Making the most of your Penn State Senior Session | My Top 5 Tips for the Ladies

Thank you so much for your interest in booking a session with CKP! I am no longer local to State College and am sadly unable to take on sessions local to the area. If you ever find yourself looking to book a session in the DMV, please reach out! I would love to work together!

Oh you guys…it is one of my favorite time of the year! My Penn State senior weekend is right around the corner, and I am so beyond excited. I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks throughout the years of shooting senior sessions, and today, I am so excited to share my top 5 tips for making the most of your senior session!

With that being said, it is absolutely mind blowing to say that over HALF of my 2017 sessions have already been booked. Don’t wait! Learn more about this year’s package and book your session here.

Take your gown out of its package as soon as you get it…and make sure you steam it before your session!

  • I know it may be the last thing you want to do right now {Trust me when I say I put off buying my cap and gown until the last possible minute!}, but buy your cap and gown early….and then the second you get home, take it out of the packaging and hang it up! The gowns aren’t made from the most luxurious material ever, and they tend to hold onto wrinkles with a vengeance. If you are investing in portraits that will last you a lifetime, the last thing you want your eye to be drawn to is nasty box-shaped wrinkles. Do yourself {and your mom!} a favor, and take the time to let the wrinkles relax by hanging your gown up…then just before your session, steam your gown. I didn’t own a steamer at the time, and so, I turned my shower on high blast, filled my bathroom with steam, and then smoothed out the wrinkles on my gown with my hands–it worked like a charm! Avoid placing an iron directly on the material, as I’ve heard that tends to cause discoloration and damage to the material!

 These three nailed getting the packaging wrinkles out of their gowns, and it mad

Consider putting on a little more makeup than usual.

  • Today is your day to do it up! Do your best to keep it natural and true to yourself, but try to put your makeup on just slightly heavier than you usually do. Though it may feel funny to wear heavier makeup during the day, I promise, it will be well worth it. A little more mascara and maybe a little lip color goes a long way! Avoid black or dark eyeliner under your eye, as I’ve found that this tends to shadow your eyes on camera, making them look smaller than they are! {No one wants that.} Bonus tip: Bring a small bag of cosmetics for touchups in between shots. Some face powder, lipgloss, and maybe a comb and some bobby pins are usually the items most of my clients are wishing they brought along!
  • On the note of personal appearances…opt for a clean and polished set of nails! Though your fingers and toes won’t be front and center, you will be holding your cap, and nothing is more distracting than chipped or dirty nails. Try your best to keep your nails, clean, polished & neutral. Better yet? Treat yourself to a mani-pedi right before your session!

Check the length of your dress more than a week before your session!

  • It is my priority that you feel comfortable, confident, and YOU in front of the camera. All too often, I get girls in front of the camera that loved their dress in the store, but come the morning of their senior session…they realize that their dress is juuuuust a little too short, leading them to feel a uncomfortable and not so much like themselves in front of the camera. Classy, elegant, and portraits focused on YOU and YOUR beauty is my goal here, y’all. {Also keep in mind, your senior photos are great for sending to grandma and are amazing to toss onto LinkedIn profiles and potential job applications. It is best to stay on the safe side of the tracks and choose a dress that fits your body just right.} Try your dress on before the morning of your session and see if it passes my personal test. What is my test, you ask? {and I’m being totally serious here, y’all!} Put on your dress WITH the shoes you are planning on wearing during your session. Reach towards your toes and see if you get that uncomfortable breeze. {We all know the one I’m talking about!} If you find you’re finding yourself a victim of a crazy uncomfortable breeze, it may be best to find another dress for your senior portraits! With all that being said, know that your senior portraits are to express who you are. In the end, you get to decide the length of your dress and the amount of breeze you are willing to tolerate. It is just from my experience that I have found girls feel most confident when they are comfortable with how their dress covers their body.

Pack some comfy shoes and a water bottle, just in case! 

  • Remember, y’all…your confidence and comfort in front of the camera is my ultimate goal! It’s so hard to feel like yourself in front of the camera with throbbing toes and a dry throat! Do yourself a favor and pack a little bag just for your session. Make sure you include a pair of comfy shoes, a water bottle, mini cosmetic touch-up kit, and maybe a jacket and some sweats, if it is cold outside! I promise, you will be so thankful that you came prepared.

 Better yet? Why don't you just bring along your own bottle of champagne! Better yet? Why don’t you just bring along your own bottle of champagne!

Plan a little something fun for afterwards! 

  • You have your hair done up, your makeup looking its best, and are fresh off of your senior session! What next? Plan a little something fun for yourself and your friends to do. Graduation is right around the corner, so why not celebrate with breakfast at the Waffle Shop or a pitcher at Cafe? You’re already ready and looking good, so take some time to enjoy and celebrate this special season–you deserve it!

BONUS TIP! {Because I’m going to miss shooting at my favorite Pennsylvania landmark this year!} If you want portraits at the Lion Shrine, get there early! 

  • If you want portraits at the Lion Shrine during grad season, I recommend going just around sunrise on a weekday morning {Usually around 7AM–YIKES, but so worth it!}. The line is thinner, and the lighting is so golden and flattering–just wait until the overhead/overnight lights turn off to start shooting! Crowds tend to pick up between 7:45 and 8:00AM and stay pretty consistent for the rest of the day, though sometimes you may get lucky! Evening and event weekends {I’m looking at you, Blue & White!} tend to be far more crowded than weekdays.


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