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Formal Senior Pictures – Poses for Girls

Master the Head & Shoulders Portrait

If you would master one pose and one lighting setup that provides the techniques used in every other photographic pose – master the formal head & shoulders pose.

The formal portrait – and its lighting – is without question the most oft-used in all of portraiture. Master this and you have mastered the basic skills needed to create any of the portraits you find on this website – or any other.

And if your goal is to earn a living from your photography, mastering this image will give you a skill that can pay the bills. Good quality traditional head-shots – whether for actors and actresses, attorneys, doctors, Realtors, sales professionals, dentists, chiropractors, business owners, teachers, or anyone and everyone needing an image for their resume – will always be in demand.

Are formal senior pictures as much fun to create as an awesome image of a high school senior guy standing on the rooftop of a building playing his saxophone? Hell no. Will you enjoy it as much as photographing a high school senior girl and her Golden Retriever? Not even close. But knowing how to create a masterful formal head & shoulder portrait – for someone interested in professional photography – is like money in the bank.

My son creates multi-hundred-thousand-dollar custom hotrods – nearly every piece handmade. The skill he relies on most often? His incredible talent as a TIG Welder. Is there anything sexy about TIG welding? Maybe if you’re a metal fabricator – for the average Joe probably not. But my son’s TIG welding skill is comparable to your potential skill in creating formal senior pictures. If the custom hotrod business or the senior portrait business goes to hell – both of you can still make a living.

A Little Formal Senior Pictures History

Pre-turn-of-the-century and just after, every high school senior girl had at least some of her formal senior pictures done with the “black drape.”

The drape was a piece of black crushed velvet with short sleeves and a couple of strings to tie in the back. Think formal hospital gown. Add a string of fake pearls and Mom was happy. Images 100, 104, 106 and 110 in the gallery below are with the black drape.

Regardless of what’s currently in vogue with respect to formal senior pictures, having the ability to create a formal head and shoulder portrait with a classic pose and lighting is definitely something you’ll want to add to your repertoire of skills.

Want More In-Depth Knowledge of Formal Posing and Lighting?

Posing and Lighting Formal Senior Portraits is an in-depth post with everything you need to know to learn this pose and lighting.

What Can I Help You With?

Do you have questions? Do you need help with posing or lighting or equipment? That’s what I’m here for so please just ask. Shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.

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Formal Poses and Lighting – Videos & Articles

Posing and Lighting Formal Senior Pictures

In this article, we’ll talk about the finer points of posing and lighting formal senior pictures. In addition, we’ll cover hard and soft lighting and a typical four-light setup for head & shoulder portraits. CHECK IT OUT.


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