Current Trends in Senior Portrait Photography

Current Trends in Senior Photography - Priscilla Davis Studio

If there’s one sect of the photography industry that’s constantly changing – it’s definitely the senior portrait market. One of our readers who specializes in Senior Portrait Photography, Priscilla Davis, shares some of the current trends in senior portrait photography industry – from makeup to unique shoot ideas – to help you stay on top of your senior portrait game.

Hair & Makeup

Professional Hair & Makeup - Priscilla Davis Studio

Getting all glammed up once or twice a year for homecoming or prom isn’t the only time to get pampered. Instead of just showing up for a photoshoot, girls these days LOVE getting some special treatment in the form of a great hair blowout, a styled hairstyle and/or some professional makeup to be photo-ready.

Some photographers include professional hair and makeup in their services while others only offer it if their client feels like it. I find that most teenage girls will opt in for the professional makeup because unlike simple hair curls and every-day makeup, most girls do not know how to do/wear the heavier makeup that works best for a photoshoot.

Plus, they want to play dress up a little bit! They love it.

Concept Shoots

Concept Shoots - Priscilla Davis Studio

Whether the idea comes from the photographer or the senior, I find that many photoshoots now have a concept or a “theme” to it. I love this idea of a concept shoot because it gives the photoshoot such a great sense of direction.

Many times the senior and the photographer will collaborate together to see what outfits photograph best, what type of makeup should be applied, and even what hairstyle fits best.

If a teen girl wants to look like Cinderella for an evening shoot, why not! It’s probably the one and only time she’ll have the chance and photographers will wind up with amazing images to add to their portfolio – so it’s a win win.

I also see photographers who can easily get burnt out from the day-to-day normal shooting, so a concept shoot is a great personal project to get them out of a rut and spark that creativity.

Candid Shots

Candid Shots - Priscilla Davis Studio

What is a candid shot? Well it’s certainly not a yearbook mugshot! Sometimes portrait photography can look so stiff and posed and even though models look amazing in certain poses in the pages of a magazine, teenage girls might have a hard time connecting with a certain pose or look.

A candid shot is capturing a natural expression or movement from the senior. A young girl laughing at something funny, strolling down the street and twirling in a fluffy dress are all examples of a candid shot.

These shots still require some direction from the photographer but I find that they are more relaxed and often result in genuine smiles and expressions from the senior.

Moms love these candid shots too because it reminds them of their little girl who is all grown up but still has the same smile since she was a toddler.

Unique Locations

Unique Locations - Priscilla Davis Studio

Teens are often thrown into a pool of uncertainty when they enter high school and they graduate with a newfound confidence. Photographs during their senior year should demonstrate that confidence, which why many seniors request a location that is either unique or their friends haven’t used.

Teens do not want to have their graduations announcements or pictures looking the same. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “everyone one else just goes to the park” for their senior shoot.

It’s important to work with teens on a great location that still has amazing light and opportunities for great images. Seniors and the photographers should work together to find a great location that matches the teens personality, wardrobe, and stands out.

Best Friends Shoot

Bes tFriends Photoshoot - Priscilla Davis Studio

Sometimes a photoshoot all by yourself can be scary and awkward, so what is the best way to remedy this? A Best Friends photoshoot!

Having two girls or a group of friends is a great way to get some of the most amazing candid shots and heartfelt photographs because teens tend to open up so much more when they are around their friends.

Documenting a friendship is especially important during Senior year because honestly, sometimes you don’t know if you really will be able to keep in touch with everyone.

Having images with your best friend is truly priceless and it makes a photoshoot so much fun. Everyone in the shoot has their own individual shots of course but when you get everyone together, it’s a full blown party.


For more killer tips on Senior Portrait Photography, Seniors Ignite (affiliate link) offers some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date info on the senior portrait photography market. Check them out here (affiliate link).


About the Author

Priscilla Davis a Las Vegas Senior Photographer who loves getting to know her wonderful teenage clients! Her clients become her friends and she captures their journey through their school achievements, their sports, their talents, their beliefs and their dreams. She’s a Canon girl all the way and is obsessed with all things Tiffany Blue and Apple.

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