Best Locations for Senior Pictures | Gilbert Senior Photographer

Best Locations for Senior Pictures | Gilbert Senior Photographer

Stunningly San Tan: Fab Photo Venues Close to Home

As a senior portrait photographer in the Phoenix and East Valley area, I’ve scouted many vibrant and beautiful locations, and guess what? If you think your senior pictures have to be complicated, far away, and involve exotic locale bookings, you can think again! I’ve gotten some of the best senior portrait images from spots that are so close you barely have to top off the gas tank to get there. And here’s the best part…a lot of times, you only have to turn around or take a few steps for a completely different look, style, or change of scenery. One of my favorites for both daytime and nighttime photo shoots is San Tan Village in Gilbert. 

An Unexpected Photo Venue

When locals hear the name, they may initially think of shopping, entertainment, and food. But from a photographer’s point of view, San Tan is so much more! It’s a modern, open-air space that’s full of opportunity. I see a venue that’s quaintly decorated with charming lighting, eclectic chairs, textured walls, modern patterns, unique storefronts, and a pretty footprint that provides lots of symmetry and lines for framing the perfect shot. (Bet you didn’t think of all that last time you went shopping, huh?)

Many Looks, One Location

In the photos below, I took advantage of several of San Tan’s sleek and symmetrical features to offset Marissa’s casual chic style. The daytime lighting was perfect to catch her reflection in a store window, and with just the right angle, I was able to pull in a few of the brightly-colored pottery pieces that are scattered along the sidewalk.

best locations senior pictures gilbert

I wanted to get a nice close-up of her jean-jacket style, beautiful smile, and flawless look, so a shot with this gorgeous background was a must. Afterward, we angled for some distance shots and a casual shoulder-drop of the jacket. Key to every one of these shots is the varied and vibrant San Tan background with its lively lines and textures. All of these things worked together to add even more star power to Marissa’s overall classy-meets-trendy style.

Best Locations Outdoor Senior Pictures Gilbert

Impeccable Style & a Smile for Miles

With Rylee, I focused on her cosmopolitan sense of style, which was complemented perfectly by the glossy black and white lines of the building pictured below. Yep, you guessed it! It’s also located in beautiful and lively San Tan! She chose a perfectly paired outfit of ripped black skinny jeans topped with a feminine lacy black crop top and peep-toe heels, showing off her talent for mixing and matching textures to create her own unique style. With stunning hair and make-up to top off her mod look, she stood out like a runway model against the lines of the building.

Arizona Creative Senior Pictures

Moving from denim to dress-up, Rylee shifted gears and opted for a black mini tank dress with ankle-tie heels. It was perfectly chic and perfectly simple—allowing me to focus on capturing her vibrant personality and impeccable style. I wanted to get a few photos of her from a distance, as well as some casual and unexpected pics, like the one of her sitting on the back of a bench. One of the things I love about going to San Tan is the variety—all within shopping (er, walking) distance!

AZ Creative Senior Picture Photographer

Night Lights & Playing in the Street

And then there’s Brenley. This 2021 senior couldn’t take a bad picture if she tried! We took things from day to night at San Tan, starting with some playful and flirty shots of her playing in the street. I love the fact that traffic moves slowly at this venue, so there are plenty of gaps, which lets us take advantage of cross-walks, street pavers, and signs that we couldn’t capture in other places.

urban gilbert senior pictures

After dark, we let San Tan’s ambience work in our favor, and we took advantage of the pretty lighting. Using it as a background to bring the lovely Bren into focus, I was able to capture both her serious and lighthearted sides. 

unique locations gilbert senior pictures

Locations Gilbert Senior Pictures

Finally, she got to enjoy a gourmet chocolate—and of course, I had to capture a photo of her treating her sweet tooth to a much-deserved break after all her hard modeling work. 

Gilbert Senior Pictures Candy

The Photographer’s Eye

It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m constantly on the lookout for places that will make excellent photography venues. When you’re at a quaint café drooling over the chocolate cake, I’m looking at the décor and thinking of ways to pull off a vintage shoot incorporating the adorable checked tablecloths and the jukebox. Same thing happens in ditches, beside ponds, and on lunch dates. Lovely, interesting, and artistic places always get bookmarked for a return visit with my camera!

What Seniors Want

Whenever I talk to seniors who are getting ready for their photo shoot, they always tell me they’re looking for “something different, pics that highlight their personality…that aren’t like everyone else’s.” That makes a lot of sense to me. After all, their senior pictures should be just as unique as they are!

Flashback Time

Luckily, today’s high school seniors don’t remember the days of the old-school portrait studio. You know the one with the fuzzy bolster pillow to prop your arms on while you posed in a contorted position and held a fake smile while the photographer rolled down a canvas background behind you? Yeah, you remember. We all looked the same. Sure, we had different features and outfits, but the poses and expressions? Those were all the same. (Unfortunately, for many of us, so were the haircuts.)

I love what I do, and I’m thrilled that today’s senior classes aren’t limited to the roll-down canvas backgrounds we had. There’s an entire world out there, and I’m on the lookout for exciting locations to photograph in every day!

All Over the Valley

Stay tuned to the blog for more amazing East Valley and Phoenix-area locations. I’ll be highlighting some of my favorites, as well as brand-new treasures I’ve stumbled upon that have turned out to be spectacular spots for lighting, textures, lines, and just plain fun.

Where will your senior pics be? What location makes you feel most like YOU? Have a special hangout, a fave coffee shop you always hit with your bestie? Tell me about it! Chances are, there are some pretty great opportunities for photos in lots of the places you love. Let’s explore!


Want to See More?

If you loved these images, be sure to check out these too!

Marissa’s Senior Portrait Session, Class of 2019
Bren’s Senior Portrait Session, Class of 2021
Rylee’s Senior Portrait Session, Class of 2020

How To Get Natural, Authentic Senior Pictures | Phoenix Photographer

How To Get Natural, Authentic Senior Pictures | Phoenix Photographer

Candid Shots & Carefree Moments: Capturing in-the-Moment Magic

Being a teenager isn’t easy, especially today. There’s pressure from just about every angle to look good and present yourself at your best, and thanks to social media, everyone is “on” 24/7. Teens know, too, they can snap a hundred selfies in order to get the exact look they’re going for…and they do! So how do I prepare them for a professional photo shoot, one in which I’m behind the camera and they don’t have all that editing power?

Hello, Photo Shoot Nerves

Most future grads show up for their senior session and feel a little out of place, especially if they’ve never participated in any sort of professional photo shoot before. Think of it like driving a car. If you prefer to be behind the wheel, it can be a little nerve-racking to suddenly find yourself in the passenger seat ceding control to a different driver. Like everything else in life, there are those who are comfortable being passengers—and there are those who will always be a little antsy at the prospect of letting others drive.

Kicking Off the Fun

I do a lot of work prepping seniors for their upcoming shoots, but most of them still arrive on the big day with a deer-in-the-headlights look and joints about as flexible as The Tin Man. Faced with what’s likely their first full-body photo shoot that will include shots from hundreds of angles with multiple backgrounds is daunting, so I don’t blame them! There’s also the fact that I show up with cases full of professional equipment, including lighting for nighttime shoots, so it can all start to look a little overwhelming.

That said, it’s not surprising that some of my future grads start of a little stiff, and that’s perfectly ok! (Who wouldn’t be?) Because of this—and because I’ve helped so many teens work through their initial nerves to curate a beautiful collection of senior photos—I came up with a list of must-do’s to keep every photo session comfortably flowing.

#1 Don’t Push It

As a professional, if you’ve scheduled your sessions so that you have plenty of time to work with each client, you know that time is on your side. There’s no need to rush and no need to force actions or expressions. That’ll get you unnatural-looking photos faster than you can say “smile”!

Exciting Professional Senior Pictures Phoenix Az

Fun Professional Senior Pictures Phoenix Az

Remember the song Video Killed the Radio Star? Keep that tune in your head (you’re welcome) and remember this: Pressure killed the photo shoot vibes.

Sometimes it’s as simple as waiting for your client to warm up to the entire feeling of the photo shoot, so patience is key. Other seniors might need to open up and have a little conversation and a laugh or two before you jump right into shooting. While you might be tempted to start making posing suggestions (or even demands!), it’s too early for that if you have a nervous client. So, foot off the gas, Mario. There’s plenty of time to click away after everyone gets a little more comfortable.

Red Mountain Senior Picture Outfits East Mesa

Natural Outdoor Professional Senior Pictures Phoenix Az

#2 Start a Conversation

Make friends with your client. As prepared as they may be for senior pictures, many teens will walk in to their appointment and not know exactly how to interact with you, an adult who they may just be getting to know. (We are intimidating, scary people who occupy a part of the world they don’t normally hang out in, so they don’t really know how to hang out with us comfortably.)

Keep in mind that while we, the ones with mountains of camera equipment, participate in photo shoots practically every day. This is new for clients! Make them feel welcome, talk to them like they’re your friend, and get a conversation going right off the bat. If you work with high school seniors like I do, be sure they know you’re on their level. You definitely don’t want to come across as just another intimidating adult. We’re friendly, fun, and just barely less goofy than their parents! The point is, it’s ok to get a little playful to lighten the mood and get some natural smiles going. After all, the more at home they feel, the better shots you’ll get.

Natural Smile Professional Senior Pictures Phoenix Az

Professional Senior Pictures Desert Phoenix Az

#3 Prepare Like a Survivalist

No, you don’t have to construct an underground bunker, but you will need to draw on your magical powers of preparedness to pull off successful photo shoots with authentic poses. Preparation in a couple different ways is key to helping teens kick back, relax, and give up their best natural poses.

#3A Be Ready for the Silly & Unexpected

First, when you set out into the desert for outdoor pictures in Arizona, you’ll need to be vigilant of your surroundings (no scorpions needed in these pics!). At the same time, you need to be ready to capture even the slightest movement of your clients on camera, because you don’t want to take the chance of missing the perfect pose or expression. Encourage silliness and expression; then stand back and watch the magic as clients allow their personalities to shine. Keep your eyes open for perfect moments that show off their unique identities; these photos are golden!

#3B There Will Be Emergencies

Another part of being prepared and setting your clients at ease involves being a bit of a traveling supply store. I usually keep a fairly standard supply of bobby pins, safety pins, tape, lipgloss, lotion, and a few other necessities in a There Will Be Emergencies Kit…because, you guessed it, there will be emergencies. And the last thing you want is a nervous, tense, and distraught client who’s upset over a broken strap that could easily be safety-pinned for pics.

#4 Swap Your Technique

It can be tough to switch gears in a photo shoot. For example, if you’ve gotten your client loosened up, laughing, and having fun, it can be difficult to turn around and slow things down for more serious photographs afterward.

To settle back in for more formal poses, ask the client to close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and count to ten to reset. When they open their eyes, the result is usually a relaxed, at-ease, authentic expression—exactly what you’re going for!

Professional Senior Pictures Guys Phoenix Az

How to Get Candid Shots

Want to know how I’ve managed to capture some of the award-winning shots I’ve taken to date? I’ll tell you a few of my best secrets, but just remember, it all boils down to patience and taking the time to get to know each individual client.

Make sure you begin by introducing the client (the graduating senior and any family members who may be helping out or attending the shoot) to several unique senior portrait ideas. Continuously update your portfolio or client demo so you show your freshest work!

When it’s time for the real deal, you’ll have a good chance at getting more candid, natural shots if you:

1. Choose the space and location carefully. Work closely with clients to hone in on their interests. When they are in a place they feel comfortable, they’ll be more likely to relax and show their genuine selves.

2. Set the mood with lighting. As a photographer, you know the importance of lighting, so be sure to change things up if you have the opportunity. Do you have the option of scheduling at sundown to get daytime and sunset pics? How about nighttime pics with background lights? Use your creativity to create multiple looks with lighting.

3. Encourage client creativity. Remember to ask clients if they have pets or besties they want to include in their senior pictures! Not only have they had a special place in their lives throughout their school years, visitors like pets, besties, and even special family members can help to lighten the mood and kick off a super-fun photo shoot. Likewise for props that represent their high school interests like sports memorabilia, art supplies, and even their revved up wheels!

4. Prompt clients for emotion. If you’re taking senior pictures, remember to keep your posing prompts on their level. Try things like, “Blow a kiss to your crush” or “Close your eyes and make a wish.”

5. Suggest comfortable poses and movements. Clients are often uncomfortable simply because they don’t know what to do with their hands or their arms or their bodies in general. So if you give them something specific to do, they’ll instantly get more comfortable. Simple things like sipping a milkshake, spinning a basketball, tossing a grad cap…any casual movement with a purpose can provide the perfect pose for a natural and organic photo.

Final Note: Stay on top of your craft and stay in touch with your clients to know what’s hot and what’s not! Follow trends in photography, as well as trends in fashion and make-up, so you’ll always be ready to snap the very best senior portraits.

Want to be inspired and see how I worked with a senior guy to combine his love of sports, his dog, and his best senior memories to deliver a senior portrait packed that truly reflected his personality? Check out Matthew’s senior pictures.

Professional Senior Portraits in Mesa, Arizona: A Dreamer’s Photo Shoot

Professional Senior Portraits in Mesa, Arizona: A Dreamer’s Photo Shoot

Dreaming Out Loud…In Vibrant Color & Elegant Style

It didn’t take long to realize Rae’s senior picture photo shoot would end up turning into TWO photo shoots, and it worked out perfectly! Rae and her family had so many amazingly creative ideas that I wanted to make sure we planned enough time to cover everything!

Primavera Online High School Senior Photos Girls

If you remember, Rae had a fabulous ‘50s-themed photo shoot at Chase’s Diner in Chandler, Arizona, and she looked like she stepped right off a movie set. Check out that photo shoot here.

The Pictures Teens & Parents Want

You know parents and teens always show up in my office in complete agreement about senior pictures, right? KIDDING! Most of the time, there is compromise and give and take so that everyone ends up happy with the outcome. It’s perfectly normal, because moms and dads see their grads as the kiddos who used to dump dry cereal over their heads on Saturday mornings; while teens see themselves as young adults ready to burst onto a scene of adventure and freedom. (There’s a bit of a dichotomy we have to overcome!)

If I didn’t tell you, you probably wouldn’t even notice, but in Rae’s diner pics, she’s wearing braces. In her second session, she’s not. Wait, what?! First of all, you don’t notice because this girl would be gorgeous wearing a paper sack! But she and Mom had a different perspective on the timing of her photos. That’s because Rae absolutely loved her braces and wanted to remember how she looked in them. And Mom was super excited to capture photos of Rae after her braces came off. For me, that’s no problem at all. We just do both!

That’s the thing about working one-on-one with your professional photographer. When you throw out the idea, I’d venture that we can either accomplish it—or come pretty darn close! I want you to look and feel your best, and when your photo shoot is done, I want you to be able to say we did everything you wanted to do for your senior pictures.

Dreaming of Glam in the Great Outdoors

For her second photo shoot, Rae glammed things up! This time, we took things outside, and after donning a light pink chiffon gown with a sequined bodice, Rae dipped her toes in the water. There’s something absolutely beautiful about the combination of glam contrasted with the natural beauty of a running stream. For Rae, this setting captured her laid-back, carefree style and her gorgeous laugh.

Primavera Online High School Senior Photos AZ

Versatile Style for Miles

When I say this girl has an eye for outfits and looks that really work together, I mean it! Rae had outfit after outfit that she expertly pulled together to work with her hair and make-up, and she pulled off every single one.

With a few fun props and her down-to-the-last-detail hair and nails, she went from dreamy waterside splashes to seriously sassy and classy, pairing her serious look with a casual lean on a sports car. Notice how we paired the different shades of green! Even though they’re not the same, they work well together and serve Rae’s bold style well. Of course, sunglasses were a must for this supercharged photo.

Primavera Online High School Senior Pictures AZ

Gorgeous in Green

Nighttime photos were a must for Rae—especially after I saw the way she rocked this emerald green dress. As the sun went down, I was able to pull in the twinkling background lights, which added even more atmosphere. Rae’s selection of nude, strappy heels, glamorous up-do, and a single gold-toned necklace let all the focus fall on her fabulous wardrobe choice and her beautiful expressions.

Primavera Online High School Senior Pictures Girls

Going Casual for the Wrap-Up

There’s no look this girl can’t pull off! From glam and dressy to casual and modern in denim, Rae’s fashion game is always on point. At the end of the evening, she rocked faded and ripped denim with a cropped hoodie to show off her laid-back urban style.

Primavera Online High School Senior Photos

When you’ve got style, personality, and confidence to match, you’re already photo-shoot ready! It was a joy to work with Rae and her family, and I can’t wait to hear what Rae does after graduation.

Great Accomplishments, Great Future

She says her greatest accomplishment is graduating early. She’s planning to study to become a midwife, and trust me, it will happen. This is a determined, smart, and motivated young lady. She loves singing, reading, writing, and taking pictures. A self-confessed dreamer, Rae is loving, kind, and blunt—and looking forward to a bright future.

Her advice for incoming freshmen is to never let anyone else determine who you are or what you can be. Rae is wise beyond her years, funnier than you’d believe, and gorgeous inside and out! She is on her way to doing great things.

Photo Shoot VIP

Between hair touchups and outfit changes, we captured a combination of looks Rae was going for. But there’s one person we couldn’t have done it without! The moral support (and laugh-inducing encouragement) of her mom—were invaluable, so of course, Rae’s final portrait package included a photo of mom and daughter enjoying a candid moment together.

I love it when parents want to participate in senior picture photo shoots! Why? Because even though most parents decline at first, it ends up being a favorite photo! Mom and Dad, you’re welcome and encouraged to tag along during our adventures! You guys are great moral support, plus your kiddos usually love it when you help them with wardrobe changes and things like emergency lip gloss applications.

Primavera Online High School Senior Pictures Mom

Fun Senior Photos and Ideas for Your Photo Shoot | Chandler, AZ

Fun Senior Photos and Ideas for Your Photo Shoot | Chandler, AZ

Photography Life: Expect the Unexpected & Roll with the Punches

There’s never a dull moment as a photographer. It’s one of those careers that you simply have to jump in and experience the unknown in order to build up knowledge and prepare for all those moments that will inevitably pop up and surprise you from time to time.

Road Trip!

From 2009 until now, my photography career has been a bit like a crazy road trip with your bestie. Picture a winding road with a few roller coaster hills, wind in my hair (literally!), some unexpected and surprisingly productive pit stops, and great memories!

How rewarding is a career like that? So rewarding that you want to tell everyone about it!

Growing Creativity & Expressiveness

Every road trip has its learning moments. Ever set out for paradise and instead end up with a flat tire or taking a wrong turn? Luckily senior pictures are nothing as dramatic as that! Usually the toughest situation clients face is a flat hairdo mid-session, and that’s fixable with a quick shot of hairspray. Occasionally, things go a little more sideways, but we always go with the flow, and usually that ends up in some surprisingly lovely impromptu photographs!

Pro Tip for Photogs: When I keep my cool and remain unshaken (even in the face of a pop-up windstorm), my clients stay relaxed and unshaken, too!

Really, there’s no other way to become a professional photographer than weathering every situation imaginable. You name it, it’s happened to me during a shoot! And everything that’s happened has helped me grow and become better at my job.

Going Out on a Limb (Literally)

Just about every client wants to hear about past photo sessions or see some creative ideas—mostly to help them start brainstorming their own fabulous photo shoot. I love sharing past shoots with clients, but I always say, there’s no way to predict what a session might throw at us. What I can guarantee is that I’ll be able to handle it! That’s something that comes from years of making LOTS of lemonade, even when forces outside my picture-taking control kept trying to throw lemons at me.

I’ve climbed rocks, sat in water (both on accident and intentionally!), smacked my head, and dangled from trees. Let’s not even discuss how many times I’ve tripped! I will, quite literally, go out on a limb, wade through water, hike in the desert…all to be sure I get the best images of YOU!

Accidental Perfection

Interestingly, it seems like some of the best photos come from those unplanned and unexpected moments. These are the moments when some photographers might panic and reschedule and when some clients might want to melt into a puddle of disappointed make-up. But I’m not one to let the little obstacles stand in my way! I’m the one sitting on the rock in the middle of the lake, remember!?

Here are some of the stand-out photos that have made their way to the top of my faves list—because they are fun and fabulous, but also because they were taken either in less than desirable circumstances and turned out to be accidentally awesome or they captured clients in candid and silly moments!

Blown Away

The wind isn’t always my worst enemy, but on this day, it came close. Living in Arizona makes it fairly easy to plan sunny, blue sky pics. Aside from excessive heat in the hottest months, every calendar day is pretty much fair game. In fact, the ONLY thing in the world that might make me cancel a session is the wind.  Unfortunately, Arizona wind has a mind of its own. Not only does it blow in strong gusts, but it picks up ALL that dry dust that’s been laying around and swirls it into the air. Imagine all that, and then add long hair to the mix. You can end up with a nightmare for your outdoor photo shoot really fast!

Needless to say, I was keeping a close eye on the forecast for the day of Dianica’s shoot. When you’re a professional photographer, you also become a bit of an amateur meteorologist of sorts. I was reassured we were expecting a mild, delightful breeze at about 10-12 mph, which would be just enough to capture a lovely hair-blowing-in-the-wind effect.

With a picture perfect forecast on the horizon, I hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes west to Chandler. And that’s all it took for the wind to pick up to 25 mph! YIKES!

As you can imagine, Dianica’s long, gorgeous locks were flying, but I’m not one to let the wind beat me! Check out the amazing photos we ended up capturing with a little creativity and patience.

fun senior photos chandler arizona

Yep, these gorgeous sun hats are both available in my Style Closet!

Wardrobe Tip: If your top is too long or doesn’t look right tucked in, tie it!

fun senior photos chandler photographer

Time Flies & We’re Always Having Fun

Being a photographer has taught me even more how quickly time flies. I love it when I am contacted by past acquaintances and friends, but the more time that’s passed, the more I’m reminded of how grown-up kids seem to be now.

A fellow gym mom contacted me, and this one will always stick in my mind, because I was shocked when I saw her soon-to-be-graduating son. While we hadn’t talked in a few years, of course I remembered her family, and memories of our boys at 9-10 years old flooded back. They were always playing at the gym while our girls were at practice.

The young man that turned up for his photo shoot was a grown-up version of one of those little boys! I was shocked at how fast the years had flown by, and I couldn’t believe that Alex was about to graduate. Be sure to capture those moments in time, because they definitely DO fly by. And while these were his high school senior pictures, just like that, 4 more years have flown by and now he’s a 2021 graduate of ASU’s Construction Management Program!

fun senior photos guys chandler az

Grooming Tip for Guys: Wanna rock that facial hair? Just be sure to trim it the morning of your photo shoot.

fun senior photos guys chandler arizona

fun senior photos trucks chandler arizona

Timing: The Moments That Matter

Senior sessions are judgment-free, no-holds-barred areas. If you want to be silly, fun, wacky, or business-like…that’s exactly what you should do. Bottom line: you do you! The charm of a senior photo session is that there’s ZERO PRESSURE, and the only thing you have to do is be yourself.

This image of Helen embodies all of the things I just described. At this exact moment in time, she was in her element, goofing around between shoots, with no posing. It was simply the real Helen. And WOW…what a picture it turned out to be!

Fun Outdoor Senior Photos Chandler Arizona

I will admit that I worried for a moment and wondered if Helen’s parents might question my sanity for taking the pic. I thought, “What if they hate it?” But all that worry was for nothing, because they loved it! Mom especially loved that I caught a moment when her daughter was just being herself.

Can you imagine how awesome it would be to have a picture like this of your mom or grandma? I’m sure it’s long way off, but I’ll have to keep in touch with their family to make sure this photo gets passed along and cherished.

Sassy, Silly & So Much Fun

Mercy is another client I’ll always remember! She’s all grown up and moved across the country now, but this goofy cross-eyed photo is still one of my favorites when I need a laugh!

It’s also hanging in my office, and clients love to refer to it when talking about expression and making sure I capture their personalities. No doubt about it, Mercy has personality to spare, and it shows up perfectly in this picture!

fun senior photos cap gown arizona

Make Your Shoot Memorable

There are a few things you can focus on before your senior picture photo shoot to ensure you get the true-to-you, expressive pictures that people will be talking about for years to come:

  • Prep to feel confident. After we’ve figured out your venues and your overall theme, it’s time to focus on YOU! It’s all about self-care and looking gorgeous, so for girls and guys, take plenty of time to plan your outfits and hair, and book grooming appointments about a week before your photo shoot so you’ll feel your absolute best. When you feel ready to go, you’ll be ready to go!
  • Believe in the magic. If I’m not worried, you don’t need to worry! So if there’s a cloud in the sky or a raindrop in the forecast, you can trust that I’m on top of it. Even if you break a nail (gasp!), if you don’t see the photographer panic, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Believe it or not, most things can be fixed, so just keep having fun!
  • Be comfortable & be yourself. Be sure to choose comfortable outfits that you look and feel good in. Then, don’t be afraid to loosen up, talk, be silly—just be yourself. I’ll see those natural, expressive moments and capture them whenever they come up.

Your senior pictures are when you get to shine and show off all the things that make you YOU. So get excited and let your quirky, funny, serious, silly, casual, artsy side show!

What To Wear For Senior Pictures: A Peek Into The Exclusive Style Closet | Phoenix, Arizona Senior Portrait Photographer

What To Wear For Senior Pictures: A Peek Into The Exclusive Style Closet | Phoenix, Arizona Senior Portrait Photographer

What To Wear For Senior Pictures

What is a style closet anyways? How do I choose clothing for my senior pictures? What should I buy? How do I choose locations that good with my wardrobe? These are all very important things to consider when planning your senior portrait session. I know it can be overwhelming, but we’ll answer all of these questions for you right now!

Our Exclusive Style Closet

We know you have a ton of outfits in your closet, but which ones are the best for senior pictures? I’ve been a professional photographer for over 10 years now, and I’ve learned that great styling can either make or break your senior pictures. Often though, my senior girls don’t have outfits that match the locations they like or the vision they have for their photo shoot. I know you don’t want to spend a lot of money on new clothes that you maybe will only wear once or twice. The answer? Our exclusive Style Closet!

Yes, we have a closet filled with tops, skirts, dresses, rompers, and tons of accessories that are available to borrow for your photo shoot. My outdoor photo shoots are like a fashion show. I want you to feel confident because if you feel confident, you’ll look better, and you’ll have more fun! And that’s what this is all about, right? We’re celebrating one of the most important moments in your life… high school graduation!

I’m not a big believer in having a bunch of casual outfits or being all dressed up. I want you to have both! I know you have more than one style, and I want to capture a complete picture of you right now so you can look back on this time with great joy. I’m guessing you have some super cute outfits in your closet, so by all means, bring them! By the time you’re ready for your photo shoot you’ll know which ones are best, but you’ll also know what you’re missing. You’ll have a chance to  dig through the Style Closet, and you might find the perfect dress to wear by the lake or a great skirt that will show your vintage side!

But of course,  clothing comes in many patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes! It’s often difficult to choose outfits that will photograph well and make you feel confident. I found this body shape calculator to help you find the perfect dress for your body shape. Whether you are showing off your hourglass curves or trying to give your bust a boost,  you can use the body type calculator to to find the perfect dress that highlights your silhouette. It provides a waist-to-hip ratio that perfectly fits your body and waist shape then determines measurements in 5 main categories. Give it a try!  Once you are on my schedule and receive my What to Wear Guides, you’ll find even more great info about choosing the best outfits for your senior photo shoot!

Long, Flowing Dresses

While I’ve always had hats and accessories, I didn’t always have outfits to style my seniors like I do now. One of the most difficult locations for clients to style is the lake. Sounds easy, right? But you can’t just wear jeans and a t-shirt for senior pictures by the water and have the same effect as if you’re wearing a beautiful boho look complete with a flowy dress and hat!

The dress below is a favorite for senior girls wanting to be near the lake for their session. Sometimes they’re in the water, sometimes they just splash, and sometimes they just sit near the edge, but no matter what they do, this beautiful blue and white summer dress always looks fabulous!

Meet beautiful Sarah…no, she’s not a senior, but she’s one of the lucky ones who has a mom who didn’t want to wait for senior year! So they took advantage of our teen portrait sessions, and Sarah chose to wear this dress, twirl a little, then get right in the water!

Outfit Ideas Senior Pictures Az

Kaitlyn loved the idea of being near the water for her senior portraits, but she sure did surprise me when she walked in and started splashing away! It really showed her playful personality as she splashed and played in this beautiful little area of East Mesa. I especially love it when we can capture the edge of one of the little waterfalls like we did in the 2nd image. We caught just the right splash at the right time, but we won’t discuss how many shots it took to get that right AND have her toes pointed!

What To Wear Senior Pictures Higley AzWilliams Field High School Senior Pictures

Yet another senior who chose this dress while picking through our Style Closet! Arete Prep senior has yet another look, different from the other two teen girls. That’s one reason clients choose to have their senior pictures with Magical Memories by Michelle. Same location, same outfit, same photographer…but 3 different looks! Depending on the lighting and the time of year, and of course the personality of each teenager, you’re guaranteed that your images will still be unique to you!

Arete Prep Academy Az Senior Portraits Arete Prep Academy Senior Pictures

So if you decide you’d like to have your senior pictures taken near the lake, but you’re not sure what to wear, consider this dress from our Style Closet as one of your options. It flatters many different body types and has adjustable straps. If it’s a little big, we simply clip the back to make it fit better. No worries about ruining one of your favorite outfits by going in the water. Once you’re finished, the dress comes back home with me to get washed, steamed, and ready for the next senior!


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