How to Prepare for your Senior Photoshoot


I just wanted to get in touch with a few tips about what to expect, what to wear, and to get excited about how amazing your Senior Session is going to be! This senior guide is for you!


Remember, your senior photos are for you. Well, and future you, too! It’s not for the Instagram post, it’s not for your parents, and it’s not for the little square in the yearbook. It’s a great opportunity to spend a day just looking after #1 and taking some time to reflect on what it feels like to be on the cusp of one of the biggest transitions of your life. You will look back on this time forever.


Feelin’ nervous? Rest easy knowing that this is my passion. I do this all the time, and go to great lengths to make you smile and share your amazing personality. I also have lots of little tools in my toolkit to make sure you’re feeling at ease and natural during our time together.


During the photoshoot, don’t worry if you don’t know what to do because I will direct you! Most people just automatically look at the camera and smile, but I’ll probably tell you to look away or to let yourself be absorbed in whatever you’re doing. We’ll dance, chat, walk, act, and laugh, and you’ll be so busy enjoying yourself that you’ll forget that you’re having your photo taken.

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I promise I’ll let you know when it’s appropriate to look at the camera. Until then, just do your thing and let yourself be as silly or as serious as you want to be. Just know that there is no ‘right’ way to do things! If I tell you to walk towards the camera, do it in the way that you normally would – and I know this bit is hard, but try not to overthink it!


My goal is for you to feel as authentic and comfortable in front of my lens as you can. I will take care of you, and all you have to do is show up and watch the magic happen.

Senior photo of girl in the road at the base of the White Tank Mountains in the west valley by senior photographer Memories by Candace
Senior photo in greenery near Phoenix by photographer Memories by Candace

Time & Season

If you haven’t already decided on a date or a time, there are a couple of things to consider when booking your senior shoot: lighting, weather, season, and when your yearbook deadline is!


If we’re shooting outdoors, the best, most magical lighting for me is either 1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours before sunset. If it’s cloudy, we can shoot basically anytime. Personally, I’m a bit partial to a cloudy day. The light diffuses through the clouds in a way that will make your skin look amazingggg. I don’t mind a bit of wind, there’s something about the way it adds movement to photos that I’m a real sucker for. Basically I just love taking photos, so almost anytime works for me! The only thing is, I prefer to avoid the middle of the day for taking photos outside because we’ll likely end up with quite a few photos of you just squinting into the camera.


That being said, I’m not one for hard and fast rules for anything! So if you have your heart set on a particular time of day, let’s chat.


Every senior that I work with brings their own special sparkle to the shoot, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want you to bring your whole shiny self to the session!


I’m interested in knowing who you are, what matters to you, what your plans are after high school, what keeps you up at night, what kind of ice cream you choose every time. The more comfortable we are around each other, the better your photos will be, and what better place to start with than real connection? Feel free to fire some questions of your own back at me too, it’s only fair you know who’s telling your story.

finding the

right spot

Ok, so let me just get one thing straight: locations are not just a pretty backdrop. They are a huge part of your session, and not only do they have a big visual role to play, but they greatly influence your mood and mindset as well. The way you feel at home will be vastly different to the way you might feel walking down a bustling city street or a wild craggy cliff.


I know that sometimes choosing a location can feel pretty overwhelming – there are SO many beautiful and photogenic places in this world. But instead of looking to the ‘gram for inspo, my advice would be to choose somewhere that’s meaningful to you.


Don’t worry if nowhere comes to mind, I have so many places up my sleeve that you would look amazing in!

Senior photo with girl hanging off train in the Arizona desert near Phoenix by photographer Memories by Candace



If you only read one part of this section, let it be this: wear something that feels like you, and make it comfortable.


Look, I get it. Dressing yourself in the morning is tough enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera. It’s normal to want to shop for new fancy clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine if you want to glam up. But usually the best route is to go with something that you know is comfy and fits well. If you’ve been spending the past couple of years working your butt off for a varsity sport, bring your jersey. If you’ve taken center stage with your drama troupe, bring your costume! If there’s any traditional dress that you know one of your parents would cry to see you wear for your photos, maybe bring that too.


When selecting the right footwear, think about what’s appropriate for the location. Heels on the beach? Maybe not. If we’re shooting at home or at a park and you want to ditch the shoes altogether I’m up for that too.


Wear something that’ll keep you cool in summer, warm in winter, and that’ll make you feel like the stunning human that you are. Bring a couple outfits so that we can play with different options and combinations, and get a little sandy/wet/muddy if the moment calls for it! If you have anything in your wardrobe that is textured, sheer, or billowy, fabrics that flow turn up so beautifully in photographs because they capture snapshots of movement – avoid starchy, stiff-seeming garments that get crumpled in weird spots and need adjusting.


Be careful with prints, logos, and bright colors as sometimes these detract from the most important parts of the photograph – you!

We’ll work with lots of options so we can tell your story in the most well-rounded way possible.

Senior Photo of girl with mountains in background by photographer Memories by Candace




If there was one object that represents your High School years, what would it be? Is it your camera? Your volleyball? A chessboard? Your guitar? All of these things are super relevant in helping to tell your unique story. Bring them along! But remember to keep it real. Authenticity is in the details.


If you feel like getting a little glammed up, there’s absolutely no reason not to get your hair and makeup done. Just try to keep it as natural as possible. Fancy and intricate hairdos can sometimes look a little out of place at home or in a national park, and I love the motion that is captured with hair blowing in the wind.


the game

Unless you’ve had a stint in the world of reality TV that I don’t know about, there’s a chance you might feel a little bit weird about the idea of a camera following you around for a couple of hours. This is totally normal!

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Senior photo by photographer Memories by Candace in Cortessa neighborhood with girl and her girl scout vest - bringing props to your senior photoshoot

Set aside some time to do an activity that you love before the shoot and get all of that good-feeling juju flowing so that you arrive feeling calm and excited to do this thing.


Make some time buffers around the day so that you aren’t rushing from one thing to another. Get all your stuff ready the night before so that on the day of the session you’ve got plenty of time to get ready, pack some extra little props, and get mentally prepared.


the parents

Senior Guide for your Senior Photoshoot by Phoenix Photographer Memories by Candace

Sometimes mom and dad need to step away.


I’ve seen annoyed seniors. And when it comes to photo time, even seniors can get stressed at the pressure. In my photography sessions, I try to talk to the senior – he may not be paying for the portraits, but he is as much of my client as mom and dad. Most of the time, it seems that the session goes better when we just walk away from mom and dad. The senior seems more relaxed and starts interacting with me (aka the camera) and I really do get their personality a little more.


Sometimes having mom and dad at this age does create some pressure, especially if mom is yelling at her young adult, “Don’t smile like that! Do a real smile.” While she only loves him and isn’t intentional, he may find this embarrassing at this age even just around a photographer. At this point in their lives, mom and dad have to learn to start stepping away anyway, right?


I promise, you’ll get more genuine smiles the more we get to interact together during our time.


I’ll send you the full gallery within two weeks via a downloadable web gallery.


You’ll be able to create favorites lists, share online, or download your images so your parents can put your beautiful face all over their walls!


I offer prints, canvases, albums, and cards, even ‘Grad Announcements’ in the gallery.

Senior photo guide thank you

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this senior guide! I imagine you’ll have a few questions bouncing around your head, so shoot me a message and let’s discuss all the things that may be going through your head: locations, props, or outfits.


Your photos are going to be amazing. I can’t wait!