Senior Picture Checklist and Timeline

March 26, 2024

Checklist & Timeline for Senior Pictures 

Helpful Planning Tips to keep you Organized and Camera Ready for your Photoshoot!


Senior year is such a busy time, you use a checklist for every fun event. As a senior photographer, I understand the importance of calendar management. In this blog post, I give specific planning tips for creating an optimal timeline and checklist for your senior photoshoot. Number one on the list is hiring your senior photographer. Before you do so, you will need some information from your high school:

  1. What is the deadline for submitting your yearbook photo?
  2. Does your school have specific guidelines for the type of photo you can submit?
    • Some schools require a formal headshot portrait with a solid background while others may allow a casual lifestyle portrait with a nature backdrop. 

  3. What are the image size dimensions and which picture orientation is acceptable (vertical or horizontal). 
  • Your photographer will need to know how to shoot your portraits and what size to edit it down to for you. Check with your high school yearbook committee if you don't know the answers.   

Book your photographer well in advance, so you can be sure to meet your yearbook deadline! Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Google "senior photographers near me", for an easy way to see a list of local photographers in your area. Review several photographer's websites to learn about their services, session pricing and information about the digital collections and print products they offer. Also, be sure to look at their senior gallery to see examples of their pictures and shooting style.  


Create Your Timeline

The days leading up to your senior picture session will go by in a blur. Use the following tips to create your own custom checklist and stay organized. You might want to have a plan for what to do the month before, the week and day before as well as the day of your photoshoot.  


One Month Before Your Photo Session 

  • Book your photographer.

The sooner you book the better, especially if you need a weekend session. Many senior photographers book months in advance.

  • Book your haircut.

Schedule your haircut appointment for no later than two weeks before your session. The two week cushion will allow your hair to grow out a little.  

  • Book your hair styling appointment.

If you want your hair to be professionally styled for your senior pictures, be sure to book an appointment well in advance.

  • Start planning your outfits.

Shop in your own closet and then think about what you might need to complete an outfit.

  • Start researching senior portrait poses.

Poses should look and feel natural. Look around for examples. Check your photographer's senior gallery, Pinterest, and your friend's senior pictures for inspiration. Your photographer will have lots of ideas and will help guide you.

One Week Before

  • Avoid the sun!

Do not get sunburned or get highly visible tan lines. You will look red or orange in your pictures. 

  • Pick your 3 favorite portrait poses.

Think about your outfits in relationship to the poses you like. Will they work together? For example, squatting in a shorter length dress won't work. Set a reminder in your phone to share your favorite poses with your photographer.

  • Finalize your outfits.

Lay your clothes out on the bed with accessories + shoes and adjust, if needed. Then try them on to make sure they fit properly. Clothes that are too baggy or too tight will make you fidget and distract you. 

Senior-Girl-Sitting-on-StepsSenior Girl Sitting on StepsSitting posed on stairs at the Boston Public Garden

The Day Before

  • Iron your clothes!

It is nearly impossible to edit wrinkly clothes without compromising the image quality. Arrive to the session as wrinkle-free as possible.

  • Clean your nails.  

Your nails will show in pictures, make sure they look nice. Either keep them bare or add some gloss or a coordinating nail polish. 

  • Wipe down your shoes. 

Shoes will show in wide shot pictures. 

  • Stay properly hydrated. 

Staying hydrated for the best skin. Use some moisturize too.

  • Find directions to the session location.

You don't want to be late! 

  • Get a great night's sleep!



fall photography senior portraitFall Senior Pictures in LincolnFall senior picture, Lincoln, MA

The Day of Your Senior Photoshoot

  • Shave and moisturize.

This one is for both girls and guys.

  • Pack a bag for the photoshoot.

You might consider bringing these with you to the photoshoot:

  • Hairspray and a brush/comb

  • Bug spray

  • Lint brush

  • Face powder, lip gloss

  • Personal props you want to include in the pictures, ex. a musical instrument

  • Eat something.

Don't be hangry! Be sure to eat something just before the session and then brush your teeth after. 

  • Get dressed just before your session.

If you are going to wear makeup, apply it an hour or so before your session to keep it fresh looking.



















FREE Printable Senior Picture Checklist!

I created this free printable senior pictures checklist as an organization tool and reference. It covers all the tips and timelines I talked about in this blog post. Click on the image to view and print a copy!