What should Seniors bring to their Photo Session … and the answer is … bring everything !!!

Hands down … the most often ask question from my High School Seniors is “what should I bring to my portrait session”. The easy answer is bring your entire closet !!! The point is for you to bring lots of choices. Even if you’re doing just 3 wardrobe changes you should bring lots of possibilities.

  • Bring variety… meaning some casual looks,  formal & dressy looks, and even a few crazy & unexpected looks.   Some examples would be your prom gown or for the guys a suit or sports jacket, button-down dress shirt & slacks. Of course you girls want to bring some “girlie” looks such as dresses and skirts (an don’t forget the coordinating heels).  If you don’t own heels then borrow them from a friend. Even if you don’t wear heels they do look great in photos to make you look tall and lean.  Additionally you’ll want some casual choices like skinny jeans or that favorite pair of jeans with holes. With the casual in mind don’t forget the T-shirts and all those tops with the great lace and embroidery at the neckline.
  • Your Senior Pictures are all about YOU being YOU… so bring wardrobe and props that express your personality and interests. If you play sports them bring the uniform and equipment.  If you Cheer then bring your Uniform and Poms. Do you play a musical instrument ??? Bring it !!! Got a Dog, Cat, Bird ??? Bring them along !!!
  • Jewelry & Accessories are always great to have. These items add personality and “icing” as we call it. Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, your “hello kitty watch”, scarves, belts, hats, caps, cool kicks, gloves,  shoes & boots etc. are great points of interest and personality.
  • Make-up !!!  Even if you don’t wear make-up, I guarantee that you girls will photograph better with some mascara and some color on your lips.  Photographic lighting has a way of washing you out  a bit.  At the very least, the point of make-up is to bring back what the lighting takes away.  The amount of make-up that you wear is more of personal taste but everyone needs a little. Even you guys look a bit better with some cover stick under the eyes and a dusting of  powder to hide a shinny forehead.  One last thing… bring your hair brush. Most photo sessions last a couple of hours and it is likely that your hair is going to get tossed around.
  • Make-up is a secret weapon and often makes a rather Ok portrait into a very beautiful one. Don’t under estimate the power of mascara, a hair brush, and lip gloss…   Given that I find make-up to be rather important to a good portrait,  I am going to post a variety or make-up tips on this blog in the coming month.

Just remember to bring a lot of wardrobe and props choices. You’d be amazed at how much better you will photograph wearing a great outfit and holding a fun prop such as a basketball, guitar, or a tennis racquet.

Let me know if you if you have any questions or suggestions.



For more info and samples visit our website: www.studiosparks.com/seniors

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Jeffrey HudsonJune 1, 2010 - 3:51 pm

Thanks for posting this great information 🙂

quanticoJune 1, 2010 - 4:25 pm

Thanks Jeffrey, I’ll be posting some more tips later this week….

5 Wardrobe Tips for High School Seniors and just about everyone else !!!

I’m walking around Lenox Mall  shopping for a new pair of kicks and it hits me… I need a smoothie! A “Rasmanian Devil” at Planet Smoothie …Oh yeah…  As I chill with my smoothie I’m people watching.  Lenox Mall is great place to just hang and watch the “show”.  I ‘m  amazed at how some people are awesome at dressing themselves and others just don’t have a clue.

Having been in the fashion world as a Photographer for  many years I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with a lot of Fashion stylists”.  These are the professionals who dress models and actors.  There are a bunch of do’s and don’ts that are common to many of these fashion gurus.  Let me mention 5 tips that in many ways apply to the dozens of High School Seniors that I photograph each year.

1. White clothing (blouses, dresses, tops, jeans, skirts, shoes belts, etc…) jump out at the camera and expand whatever they are covering.  In other words, “white” things look bigger than they are. If you want to bring attention to a part of your body then cover it in something white. This principle applies to anything in a light color not just the color white. As an example, bright Yellow shoes will make your feet appear larger than they are, a white belt will make your waist look wider. Now if you are really thin you might want that appearance and if you are a bit “big boned” you would probably want to avoid those light colors in the wrong places.

2. Not a surprise but dark clothing does just the opposite of the light colors. The dark colors i.e. black, dark blue, grey, etc. will recede and shrink whatever they cover. If your hips are a bit thick or you want to look a bit less busty you’d cover those areas in darker clothing. These first 2 tips are so important that if you applied these concepts your portraits would be infinitely better.

3.  In most portraits you want to avoid wearing patterned fabrics. Florals, polka dots, graphic patterns and horizontal stripes are going to make you look heavier by their very nature. Plus most patterns grab the viewer’s eye in a way that focuses their attention on the fabric and not on your face and eyes.

4. Just about everyone wants to have an “hour glass” shape to their bodies. Meaning that we want to have a waist that dips inward. With this in mind, you want your waist at your waist. For the past few years I’ve had a lot of teen girls bringing “tulip” dresses to their shoots.  Tulip dresses are very high waist’d where the elastic band is up high on the rib cage just below the bustline. This style of dress is so popular and is kinda cute but I guarantee you will look 20 pounds thicker because you have completely removed the inward curve at your waist. I can’t even count all the times that my Senior girls have said “I look so fat” in that dress… Try to choose wardrobe that hugs your body comfortably. Not too tight and not too sloppy.

5. The word  sloppy leads me into my final tip for this blog post. In most situations you want your wardrobe to be clean, pressed, and on hangers when you get to the Studio. Wrinkled clothes almost never look good. I’m not saying that you have to iron everything but if you fling your entire closet into a beachbag, those items are not going to photograph very well.  Even placing outfits on hangers the night before your photo session will do wonders.

I highly recommend that you meet with me or one of my associates to plan the creative and the wardrobe for your portrait session. The more we plan the better your portraits. Plus all of our Planning Sessions at Sparks Photography are Free.



For more info and samples visit our website: www.studiosparks.com/seniors

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class 2010 … It’s not to late for your cool Senior Portraits

Congratulations Class 2010 !!! It’s your time to shine… If you didn’t get the senior pictures that you really wanted it isn’t too late.  I know a lot of you went to your Yearbook Photographer and didn’t get the cool & creative Senior Pictures that you had hoped for. Don’t worry about that. There is always time to redo those pictures with some that you will be proud to show your friends and family.   Now that High School is completed, reward yourself with a photo session at Studio Sparks… We are offering great deals for Class 2010 all summer !!!

For more info and samples visit our website: www.studiosparks.com/seniors

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It’s not magic … but it is all in the eyes !!!

I’m sitting in my office thinking of all the possible things I could write about to help my friends and clients take better portraits.  With so many years of practice I have so many ideas but the first thing that pops into my head when I look at a portraits is the eyes. You may or may not now it but the camera captures things as they are with no prejudice nor imagination. In fact all the camera is doing is focusing the light that it sees onto a piece of film or digital sensor. What I am getting at is that the camera is not magic,  it is a machine.  From the moment we are born we have an instinct to look for the eyes of our Mother.  There is a strength and a beauty in the eyes. Your personality is often expressed first in your eyes and then your body language.  These Senior Portraits of Ashley express so much of her confidence and happiness…

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Hello everyone !!! This is my first post on our new Blog !!!

Hi, It has been ages since I got the idea to do a blog for my various Photography businesses.  So many of my friends and clients ask me what I do and what makes me special in a world so full of photographs. Rather than give you some sort of boring description I think it would be more fun if I simply gave you little slices of me (Don Sparks) and the business that I am so passionate about (Sparks Photography).  I am going to do my best to keep my Blog full of cool things you might be interested in and every once in a while a deeper “look” into my Photo Studio.

I could start almost anywhere but let me begin by saying that the heart of everything that is Sparks Photography is the love and respect of my Families.  To some of you that might sound a bit corny but the direction that I take this studio is guided by a desire to make sure I honor my families by providing friends & clients with the best photography possible.  One of these days I’ll take that statement a bit further but for now I want all who follow this blog to know that I want to be the best of the best in photography by giving each of you memories that will last a lifetime and even last for generations.   No one can deny the power and strength in photographs. Our memories make us who we are and a “Photograph” is a memory floating on a piece of paper (for many of you actually  projecting from your monitor) or TV.  People have expressed over and over again the heartfelt importance of their collections of photographs.   Through my 20 plus years as a Photographer I have heard countless times that their family photographs are their most valued possessions. I and my Studio love being a part of these cherished memories. I can’t think of a better way to spend my life than to help you create your own memories with remarkable photography of you, your family and maybe even your business.

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