Here at Laura Leigh Images, we want you to have a blast during your high school senior portrait experience and are here to help you every step of the way! Selecting outfits for your graduation portraits can feel a bit overwhelming, so we have collected our top tips to get your wardrobe planning started off on the right foot. We are also always adding new outfit inspiration to our Senior Portraits Pinterest board.

Tip 1

Mix and match colors, styles, and patterns.

Neutral colors are classic and will always look great, but don't be afraid to wear color. A great starting point is to reflect on what colors and styles you have received compliments on in the past. For example, "that color brings out your eyes," that top warms up your skin," or simply "that looks great on you!" Then incorporate that into your session wardrobe for an instant win and confidence boost. 

Patterns are a great way to bring in some additional texture and attention-grabbing elements to your images. Typically you will want a mix of patterns and solid color outfits to align your portraits—a one-to-one balance is a great starting point. If multiple patterns are more your style, we suggest considering where you will use your images when making the final selections to ensure the patterns don't conflict on your graduation card or parent's wall collage. 

Senior guy with dark hair crouching and smiling wearing open white plaid shirt over grey t-shirt and jeans
Dark haired boy in white shirt and jeans seated on rocky cliff with forest background during high school senior pictures
High school senior guy wearing orange t-shirt and jeans seated on dirt forest path in Central MN
Minnesota high school senior guy in white hoodie with red plaid jacket in tall grass field with fall leaves background.
High school senior boy in Jazz pattern crewneck mid-jump in St. Cloud, MN alley during photo session.
High school senior guy portrait with his red corvette and colorful Minnesota fall leaves.
High school senior guy in maroon velvet jacket and tie in front of colorful MN fall leaves.

Overwhelmed with colors? Pick a palette!

Thinking in terms of color palettes can also be helpful if you prefer a more structured guide for your shopping or need each outfit change to work together. This could include sticking to a mix of neutrals with warm colors like yellows, oranges, and reds or neutrals with cool colors such as blues, greens, and purples. 

Your location can also help guide your color palette decisions based on how strongly you want to stand out from your surroundings. For example, warm colors like maroon, burnt orange, or golden yellow will grab a viewer's attention faster in a heavily wooded area with lots of greenery than an olive green shirt would. The same is true for a white shirt against a dark wall, dense forest, or brightly colored and busy space.

Senior guy in light blue button down shirt and dark jeans seated on metal stairs in urban alley.
Urban Minnesota high school senior tennis portraits in black t-shirt and white shorts holding racket.
Senior guy in olive polo leaning on black alley wall during Minnesota senior pictures.
Dark haired MN high school senior boy in white long-sleeve button down with stacked wood background.
MN high school senior boys soccer pictures with yellow shirt seated on bleacher stairs.

Have fun with layers by bringing sweaters, hoodies, and shirts with collars into play. 

Layers are a great way to add texture to your images and are also a fun way to play with mixing formal and casual styles. Many of our clients like to incorporate a blend of everyday styles with one or two formal looks. However, we highly recommend staying true to yourself. If you would never wear a button-down with a tie, for example, then you probably don't want to incorporate that into your senior portraits. Instead, you could try a short-sleeve button-down with a collar or a button-down with rolled sleeves and no tie for a more formal look that doesn't feel forced.

We do suggest avoiding shirts with large graphics or logos on them unless you have a specific reason for including them, such as your jersey for some sports imagery. We have an article you can browse all about creative senior sports photography.

MN high school senior boy pictures in 2000's inspired outfit with layered plaid button down shirt and washed jeans
Foley, MN high school senior guy modern wrestling portraits with vintage sweatshirt in urban alley.

Don't forget about your shoes! 

When prepping your outfits, think head to toe. While there is nothing wrong with wearing the same shoes for your whole session, only do so if they align with all your outfits. If you are mixing casual and formal styles, you will likely need different shoes to pair with each one. Also, keep your session location in mind when packing up your footwear. It can be a good idea to wear shoes you don't mind getting messy to get you to the final spot before slipping on your portrait ready kicks if you are participating in one of our adventure sessions or heading to a potentially muddy location. 

Most importantly

When in doubt, just be yourself!

Wearing clothes you are comfortable in and that fit your personality will always come across better and more natural in your final portraits than trying to force something that doesn't feel like you. If you are comfortable, your session will be more fun too!