Taking Cool Senior Pictures You’ll Still Love in 20 Years

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Family Photography, Kiddos, Senior Photos, Sessions

Look, your senior pictures are going to follow you around. It’s just a fact. They’re going to pop up at reunions, and family events… they just ARE. I mean, unless you’re one of those people who isn’t planning on going to reunions, but don’t get too invested in that idea because ya know, minds change.

What point am I making? You’re going to have to look at these pictures at a variety of points for essentially the rest of your life. And you know what changes? Just like minds do? STYLES. Styles change. You’ve seen your mom talk about how we’re back to low rise jeans again, right? They’re not a new invention. And honestly I kind of thought we lived through that mess just so that all of you didn’t HAVE to do it again, but here we are, hip-huggers back on the shelves. (RIP, comfy mom-jeans… RIP. You served us so well.)

So if styles change all the time, how in the WORLD can we make sure that those pictures that are going to chase you around forever feel timeless enough they won’t embarrass the hell out of you in 20 years? Is it even possible to take cool senior pictures that’ll STAY cool??

Spoiler: yes, it is. Well, it’s possible enough we can aim for it, obviously there’s no guarantees. If in 20 years we’re all wearing some kind of futuristic silver jump-suit things, I guess I’m sticking my foot in my mouth. But as long as that DOESN’T happen, these tips and tricks should help!!

Go for Variety

When you set up your senior session, make sure you talk to your photographer about including multiple outfits in your session! I’ve talked about a few reasons why this is important overall, but when it comes to making sure your pictures are still cool down the line… it’s a big one. Including some variety in your outfits allows you to pick things that you not only feel really, really good in, but you can throw something simple and timeless in there!

Consider adding a simple outfit into the mix, a white tee, or a black one – a suit and tie, or a simple dress! The kinds of items that don’t really EVER go out of style. Now obviously I’m not saying that if you’re only allowed to wear one outfit during your session (some photographers put a limit on that kind of thing!) you should wear something super simple. Honestly I think you should bring as much personality into your photos as possible!! But if you’re wanting to make sure there’s something timeless in there… you’ve gotta get something timeless in the outfit lineup.

brothers in matching navy polo shirts during Minneapolis Fall Mini Sessions

Be who you are

Clothes go out of style. But you know what DOESN’T? How badass you are as a person! That will NEVER go out of style. Laughter? Always in. Real, honest smiles? Definitely stylish, through the ages. I sound cliché saying all this, but it’s true! So one way to make sure that your senior pictures are still cool years into the future, is to just be YOU when you’re in front of the camera. That’s not the easiest thing on the planet, and I get that! But if you can get comfy, you’re going to end up with pictures that capture real joy. That show who you REALLY are. And those? Those are DEFINITELY going to be timeless.

Your hobbies and the things you enjoy? Those are ALSO not going anywhere. They’re always going to be “in” and they’re always going to be a part of your story. (Cliché again, sorry!!) So go ahead and add “working things you love into the session” onto the list of things that can keep your images timeless! Are there places we can go that you spend a lot of time? What about activities that you do after school, or outside of school? Adding those details (whether in a big way, or a small way!) can help make sure your pictures stand the test of time.

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

Throw out the rules

We all know the unwritten rule to being cool, right? Not caring what other people think. I know, I know: easier said than done, right? Here’s the thing. When I talk about your photos still being “cool” in 20 years… I don’t just mean “feeling timeless” or “being stylish”. I mean that YOU will be able to look at them and see pieces of yourself.

That’s the case for any photoshoot – the goal, at the end of the day, is to capture a little piece of life. I’m really leaning into the clichés in this one, but it’s STILL true. I know it’s not easy to avoid thinking about what your friends are going to say about your photos. You’re going to post them on Instagram, or TikTok, or wherever people are posting images. (Did the whole “still images” thing TikTok tried actually catch on?) And your friends are going to see them, and you want them to like your pictures. But the thing is, they like YOU. That’s why they’re your friends.

So when you’re thinking about your senior picture session, you need to think about YOU. What YOU want the pictures to look like. The things YOU want them to capture for you, so that you can look back at them later. Throw out the rule book. If you want to wear your prom dress, do it. If you want to bring your cat, do it. If you want pictures with your mom, or your aunt, or your best friend… do it. Because they’re yours, and they’re about YOU. And you? You’re pretty damn cool.

Take yourself seriously (but not too seriously!)

On the topic of throwing out the rule book… you’re in that weird place between being a teen, and being an adult. And it’s messy and weird and everything is changing, and you’re about to graduate and that doesn’t make it easier. But you’re a real person, and you matter. What you want matters, what you enjoy matters, and what you want out of your senior pictures matters.

So when it comes to putting together your session, take your own desires seriously. If you want your session outdoors, ask for it. If you want it in studio, ask for it. If you want headshots because you want them to include on resumes and scholarship applications… ask for that. Take yourself seriously.

But don’t take yourself so seriously that you don’t have fun. I want you to ENJOY your session, and have something to look back at this time in your life. Remembering the amazing things you’ve done, ahead of the NEXT amazing things you’re going to do.

So take yourself seriously, but not TOO seriously. You know what I mean, right?

Best friends posed against a pink backdrop for Minneapolis senior pictures

And if you have more questions… you know what to do!

I’m always here to help with questions and concerns about senior picture sessions, because the thing is, they’re important. I mean every photo session is important, but these? They’re EXTRA important. And I want you to have all of the answers to everything you’re wondering, before we get to the studio (or wherever we’re having your session!)

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