This post contains affiliate links.
Senior photos are one of the things I looked forward to most about graduating. There are so many things to get excited about. They mark the end of the year and graduating finally feels “real”.
As a senior photographer, some of the most frequently asked questions I get are, “What should I bring to my session? Am I missing anything?” Even when I was getting my own photos done, I remember feeling like I was still missing things I packed.
This post should cover everything and more. It’s split up into two lists: the “Essentials” and the “Extra Stuff”, so you can browse both and tailor it to your specific shoot.
Pack everything you need the night before and get a good night of sleep, so you can show up and enjoy your session. Oh, and I recommend keeping everything on this list in a large tote bag. You know, like the ones they always have as a bonus gift at Victoria’s Secret? That size.
The Essentials for Your Senior Photos
- Cap and gown
First, your regalia. keeping For the best-looking photos, I recommend steaming your gown and stole before you arrive at your photo session. Hang them up on your shower door a few days before your session. The steam from the shower should smooth everything out. By the time your shoot comes around, it should be ready to go. During your session, I recommend keeping it in a garment bag, so it doesn’t get wrinkled.
- An outfit + extra change of clothes
Make sure you pack the outfits you want to wear for your shoot, including jewelry and other accessories. If you bring another look, I recommend keeping it in a garment bag so it doesn’t get wrinkled. Another option is to leave it on a hanger in your car, so you can grab it and change later.
- Comfortable shoes
Chances are that you’ll be walking to a variety of locations for different looks. Whether it’s a pair of sandals or slip-on sneakers, save your feet and bring a pair of shoes that you’re comfortable walking in between photo spots. Ruining your good shoes or having sore feet after your shoot is just no fun.
- Basic Makeup Touch-Up Kit
You don’t need to go crazy with the makeup touch-up kit. After years of photographing senior photos, I find there’s not a lot of time to touch up everything. Just bring the basics. I recommend the following: a pack of blotting sheets, powder, lip color, tissues/disposable wipes, and floss. Yes, floss. You never know when you might have something in your teeth!
A handheld, portable mirror is great if you want to make sure you’re looking your absolute best in between photos. If you don’t have a handheld portable mirror like this one, the front-facing camera on your phone should also do just fine. Just make sure it’s charged!
The Extra Stuff to Bring
- Lint roller
If you end up wearing solid, dark clothing to your shoot, there might be lint or other random things on your clothes that you don’t want showing up in your photos. Your photographer might have one in their camera bag, but just in case, keep a mini lint roller in your car or in your bag.
If you’re excited about the idea of a creative shoot, leave room in your bag or car for props. Some ideas are textbooks, biodegradable confetti, coffee from your favorite shop, your senior ring, hats, your favorite sunglasses, or a camera. This is your shoot, so bring whatever you enjoy, whatever is important to you, or whatever you use in your daily life!
- Small Towel
This is a weird one, but many of the seniors I work with want to hop in a fountain at the end of their session for photos. If you end up doing something similar, I recommend bringing a swimmer’s towel like this one so you can dry your body and feet, so you don’t ruin your shoes.
- Water bottle
Make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout your shoot. I recommend you bring a reusable water bottle with a straw attachment, so you don’t ruin your lip color. If your shoot is longer than an hour, you can also consider some light snacks that can fuel you throughout your session.
- Friend, family member, or loved one
If this is your first time taking photos, I highly suggest bringing a loved one to your senior shoot to help you feel relaxed on the day of your shoot. They will help you smile, laugh, and just be yourself. If you end up bringing a pet to your shoot, bringing someone else will absolutely help, so they can keep your pet happy while you take your photos.
Read: I Can’t Afford Senior Pictures. What Should I Do?
The most important part of your senior shoot is that you be yourself. Now is not necessarily the time to get experimental with your hair or your look. Do what feels natural for you and just have fun. You’ll enjoy yourself more and you’ll be so much happier with your photos if you do things that make you feel 100% comfortable and showcase you.