8 Need-to-know Senior Portrait Photography Trends – Pittsburgh Senior Photographer

8 Need-to-know Senior Portrait Photography Trends – Pittsburgh Senior Photographer

8 Need-to-know Senior Portrait Photography Trends | Pittsburgh Senior Photographer

Thankfully, the days of manufactured senior portraits are long gone, replaced with the more personal and artsy looks. The trends are constantly changing, but with me your look with always be in style. With graduation closer than you think, today is the perfect time to schedule a session with Laura Mares Photography, Pittsburgh Senior Photographer. 

Candid Shots 

Goodbye to the old half smile, all faint and awkward. And hello to the authentic and beautiful smile that is yours! This trend is my favorite in that all it involves is the genuine YOU. I often accomplish the candid look through creating a relaxed atmosphere during the photo shoot. I love allowing you to be as creative as you want and coming up with your own poses. My life motto is to never forget your smile, and I think that is the best advice to remember for your photo shoot.  Bring your mother or a friend with you to bring out your sense of humor and make you more comfortable in your own skin. Also, I always encourage seniors to bring a speaker to play some music and assembling your own playlist for the session. If you are feeling nervous in anticipation of the session, bring a luck item to make you more comfortable. Maybe for you that’s a lucky shirt, sock, or scrunchie. 

Location, Location, Location!

One of the most popular trends right now is fresh and new locations for senior portraits. Whether that is downtown Pittsburgh, a local garden, an urban setting, or a field, people are looking for unique places to represent their own uniqueness. Try to brainstorm some places that meant something to you during your high school career. For instance, I recently had a senior who wanted her senior portraits taken at a coffee shop in Uptown, Mt. Lebanon called Uptown Coffee. She decided on this location due to all the memories she made their over the years. I encourage you to find that special location for yourself. The Strip District is another popular place in Pittsburgh for those looking for a more personalized session. I love all the different hidden nooks and photo possibilities. 

The Perfect Outfit

I love fashion as much as the next person, but try not to get so crazy as to wear an outfit you might grimace at when you grow older. So as for my suggestions, I would first recommend a casual look. Think jeans or a sundress. For the second look, try slightly more formal as in a button down shirt or homecoming dress. For the third look, wear something FUN! Think your sports uniform, or any outfit you wore on an important day in your life. 

Group Shots

Now more than ever high schoolers are inviting their friends at the end of sessions to get one group shot to commemorate years of friendship. I love this idea because you can create lasting memories before you all leave on your separate ways and begin your distinct futures. I also love the authenticity it fosters by having your friends along for the ride, and it is sure to produce many silly yet cute photos. 

Natural Lighting 

Goodbye studio lights, hello sunshine! Senior portraits in natural lighting are simply gorgeous. Shot well, natural lighting shows off the features and face of the subject perfectly. If your session is scheduled on the day when weather doesn’t cooperate (which happens sometimes in Pittsburgh!), we can promptly reschedule your senior session. However, cloud coverage lends to beautiful, evenly lit images. 

Concept Shots

If you are interested in capturing your personality in your senior portraits, concept shots might be the way to go. Design the photo around a significant moment, celebration, or even a cool prop. Whatever you decide, let it have some meaning. 

Include your Hobbies

I love when clients include their favorite hobbies and sports in the session experience. It is always special to make your pictures more personalized and it is a more memorable keepsake. Now that can range from art pieces, your instruments, or your sports equipment. Although I do caution against being “too cheesy,” and like to stay away from the manufactured football players pose, I am always willing to try new things with you! 

Instagram Inspiration 

A few years ago, it was widely accepted to have a full and complete makeover for senior sessions. A face covered in makeup, strip lashes, and pores and blemishes photoshopped out of site. It was awful, and frankly I am glad that it is over. I feel that seniors have become more confident in with their beauty, and are able to leave for school with just a light touch up and the makeup that makes them comfortable. I have nothing against makeup, but I appreciate the natural look. To sum it up, the large movement in senior photography has been “less is more”. The hairstyle and outfits you will see are more everyday, but still extremely fashionable. The hair is mostly natural, with light curls or even pulled back. 


Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.