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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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7 Mistakes Seniors Make During Their Photo Sessions | VLOG

March 20, 2019

No one expects you to be perfect during your senior session. Mistakes happen, it’s no big deal!

But I do want to share with you some of the most common mistakes that I see my seniors make so you can avoid them for your session!

Before we get started, if you’re a past senior and feel personally victimized by this post, know that I love you and still think your session was awesome!! I’m just here to spread the knowledge and make everyone’s life better 🙂

#1: Not Bringing A Way To Carry All Of Your Clothes

I usually shoot in areas that don’t have a ton of parking and I don’t like to waste time going back and forth to the car. When we meet at the beginning of your session, we’ll look through all of your outfits and get an idea of what you’ll want to wear at which spots. Then I typically have you bring everything with you…which means you need someone to carry them and something to put them in.

You’ll need a big enough bag to carry your outfits, shoes, and accessories, without getting them wrinkled. We can get buy on hangers but life is a lot easier with a bag!

And no I will not judge you if you bring an actual suitcase.

Shoutout to Sam for being the most supportive boyfriend/assistant!!!! So sweet and so stylish haha.

#2: Not Changing Out Accessories

Sometimes these get left out in the process of trying to carry everything and sometimes they were never planned to begin with.

Jewelry, scarves, hats, and even bags are an easy way to bring your photos to the next level. So many of my girls forget them or just decide not to change them out because they don’t want to take up the time, but it is so worth it!

#3: Not Changing Shoes

Shoes kind of fit into the accessory category but they also make a big difference in your photos! Because I recommend that you wear something casual AND something more dressy…those usually require two different types of shoes!

I love when girls where heels or wedges because it adds a little more to your posture and something about wearing them just ups the confidence.

Either way, make sure that you’re thinking about your outfits from head to toe and bringing alllll the things.

#4: Not Getting Professional Makeup Done

I am so guilty of this mistake and I have regretted it every time. Makeup for photos is so different than your everyday makeup. Even just having fake eyelashes makes a world of difference.

It is an option to do your makeup but just a little darker, but I highly highly recommend going to someone who specializes in makeup for photography –– they know exactly what types of products you need and will make you look fab.

Secret tip: you can get your makeup done for free at Sephora as long as your spend $50…which is about what you spend just by walking in the door. SO wait to do your next makeup restock on the day of your photos…problem solved.

(Eliza Eagles is one of my favorite make up artists!!!!)

#5: Not Planning For The Weather

We’re in North Carolina so we shoot almost all year long. Which means sometimes it’s really cold and sometimes it’s really hot.

I usually will reschedule a session if it’s too extreme but sometimes it’s just that time of year! If you want photos on the beach but it’s early March then definitely bring a coat!! You can still wear something springy but you’ll want something to keep yourself warm in-between shots (or your nose will get red!).

For when it’s hot, bring oil blotters, fans, anything to keep yourself cool! It’s important to dress for the weather and know that if you’re going to be sweating to wear outfits that, well, won’t show that lol.

#6: Falling Into The Pinterest Trap

This is probably the biggest mistake out of all of them. I love when you have ideas for your sessions because I love to try different things! Unfortunately though if you try to plan too much of your session it doesn’t always work out the way you want.

It’s hard to recreate other photographers’ work exactly and honestly it’s just not as fun AND it doesn’t let me create something that’s completely YOU! It’s okay to have ideas and show them to me for inspiration…but they need to just be inspiration. You’d be surprised what your photographer can come up with even if you just say “I really like coffee” or “I really like to read”.

Last one just for fun…

#7: Bringing The Wrong Type Of Glitter

No one is saying it but GLITTER PICS ARE HARD. When they work, they’re super cute but honestly we’ll spend probably 10 minutes at least making them happen. I’ve had so many seniors bring glitter so excited to take this photo and they have the wrong type of glitter. You need something really light that can pick up the air easily but also big enough to be seen in the photo. I’ve found that some of the bigger confetti works. Just don’t get something heavy because you’ll end up having to blow really hard (not cute) and if it’s real glitter it’ll just look like there’s specks all over the photo.

Moral of the story….glitter photos take a LOT of work so if you want one, practice before and be committed.

I highly recommend the poppers from Walmart!!! Or anything that is a light-weight or paper confetti 🙂

Learning From Our Mistakes

Those are the biggest mistakes I’ve seen my seniors make! Keep them in mind if you are getting ready for an upcoming session so you don’t have to look back and wish you did it differently!

If you do have questions about your session as they come to mind before your session, feel free to reach out to me and ask! I’d rather us talk about it beforehand than for you to feel like you forgot something!!


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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