Senior Experience

Let's just start off by saying: I know senior portraits may not be the thing you are MOST excited about in your senior year. I totally get it: being in front of the camera can be intimidating and feel a little bit like a chore or a box you have to check to make your momma or your parents happy. But, I'm going to ask a huge favor...just trust me that we're going to have fun. Seriously! The BIGGEST thing I hear from my senior ladies (and ALL of my clients) is that they're so thankful I make the process quick, easy and painless. You have worked SO hard for so many years to get to this point and you are SO close to DESERVE to be celebrated and have amazing photos to look back on 10, 20, 30 even 50 years from now! I have been photographing senior portraits for over 10 years. My goal is to make your experience fun, make your shoot feel like YOU and give you images that you are excited to share with your friends and family. So, please read through this guide to learn everything you could possibly need to know about your senior portrait experience...and let's brainstorm some fun ways to make your shoot unique and get you excited! Want to photograph somewhere epic? Include your car, your dog, your family? Let's make it happen! I want this shoot to be something you're excited for, not something you're let's work together to make it amazing! See you soon!

Kara Hanes


Your senior year deserves to be captured!

Now that we've gotten to know each other, let's dive into the good stuff!

I started this business in 2008 but it wasn't until a shift in my day to day job closed in 2020 that I discovered a love for senior photography. I have been involved in mentoring senior girls for that last 8 years and when they graduated high school in 2021 I realized senior photography was something I wanted to do more of. I'm a 38 year old who loves spending time with my husband Ben, my kids Caleb (16) and Naomi (14) as well as our adorable maltipoo Bella!

in case we haven't met...


What  to expect

Now that you are booked and things are officially official - let’s talk through the entire senior experience, step-by-step! Your senior experience starts NOW, and I want you to know what’s around every corner as you begin to prep for your shoot day!


Alongside this guide, you are going to receive a senior questionnaire to complete. This questionnaire will help me to get to know you, your style and your preferences so that I can create the best possible senior experience for you! Please take the time to fill it out thoroughly after reading this guide - the more info you give me, the more I can customize your experience and be sure your images reflect YOU! But, finish reading this guide first…there’s helpful stuff in here!

the prep guide & questionaire


the week before

As we get closer to the day of your shoot, you can expect to hear from me with our meeting time, location and final check-in! I photograph senior portraits at “golden hour” - either 2 hours before sunset or the 2 hours after sunrise. This time of day has the most amazing, glowing light, cooler temperatures and less crowds at popular locations. Because of this, I like to wait until we are 1-2 weeks from your shoot date to lock in an exact meeting time based on the time of the sunset. If there are clouds or rain storms in the forecast, this also allows me to plan around the weather to ensure we get the best lighting possible! So, if we planned for around 6pm…it may end up that 5:30pm or 6:30pm is actually the best time to meet. That is super normal!


the shoot day!

This section of the style guide could be its own book in itself! SO many fun things to talk about on the day of your shoot! Let’s dive into what to expect each minute of your senior session!

The importance of being on time

First things first: being on time for your shoot is VITAL. And I don’t just say that because of my time…I say that because we are on the SUN’S time. Since we plan your shoot around the ideal time for golden lighting…being late means that you lose that time off of your shoot. Even being 15 minutes late means that we’ve lost 15 minutes of light. Once the sun goes down…we can’t shoot anymore! So, try to plan to be 15 minutes early for your session. That way, even if you hit traffic or a delay…it doesn’t eat into your shooting time! If you are more than 30 minutes late for your session, we will have to reschedule for my soonest available date (which is typically 1 month out).

the first 15 minutes

When you arrive at your shoot, the first thing we are going to do is look through your outfits together! We will run through them together on the day-of to map out exactly where we will photograph each outfit and when you will change. This helps us to go in with a game plan and decide which outfit will look best in which location.

Changing Outfits + Locations 

I frequently get asked where my seniors will change outfits on their shoot day…and the answer is almost always in your car! Typically, the locations that we shoot don’t have public bathrooms…which isn’t ideal. But, you can take a break in your car for some heat or air conditioning in between each outfit! If you’d prefer to have a bathroom to change, just let me know ahead of time and I will be sure to select locations that have this option.

Posing + Shooting

The BIGGEST and most important thing that I want you to know about your shoot day is this: I am going to tell you what to do the ENTIRE time! You do NOT need to have any posing or modeling experience. I’ve actually never photographed a real model in my entire 10+ years of being a photographer! Part of your investment in your senior portraits is my experience and ability to pose you and make you look (and feel!) your absolute best. So, there’s no reason to be nervous at all! I will guide you through every single pose and I promise the BIGGEST compliment I get from seniors is that I make it so easy. It’s going to be a blast!

After we look through your outfits together, we will start shooting! We typically spend 15-20 minutes photographing each outfit before changing and moving to the next spot. I try to always save the BEST outfit for last…so keep that in mind when planning your faves!

Who to bring with you

I request that at least one parent or guardian attend the senior session with us. This person will be there to help. This is especially important if there is a lot to look out for such as a great smile or the way you like your hair. Sometime they are a help to me when the sun is too bright or if you have things that we need to carry. What this doesn't mean is that said person tell you how to stand or where to look (don't worry, that's my job). I want to make you as comfortable as possible. If your parent has a request I ask that they talk to me privately so that you feel your best during the entire session. I do ask that you limit the amount of people that attend unless they will also be photographed. Sometimes when it becomes a party it can take up too much of your time during the session and I wouldn't want you to miss out on getting as many portraits as you want.

Another frequently asked question is “who do I bring with me!?” And this has a two-part answer!

Deciding who you want to be PHOTOGRAPHED with! One of my favorite additions to any senior session is your favorite people. If you want to have your best friend(s), significant other, parents, pet or anyone else join in your photos…they are more than welcome! I just request that they wait to meet us until the last 25-30 minutes of your shoot. This way, we can make YOU the focus for the majority of the session with minimal distractions…and still capture photos with your favorite people as the grand finale! More on this later in the guide This is an aception if you're getting a group of people together for a session such as a cap and gown photos!



LET's talk locations...

Are they a big deal?

Aside from choosing outfits (which we are diving into next, don’t worry!) - choosing your LOCATIONS is a huge part of what will determine the overall style and aesthetic of your images. It also takes a little bit of logistical planning to map out where we will shoot and the travel time between locations if you booked a full session. Overall, there are a few things to keep in mind when picking where to shoot:

It’s actually not the location that matters most…it’s the LIGHT! 

YEP. This is hard to understand if you aren’t a photographer, but hear me out: if you have the most amazing location in mind with tons of cool views and backgrounds…but it’s in the DIRECT sunlight all day long…it’s actually not an ideal place to shoot. It would be better to have the session in a random field on the side of the highway with gorgeous back-light coming through the trees…because the LIGHT is what makes the biggest difference in the whole world! Trust me on this one!!

Try to think of an overall “feel” or “vibe” for your shoot…and let this guide your location choices!

While the location of your shoot totally matters…it may not matter quite as much as you think. The majority of the images in your final gallery will be close-up images…meaning you can’t see a whole lot of the background. What you CAN see is the colors, light and overall “feel” of the location. For example, if you want a neutral, light feeling gallery to match your home decor when you print your photos…we literally only need one white wall to achieve that! If you want natural, beachy vibes…we don’t need to photograph every image on an empty beach. We can do some in the water, some in the dunes, some with trees nearby…you get the idea! The point is: don’t get so caught-up and stressed over one specific location. Choose a “vibe” that you want…and I can help you pick spots that will make that happen! 

I have one request: pretty please TRUST me on this part! 

When I tell you that some of my most AMAZING images have been created in the weirdest locations…I mean it! I’ve had images published in magazines that were taken by a dumpster. I’ve asked my seniors to crawl into random bushes and sit in crazy positions to get the right angle. I’ve even had clients walk out on scary rocks in the middle of the river for an epic shot! And, they all got some of the BEST work I’ve ever created because they TRUSTED me as their photographer. I may have an idea or location suggestion that sounds crazy…but it’s because I have 10+ years of experience finding the lighting and composition that will create stellar images. Even if it sounds insane! So, my biggest request is that you trust me even if I sound crazy…I promise you’ll always be glad you did!!

These are examples of common location types or “vibes” that my seniors want for their shoot. If you want more than one, that’s totally okay! 2-3 locations are included in your senior package, and we can achieve a wide variety of looks in a short time. This section of the guide will give you examples, visuals and inspiration for common styles…then you can tell me your favorites in detail on your questionnaire! 

location options

Rural + Rustic

Think open fields, barns, wooden accents + tall, overgrown grass.

Nature + Floral

This is one of my personal favorites!Think florals, lots of color and lots of nature in your images

Beach + Dune Grass

Pretty self explanatory...but keep in mind this doesn't have to just be on the beach! It can be docks, piers, dunes, or even small beach towns without going in the water.

Colorful Downtown

Downtown Grand Rapids anyone? A fun, colorful downtown shoot is always an option! Think textured walls, cute doors, Murals, and pretty architecture!

Urban + Edgy

Don't want something super girly or preppy? Totally okay!More urban locations have a city-vibe to them. Iron gates, mirrored windows, textured brick...the options are endless!

2024 Sunset Schedule

I base all of my senior sessions around the sunset during what is called "golden hour" or when you get the best light. This is usually within 2 hours of sunset. Below you'll see times indicated when the best time to do your session would be based on the sunset in Allendale, Michigan. If you are doing a session more inland this may cause the time to adjust earlier




The Week of May 5
8:51pm Sunset- Session start 6:45pm

The Week of May 12
8:58pm Sunset- Session start 7:00pm

The Week of May 19
9:06pm Sunset- Session start 7:00pm

The Week of May 26
9:13pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

(Not a recommended month for the beach)

The Week of May 5..............8:51pm Sunset................Session start time 6:45pm
The Week of May 12..............8:58pm Sunset................Session start time 7:00pm
The Week of May 19..............9:06pm Sunset................Session start time 7:00pm
The Week of May 26..............9:13pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm
(Not a recommended month for the beach)

The Week of June 2
9:18pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

The Week of June 9
9:23pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

The Week of June 16
9:26pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

The Week of June 23
9:28pm Sunset- Session start 7:30pm

The Week of June 2..............9:18pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm
The Week of June 9..............9:23pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm
The Week of June 16..............9:26pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm
The Week of June 23 ..............9:28pm Sunset................Session start time 7:30pm

The Week of July 1
9:28pm Sunset- Session start 7:30pm

The Week of July 7
9:26pm Sunset- Session start 7:30pm

The Week of July 14
9:22pm Sunset- Session start 7:30pm

The Week of July 21
9:17pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

The Week of July 28
9:10pm Sunset- Session start 7:15pm

The Week of July 1..............9:28pm Sunset................Session start time 7:30pm
The Week of July 7..............9:26pm Sunset................Session start time 7:30pm
The Week of July 14..............9:22pm Sunset................Session start time 7:30pm
The Week of June 21 ..............9:17pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm
The Week of June 28 ..............9:10pm Sunset................Session start time 7:15pm

The Week of August 4
9:02pm Sunset- Session start 7:00pm

The Week of August 11
8:52pm Sunset- Session start 7:00pm

The Week of August 18
8:42pm Sunset- Session start 6:45pm

The Week of August 25
8:31pm Sunset- Session start 6:30pm

The Week of August 4..............9:02pm Sunset................Session start time 7:00pm
The Week of August 11..............8:52pm Sunset................Session start time 7:00pm
The Week of August 18..............8:42pm Sunset................Session start time 6:45pm
The Week of August 25 ..............8:31pm Sunset................Session start time 6:30pm

The Week of September 1
8:19pm Sunset- Session start 6:15pm

The Week of September 8
8:07pm Sunset- Session start 6:00pm

The Week of September 15
7:54pm Sunset- Session start 6:00pm

The Week of September 22
7:41pm Sunset- Session start 5:45pm

The Week of September 29
7:29pm Sunset- Session start 5:30pm

(End of the month is not a recommended month for the beach)

The Week of September 1..............8:19pm Sunset................Session start time 6:15pm
The Week of September 8..............8:07pm Sunset................Session start time 6:00pm
The Week of September 15..............7:54pm Sunset................Session start time 6:00pm
The Week of September 22 ..............7:41pm Sunset................Session start time 5:45pm
The Week of September 29 ..............7:29pm Sunset................Session start time 5:30pm
(End of the month is not a recommended month for the beach)

The Week of October 6
7:17pm Sunset- Session start 5:15pm

The Week of October 13
7:05pm Sunset- Session no later than 5:00pm

The Week of October 20
6:54pm Sunset- Session no later than 5:00pm

The Week of October 27
6:43pm Sunset- Session no later than 4:45pm

(Not a recommended month for the beach)
October start times must be done earlier due to more overcast during this month once the sun has set behind the clouds we can't shoot anymore

The Week of October 6..............7:17pm Sunset................Session start time 5:15pm
The Week of October 13..............7:05pm Sunset................Session start time 5:00pm
The Week of October 20..............6:54pm Sunset................Session start time 5:00pm
The Week of October 27 ..............6:43pm Sunset................Session start time 4:45pm
(Not a recommended month for the beach)
October start times must be done earlier due to more overcast during this month once the sun has set behind the clouds we can't shoot anymore

The Week of November 3
5:34pm Sunset- Session no later than 3:30pm
(Most colorful leaves are gone from trees after this week)

The Week of November 10
5:26pm Sunset- Session no later than 3:15pm

The Week of November 17
5:19pm Sunset- Session no later than 3:15pm

The Week of November 24
5:14pm Sunset- Session no later than 3:00pm

November start times can be earlier due to more overcast during this month
(Downtown Grand Rapids is recommended for this month)

The Week of November 3..............5:34pm Sunset................Session start no later than 3:30pm
(Most colorful leaves are gone from trees after this week)
The Week of November 10..............5:26pm Sunset................Session start no later than 3:15pm
The Week of November 17..............5:19pm Sunset................Session start no later than 3:15pm
The Week of November 24 ..............5:14pm Sunset................Session start no later than 3:00pm
November start times can be earlier due to more overcast during this month
(Downtown Grand Rapids is recommended for this month)

Now for the most FUN part and hands-down the most frequently asked question: WHAT DO I WEAR!? Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your senior portrait session! I know that sounds intense... but, if you wear something that you don’t feel confident in or that doesn’t photograph well on can ruin the experience for you! So, the Senior Style Guide to the rescue! This section will break down my best tips for what to wear and how to style your senior session outfits (plus LOTS of fun inspiration!) 


1. be comfortable

The NUMBER ONE, most important thing to remember when planning your outfits: if it’s not comfortable to wear in real life, it won’t make you feel confident on camera!  If you do not like fitted clothing (super tight dresses or pieces that fit awkwardly) then leave them at home! Personally, I try to steer clear of items that are fitted in the tummy area (don’t we all?) just because it makes me self-conscious and I’m constantly wondering if it looks bad. So, if there are pieces in your closet that make you feel self- conscious or uncomfortable, don’t include them in your senior portrait wardrobe! I also recommend trying to steer clear of anything that you have to constantly adjust or is at risk of being revealing. You’ll be doing lots of moving and posing, so if the outfit is super low-cut…you’re at risk of things slipping while we shoot! 

2. be yourself

At risk of sounding cheesy…staying true to yourself with your outfits is so, so important. When you look back at these images in 20+ years…you’ll want them to truly reflect YOU! If you aren’t someone who ever dresses up or enjoys being fancy…don’t feel like you need to go buy a fancy dress just for photos. If you don’t enjoy being girly and wearing frilly dresses or lots of makeup…then leave them at home! Don’t feel pressured to buy anything new or outside of your usual style just because you are getting photos taken. This entire shoot is meant to be about who YOU are in this exciting season of life… so don’t change a single thing about ya! 

3. Be bold + consider using color

Use this shoot as an opportunity to have a little bit of fun with your outfits + colors! On camera, solid black + white can make skin tones look washed out and unflattering. When choosing outfits for your senior session, try to choose colors that POP and that compliment your hair + skin tones! Primary colors like royal blue and yellow photograph beautifully as well as jewel tones like emerald green, bright purples, pinks, oranges and any other colors that really POP! Sometimes, color combos that may seem odd in-person end up photographing BEAUTIFULLY on camera! Don’t shy away from color! 

4. add layers

In the cold months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest + statement earrings or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options! Even in the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers + dimension by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim jacket over a dress! 

5. play with textures

Sometimes textures like feathers, furs and 3D florals can be considered too extra…but, in portraits, they are the BEST! Adding texture to your outfit can make a huge difference. I also love to photograph pieces with MOVEMENT: long, flowy dresses with epic trains or fun feathers that move when you twirl. It adds a super fun element to your pictures!  

6. don't be afraid to Accessorize

There is a whole section dedicated to props and accessories coming up in this guide…but it’s honestly one of the most important parts! Adding accessories like jewelry, hats, fun shoes, purses, etc. to your outfits really makes them feel like YOU and adds a whole new layer of detail to your senior gallery. I’m a huge fan of statement earrings, a bright lip color, a super fun shoe, colorful bags, floppy sun hats…ALL of these things give us so much more variety with posing + create such beautiful pictures! 

7. mix it up

When planning your outfits, make sure that you have a VARIETY of looks! I tell
all of my seniors to choose from these categories: casual, cozy, dressy, school- related, sports-related, preppy or edgy. I always recommend choosing 3-4 of those categories and finding outfits accordingly. This provides a beautiful array of looks during your senior portrait session, so each outfit looks drastically different and you get tons of variety!

Outfit inspo

These next few pages will act as inspiration from previous seniors who NAILED it with their outfit choices + styling for their session! You can also click the button below to see my Pinterest board of ever-changing outfit and style inspiration: 

click to see pinterest


Tressa had a double session that started at a studio in Grand Rapids and then we explored the city. There was mixes of color and others that let the nature take over. She also showed off her life long sport of soccer as well.

  • Different shorts and pants combos
  • Pops of bright fun colors
  • Adding a hat can be a fun touch and give your hands something extra to do


Ella's Grand Ravines and Grand Haven session was an absolute dream!  We scheduled this session around sunset so we could get the beautiful glow. It was a bit tricky in a busy Grand Haven setting but I think we got some great shots...and her outfits were amazing!

  • 1 dress + two top/pant combos allowed for tons of variety 
  • Pops of bright colors (burnt orange) accentuated her location choices perfectly
  • Her hat brought in a bit of variety and made some fun detail shots too.


For Raelyn's session we explored Muskegon. We started downtown to see the architecture and character of the town. We then headed to the beach to grab some warm sun,

  • 1 dress + two top/pant/shorts combos + a romper allowed for tons of variety 
  • Pops of bright pinks and blue were sure to make her eyes stand out
  • She also brought a hat accessory which made things a little more playful and fun


Now, there’s a few important things to AVOID that are worth having their own section of this guide! As a general rule of thumb, these are the things to stay away from…

1. Pieces that are sheer, too fitted 
or potentially revealing 

We already touched on this quickly…but it’s important! You will be doing a lot of moving throughout your shoot, so wearing pieces that have to sit juuuuust right or that are at risk of slipping aren’t a good idea. And, if pieces are super thin or sheer, it may be see-through in your photos or easily show sweat marks in the summer months. 

2. The wrong undergarments

This is something that may slip your mind as you are planning your outfits…but it is SO important! Be sure to bring along multiple bras if you are wearing something strapless or that requires a sticky/backless bra. And wearing a neutral pair of undies is the best way to go to ensure it’s not showing through anything! If it's seen it'll cost you extra for those edits.

3. Pay attention to wrinkles 

We will be doing a lot of moving around, sitting, walking, etc. at your shoot. If the material of your outfit easily may want to be careful. Pay close attention to textures and remember that not everything is as easy to edit out as you may think! Editing out wrinkles from a dress can take hours PER PHOTO...which can result in your images taking a lot longer to get back or requiring additional fees for extensive edits. 

places to shop

I mentioned it earlier on in the guide, but I'm going to say it again: buying new clothes is NOT required for your senior session! Sometimes it's actually BETTER to use clothes you already have that you know are true to YOU and your day-to-day style. But if you want to use your session as an excuse to shop a bit - I'm going to share some of my favorite spots! 

This is the fun part...


Sometimes it can be easier to pick outfits for the spring/summer months than it is in the cooler fall/winter months. I also have some seniors who want to have a separate session during BOTH times of year to capture the different looks and styles that a new season brings along. So, this section of the guide is going to help you break down how to prep your outfits according to the time of year that we are capturing your portraits! Another important thing to keep in mind about the time of year is the SUNSET. In the summer months, shoots won't start until 5 or 6pm... but we will need to start much earlier (3-4pm) in the winter months to accommodate the earlier sunset. 





You may automatically think winter is a bad time for pictures...but it doesn't have to be! You can brighten up any dull background with bright colors, fun textures and lots of layers! Fun hats, scarves, gloves and even earmuffs can photograph SO cute!

My personal FAVORITE time of year for portraits...when all of the flowers are in bloom! Some people feel like they need to shy away from color so they don't clash with the blooming flowers...but I disagree! A bright pink against a white floral bush is a DREAM...try coordinating with the colors + add in pastels!

The only downside of summer portraits is the HEAT. You'll want to keep that in mind when choosing your outfits. Save the warmest outfit (i.e. layers or thick material) for the END of the shoot when it's cooler outside...and consider wearing BRIGHT pops of color to stand out against everything being in full bloom! 

This is my second favorite time of year to shoot! I love the cooler temps, the fall color palette, and incorporating layers into your outfits opens up a whole new set of options for posing. Cute booties, scarves, jackets, cozy cardigans...I'm here for ALL of it! 

Hair and Makeup


When you are investing in a professional photographer, you want to make sure that the images look their absolute best. Professional hair + makeup artists are TRAINED to do hair + makeup so that it photographs well. While your makeup may look AMAZING in person, it can look completely different on-camera, and these professionals are trained to know the difference! They will conceal spots you don’t like, contour your face so it looks the best at every angle, use colors that compliment your skin to make it look flawless, make your eyes POP with false lashes + shadows, manicure your eyebrows to perfection and more! If you're at all worried about lighting when getting make up done then make sure they are using natural light to apply it. I also recommend giving yourself plenty of time between this appointment and your session so you aren't delayed.

I highly recommend all of my senior clients invest in professional hair and makeup. If it is in your budget, hiring a professional for your hair and makeup will make a huge difference in the quality of your photos and senior portrait experience. You are already making a large investment in your senior portrait experience…so why not make it the best it can be?!
Let’s talk about why it can be such a big game-changer for your experience:


Preparing for your senior portrait session can be stressful in and of itself. Trying to do your hair and makeup by yourself can make things even harder. Professional camera equipment is designed to pick up every little detail in an image (even details that the eye can’t see) so hiring a professional makeup artist is the best way to go.


I don’t ever want my seniors to feel like their portrait session is just simply “taking pictures”, I want it to be an EXPERIENCE. So, if my seniors arrive after an hour of being pampered + beautified, the entire experience has already started on a good note! If a senior arrives flustered or stressed after trying to get ready themselves, it can affect the entire experience, including the way you look in photographs!


Here is a list of amazing artists that I recommend in the Grand Rapids area

Virago Salon


Artistry by tay

If this is not in your budget, that is COMPLETELY okay!
You can use these tips to make your makeup look camera-ready yourself:
 Plan to wear slightly heavier make-up than normal, including blush and lipstick or gloss that are at least slightly darker than your lip color. I also highly recommend false eyelashes. These can be purchased for very affordable prices at CVS or any pharmacy in the area.

Don't neglect the nails

And one last tip!! In all of the chaos of senior session prep... don’t forget to pamper your nails! During your shoot, a lot of the poses we do will have your hands close to your face and in the frame, so make sure that your nails look just how you want! Try to avoid any chipped polish or crazy patterns. French manicures, light/natural colors and even nails with no color at all photograph best!! 

Make it feel like YOU! 

This is clearly a theme of this entire guide! The goal of adding in props or accessories is to make the shoot feel even more like YOU. Try to think creatively about the things that make you who you are. What are your hobbies? Favorite colors and styles? Extracurricular activities? Do you LOVE bright, girly colors and want to have a ton of florals in your images to compliment that? Are you an athlete with medals and trophies that you want to highlight? Do you already know your plans for college and want to have celebratory images to share about your next steps? Let’s do all the things!!! 

Hats + jewelry + #allthethings!

One of the best parts about bringing extra options for props is that it gives us VARIETY. If you bring things like hats, purses, extra jewelry, shoe options, etc...we can mix and match these pieces throughout your shoot to give you a TON of options in your final gallery. For example, if you bring a floppy sunhat with you...we may throw it on for a quick 2-3 minutes in each of your 3-4 outfits. Instantly, you have a ton of variety in looks and images just by adding and removing that one piece! 

Fluffy Flowers, anyone? 

One of my FAVORITE ways to elevate any senior session is to add in some beautiful florals. To my girly girls, this one’s for you! There are so many ways to incorporate flowers into your shoot. You can contact a local florist to put together a floral crown (paired with a long, flowy dress), buy some grocery store flowers to fill a purse, have a small bouquet as an extra detail or as grandiose as a floral installation at a location that you love. If you want to talk more about how to incorporate florals, reach out to me and I’m happy to help! 

Friends + boyfriends + pets, oh my! 

 We talked earlier about how to decide WHO to bring with you at your shoot...and I just wanted to encourage you one more time to include the people that matter most to you! If you have a pet, a friend, a significant other or a family member that is a huge part of your life...they should be featured in your photos! You'll be so glad you did when you look back at your images 10 years from now. If you plan to bring a pup or a pet, I just ask that you bring someone along that can watch them for us when we aren't taking pictures with them! 


Now that we have a better idea of the overall style for your session based on your outfits and locations, let’s add in the pretty details! First, let me clarify: this part is TOTALLY optional! If you don’t want to add any props or accessories to your shoot… you don’t have to! All we need is YOU to make your shoot amazing. But, if you want to personalize your shoot even further and add in some fun “extras”... this section of the guide is going to help you! 

Let’s be super extra… 

I get asked all the time to incorporate cars. This is doable. I strongly suggest making sure to get a car wash and removing everything from the dashboard. The slightest imperfections on the glass will show in photos. As I have already mentioned I love showing special parts of your life so if that is your vehicle then let's capture it for you to look back on in 20, 30 or 50 years to capture this.


One of the easiest + best ways to customize your senior experience is to add in some of your favorite things that you do every day! I've had seniors want to highlight the sport they play, their favorite foods, their love for reading, shopping or flying planes... I've done it ALL! Use this section of the guide to start brainstorming ways we can creatively incorporate what makes you YOU!

Athletics + Sports

If you play a sport that is a huge part of your high school career...we need to highlight it! You can bring along your uniform + equipment (volleyball, lacrosse stick, etc.) for some really fun photos. You can also consider adding in any medals, trophies or letters you have to highlight

Cheer + Dance

Let me just start by saying these are BOTH also sports...but they deserve their own section! It is so fun to capture these photos. Bring along your uniform + poms, or your leo and pointe shoes...we will get some STUNNING action shots for you, as well as the traditional posed images!

Hobbies + Artists

As a photographer and artist myself, I love finding creative ways to highlight your talent! If you paint, write, read or are a photographer yourself... let's show that off! We can find some really fun ways to highlight this, and I would love to have you bring along any pieces you are proud of to incorporate in your images! 

Favorite Things

Incorporating your favorite things into your pictures can be really creative...and also really funny! Are you someone who can't live without your daily Starbucks Pink Drink? Have a Chick-Fil-A obsession? In love with your car or have a shopping addiction? Let's brainstorm together to find some fun ways to highlight these things at your shoot!

cap & Gown photos

If you already have your cap and gown before your shoot (or want to order a cheap one on Amazon) - we can get cap & gown images at your session! Because I don't have an indoor studio space anymore, I typically am not able to provide the "official" yearbook image that your school may need...but we can get some more candid lifestyle images of you looking like a GRAD!!! 

Pick the right dress underneath!

Because the gowns typically look a little like a potato sack (let's be honest), I typically photograph my seniors with them un-zipped to be a bit more flattering! I recommend wearing a sundress underneath - something white or neutral looks really traditional and timeless underneath the gowns. I also recommend a neutral pair of heels! We will get images with it both zipped and un-zipped, as well as with the cap and without - just so you have tons of options!

Secondl Tip: Plan a special session for five of your best friends to do your cap and gown session in the spring.

Bring your tassel 
+ decorate your cap!

Don't forget to bring the tassel for the top of your cap (most highlight your graduating school year!) as well as any additional cords, awards or elements that you want to highlight! If you choose to decorate your cap, doing it before your shoot allows us to get the cutest detail photos of it! Don't have these yet? No problem, You can order one from Amazon.

Bring along your college gear!

Already know where you plan to head to school next year? AMAZING! The biggest congratulations to you!! If you want to celebrate by capturing some images rocking your college gear, let's do it! I typically tell my seniors to bring this as an "additional" outfit. We'll throw it on for a quick 5 mins and give you the perfect photo to announce your plans for next year A super fun way to do this is with a football or other sports jersey! If you are planning on playing a sport at college, you can also bring your own gear to use in these photos. If not, just grab a college tee, hoodie or crewneck to throw on!

I've got you covered!

Now, for the slightly less fun part...let's address a few quick things that could go wrong at your session. These are some frequently asked questions that I get about common problems that can pop up...and I want you to feel as prepared as possible! I've been doing this for almost a I've seen it all! And I'm confident that we will get you amazing images no matter what gets thrown our way! 

frequently asked questions:

Here are some questions that I get often, and what to do if anything goes wrong leading up to your shoot date!
Click to view the answers to each FAQ.

This is by far the most asked question I get about things that could go wrong, which makes total sense...because bad weather happens all the time! If there is bad weather in the forecast for your shoot, rest assured that you have options and I am MORE than happy to reschedule! I typically wait until we are 24 hours out from the session to make a final decision about weather because it changes so often.

If there is a 30% chance of rain or LESS: It is TOTALLY up to you whether you want to move forward with trying to shoot, or if you'd prefer to reschedule to another date. If we shoot and it DOES rain...we will have to finish the session despite the weather (we can't do two shoots if you decide to move forward but the weather doesn't cooperate). But we can make some REALLY cute photos happen in the rain!!! However, if you have your heart set on glowing light and bright images...I'd recommend rescheduling to be safe. 

If there is a 30% chance of rain or MORE: My professional recommendation in these scenarios is to reschedule. Even if it doesn't end up raining, it's always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you are really excited about bright, sunset light in your photos! 

Wind: There has only been one time I've had to reschedule a session for bad wind...and it was CRAZINESS! Typically, we can shoot despite the wind if we are strategic with WHERE we shoot. But if there are crazy gusts and you would prefer to move to a day when we know your hair won't have flyaways... we can make that happen!

Fog: Typically, fog is only an issue with sunrise shoots.... but I've had it happen! If there is severely thick fog, it will impact your images because they will be cloudy and grey...which is not my typical shooting style that you booked me for. 

Cloudy: I have a lot of seniors who get worried about cloudy days because they think their images won't be as bright and beautiful...but rest assured, that's not true!! Cloudy days are actually AMAZING for photographers...because it means there are no harsh shadows!! Unless it is a seriously grey day with heavy fog or severe storm clouds...cloudy days are our friend!! AND they aren't as hot!! 

That is COMPLETELY okay! We will make the final call 24 hours before your session. Part of the reason I only take 2 senior sessions per week is to leave TONS of room open for rescheduling if we need to for reasons outside of our control (i.e. sickness, weather, emergencies). Typically, you won't have to wait longer than a week if we have to move your date!*
*This does NOT include needing to reschedule because of poor planning, running late or any other reason. These reschedules are required to book for my next available date - which is typically  months out. 

My skin is breaking out like crazy...HELP!

Girl, we've ALL been there! Don't worry one bit. I am happy to remove any large blemishes in Photoshop - you won't even know it happened! Promise! 

Where am I going to change my clothes?

I mentioned this briefly earlier in the guide...but it's a question I get a lot! Typically, my seniors choose to change their outfits in the car. A lot of the time, we are photographing at locations that do not offer public bathrooms, so it's the quickest option! I recommend trying to organize your outfits + accessories ahead of time to make this process super quick and easy. If you would feel more comfortable changing in a bathroom, just let me know ahead of time - I'm happy to select your locations based around which ones have public bathrooms! 

You can download your senior photos on your phone the SAME way you can download them on a computer - it's super easy! For the best quality, I recommend downloading them on your computer. This way, you can view them in large size and save them to your back up devices. You can also text your gallery link directly to your friends and family if you want them to be able to log in and view the photos for themselves! Just remember that your gallery is only available for 30 days. If you decide to purchase your gallery download let me know and I can turn the expiration off. I can also send you a mobile app with this purchase to keep right on your phone! Simply just request this after you've made this purchase. Unfortunately there is no exception for the gallery expiration unless you purchase the full gallery download.


Now for the fun part: sharing your images!

When ordering prints, you will see all of the print TYPES in the left-hand column and all of the SIZES on the righthand column. Depending on which size you select, it will likely prompt you to "adjust crop" for each image.

It will open up a window that looks like this so you can customize the crop and be sure nothing important is getting cut off! I recommend centering the people in the photo for the best cropping.

printing your images

I truly believe so deeply in the power of printing your images and displaying them in your home. There is something so special about having a physical copy of these memories to cherish and pass down to other family someday. I have physical photo books of my anniversary pictures, family pictures,  and I flip through them ALL the time! You took the time to invest so much money into your senior session...why not print the images and have a physical way to cherish them and share them?

As you know, I do not have any purchase minimums or requirements in terms of printing your images. If you purchase downloads they are yours to share and print from whenever you prefer! But there is the option to purchase professional-quality prints and products through your online gallery as well. This is the ONLY printing option that I personally and professionally recommend in terms of quality and durability. If you print somewhere else, I can NOT guarantee that the quality of the images will look the same as they do online, or that the products and prints themselves will be durable.

My honest suggestion is this: if you want to print your images larger than a 4x6…the professional printer through your online gallery is the best way to go. 

In the next few sections, I am going to walk you through the "shop" portion of your senior gallery. This is where you can find prints, canvases, graduation cards and more directly through my professional printer! 

Prints & Canvases

accessing the shop

When you are inside your full gallery, you will see two options at the top: "GALLERY" and "SHOP". You can toggle between the two SUPER easily!

Grad Cards


One of my personal favorite ways to print senior images is in a senior book. They are also the most customizable option - you can pick the cover material + color, plus I'll spend time curating your custom pages. These are all done outside of your online gallery because I highly value these and want them to be done well. These are very popular too.
You can order these here

These make AMAZING gifts for family members, too!


Want a super fun way to announce your graduation or invite people to a grad party? These graduation cards are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and the professional print quality means your images will look incredible featured on each card! There are TONS of amazing design options for these!

i can't wait to see you!

We are going to have the BEST time...I promise! If you need me for anything before your session, you can reach me at
See you soon!