Monday Photography Tip: Prom

Do you recall I told you about the pre-Prom portraits I was promoting? (Say that 3 times!)  

With a little help from my friends (shout-out to Shannon and Bev!!), we pulled it off, and I think rather successfully!

So, while I show you a few shots from the afternoon, I’ll suggest some tips when taking pictures for a special occasion, like Prom. 

  1. Make ’em laugh!  There’s a time and place for the formal pictures in front of the fireplace or on the stairwell, but try to lighten up the occasion for the couple by making them laugh.  (You might need a few members of the family, or friends, around to help.) Keep the atmosphere relaxed.  Play some pre-Prom music to get the kids in the mood. Don’t pick and poke at the couple, or fuss over their hair, the dress, or  the tux. 

I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures to sort through for post-work, so I just grabbed one of the first ones I saw of a couple laughing.  It’s not tack sharp, nor is the composition good, but it shows that Kat and Nick were comfortable and having fun.  That’s what you want, relaxed and playful.

2.  Shoot from a different perspective or angle.  My good friend, Bev, went out with me as my second photog and she ended up taking a ton of pictures from the second or third rung of a ladder.  We also had a simple step ladder out there to use.  Just be careful and make sure your ladder is stable and on solid, even ground.

Looking at photo, I believe I was up on the tall ladder to photograph Jesse and Suera.  (She won Prom Queen!!)

Below, I had Devan and Connor, stand next to one another, but instead of shooting from a ladder, I just angled my camera for a different look.

3.  Don’t forget the details!  Years from now, your daughter may or may not want to remember her date, but I bet she’ll love to have pictures of her dress.

When I was a freshman in college, a friend of mine who was a Senior at my high school, called and asked me to return for his Prom.  He was such a good pal, and a real cut-up.  We decided we were going to have F.U.N.-fun!  And we did.

Get what we wore:  We went with matching red Converse high tops!  He wore an all-white tux, while I sported a white, tea-length, strapless “Madonna-Like-a-Virgin-Tour-esque” dress.  …I don’t remember if I wore the white lace fingerless gloves….   We, like, totally had a blast. 

(I still have the shoes and can still wear them!!  Of course, it’s the only thing from high school I can still wear…)


My point to this meaningless walk down memory lane?  Sadly, I no longer have the formal portrait taken at the Prom….  Boy do I desperately wish I had some pictures of our matching shoes and a couple close-ups of the dress details.  So, take some closeups of the details!

Hmmm….I wonder if Chuck has a copy of that Prom picture?


4. Last, but not least: find your light!  Always be aware of your light, so you can capture the couple or individual at their best. 

 Bev and I were constantly re-evaluating the sun’s position while snapping pictures outside this weekend.  There was a point, early in the photo session, when the kids were really squinting because the sun was a bit harsh.  We resolved this problem by using a reflector to put some shade over them.  (What about inside shots?  If you don’t have to use your pop-up flash, don’t.  Sometimes you have to, and that’s fine, but try finding a better light solution before popping the automatic flash up; e.g. move the couple outside in some nice shade with bright, indirect light.)

Okey-dokey!  That’s short and sweet, but hopefully, it will help get you started on taking good special event pictures.

More from Prom, soon.

Happy Shooting!


P.S. I’ve lowered the resolution on these pictures, considerably, before posting them on my blog.  So, I apologize if the photos appear grainy.  The originals are not grainy.



  1. Kim Rogers

    I love the one with the girl holding the picture frame. How wonderful witht he black and white background and color inside the frame.

    Keep up the good work.

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