Senior Picture Posing (How to Capture the BEST Shots)

Senior Picture Poses - Flow Posing for Senior Photography

Senior Picture Poses

I love photographing seniors. They are a fun, happy group - excited to be graduating and generally enjoy having their photos done.

Personally, I like to take a guided, natural approach to all of my sessions, but especially wtih my senior photography sessions. They all want to look amazing AND natural at the same time! But seniors need to be guided into these natural poses. I want to share with you how I naturally do this to capture beautifully posed senior pictures.

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Show Seniors the Pose Yourself

I always give them a run down of what I expect them to do. I even go as far as actually doing what I want them to do so that they can in turn copy what I just did.

In the example below, I asked my subject to walk towards me, laugh and look to the right, and then pose with her hands on her hips. Before she started, I actually did what I was asking her to do so that she could watch me.

If necessary, we will do it again with the direction I give them to improve the "series". Sometimes we will just do the sequence twice so that I can make sure to get all the shots I was looking for. Even doing it twice typically takes less than 2 minutes.

Senior Portrait Ideas

If I have them sitting on the ground, I do something similar. I will sit on the ground next to them and have them mimic me. I think they really appreciate the fact that I am willing to also do what I am asking them to do. I think it also makes them feel comfortable because they can see exactly what to do.

Help Your Senior Subjects Feel Confident

Of course there will be times when your senior guys and girls do not need as much instruction, but making them feel comfortable and confident is key. It is not uncommon for them to say things like, "I'm sorry" or, "I'm doing it wrong" or, "I feel weird".

When I hear this, I assure them that they are doing great and often tell them, "This next set could feel awkward but I promise it will look great!" And they usually end with, "Wow, I would have never guessed that looked so cool or fun, I felt so weird."

I generally do a few sets of poses for each outfit change in my senior's photo session - changing clothes usually takes up the most time in my sessions!

Below are several senior flow posing scenarios with descriptions of exactly how they were posed:

Senior Picture Posing Ideas

In the photo sequence below, my senior subject wanted to show off her earrings. So we did a simple standing pose where I asked her to tuck her hair and then drop her arm.

Then I asked her to do the following sequence - look at me without smiling, look down her arm, and then look at me from the corner of her eyes and smile. This whole series took about 1 minute to photograph!

Senior Picture Poses

In the next sequence below, I asked the subject to sit on the ground with legs bent and smiling. I am always careful to have both hands in view.

As she was sitting, I asked her to drop down on her elbow and smile. Last I had her follow me with her face and I moved to get a better vertical shot. Again, this whole series took about 1 minute to photograph!

Senior Picture Poses for Girl

In the next series below, I started by having my senior guy squat and smile with his hands in front. Then I had him sit back against the wall and I photographed him straight on with a serious face.

He started fixing his hair, so I took a quick picture of that as well, which turned out to be one of my favorites of the session. While he was still leaning against the wall, I moved and caught a quick profile while having him look off into the distance. This series took about 2 minutes max to photograph!

Senior Picture Poses for Guys

In this next posing sequence, I had this pretty senior girl squatting down in the tall grass. This gave a great angle for me to shoot from and I started with a basic headshot. I then asked her to look to the top of the hill we were on.

I think she started to wobble and I got a great giggle. Next, I had her place her elbow on her knee with her hand under her chin smiling and then ended with an off-camera glance.  This whole series was shot in less than 2 minutes!

Senior Portrait Poses

Have Fun!

Posing seniors can be fun and simple. Being fast and efficient as well as capturing the natural moments in between is one of my recipes for success. 

I think that clients want and expect us to help them pose and directing your seniors with a simple flow from one pose to another is a wonderful tool to use!

Note: All of these senior portrait photos were edited with Pretty Actions for Photoshop and Pretty Presets for Lightroom.

Do you have any questions or comments about Senior Picture Posing or Photographing Seniors?  Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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