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  • Jennifer Bowen

Three Tips for Getting Beautiful Senior Photos! AZ Sunset desert photoshoot with that golden glow

Its been senior season here in AZ lately! I've had so much fun photographing several high school seniors for their photos lately and wanted to share a few tips to help ensure a stress free experience with beautiful images to treasure of your teen.

Here is a recent senior photo shoot with beautiful Miss E!


The quality of light in Arizona is unique and very different from places such as California or Texas. Our sun is rather intense, so heading out into the desert (or any open spaces) in the middle of the day will result in very different photos than what you will get at sunset. You can certainly shoot in the middle of the day, but you will get rather dramatic images with lots of shadows (which can be fun too - see this shoot from California shot mid day), however most people want that soft, flattering light and many want the warm glow you get from the sweet hour before sunset. The quality of light is one of the most important aspects to creating great images, so time of day is important to consider.

2. HIRING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER - If you are shopping for the least expensive photographer on the block, you will find many in your budget range. Likely they are just starting out and learning how to craft & mold light or work with clients to illicit great expressions. I used to teach workshops for new photographers, and the number one thing that people just starting out said they struggled with was working with clients to put them at ease, coach them through poses -- all while trying to put their nervousness aside about getting the technical aspects of the image to work in camera.

This is where hiring an experienced photographer can make all the difference in the outcome. Someone outgoing who likes working with people, someone who can make things fun for teens but not be overly cheesy to really turn them off (I have one, this can certainly happen - ha!), and someone who is confident to know how their camera works in any situation so that getting distracted by technical details wont leave them silent behind the lens.


Since all teens are unique, Jennifer loves to make the shoot about capturing who they are as individuals. This means bringing & wearing clothing they feel comfortable in and that fits them well, choosing colors that flatter their skin and eyes, and wearing styles that they feel as confident as possible in.

While many teens don't wear much makeup, it is recommended to wear a little for your senior photos. The camera can definitely wash people out, so wearing some around the eyes and on the lips to add just a hint of color can help quite a bit. I usually tell females to wear 25-30% more than they normally do -- nothing clown like with overly done cheeks and lips, just enough to add a hint of color to the skin & accentuate your features. There are thousands of great tutorials on YouTube showing makeup tips, so if you are not hiring a pro (many people do for this occasion, but not all) then YouTube is a great place to start and practice.

I usually suggest to my clients to bring 3-6 different outfits and we can go through them where I can suggest what might photograph best in the location, or just what works great on camera. Some clients just do 1-2 outfits total, where others want 3 different looks. Everything is customizable with senior portraits!

If you are interested in getting a price quote for your teen's senior portraits, you can visit here to drop me an inquiry. :)





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