10 Tips For Amazing Senior Pictures

Michael Anderson Photography – Mounds View Senior Portrait Photographer

10 Tips For Amazing Senior Pictures

We would like to share these 10 Tips For Amazing Senior Pictures! This information will help you to get some of the best senior portraits in Minnesota. So here are 10 great tips for fantastic senior photos!

#1. Nothing Great Happens By Accident

Awesome senior pictures don’t just happen. A major part of the equation is choosing the right senior photographer in the first place. Do a little research to find images that you love and that appeal to your personality and style.

One of Fisher's Hill Murray High School senior portraits done as a soccer green screen composite.

Green screen composite on a pile of soccer balls.

#2. Great Photographic Lighting

Great lighting is a key component to getting the great senior portraits you’re looking for. Make sure that your senior photographer uses great lighting in both their indoor studio portraits and their outdoor photos too?

Morgan, a high school senior, strikes a pose in front of the huge music street mural in downtown Minneapolis, MN. This is just one of many of her senior portraits created all over Minneapolis, MN.

Morgan strikes a pose in front of the huge music street mural in downtown Minneapolis, MN.

With good lighting, you should easily see the eyes of the subject with no dark shadows, or what’s also known as “raccoon eyes”. Depending on the situation, great senior portrait lighting can be very complicated. But as a general rule, if you can’t see the color and whites of the eyes, it is a poorly lit image.

For that reason, I’ve custom-built my very own portable lighting cart that we use for all types of on-location portraits and weddings all around the Twin Cities. We’ve named it “Lightning McQueen”! You can read all about “Lightning” right here.

Behind the scenes photo of Morgan, her mom helping out as a lighting assistant, and our very own Lightning McQueen as the main light. This is just one of many of her senior portraits created all over Minneapolis, MN.

Behind the scenes photo of Morgan, her mom, Rachel, helping out as my lighting assistant, and our very own Lightning McQueen as the main light.

#3. Clothing and Wardrobe

Your outfit selections will have a huge impact on the quality of your photos. You can take your images up to the next level by using a variety of styles, colors, and accessories. We are very happy to offer suggestions that will help you look awesome in your senior photos!

A pretty photograph of senior girl taken during her senior portrait session. Image was created at Gooseberry Park Cottages & Motel on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Hannah in the garden at Gooseberry Park Cottages & Motel.

#4. It’s All About Location

It’s always best to select photo locations that compliment your personal taste and lifestyle. Challenge your senior photographer and their creativity to match your desires and interests.

I like to “push the envelope” a bit and go to locations that I’ve have never worked at before. Or sometimes at a familiar location, I’ll photograph in a way that I haven’t tried before. I feel it keeps my work looking fresh.

Stunning light painted senior portrait composite created at Elm Creek Chalet at sunset and in-studio on green screen.

A little green screen magic combined with light painting!

We’ve just recently added Senior Portrait Light Painting to our photography repertoire for that very reason. It’s totally unique and there’s no other senior portrait photographer anywhere in the world that does it! The cool thing is that no two light painted senior photos will ever be the same!

#5. Backgrounds and Backdrops

Backgrounds, whether in-studio or on-location, should compliment what you are wearing. Color and hue matching with outfits will make your senior pictures really pop.

Senior portraits at Silverwood Park of a boy in a wooden structure in the dense woods.

Jack at one of the wooden buildings on the trails at Silverview Park.


#6. Black and White

Another way to make some of your images stand out from the rest is to have some of them done in monochrome. Including black & white images as part of your senior session is a great way to make certain images stand out from the rest. Especially when they are intentionally created to be B&W images.

Depending on the image and clothing, I also like the hybrid black and white look below. It’s predominantly B&W with a touch of color left in and some grain added for a cool, grungy look.

Black & white Saint Anthony Main senior portraits of Josh, a St. Croix Falls senior, standing in an old alley.

Josh in B&W.

Yes, it is very easy in this digital age to simply turn any image into black and white, but having a photographic artist that shoots specifically for B&W is a great way to get awesome senior photos.

#7. Consultation

It’s a really good idea to have a senior portrait consultation with your photographer ahead of time. That way you can discuss your likes and dislikes, and give them some direction on who you are and where you are going in your life. This can have a dramatic effect on capturing your individual personality and interests.

The consultation is also the time to talk about the locations you have in mind. Or if you don’t have any idea where you want to go, you can get some good ideas from them.

It’s also the time to discuss what you would like to wear for your senior photos. That way, the location, and clothing will be a great match when your session day arrives. You might even have to go shopping to make it happen!

A cool senior portrait light painting with his Ford F-150 pickup truck.

The cool completed light painting of Bryce and his Ford F-150.

As we mentioned in tip #1, great senior photos don’t happen by accident. But a little planning ahead does make it happen!

#8. Hobbies, Interests & Props

We love it when our seniors infuse their hobbies and interests into their senior photo sessions. Most of the time, it’s a statement about who you are and what’s important to you at this time in your life.

Mounds View photographer. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum senior portraits of a pretty girl and her cello.

Me and my cello.

These things often include sports, dance, cheer, music, pets, siblings, best friends, and even your car, truck, or motorcycle. Any of these are all great subjects to include as a part of your senior portraits.

A North St. Paul High School senior basketball photo composite of a player standing between two scoreboards.

Senior photo basketball composite of Nicole, a North St. Paul High School senior.

Very often, we will create something extra special using our Green Screen Portrait Technology to come up with a totally awesome senior photo composite.

Elk River High School senior portrait green screen composite. A baseball player, with his bat, standing in front of a scoreboard.

Play Ball!

#9. Makeup and Hair

We recommended that girls have their hair and makeup done professionally the day of the session for the best senior photos. It really helps to minimize photo retouching and it can really enhance your look. Plus it’s a really fun way to pamper yourself!

Sydney's Lake Superior senior portraits taken at Lester River Park in Duluth, MN.

Sydney standing in the Lester River in Duluth, MN.

Guys should get a haircut about two weeks before. A fresh haircut needs to “relax” a bit, so waiting a couple of weeks afterward will make it look better. That same haircut tip goes for girls too.

#10. Be Yourself

Just like it is for wedding photography, you’re only going to be a high school senior one time. So no matter what, make sure you choose a senior photographer that you feel comfortable with. This is your moment to shine and your photographer should help you to do just that!

Saint Croix Falls High School baseball player taken on a green screen background. A baseball player is diving and making a throw. Image is after the green screen extraction has been done with school colors and special effects added.

The real throw!

Please contact us today to set up your free consultation for your amazing senior picture session! Call the studio at 763-785-1177 or email Michael at Michael@adesignerportraits.com

“10 Tips For Amazing Senior Pictures” – © 2021 Michael Anderson Photography.