What to bring to your senior portrait session – accessories, props, and more

celebrating senior interests!

When senior clients book their senior portrait sessions with me, the first thing we do is start planning with a questionnaire.  This is an important part of session prep because it helps me to begin to get to know the seniors, their interests, and their personalities.  It’s not just about outfits and locations but it’s also about how to plan for a few portraits that capture who they are in this moment.  Whether it’s showing a dedication to a sport, an instrument, or just what they love to do for fun, sharing your senior interest can be an important element to a successful and memorable senior portrait experience.

Just like when they were toddlers and lived in their Cinderella dresses or carried their favorite stuffy with them, as seniors they have those accessories that define the person they are now.  And we can come up with a creative way to capture that.

There are many options for accessories that can work with a portrait session.  I’ve found that my past senior clients are the best way to show what’s been done and hopefully spark some creativity as current seniors think about their session.

celebrating senior interests – ideas for musicians

images of a senior musician playing an oboe at Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh. They're wearing a black pants suit with a white top and short hair

One of my seniors is a state-recognized musician for the oboe.  They’re hoping to continue studying music in college so it made sense to devote a significant portion of their senior portrait session to photos with their instrument (and the columns at Mellon Institute were the perfect location).

Another musician also wanted to include her instrument in her session and with an even more creative spin by adding some glitter.  She had the idea of capturing the glitter flying up as she played, which was such a great idea!  It was so much fun to capture these images and years later, they remain some of my favorites!

a black senior girl wearing jeans and a leather jacket, playing a snare drum in an alley.

celebrating senior interests – ideas for athletes

There are some different options for athletes who want a few portraits celebrating their sport.  An easy option is to bring some equipment to the session- a bat, a glove, a ball, medals, or even shoes.

Equipment

images of a senior guy holding a baseball bat on the North Shore Trail in Pittsburgh. He's wearing a white t-shirt and athletic pants.

Medals

images of a senior guy wearing a black hoodie with track medals. He's standing on the Hot Metal Bridge in the Southside

The Letterman Jacket

images of a senior guy wearing a letterman jacket on the North Shore Trail in Pittsburgh and holding a football.

Accessories can also be used in combination with the location. 

One senior football player wanted portraits in his letterman jacket but at his high school stadium.  It was an easy add.  He and his mom just had to confirm that the space would be open and that we would have permission to go into the area (most schools don’t have a problem with this at all).  So after doing the first part of his session downtown, we headed to his high school to finish up.

images of a senior guy wearing his letterman jacket at his high school stadium

What about the non-musician, non-athlete student?

Including props and accessories in a senior portrait session isn’t just for musicians and athletes.  It doesn’t have to be an interest you’ve devoted years of your life to.  It can be something you’ve recently picked up or even made.

One senior had a vintage jacket that was a new favorite piece of clothing and she was excited to wear that for a few portraits.images of a senior girl wearing a vintage baseball jacket, white t-shirt, and jeans. She's leaning against the railing of the Herrs Island Bridge.

Another senior had crocheted a sweater and wanted to include that as one of her outfits.  She also wanted to wear her black lives matter shirt to share her involvement and support for social justice causes.

images of a senior girl wearing a black lives matter t-shirt and a crocheted sweater. She's standing in the cultural district in downtown Pittsburgh

Another senior found a unique location to use for his interest.  This senior is a volunteer firefighter and got permission to have some of his senior portraits taken at his firehouse.  They even pulled out one of the engines for his session!

I loved capturing these portraits not just because it was something new and different but also to witness this senior’s expressions change.  He went from being uncomfortable in front of the camera to having this look of pride and confidence.   This is why I encourage all seniors to really consider this part of their session.

images of a senior guy standing with a fire engine at West View fire station

I hope this post sparks some ideas for future senior clients.  There are so many possibilities.  Start by sharing your interests and then we can brainstorm the best way to create a portrait that celebrates it.

To start the process of booking your senior portrait session, visit my senior page and send me a message.

 

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

When it comes to portrait photography, there are a lot of options. It's important to me that I help my clients create the session and have the products that are the best fit for their family!

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portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Mt Lebanon, Sewickley, Upper St Clair, and Wexford