Should you wear your prom dress for senior pictures? | Minneapolis Senior Photos

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Family Photography, Kiddos, Senior Photos, Sessions

Senior pictures are kind of a big deal. Not only are they celebrating you, but you might even pick one that goes in your yearbook for senior year! And if you do… then you better bet it’s going to chase you around at your reunions for years to come.

I obviously don’t mean to stress you out, because picking the right outfits for your senior pictures already feels like a lot to take on. But one of the biggest questions to ask yourself, is how formal do you want to be in your photos? And taking that one step further… should you wear your prom dress?

The short answer, is if you want to, you absolutely can! You can wear whatever you feel most comfortable in to your senior picture session, and if that’s your prom dress… then AMAZING! But there’s a longer answer too, and we’re going to go through some of the things you might want to ask yourself before you decide to wear your prom dress to your senior photo session.

Remember that styles change.

The first thing to remember when you’re picking your outfits in general – but ESPECIALLY if you’re thinking about your prom dress – is that styles change. Now, styles changing isn’t a problem. It’s a natural progression, and it’s something every generation has dealt with. Hate to break it to you… but it’s not a new issue.

If your parents went to prom, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of their outfits. And if you haven’t… ask them. They’ll either cringe, or get super excited to show you, with nothing in between. But that’s not the point – the point is, if you look at pics of THEM when they went to prom, you’ll probably feel like their style feels dated. Because it is! And that’s OKAY.

So when I say “think about style changing” I don’t mean “don’t wear your prom dress because in ten years the photos will look dated”. I more mean that actually, it’s kind of cool to be able to look back at those things later. To look back and remember what picking your dress was like, and how style felt when you were in high school.

brothers in matching navy polo shirts during Minneapolis Fall Mini Sessions

Will you even HAVE your prom dress when you take your senior photos?

Of course, beyond the existential question of “do I want to remember styles from 2024” we’ve got a logistical question here too. Will you HAVE your prom dress when you have your Minneapolis senior picture session?

Depending on when you’ve got it scheduled for… you might not. And that’s okay! Senior picture sessions are best scheduled in the summer or early fall ahead of your senior year, or just at the beginning of it. And with prom being in the spring… you might not have your dress yet!

If that’s the case and you still want to go formal for your pictures, if you’ve got a dress from homecoming, or even want to rent one to use for your session, you can totally make that happen. It doesn’t HAVE to be your prom dress specifically, to still get full glam vibes in your photo session.

A mom hugging her two daughters during a Minneapolis Fall Mini Session

Think about what the images will be used for.

Senior photos are used for everything from graduation announcements, to your yearbook photo. Or rather, they CAN be used for all of those things. If you’re having your senior photos in the spring of your senior year, there might not be time to submit images to the yearbook committee to be included. You might end up using the school-photo version for the yearbook, and that’s okay!

But if you’re going to use your senior photos for a variety of things – maybe printing for some family gifts, or as a slideshow at your graduation party… you’re going to want to think about what you’re wearing in those images. And it might be nice to include some that are super glam! If you DO decide to wear your prom dress though, I always recommend having a few other outfits on hand to change into.

Some poses aren’t great for dresses, it’s nice to have an outfit option that includes pants, if you can! That way we can capture a whole variety of poses in your session. Plus, if you plan on using one of your senior pictures as a headshot when you’re applying to scholarships, or if you need to provide one during your college applications, then it might not be best to only have options that include a full glam dress situation, if you know what I mean. Options are good!

Are you someone who enjoys fashion and glam?

There’s one big thing we haven’t talked about when it comes to wearing your prom dress for senior pictures. And that’s… your actual personal style!

Senior picture sessions are designed to document YOU. Yourself, as you are now. Celebrating all of the things you’ve accomplished, and getting excited for the next amazing steps you’re going to be taking in life. So when you’re picking things to wear for your senior pictures, what should you be thinking about first and foremost?


You should be thinking about YOU. What do YOU like to wear? Do YOU like putting on full glam makeup and posing? Or are you more of a “squishmallows and a book” kind of person? Because those parts of what make you YOU are what we want to be documenting in your photo session.

And for some people, a prom dress just doesn’t capture YOU. It’s so important that you’re comfortable in front of the camera, and the easiest way to be comfortable is to make sure that you’re not adding extra stress through what you’re wearing, or the way you’re posed. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty amazing at getting genuine smiles. And I can definitely get those moments out of people who are a little out of their comfort zone.

But if you’re TOO far outside your comfort zone… it’s going to show in the images. You’re going to look just slightly “off” because during the session you weren’t allowing yourself to be… well, yourself.

Best friends posed against a pink backdrop for Minneapolis senior pictures

Should you wear your prom dress for your senior pictures?

So at the end of the day… this isn’t a question I can answer straightforwardly for you. The tl;dr for this post is essentially: if it feels right, wear it. If it doesn’t… don’t. And that’s really what it comes down to for the rest of your senior picture wardrobe options too!

But if you need a little bit of help deciding what you’re going to wear, reach out. I’d love to talk to you about wardrobe options for your senior picture session, and work with your vision to decide together! I want to make this process as easy as possible for you (and your parents).


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