Rock Your High School Senior Yearbook Headshot!

high-school-senior-yearbook-portrait-sherwood-bowmen-2002 550-copy-1The last  year of high school is a major milestone! Your getting closer to being all grown up! All that hard work you put in these last years, late nights of homework not to mention stressful finals.  Finally, you are getting recognized for all your hard work.  And to think that you roamed around high school campus during your freshman, sophomore, and junior year with a school id that resembles a mug shot.  Finally, it’s your time to shine with your pro headshot.  You know senior year…you have to go out with a bang! So…how do you rock your high school senior yearbook headshot?


First, be your amazing self and bring that to your photo shoot. Your positive energy has to be on point.  It’s not the time to hide who you are.  I hope you did your homework on this one because connecting with your photographer is going to make a difference on whether you look uptight or relaxed. Quick tip when looking for your pro, consider personality vibes along with an amazing body of work. By amazing body of work I mean other sample senior pictures, Just like you wouldn’t get your sports gear at a grocery store, make sure your photographer actually takes pictures of people versus flower shots. LOL.  Honestly, personality is almost as important as photography skill level.  If you look like a zombie out of fear and confusion because you don’t know what to do during your session and your photographer doesn’t have people skills to get you to relax, you will look uncomfortable in your picture.  The key is you gotta be  yourself and have fun on your photo shoot.  When you are comfortable with your photographer you get to enjoy the moment.  When you are genuinely having fun your head shot is going to come out fabulous because your smiles will be authentic.  Seriously, if your photographer has to ask you to smile, run.  That’s plain weird.  Fake laughs always look fake. Your photographer is there to make you look good and you should just have fun.


Wear colors that compliment your  hair skin and eyes.  How do you know what colors look good on your?  There is a whole color theory to it.  The right colors for you will make your eyes pop and liven your image up.  You want that!   Your hair, eyes and skin all tell a color theory story. For a detailed color analysis read my blog on color theory and take the quiz at the end of this blog. You will look back 20 years from now and thank me.


How to choose your shot.  Remember, this is a headshot.  So it’s shot upright in portrait mode. The first high school senior picture of this post is an example of what we chose to go into the Sherwood High School Yearbook last year.  Alexander is in focus.  There is a little dimension to the shot because of that angled shoulder.  It draws you in.  The background is out of focus which helps bring attention to him. As you can tell, it’s shot in portrait mode.  He also has green eyes so the background colors really brought the image together.


The yearbook crew will crop any landscape formatted images.  Being that it’s a tight headshot, you’ll want to keep your arms out of the photograph.  You don’t want any weird cropping of your hands or arms. You are the star in the shot.  Watch for a competing background.  We want to see you, a busy background takes away the lime light. Here is an example below of a landscape image.  While Alexander is in focus and the background is nice and clean, it’s not a strong yearbook headshot.


Everyone loves a beautiful jaw line. Even, if you don’t have a perfect one, there is no need to capture a double chin. Work that beautiful jaw line to give strong structure to your image. I did see this happen a few times in the last yearbook.


A few don’ts ..skip the dalmatian light. No spotty light.  You know the light spots that come through the scene of trees during a sunny day.  You don’t want any of those on your face.  Let’s get even lighting for your beauty shot, so we can see all the pretty details.  #2 This is not a mug shot.  Step away from the wall. #3 For guys sometimes a forward facing straight on photo can be masculine, I get it.  You may be able to slide on that.  But for the ladies, let’s get some dimension in there. Switch things up a bit by posing shoulders at a slight angle for a picture perfect close up.


So, it’s all about the light! If you are rocking an amazing smile and the light sucks…well then…I’ll leave that to your imagination…you get the picture? This is technically where it pays to go pro. A pro will know that you need your face to be in focus. So your face needs to be lit properly. I’ve seen this a dozen times and it’s the most common amateur photographer mistake ever.  You know it when everything in the background is lit and the main subject is in a dark shadow.  Major no no. Seriously, I will personally help you select your yearbook portrait even if I don’t take the photographs.  Your high school senior yearbook picture, it’s a big deal. There are a few life moments where it pays to go pro, your high school senior portraits and your wedding.  This is not the time to use your friend with a camera that likes photography.  Please don’t.  Do yourself some justice by getting your portrait session taken care of by a professional that knows how to make you look good. Trust me it’s a confidence booster when you look amazing.


Touch ups are good.  Oh, the power of smoothing things out is amazing. I touch up my images to clean them up a bit.  It softens skin up visually. There’s a limit though.  It has to look believable.  If you are someone who suffers from acne, touch ups help but you don’t want to completely be transformed into plastic.  I like to tidy things up and still allow it to look natural.  So remember,t get rid of redness major pimples but keep a little balance and texture to the skin.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you are a little worried about how you look on camera don’t leave this important moment to an unskilled person.  Even if it seems cheap at first. Paying a low price for bad results is overpaying,if you have to get a do over session with a professional.


As an end note, you are celebrating one of the first milestones in your life.  You can rock your high school senior portrait with your amazing personality and the help of a professional.  You deserve the best! Congratulations graduate! Let me know  how I can help.


Your Friend


Professional High School Senior Portrait Photographer

Sherwood High School Yearbook SHS #Bowmen #Newberg High School Yearbook #NHS #Tigard High School #Tigers #Lake Oswego High School #Lakers

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