Are you planning to do a Summer senior portrait session? There are so many great reasons to do your senior pictures in Summer, not the least of which is flexibility in outfits you choose! In the cooler months, it is difficult to wear a spaghetti strap dress or sandals that show off your recent pedicure. But Summer? That's a whole different story!
Summer Senior Picture Outfits
Now that you are totally convinced that Summer is a fantastic time to do senior portraits, let's talk more about what you should wear! Since this session is all about you, we want to make sure that we are choosing the best outfits that both reflect your style and location and are comfortable for you to move around in and pose. Choosing an outfit that is uncomfortable sets you up to feel less than your best during your session, and that can be reflected in the final images. We don't want that!
As a starting point, I might suggest at least one outfit that is fairly dressy. This is a classic look that never goes out of style. You don't need to wear your prom dress (although I would be on board with this!!), but I would recommend choosing something dressier than usual. This could be a "Sunday best" outfit, something you would wear to an award night, or something your grandmother would like. Let's get into some examples!
Summer Dresses for Senior Portraits
Dresses are awesome for senior photos! Summer sundresses can be just perfect in a field of wildflowers or near a bunch of rose bushes in full bloom. We love the way that they flow and add some interest and flair but are not "over the top". You can choose from a solid color or something with a small pattern such as tiny flowers. Spaghetti straps work well in these dresses as do cap sleeves. There are many options and what is most important is that you LOVE what you choose and it fits well.
Speaking of fit... let's just get into it. I believe that you can wear anything you feel great in on a daily basis! BUT, when it comes to posing, some fits make it easier than others. If a dress is particularly short, it can limit how we have you seated or squatting as more of your leg will show in those positions than simple standing. In other words, it will look and actually BE shorter when you sit down, so choosing something that has enough length to move around freely will be very helpful in getting you in flattering poses without worrying about what is happening with your outfit.
The neckline is another factor to consider, as well as the straps. I often shoot from above, especially if you are sitting on the ground. This means that if you are looking straight in the mirror and are worried about the collar, you should remember it will appear lower when photographed from a higher perspective. Sometimes this angle can reveal an undergarment a senior doesn't want to show in the photos. This is true for both the front and back of the dress. Additionally, if you are wearing a bra with straps and the dress has spaghetti straps, the bra straps will likely show. Sometimes even with the cut of the top and the straps, and under layer can show. This is not something that is edited out, so we highly recommend ensuring the fit of all pieces work together in a way that you like. (We should also note that WE do not care about tanks or bra straps showing - this is 100% personal preference for YOU!)
Skirt and Shirt for Senior Portraits
Not into dresses? Or maybe you want to do something a little different for another dressy outfit? Pairing your favorite skirt with a tank or sweatshirt is another way to dress up without being too formal. There are several options for this.
You could choose a long skirt with a cute top:
This works well in flower fields, parks, gardens, and indoor studios. The length of it can add a significant burst of color to your images if you choose a skirt with a color. I recommend choosing something with a small pattern and not so bold. No large print. When there is so much fabric, it will make up a good portion of the photo in some cases. If the color or pattern is too "loud", it will distract from your beautiful face!
You could choose a solid skirt with a colorful top:
This is a fun option because you are likely to already own a couple colorful tops that you love! Whether it be a solid color top or a top with a small pattern or a few colors, it would work well with a solid skirt. Depending on the color of your top, this combination works well in a woods or garden as well as an urban space. If you are in a colorful space like in the photo above, a natural skirt is a great option. Then a color of top that compliments the setting well. Plus we love the look of that golden Summer sun coming through the trees with the flowers in the background while she wears that casual dressy outfit for her photos.
What about a denim skirt as it can go with any color of top:
Denim skirts are a prime way to add some flexibility to your outfit. First, they literally match everything (except maybe a denim top...). So you can wear your favorite shirt with it. You could dress it up with something fancy and some heels, or you could dress it down with a college tee for the school you will be attending. Or, anything in between!! Denim can come in shades of white, blue, or black.
One unique thing about choosing a denim skirt aside from being able to dress it up or down easily is that you can change your top and completely change your look without a whole outfit change. Since denim goes with everything, it will match whether you do a dramatic red blouse or a neutral off-white sweater - and it only takes less than a minute to change only a top!
Denim skirts go well in woods, parks, areas with water, fields, and areas with structures and cool architecture such as uptown Westerville. They can also work downtown depending on the shoe and top choice.
How about a wearing a floral skirt with a solid top for your Summer senior pictures?
This combination works best in a studio or in an area that isn't too "busy". A woods, field, creek, pond, or other simple area work perfect. We don't recommend substantial patterns in an area where there are a lot of other patterns and textures (such as a colorful tile wall). Some of the images above when talking about long skirts also had a floral pattern and were shown in nature if you want to scroll up. Long skirts work well for Summer as long as the color and pattern works in the setting.
Dressing up Guys for Summer Pictures
There are some great options for the guys during Summer, as well! If your son doesn't already own a suit, this is the time to add that to his wardrobe. With potential job interviews, senior nights, graduation, and more on the horizon, a suit will come in quite handy on multiple occasions in the near future. Suits look great in black, grey, or navy. The tie is optional but certainly dresses the outfit up. You can then remove the jacket and simply wear shirt and tie. You could also take off the tie and roll up the sleeves of the shirt for a dressy look that has bit of a casual element to it.
You could also opt to go without a jacket but choose a dressy button up top with dress pants or khakis. Loving this look of the modern dress shirt without a tie. Shirts like this often come in some type of pattern but it can also be done in a solid color. Choosing a pattern can work well especially if the colors are not too loud.
If you want to do something different than a button up during the warmer months, simple top like this could work well. Pair this with a pair of plaid dress pants or even solid pants and jacket, and you are all set for a cool and fashionable look that pleases parents and grandparents without being full on formal. This is a simple, classic look that always looks great.
If all of this is "too much" for your son, a simple solid polo is a great option. This is a timeless classic that will look great on the wall, but isn't at all "stuffy". Polos can easily be dressed up or down depending on the pants and shoes that are worn with them.
We have tons of photos of guys wearing polo shirts during their warm-weather sessions, but here are a couple examples that showcase totally different options. The first shows adding a pop of color with a brighter polo shirt. This works well in locations with neutral surroundings as it really pops and makes the senior stand out.
The second example of a polo shirt during senior pictures is a darker color and it works well in areas that are more busy or colorful.
Casual Summer Photo Outfits
Maybe you are looking for something a little more laid back for a few of your images. I totally agree this is a great idea! If you do not dress up daily, you shouldn't wear only dressy outfits in your Summer senior pictures. You should also choose something that you would typically wear out on a Friday night with your friends. Here are some casual ideas for your session!
Jeans & a Tee shirt
This classic never gets old, and certainly meets the comfortability requirement! When it is warm outside, you will be thankful if you have chosen a lightweight tee for a few shots. And the best part is that you can choose any color. This will go best with jeans, and is so easy to change if you wanted to wear more than one. You could go neutral with a white if you are in an area with a lot of color around you (such as Uptown Westerville with various colors of brick). Or you could do a pop of color if you choose an area that is more neutral.
I would steer away from choosing green if you are going to be in a woods or choosing red if you are surrounded by brick. We want the colors to compliment each other and we want you to stand out in the best way during your session. This is a big benefit of our Style Consult (part of our senior experience) because it gives us a chance to talk all of that through so I can advise on what works best. One last option for a tee shirt is one that represents either your high school, your competitive athletic team, or your future college choice. We've done all of these and more! And you already know we love personalizing sessions for each individual teen and this is a great way to do that. You get to make a statement about something you are excited about, and we are here for it!
This might be my personal favorite article of clothing for myself, so I totally get why someone would want to wear it during their session! It is a casual look for photos for sure, so you definitely want to make sure you also choose something dressy, but let's talk about hoodies!
The same rules apply with hoodies as tee shirts above when choosing the color. Make sure it works for the background so you don't get lost. While we generally do not recommend lettering and words on clothing, this can work with a hoodie depending on what it says. Something related to your college or high school that is easily identifiable works great.
One more bonus about hoodies is that you can sport a tee shirt underneath and then without doing a complete outfit change you can remove the hoodie and have another "look" ready to go! Choose a tee shirt that looks ok underneath the hoodie and is not distracting for best results. See the image above for an example of wearing a hoodie with a tee shirt underneath during a senior session. The color of the tee shirt underneath works well with the color of the sweatshirt and isn't distracting.
Oh, one more note about hoodies. Yes, it can be HOT in the Summer and the idea of adding another layer of clothing may not sound appealing. I promise to work quick if you are layered up (ha!) but you can also take it off as we walk about the location and just put it on for photos. Since it is such an easy addition, that isn't hard to do and doesn't take time away from your photo session.
Casual Button-up Shirt
What about a casual button-up shirt to show off some Summer style! This is a great look if you want to show off a truly casual style that is not athletic wear. What is fun about this look is that you can choose something bright, colorful, loud, and fun for your shirt and that will immediately give a lot of personality to your photos. I recommend selecting a neutral color or solid color for shorts as you wouldn't want two loud pieces in the same outfit.
Shoes for Summer Sessions
One of the most overlooked pieces of clothing for Summer senior sessions (actually probably all senior photo sessions) is the shoes! This is something we talk about during our Style Consult when we are planning your session because we want everything to be absolutely perfect, and we want to consider all of the details!
Dress Shoes for Guys in Senior Photos
Just like the discussion of the suit above, if a senior guy does not yet own a nice pair of dress shoes, this is the time to make that purchase. Looking ahead to senior year, there are many times they may be needed such as senior year kick off ceremonies, senior nights, award nights, homecoming, prom, and graduation. College will bring a new round of unexpected occasions to dress up including potential job interviews or networking events. Invest in the shoes and check it off your list!
Dress Shoes for Girls in Senior Photos
We know you already own several pairs of dressy shoes, so which should you choose? Keep in mind we will be walking around the location so shoes should be comfortable to wear for walking or longer periods of time. If they are not, then they should at least be very fast to take on and off so that you can wear flip flops to walk but then slip on the heels when we are ready to pose.
Heels work best for photo sessions on paved areas such as downtown Columbus or uptown Westerville. If we are in an area that is wet such as a creek bed or waterfall area, heels can be slippery and potentially dangerous. They also sink into soft ground such as grass, so they are not a good choice for fields. But wearing heels during your senior session can elevate the entire look of the outfit making it even dressier and are a stunning addition to a dress or even a pair of jeans and a cute top!
We recommend flats for any areas with known uneven ground, grassy fields where heels would sink, or any outfit where you feel that a high heel would be too dressy.
Sandals for Summer Senior Photos
This is the time of year that is most appropriate to wear sandals! Such a staple of Summer and look great in photos. You can choose a wedge or flat sandal. Generally we recommend a neutral color as that will go with multiple outfits if needed and keep the attention up toward your face.
Barefoot for Summer Senior Pictures
Summer is the best time to go without shoes for pictures! Especially if you find yourself in a patch of grass or a creek! Waterfall views? Barefoot for sure! Plus, do we even need an excuse to get a pedicure with friends? We don't think so! You've got to get ready for that beach vacation anyway.
Dress like YOURSELF in Senior Pictures!
Above all, I want you to dress like yourself in these images. Show off what is important to you. Wear something that is truly your style. If you are comfortable with what you are wearing, it is going to help bring out your natural smiles and your confidence, both of which are goals of ours during a session. Whether you love a sundress or a tee shirt... or maybe you are more comfortable in your game day uniform... we're here for it. Your senior portraits should represent exactly who you are this Summer!
Want to Plan a Summer Senior Photography Session?
This is what we do! While this post shares many ideas and considerations for summer senior picture outfits, it is no substitute for getting the full one on one attention you deserve while planning your perfect session. At Westerville Senior Photography, we walk you through everything step by step so you feel totally ready for your session without any doubts about your outfit or accessories. Reach out to start planning your session!
While a lot of these outfits will also work for Spring and Fall, they won't be as good during the cold months in Central Ohio. Looking for What to Wear during a Winter Session? Need something else? We are here to help every step of the way as you plan your dream senior session!