Best Senior Photographer Mesa Arizona
Tips to Help Girls Prepare For Senior Pictures | Gilbert, AZ Photographer

Tips to Help Girls Prepare For Senior Pictures | Gilbert, AZ Photographer

Looking Your Best For Senior Pictures

It’s a given.  There are lots of things to consider when getting ready for your senior pictures and of course a few guidelines that will help with getting great pics!  However, I am always here to help and being comfortable smile will ensure the best senior portraits possible, trust me. And that right there is rule #1.

Rule #1: Trust me!

I know it’s hard when we’ve only met once or twice, but I promise I know what I’m doing. You might think all my little antics are silly, but they will help you look more natural instead of stiff and posed. I know how to give you tips on how to move and make sure you look your best! I’ve been photographing teens and seniors for nearly 10 years and there isn’t a single one of them that isn’t nervous before they step in front of the camera. My job is to make sure you look amazing and I’m very good at my job!  Everyone has a different style, attitude, and body type. Taking each into account is really what needs to be happen to show off your best YOU! 

Look Your Best Senior Pictures

7 Guidelines for Girls

  1. Clothes that fit properly without pinching or drooping are your best bet. Nothing too short, too tight, or too revealing.
  2. Sticking with basics and neutrals goes a long way towards making the pictures look timeless, but bring some clothes that showcase your personality too!
  3. Make sure clothes are pressed and wrinkle free, and leave them hangers. A steamer works better than Photoshop every time, I promise.
  4. Think layers and accessories like hats, shoes, sunglasses. Need help? Check out our Style Closet!
  5. Choose tops that accentuate your neckline.
  6. Arrive with clean fingernails & toenails with no chipped polish. If you get a tiny chip, don’t stress, but when you’ve had that same polish on for a month and it’s half gone? Nope, not good.
  7. Remember to bring nude undergarments and a strapless bra. Bra straps that stick out are not flattering and cannot be easily removed during the editing process.

Most of our sessions run 2-3 hours, so I suggest at least 6 outfits if possible. We’ll take many shots in each outfit and we want as much variety as possible. 

What To Wear Senior Photos

With the right outfits, your confidence with soar, and confidence will let you show off your fun personality!  I will be there in your face to make suggestions as we go along, and if something doesn’t look right, we try again. Props such as sporting equipment,  and other types of outfits can be chosen also and brought along to the shoot. You might find you are a more “formal” person or a more “casual” one.  Or you could do what I suggest, bring both! Some casual, some sporty, some styled, some formal, bring it all!

You only get to do this one time so let’s make it count! Take the time prepare, be realistic with your clothing and body type, and try on several outfits before deciding which to bring with you.  If you get stuck or need opinions just text me…you know I’m full of opinions.  Whenever you need my assistance, just ask.  All questions are welcome, as I want to calm your nerves as much as possible!  

For more gorgeous style choices, you might like these posts!
What to Wear For Senior Pictures
Marissa | Red Mountain High School
Alynna | Gilbert High School
Cassandra | Saint Mary’s Catholic School

What To Wear For Senior Pictures | Phoenix Senior Photographer

What To Wear For Senior Pictures | Phoenix Senior 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 a 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. Yes, I’m guessing you have some super cute outfits in your closet, so by all means, bring them! By the time you 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 our style closet and you might find the perfect dress to wear by the lake or a great skirt that will bring show your vintage side!

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 beautiful 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 you do, this beautiful blue and white summer dress will look fabulous!

Beautiful Sarah…no, she’s not a senior but she’s one of the lucky ones who has a mom that 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 shows 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

And 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!

Read More Articles About Our Style Closet

Vote for Inspiring Teens Cover Contest | Phoenix Senior Photographer

Vote for Inspiring Teens Cover Contest | Phoenix Senior Photographer

Nationally Featured and Published Phoenix Senior Photographer

When you schedule your senior pictures with Magical Memories by Michelle, did you know that YOU might be featured nationally or even internationally? It’s true! We’ve had many images featured on social media and our seniors have been published in Senior Year Magazine, Modern Teen Style**, Senior Muse, and now…Inspiring Teens! In fact, right now we have TWO of our clients in the running for the cover of Issue 33!

**I know the Modern Teen Style site isn’t up and running right now. Not sure why, but I’m guessing Vickie is working on something new.

Inspiring Teens Magazine

Just by being nominated, both Trevor and Colton will be published in issue 33! But they’re also eligible for more prizes, so help them out! By voting for our two featured guys, you can help them get in the lineup for IT Girl or Guy of the day on Inspiring Teens Social Media, earn a larger spread with more images, be interviewed for the Inspiring Teens Blog, become eligible for the International Leadership Team, and even win up to a $1000 scholarship!!

Desert Ridge High School Class of 2020: Colton Weier

I couldn’t have been more excited when Colton expressed interest in doing part of his senior pictures in the weight room! It was a new location for me and the images…wow! He’ll be playing football at Wesleyan University in the fall!

VOTE for Colton

Weight Room Senior Pictures Desert Ridge High School

Mesquite High School Class of 2019: Trevor Schwartz

Sun flare? Some love it, some don’t, but this image of Trevor is the reason he was featured! I’ll never forget all the extra shots I took to get this just right. He’s currently attending the University of Arizona to study engineering. Go to our blog to peek behind the scenes of Trevor’s senior pictures!

VOTE for Trevor

Athlete Sports Senior Pictures Basketball AZ

I’m happy to announce that both Trevor and Colton received enough votes to make it to Round 2! With the final votes tallied, they are both being published in Issue 33 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!

Red Mountain High School | Outdoor Senior Pictures in Mesa, AZ | Eastmark

Red Mountain High School | Outdoor Senior Pictures in Mesa, AZ | Eastmark

Ideas for Outdoor Senior Pictures

If you haven’t noticed, Arizona has some beautiful locations for senior pictures in the East Valley. One of our Class of 2020 graduates is Marissa from from Red Mountain High School. She participates in both high school and club dive, and will be continuing her athletic and academic career at Colorado Mesa University! You’ll be able to tell from her pictures, but Marissa is just oozing with personality…giggles, serious, smiles, dancing, goofy, she does it all and is absolutely beautiful!

Fashion Tip: Hats

I’m a hat lover, not necessarily for myself every day, but for senior portraits? Definitely! But you’d be surprised how many girls are so against wearing hats for their session. I’m really not sure why because not only does it give you additional looks, it’s a fun way to bring extra fashion and variety to your senior pictures! Sometimes you wear the hat, sometimes you carry it, and sometimes it just sits next you. Despite saying that she did not like cats, Marissa ended up loving many of our final images with hats. Can you blame her? Both the cute off-the-shoulder outfit and hat are from our Style Closet.

Red Mountain Senior Pictures Mesa Az

Bring the Balloons

Balloons are definitely trending with our graduates! Many of them are turning 18 and choose to bring mylar 18 balloons while others choose to bring balloons that match their graduating class year. Keeping the balloons straight can be a challenge though, so we made sure to take them together.

Senior Pictures Balloons Mesa Az

Senior Pictures at Night

One of the newest additions to our sessions is the ability to shoot after dark. Our senior portrait sessions used to finish around sunset, but now if you choose the ultimate session we’ll continue shooting and get some gorgeous night time shots to add to your gallery! Below you’ll see two of my favorite hats from out Style Closet. Sometimes she’s wearing it, other times she let’s her personality show and turns it upside down!

Mesa Az Senior Pictures Photographer

Red Mountain High School Senior Pictures Mesa Az

Mesa Senior Pictures Night

 

Ideas for unique senior pictures

  • Bring hats or borrow some from our Style Closet
  • Have pictures taken at night
  • Use balloons to celebrate a birthday or graduation
Unique Locations for Senior Pictures | Mesa Portrait Photography

Unique Locations for Senior Pictures | Mesa Portrait Photography

Unique Locations for Senior Pictures

What’s the most asked question when it comes to senior portraits? The answer: What locations are best? Well, it turns out that often the best locations for senior pictures might not be in places you’d consider picture worthy. For years, I saw things just like you. It wasn’t until I became a professional photographer that I started to learn how equipment, lighting, and creativity can really change the way an area looks! I’ll often call them “un-locations” because they aren’t the spots people normally choose. If I left it up to my clients, nearly ever session would be shot at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Freestone Park, or the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert. The problem? EVERYONE goes there! So think outside the box with me for a moment and see what we can do in spots that might be within a mile of your home. 

A Ditch in the Desert

If you’ve checked out my website or had a consultation, chances are you’ve seen some incredible images and heard me talk about “the ditch.” It’s really nothing special, but for people who live in the East Valley, it’s just convenient. During one of my recent photo shoots at this unique location, I took a quick snap off the side of the road. Yes, there are homes, poles, and wires everywhere, but don’t let this fool you! 

Unique Locations High School Senior Pictures  

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Az Desert

Same spot, with a variety of looks

The last thing you want for your senior pictures is to have images that look like everyone else’s, right? You also want a variety of different images. The ditch is definitely a winner when you’re looking for a beautiful “non-desert” location. Each of these images below were taken in the ditch with all the houses on one side and a major road on the other, but can you tell? 

Unique Locations Professional Pictures Mesa Az

You can shoot a good closeup in just about any location with good light. In this image, I had mom hold a small piece of a plant in front of my lens to get this picture.

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Phoenix Arizona 

Another great way to make these types of locations portrait worthy is to use the proper equipment. I’ll often choose my Canon 70-200 2.8L in order to bring the focus more on my subject and less on the background. Getting that beautiful “blurry background” is a favorite for my clients!

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Perry High School

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Eastmark Desert

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Chandler Arizona

Finding shade in the ditch can be a problem on sunny days. You know, nearly every day in Arizona. But no worries, the ditch works in nearly any kind of light! Here is what behind scenes looked like, and then two beautiful resulting portraits.

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Arizona Desert

Unique Locations Senior Pictures East Mesa

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Mesa Az

So when I tell you not to stress about locations…please don’t stress about locations! I’ve been a professional photographer for over 10 years and it’s my job to find beautiful locations that you’ll love!

High School Senior Portrait Photography | Peek Behind the Scenes

High School Senior Portrait Photography | Peek Behind the Scenes

Your High School Senior Photo Shoot: A Not-So-Top-Secret Look Behind the Scenes

Everyone wants to know—but not everyone wants to ask—“What in the world actually happens at a photo shoot?” I’m about to give you the inside scoop so you’ll be ready to tackle your day with enthusiasm and kick the nerves to the curb. Hint: It’s probably a mix of some of the things you were thinking and a surprising amount of things you hadn’t even dreamed up. Trust me, your day in front of the camera lens is going to be all you imagined…and then some.

Choosing a Location

Don’t worry; you don’t have to choose just one! I like to wander, so I hope you do, too. We’ll move around a lot during your photo shoot so I can capture you with as many different backgrounds and environments as possible. If we’re in a downtown area, we’ll easily walk several blocks to find the best locations for you.

Sometimes we go to popular areas like the Riparian Preserve or Nichols Park. Downtown Gilbert or a small local park are great because they are often less crowded and we’re able to get more creative shots and use the great backgrounds and colors that nature provides. Most high school seniors like a combination of both the natural elements AND a bit of the urban environment. When you’re with me, we cover a lot of ground—and that means we get a wide variety of shots.

C’mon, let’s take a look behind the scenes of what will make up your amazingly fun photo shoot!

Behind The Scenes

We typically arrive at our first location between 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon, depending on the weather, the sun, and the locations you’ve chosen. We’ll go through your outfits to determine which outfit will give the best vibes, which ones are “must-haves,” and you’ll use our portable changing room to change into your first outfit. My team and I will set up the equipment and take some test shots, and then we’ll be ready to capture some amazing shots of you in action! 

In this shoot, I am working with my clients, Trevor, a 17-year-old basketball athlete from Mesquite High School, and his mother, Gina. During our session, Gina snapped a few pictures of Trevor’s session and I thought it would be fun to show some behind the scenes pictures compared to the final senior portraits.

This red wall really isn’t anything special, but when paired with Trevor’s flannel shirt, the headshot is great! Couple that with some prompts to get that genuine smile, and it’s a win for both of us!

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer

High School Senior Pictures Guys Outfits

It’s All About Lighting

Well, if you’re gonna do basketball pictures, we need a basketball court. Gina told me about a great park near their home with a nice basketball court. While this was a great opportunity to highlight Trevor’s love of basketball, I needed to assess the location and lighting—and we had to be careful because often, neighborhood parks can be crowded, making it tough to get the shots we’re after.

Gina was able to snap a few casual pics for me so that I could determine the layout of the park, including potential lighting issues, landscaping, and other details. The park was at street level with a lot of trees, so I instantly knew I could shoot great photos without houses distracting the scene. Score!

It’s not uncommon to find me climbing a ladder or laying on the ground to get the exact shot I want. Sometimes we just get creative and see what the results are! These shots really show what it’s like behind the scenes!

High School Senior Pictures Basketball

High School Senior Pictures Sports

As the sun went down and we were done with action shots, it was time to pull out the lights. Since Gina is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, she also chose to paint a ball silver and the results were even better than we’d hoped! 

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Athlete

High School Senior Pictures Sports Letterman Jacket

After Dark

We were having such a great time we kept shooting after dark. After a quick uniform change, we captured even more unique basketball shots. The sun sets quickly, and with the off camera lighting we can choose how much of the background to include in each photo offering plenty of variety.

High School Senior Pictures Basketball Player

Trendy Night Shots

If you want nighttime portraits—a popular photo trend for the Class of 2020—then we continue shooting into the evening. Downtown Gilbert is a favorite nighttime location, even if it’s just the edge of a parking lot or parking garage!

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer After Dark  High School Senior Pictures Guys Suit

High School Senior Pictures Downtown Gilbert

Highlighting Your Hobbies and Interests

Many high school seniors choose to include their sports because it might be the final games of their career. Trevor added basketball in several ways. We chose to start with Trevor’s Mesquite high school uniform (shown above) and a standard basketball. You want your senior in a suit and tie? No problem! It’s an incredible look and trust me, the guys love it when we combine this snazzy look with their favorite sport.

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer Night

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer Sports

You don’t play sports?

This is actually a very common concern with my high school seniors! “But I don’t play sports, I’m not active in clubs, I’m just a regular teenager!” Well, one solution is to include your favorite pro sports team, as Trevor did. Now, his was even more awesome because he has a personalized Phoenix Suns jersey! However, any of your favorite sports teams would work.

Or how about the college you’re attending? It just so happens that Trevor got an academic scholarship to the University of Arizona in Tucson!!!!!

High School Senior Pictures College Shirt

Finishing the Photo Session

Most daytime photo shoots take 2 – 3 hours. I like to end the day by making sure we have at least 35 great shots. A checklist includes basic poses, close-up shots, and even some candid fun and funny shots of you being your quirky self. Whatever makes your personality shine through, that’s what I’m looking for—and that’s what I’ll capture in senior portraits. 

Your memories of high school should be cherished. I will work with you to create a modern, authentic plan. When you trust me to capture your look, personality, and style in high-quality professional images, you’ll be proud to share your high school portraits with friends and family!

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