The Senior Portrait Experience | Class of 2019 Magazine

Welcome, Class of 2019 (upcoming) SENIORS!!

(or, Welcome, Class of 2018 senior who is getting ready to graduate and missed out on wonderful senior pictures.... BUT still wants to book an amazing, once in a lifetime portrait session before heading to your next adventures!!)

I just published my NEW senior portrait magazine, designed to visually walk you through the process of the senior picture experience in a bit more depth.

We'll discuss ALL of this in person at your consultation (and I'll have a paper copy for you to peruse) but until then I hope this provides some inspiration for things you want to try in your senior portrait session, including in depth examples of different kinds of locations and photo stories from several kinds of sessions we can have in and around Denver, from urban, to natural to mountain and beyond. You'll also find ideas for styling, tips for hair, makeup and wardrobe, a bit more on how the process works. Plus LOTS of pictures to get you excited to tell YOUR story.

{ feel free to view the magazine in full screen mode -- note that clicking full screen will open a new browser window }

Hopefully if you're reading this we've already set up your consult, but if you've found this post on your own and would like to know more, please click this link to drop me an email (be sure to include a phone number, your school, and please check your spam folder if you don't hear from me within a day or two!)

Or call me at (970)708.2065 and let me know a good time to reach you! Let's grab a coffee and you can tell me how YOU imagine your senior pictures.

I'm so excited to start our creative collaboration to celebrate your senior year with artful portraits!!


Sneak Peek | Styled High Fashion Session in Denver with Corset Designer Redthreaded

There will be more. I mean LOTS more. From this incredible, collaborative styled session I was honored and humbled to photograph yesterday in Denver. (seriously, I'm so excited I couldn't sleep last night!) But for now... here's a preview of what's to come! It was an extraordinarily wonderful way to spend the day -- surrounded by talent, beauty, lovely light, wonderful people and passion for great design.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you & yours!!

Photography | Merritt Design Photo
Model | Sarah Doerner
Hair & Makeup | Sara Duffey
Fashion & Corsetry | Redthreaded
Footwear | American Duchess
Jewelry | Dames a la Mode
Millinery | Frontier Millinery
Location | Blanc Denver

Stay tuned for LOTS more from this session!!

Top 10 Tips | Preparing for your SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSION!!

It’s high school senior portrait session time!


Having a senior portrait session with a professional photographer should be a once in a lifetime, confidence building, fun and empowering experience -- AND it should be one that results in pictures that will last generations (be aware: digital media is not likely to not last -- only prints should be considered archival).

Your kids -- even grandkids -- should be able to look back at your senior photos and be inspired to learn more about your story. The potential value and life of this experience extends far beyond the yearbook picture!

So, to make it a positive and fun experience, here are a few things to look for in a photographer:

FIRST: do you resonate with the work you see on a photographer's website/portfolio? Are the EYES the focus of the pictures? Do you feel personality and connection from the people being photographed? Is the lighting flattering? Does the style match your style (or desired artistry)?

SECOND: do you feel comfortable communicating with your photographer? Your photographer should offer a complimentary consultation so that you can design your session details to fit YOUR personality and style. Your comfort level on the day of your session is critical to getting great connection in your photos so this is a must!


ONCE you have decided you can't wait to work with ME . . .

A little preparation can go a long way to making this even BETTER. To that end, I have compiled a few tips after years of doing this to help you arrive feeling prepared and ready to get the most out of the senior portrait experience :


  1. What to wear: You should bring at least 4-5 different looks to your session. We may not shoot them all, but it’s always great to have options. Think in shades of casual/cozy to more formal/dressy, but keeping all options in line with your personality and style. Think about necklines and a variety of textures of fabric, lace, etc.. Clothes that fit close to your body are more flattering in photos (no matter your body type -- baggy clothing is very difficult to pose). Think about colors that compliment your skin tones (colors that compliment your eyes, skin tone or hair are great). Layers are great (jackets, leather jackets, flannel shirts, etc.) to give us options. Try to avoid flashy or busy patterns that will distract from YOU. Jewelry will often become a distraction, but if there’s an accessory that you love, by all means bring it along and we can try it! Don’t forget shoes/boots/etc. and socks to go with each outfit! If there’s a prom dress or something in your closet that you love but never get to wear, please bring it!

  2. At least a week prior to your session: gather and TRY ON each complete outfit. Check that they are clean and that they still fit you well. Don't forget to include any undergarments needed (i.e. no striped undershirts/black bras under light shirts!!) and... please launder / press as needed.

  3. If step number two has left you uninspired, perhaps it’s time for a new outfit or two? (which is why step 2 is NOT the night before your session). Check out Pinterest for ideas (I have a fun senior photo style board and other portrait/style boards HERE), but keep in mind that your senior photos should be a direct reflection of YOU, as you are at this moment in your life.

  4. Wardrobe Portability: If we're on location somewhere other than in one of my studios, be sure that your wardrobe and accessories are packed in a way that we can carry them around with us if we're walking and put down on a sidewalk, without scattering or loosing items along the way!

  5. A few days prior, make sure you stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Think of this as you would preparing for an audition or interview. This will help keep your skin clear and eyes bright! Don’t stress if you wake up with blemishes the day of your session (and don’t mess with them as it will generally make them worse -- let photoshop do the magic there!)

  6. Nails + Eyebrows: this applies to girls AND guys -- clean up your eyebrows before your photo session! And your hands will likely be in at least a few photos, so make sure they look how you want them to look (i.e. fancy manicure is not necessary, but please, no chipped polish!)

  7. Exercise the week prior so you feel great IF that’s your thing -- but there’s no need to delay or dread your session so you can “lose a few pounds.” One of the major benefits of hiring a PROFESSIONAL is that he or she should know a number of posing tips to make you look your best and to flatter every and any body! (and this is one of my specialties!) And for goodness sake, get a good night's sleep before your session!

  8. Day of session: make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with directions to our meeting place and leave yourself time to negotiate traffic and parking. Nothing worse than arriving frazzled, except perhaps arriving late when there might be a session scheduled after yours. Losing out on session time stinks!

  9. If you’re getting professional makeup and/or hair, arrive with your face and hair clean and dry. If you wear makeup normally, feel free to bring a snapshot of how you’d like your makeup to look so your makeup artist can compliment your normal look, making it "camera ready." If you aren't getting a professional makeover, wear your normal shades of mascara/lip color, just be sure to refresh right before our session (even if you don't normally wear makeup, mascara and lip tint is great to highlight your features but still look natural). And guys, a bit of chapstick is a great thing to bring for hydrated, non-cracked lips!

  10. Trust that you’ve hired a photographer who has experience and will be able to direct you to share your most awesome sides, empower you, and bring out your personality for the best photos you’ve ever seen of yourself!

The only thing left for you to do is to RELAX into the session and be yourself. HAVE FUN and allow your photographer to direct you through this experience and capture you at your best!!


Hopefully that helps, but if you have ANY questions, please drop me a line and ask!