraits in every single outfit that you bring.  We just need options! 🙂


The big question is always:  Straight or curly?  My advice is, wear it as you would to a sports banquet, Homecoming, or on a first date.  Would it be curly or straight?  If you still aren’t sure, and you wear your hair both ways often, and know that you can style both ways beautifully, my advice is one of two things.  A) Choose our Ultimate Photo Shoot, so that you can have two appointments, one for straight, one for curly. OR B) If in doubt, go with curly.  In photos, my personal preference is always curly hair. It softens your photos, makes you look polished, and is more interesting to the eye than straight hair. With that said, the day of or the day before your senior portraits is definitely not a time to try a new style.  If you always, always wear your hair styled straight, please do keep it straight for your photos.


The key to great makeup is to keep it natural and fresh. If you have a few blemishes, please wear only a thin layer of concealer, and leave it to me to airbrush from there in Photoshop. Anything heavy will show up in your portraits, and becomes very challenging to remove after the fact.

Lip gloss, I am BIG on lip gloss.  If you wear no other makeup in your senior portraits, I am with you all the way, BUT, when gloss is worn even very, very lightly in your photos, it will give you some depth and dimension.  If you’re unsure about what brand of lip gloss to pick up for your photo shoot, I highly recommend Urban Decay Naked Lip Gloss (the color “Naked” looks very natural on everyone), from Ulta or Sephora.

Eye makeup, is best in photos when worn as you usually apply it. If you do not usually wear eye makeup, I still recommend a thin layer of mascara, just to give your eyes a little “pop”. Benefit brand “They’re Real” mascara, found at Ulta or Sephora photographs beautifully!

Accessories, Acccessories, Accessories!!!
Jewelry, hats, shoes, scarves, belts, hair bands, jackets, and other accessories will give your portraits personality and uniquely-you style! It’s the DETAILS that will make your portraits so much more unique than the rest!  Charming Charlie’s in West Town Mall is an absolute wonderland of reasonably priced accessories!  Senior photos are a big milestone, and a great excuse to do a little shopping. 🙂


If you’re a sports fan, this could be as simple as a Packer or Badger jersey (or Viking or Bears, idc!).  If you’re an athlete, please bring everything that you need to step on the court or field.  For example, eye black, tennis racket, track shoes, lacrosse stick, etc.  Everything that you would actually need to play.  Please try to plan ahead, contact your coach, and try to get a hold of your jersey (or any jersey). Coaches have gone to great lengths in the past, to get jerseys out for senior pics.  They know that this is once in a lifetime!  If not, make sure you mention that in your text/voice mail/email!  Because it is.  You only have your senior pics taken once, and we want them to be completely you!

Please be sure to let Mom or Dad help to pick out at least one outfit.  Even just lay out several options that YOU like, and ask which is their favorite.  It’s really important to keep in mind that these portraits are for your family to enjoy as well.

Last but not least….confidence.  That is by far the most important quality in your photos.  We want your senior portraits to be completely “you”, and we need you to be comfortable and confident for that to shine through.  Please let us know when you arrive if you’re feeling nervous.  We can take a little extra time to let those jitters settle!  Once the first few photos are taken, you’ll quickly realize that the whole process is incredibly fun!

If you have any questions about how to prepare for your session, feel free to text or call. 

Our Pinterest pinboards are another great way to look for ideas & inspiration!

Looking forward to working with you!



Studio Location:

6036 Town Hall Drive   |   Sun Prairie, WI  53590

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Tue-Fri: 8am-6pm     Sat:  8am-12noon      Closed:  Sun-Mon

Call:  608.834.1410      Email:  info@brendaeckhardt.com     Text:  608.318.3456