6 ways to take the best prom photos, according to a photographer (2024)

There's so much to look forward to about prom night: wearing a fancy outfit, seeing your date for the first time, and dancing with your friends before high school comes to a close.

Pictures are also one of the highlights of prom night, both because of the experience and the memories they'll provide you with in the future.

But for many, prom is the first occasion you have to pose in fancy clothes or work with a professional photographer, so you may feel intimated when it comes time for the photo shoot.

Insider spoke to Christora Osters, the owner and lead photographer of Green Apple Weddings Co.as well as a former high-school teacher, about how to get the best prom photos.

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Make sure to keep timing in mind when planning prom pictures

As Osters told Insider, prom photos typically take longer than you think, especially if you're with a bigger group.

"Most teenagers tend to go with a larger group, and that really does lend itself to at least an hour of time," Osters said.

You'll need to pose in a variety of combinations, and it's likely parents will want to take pictures on their phones, even if you hire a photographer.

So as you plan your prom night, it's best to build in at least an hour to take photos, plus time to actually get to the dance.

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Osters said golden hour is always a good time to take pictures, especially on prom night, as it offers great lighting and ensures you'll have enough time to get to the dance.

"You're going to have a soft glow on most people's faces; you're not going to be struggling as much with being blasted by the sun," Osters said. "People aren't going to be sweating going into prom."

Picking a location for the photo shoot that suits your personality will help you relax

6 ways to take the best prom photos, according to a photographer (1)

Green Apple Weddings Co.

"I will say it is really nice to do photographs outside, especially because most people have different colors for prom dresses," Osters said when Insider asked her where the best places are to take prom photos.

But overall, she said promgoers should prioritize finding a space that can accommodate the size of their group and that fits their vibe.

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"If your vibe is urban, go urban. If your vibe is nature, go nature," she said, adding that no one wants to look back at their prom pictures and see themselves somewhere that makes them uncomfortable.

"Figure out who you are and just know that you don't have to change where you're taking your photos just because it's prom photos," Osters said.

There's one fabric you should avoid for prom attire

You may be worried about choosing a prom outfit that photographs well, but Osters told Insider that a professional photographer can make nearly any outfit look good.

"I know how to work with sequins, I know how to work with lighting," she said. "You should have somebody who knows how to do that."

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But Osters said there is one exception to the rule: mini-check patterned items. People often choose ties or pocket-squares with mini-checks, which she said can cause problems in your pictures.

"It can distort the camera very easily," she said. "It can actually look like there is a rainbow traveling up and down your shot."

Avoid the small checks, and you should be good to go.

You can skip the traditional prom pose

Prom has evolved with the times, and Osters said that means your poses for photos should too.

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For instance, Osters recommends dates don't pose in the "traditional" prom pose, where one person wraps their hands around their date's hips from behind.

"Please don't do that," she said through laughter. "There's absolutely no need for it. There's better ways to show connection."

Osters said doing silly poses or embracing social-media trends for pictures can be fun too.

"They bring us back to that moment in time where we're never gonna get it back," she said of capturing trends in pictures.

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If you have fun during the photo shoot, it will show in the pictures

Osters also said interacting with the people in your group as pictures are snapped can make them look more natural.

"The last thing you want to do is get them into a static, non-moving pose," she said of people in photos.

Osters also encouraged prom attendees not to put too much pressure on themselves to pose perfectly in pictures, especially if they're looking to social media for inspiration.

6 ways to take the best prom photos, according to a photographer (2)

Green Apple Weddings Co.

"I think that a lot of the kids look to influencers right now to figure out how to pose. But what they don't realize is that the people who have been taking the pictures of those influencers have been trained on their best angles," she said.

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"There are also hundreds of pictures that are taken when an influencer goes to find their photo," she added.

You should focus on the people you're with, and the pictures will reflect that.

Make time for pictures you want and photos your parents will love

Although trendy pictures will be fun, Osters said it's also important to do more straightforward shots, both for you and your parents.

"Their parents want to have certain images that they can look back on and then the kids want something totally different," Osters said of many of her photo shoots with teens.

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The trendier poses will be fun for you, but you'll be glad to have the pictures your parents requested down the road, according to Osters.

"The adults know that looking back, there needs to be this timeless elegance to some of their images from prom," she said. "You want to be able to look back 50 years from now and be like, 'Yes, I looked stunning.'"

She also noted you'll want clear images of the people who were with you, so it's a good idea to do group shots in addition to solo shots or pictures with your date.

6 ways to take the best prom photos, according to a photographer (3)

Green Apple Weddings Co.

Osters definitely recommends hiring a professional photographer for prom, and she advises telling your parents to put their cell phones away during the shoot.

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"If you ever look at a cell phone photo, everyone is looking at their own parent," she added. "They're not looking at the same person."

Phones can also interfere with the professional shot, which can waste time and money.

Osters advises giving parents a "social-media minute" where they can take pictures so they have photos they can access immediately, and then have the professional take the rest of the shots.

Most of all, Osters just encourages students to have fun when taking prom pictures.

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"It's a dance and you want to look back at the fun, goofy teenager you were," she said. "We all think that when we're in high school it's so deep, and it's really a small blip of who you are. So just have fun."

6 ways to take the best prom photos, according to a photographer (2024)
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