Session Prep

5 Senior Session Mistakes & How to Fix Them

I’m Amanda...
an industry leading senior photographer and expert when it comes to senior session fashion & getting portrait perfect ready.
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senior session tips

As a senior photographer serving greater Houston and The Woodlands for the past 13+ years, I have a ton of knowledge when it comes to the senior photography industry. I love sharing so I can help seniors and their parents have stress free senior sessions and stunning senior portraits!

So let’s dive in to a few tips on some common session mistakes and how to fix them:

1. Not Reading Session Prep Materials

Wanna know the #1 secret to the best senior session ever straight from an industry leading photographer?

It’s all in the PREP work! How you prepare for your senior session will 100% show in your senior pictures! That’s why we pride ourselves on giving every single one of our clients an unmatched session prep experience. AHP provides downloadable guides and resources to help make your session day easy & stress free! We are the experts when it comes to preparing for a session because we’ve helped hundreds of seniors over the past 12 years! We know all the tips & tricks to having the best senior session possible!

Here’s a sneak peek into what our senior clients receive when the book their session with AHP:

What to Wear Guide: this guide helps you know everything from what skin tone you have so you know what colors best suit you, to different style inspiration, how to dress for your body type and so much more! It’s our clients FAVORITE guide from their welcome packet!⁣

Face Prep Guide: ready to get your face ready for your big day?! This guide will help you know what to avoid and what to do to make your skin super smooth, fresh and glowing for your session day airbrush makeup application!⁣

Nail Prep Guide: there’s nothing more than can take attention away from your face than a set of busted nails and cuticles. This guide will help you prepare your nails and hands for portrait perfect! We’ll also share the best nail polish colors that our clients have used in the past!⁣

Session Day Packing List: want to know exactly what to bring to your session and don’t want to forget everything? We’ve got you covered! We’ll send you a final packing list with tons of details including the most forgotten items!

2. Chapped Lips

Now is the season where it usually happens… the air gets cooler and the wind picks up and before you know it our lips are feeling dry and less than nourished. Want a secret session prep tip that will have your lips looking luxurious the day of your session (no matter what they looked like last week)? Well look no further!

For one full week 𝘉𝘌𝘍𝘖𝘙𝘌 your senior session, brush your lips with a toothbrush every night before going to bed and slather on your fave lip fix.⁣

What balms are best? Here’s a few we love:

  • Burt’s Bees: Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment ⁣
  • Blistex Intensive Moisturizer⁣
  • Aquaphor Lip Protectant⁣
  • Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask⁣
  • Vaseline Lip Therapy⁣

Let me tell you, chapped lips not only show through all kinds of lipstick & gloss, but they’re also incredibly difficult to Photoshop in your senior portraits. Your best bet is to follow these tips and arrive with smooth and healthy lips for a portrait perfect smile!⁣

3. Faux Tanning

I know, I know, you want to be a beautiful bronzed goddess for your senior session, but running out and getting spray tanned the day before your session could end in a blotchy, streaky nightmare.

If you are determined to be faux tanned for your session, here’s a few details that could save your skin (literally):

  • Don’t get a spray tan within 3 days of your session. Your color needs time to develop & settle. Lightly exfoliate your skin 48 hours after your spray session and then rub in plenty of moisturizer to help it set.
  • Exfoliate and scrub your wrists, ankles, knees, and knuckles religiously if you get a spray tan. These are the parts of your body that can collect extra tanner and actually make you look dirty. After scrubbing, hydrate these areas with a heavy moisturizer.
  • Consider using a slow build self-tanner the month before your session. These daily moisturizers with gradual tanning solution build a bronze glow over time that won’t look blotchy or streaky like spray tans can. The secret to using these options is to layer them over a base lotion first.

4. Not Booking Early

Senior pictures are NOT the time wait until the last minute. You will need plenty of time to make other appointments with your hair stylist, nail artist, aesthetician, etc to make sure you feel your best the day of your session. You also need to consider how busy senior year events will get & you’ll want to have your session booked with your top choice for photographer before they book out!⁣

In order to make sure you have your senior pictures ready for your grad card orders, grad party, and senior slide shows, let’s look at the AHP timeline to find out how far in advance you’ll want to have your session:

  • Session day to gallery delivery: this time includes culling through your session, editing your images, uploading your high res images to your custom gallery, and sending you your custom delivery hub. This means that at the most basic of image delivery, you’ll have digitals between 2 – 3 weeks after your senior session. If you want grad cards, albums, and other products, you’ll need to add a few more weeks to your end goal timeline.
  • Grad card design to card delivery: from the moment you place your order with [brand], we work hard to get your grad cards designed, proofed, confirmed, printed and delivered to your doorstep within 2-3 weeks. Remember that you want to send out graduation and party invitations at least 6 weeks in advance if you want to give people enough time to plan to come. Grad announcements can simply be sent out at any time between May and August.
  • Senior products design to delivery: if you’d like to have an album, signing portrait, gift prints and canvases displayed at your grad party, you’ll want to order those products at least 3 weeks before your grad festivities.

So, if you plan on sending out graduation and party invitations, you’ll want to book your session 9 weeks in advance to make sure you have plenty of time to invite your family, friends, and loved ones. For this timing, you’ll need to book your session for early April.

If you’re planning on only sending out grad announcements, you’ll want to book your session at least 6 weeks in advance of your festivities. This means that you’ll want to book your session, at the very latest, in mid-April.

5. Lack of Variety in Session Outfits

VARIETY is everything! Make sure that your outfits aren’t all dresses, jeans, or shorts. Try to incorporate a variety of not only pieces, but style as well (like urban, organic, casual, and sophisticated).⁣

Here’s 3 quick tips to making sure you have plenty of variety in your session wardrobe:

  • Don’t show up to your senior session with the same kind of clothing piece (for example, maxi dresses) or the same vibe (for example, sophisticated) for every single outfit. Get some variety in there! Bring different kinds of pieces like denim for one outfit then a formal gown, then a skirt or some shorts and make sure they range from casual to sophisticated and everything in between!
  • Opt for colors that complement your skin tone. Wearing the wrong colors for your skin tones can make you look washed out and very drab. To stay looking fresh and your best! Go with colors that are known to fit your seasonal shades, like warm, cool, or neutrals.
  • Speaking of colors, change it up through out your session outfits! I’m all for a good monotone color palette, but your senior session is a time for purposeful variety that showcases your personality. Opt for a beautiful range of colors that look good with your skin tone for the ultimate variety. If you absolutely must stick with one or two colors, at least vary the shades to mix it up.

Want more wardrobe help for your senior session?

We have a FREEBIE for you! Download our free guide: What NOT to Wear for Your Senior Session! This will give you an inside look at what to avoid when putting your outfits together!

If you’re ready to book your senior session with Amanda Holloway Photography, the time to book is NOW! Connect with us through our contact form and we’ll get your booking process started! We’ll send you our client magazine and available dates!

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See our work!

The AHP Portfolio

We know you don't want to look like someone else in your pictures... just the best YOU possible. So come and see what we have to offer in our portfolio - a visual showcase of what we do!

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What Makes AHP Different?

Amanda Holloway Photography is famous for our senior client experience because we go above and beyond when it comes to our clients. We are even considered the most sought after studio in the area.



What NOT to Wear

In this guide I share my top five things to avoid when planning your session attire to ensure you look and feel your best during this once in a lifetime experience.


Regal Fusion Album

I believe in tangible images that you can showcase and put on display in your home - not to mention have and look at forever & albums are the PERFECT way to do that.


Follow along for our latest senior sneak peeks, session tips, & grad prep resources!