We are in full-out graduation and high school senior season! Now that the graduates of 2019 are moving on, you’re probably getting calls from 2020 seniors for photo sessions. That’s where I come in, I can help. My name is Cindy Arthur, of Cindy Arthur Photography in the Dallas area. I specialize in family and high school senior portraits, so I wanted to give you a few tips and examples to help you make your senior portrait sessions a success with these 5 tips for high school senior posing.
My first and most helpful tip I have is this… demonstrate the pose you want them to do! Yes! I know, it may feel weird or uncomfortable for you to do it, but hey – you’re asking them to do it and it will be quicker and easier if you just show them what you want than to try to describe it to them and it not go well! No quicker way to squash their confidence than for you to be yelling out “no, not that, do this, no that’s not it…” Make sense? I like to lighten the mood and say something funny like “trust me, you will look way cooler than me when you do this!” Or, “I know this is usually how you hang out at the park right?” Also, when they nail the pose, I say something like “I see you’ve been practicing at home!” It will break the ice and hopefully get them to crack a smile! Don’t get me wrong, there will be seniors you photograph that literally HAVE been practicing their poses!
Another tip I have is multiple outfits! The key to a beautiful gallery is variety! So, what does that have to do with posing? You can reuse your poses when you are in a different outfit and location! I usually tell them we can fit about 4 or 5 outfit changes within our session. I bring a pop-up changing tent with me, so they can change as we go. For senior guys, it’s fairly easy for them to switch out a shirt, so I say the more the better!
One easy way to incorporate different poses is to add props. I usually suggest they bring any type of sports equipment or extracurricular items (band, cheerleading, clubs etc.) that represents who they are at this time in their lives. I also suggest they bring a college T-shirt if they have already chosen the college they will attend. Incorporating the college hand sign is a good way to sneak in another pose!
Here are some examples of the different poses I’ve used in my senior portraits for guys:
I really like to get a few shots of them looking away. It’s an easy way to switch it up!
For this pose, I like to have them step up and lean on their knee. You can use a box as I have in these photos or whatever you find while you’re out. Stairs, a curb or rock would work too.
This is an example of incorporating props, here we are using the football that they brought to the session!
Another popular prop would be their vehicle! You can try several different poses around their truck or car.
This pose works when they are sitting – here I use a wooden crate that I bring along, but you could use stairs, curbs, whatever works! works!
One pose that is easy to do and looks great is just leaning! Lean against the wall, door, etc. and you can switch up the arms and legs. Hands in pockets or crossed. Legs crossed, or up on the wall. You can switch between all the different poses while in one spot.
Finally, for the guys just have fun with it! I told this senior, “ok, now pretend you just got a pain in your neck, like this!” He laughed, and we caught this great smile! Senior guys can be tough, but the key is to try to make it light and don’t forget to demonstrate the pose! Don’t forget the college hand sign shot if they have chosen their school already!
Senior girls tend to be a lot easier to pose than the guys. They are the ones that are usually more excited for their session and let’s face it – have actually practiced some poses! Again, demonstrating makes it easier and quicker so try to remember that rather than explaining what you want them to do!
This pose tends to be the go-to, just try not to get stuck on the “hand on hip” pose for too many shots! Remember, variety is the key!
A cute option is hands up somewhere near the face. I usually ask them to either put their hand on the neck or side of face, hold their necklace or a piece of hair etc. Just another option!
Changing levels helps get a different look so I usually ask them to squat down! I do this for both guys and girls, it gives a different perspective.If you incorporate hats, flower crowns, scarves or any accessory, you can use them to pose as well! Check out this beautiful senior with this awesome hat! I have a few hats that I bring to the session with me.
Don’t forget the props, sometimes that includes furry friends! Cap, gown and tassel also count as props, you can ask them to bring those items as well.
Hopefully, these tips and samples will give you the confidence to nail the poses on your next senior session! Remember, demonstrate the poses, outfit variety is key and add in some props and college gear! You will end up with a great variety for a beautiful senior portrait gallery!
Don’t forget to check out the new designs of grad cards through Printique. Their new designs are modern and simple and with four choices of paper and edge choices, the cards you make can be as unique as the senior you just photographed.