Before going to prom, there are a lot of components to consider: the dress, the suit, the restaurant, the flowers, the after-party; but one thing that everyone participates in before attending prom is the photo shoot. As evidenced by the yearly social media blitz, prom couples and groups take prom photos pretty seriously. From a quick photo outside before hopping into the limo, to an extensive shoot with multiple backgrounds and props, prom photos are considered a must. To relieve the stress of this added component, below is some advice, offered by professional photographer Melinda Lamm. She advises amateur prom photographers and subjects on ideal photos, describing the setting, timing, and poses necessary for a satisfactory photo shoot.
Melinda says a prom photo setting always, “Depends on the couple. A couple that favors the country probably would not be as comfortable shooting downtown.” Any number of venues will do, from gardens to beach shores—it all depends on the subjects’ taste. Melinda also notes that a lot depends on the dress. You need to keep in mind that the setting should not clash with the style of the dress. For instance, if the dress is colorful, it may look odd to shoot pictures in front of wall art with conflicting colors and designs. So before you pick the location, pick the dress. Melinda forewarns photographers to choose a modest backdrop, “The background should never be the main focus of the photo; the subjects should be.”
If you are doing outdoor photography, as most do, Melinda suggests avoiding midday. “Early light and evening light are ideal for outdoor pictures.” Most prom-goers take photos directly after getting ready and before the pre-prom dinner. This schedule is a no-brainer; however, if circumstances dictate a midday shoot, try to find a venue with even lighting. “Being in complete shade with a flash on the camera would be better than shooting in the sun at noon.” Elegant indoor shots with an antique couch or chair may be better options than trying to get good lighting in the glare of a noonday sun.
Choosing poses can be awkward or cliché; however, Melinda gives some advice that may make things run more smoothly. “Shoot the couple or group with the things they love. This can be horses, cars, etc.” Doing this will make the subjects more at ease with themselves. “Do the standard poses for the grandparents, then you can move on to more interesting shots. I try to do a few classic poses, then do more candid photos.” She continues, “Once the couple (or group) feels relaxed, you get more honest smiles, not forced.” She proposes going onto Pinterest and drawing on ideas there before the photo shoot begins; this will take some stress from not only the couple, but also the photographer.
With all of this advice in mind, try and have a good time with the photos; stressing out about the perfect shot will sour the evening. The photos are the start of what should be an enjoyable night, celebrating high school and the friends and memories you have made there.