How to Take Prom Pictures


13 comments   |   Memorabilia, Party, School, Spring, Teens

How to Take Prom Pictures

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Prom Pictures are a key memento for a night that is surely to be a very special time for your high school junior or senior. As our teens began to attend prom, we were surprised to learn that at least for our high school, there isn’t an opportunity for the kids to take a professional photo on site at prom. Gone are the days of that great pic with the prom theme stated across the finished photo.  So the pictures you take ahead of time are the best you are likely to get.  Here are my tips to help you make sure you love the outcome.

Set a time and place.

Work with the kids ahead of time to decide when and where the pictures will be taken.  Depending on where you live, there may be a tradition of visiting a historical or lakeside spot in town that all the kids will expect to do.  You can also choose to host everyone at your home provided you have a good backdrop to accommodate the size of the group.  Two couples? No problem. But if you have a dozen kids or more, you need to be certain that among the mix of photos everyone will take, you can handle linear group shots with the couples in a single row.

Scout the location.

Once you decide on an actually place to take those prom pictures, take some time to scout out where in that location you’ll be able to take the most favorable shots.  Visit the location prior to the actual day at the same time you’ll be snapping way and look for things like how the sunlight plays, the shadows you might have, and where you can take pictures that don’t blind everyone in the glaring son. In 2013 we hosted our our son’s junior year prom picture gathering and before this thought ever even occurred to me.  Take a look at my musings about what location in our yard would be best.

Have a plan b.

There is nothing worse than planning for beautiful pictures outside only to arrive at the special day and find it raining or worse yet for an early prom, depending on where you live cold and sleeting much less some unwelcome snow.  Make sure to have a plan b location in mind so that if the weather turns against your favor, you’ll still be able to have a nice photo shoot for everyone involved.

Make a list of the pictures you want to make sure to grab.

While it seems like it will be easy to remember, once everyone starts arriving, there is a lot of excitement and conversation and its super easy to overlook a special picture or too. While I did a great job taking pictures of our son with each family member last year, this year I completely missed getting a personal shot with my boy or one with just he and his younger sister.  We did grab a nice family picture though ~ something I somehow missed last year.   Key shots to consider are:

  • Pictures of your child and his or her date.
  • Pictures with each family member and as a family unit.
  • Pictures of Mom or Dad helping with things like straightening a bow tie or fixing a dress.
  • Pictures of corsage and boutoneer pinning.
  • Pictures of each couple.
  • Pictures of all the couples together.
  • Pictures of just the boys and just the girls.
  • Pictures of the girls with their hands in a circle to show their corsages.
  • Pictures of the boys without their jackets to show their vets and bow ties.
  • Posing the group shots to make sure all the girls have the same arm on their hip, their hand placed on their date’s chest, and the boys and girls all standing on the same side of one another so that your line is girl, boy, girl, boy, you get the point.
  • Candids of everyone visiting ~ these can be some of the best shots of the night with natural smiles.

My friend Jenn Hethcoat is a brilliant photographer and if she lived anywhere near North Carolina, I’d beg her to come in a heartbeat.  Her advice to remember to focus on the faces so the background is more subtle is wise and I’ve found that with two years behind me, its been just the ticket to get some amazing shots.  While its not nearly as important as some other life events your child will experience, going to prom is often their first formal event without parents running the show.  Taking pictures to capture the moment is something you’ll love now and they will thank you for later.  Tell me…

How have you handled taking prom pictures for your teens?

Did you take them as a group?  

Did you take them at home or at a special location?

Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!


©2014 GO MOM! Inc. All rights reserved. To repost or publish, please email Molly.

  1. corine04-29-13

    I don’t have tips… but I do like the area with the flowers :)

    • Molly Gold04-29-13

      Thanks Corine! Its my favorite spot for so many reasons including level ground and a nice mix behind them. We’ll see what happens!

  2. Anonymous04-29-13

    Hey Molly! So excited for you as “prom mom” ~ you as well will have a great time! Here are some pics I took at a pre-prom party when Bailey went to a friend’s prom. I absolutely agree … don’t worry so much about the background as much as the subjects. Also some fun ideas that I included were to add in some “atypical” shots … focus on some details (a pretty hairdo, circle of fabulous shoes, circle of wrist corsages, as well as the typical pinning of the boutonniere and “couple pose.” Think “story line” if you plan on sharing with parents – they will love you for it, and feel like they were there. Parents and teens seemed pretty happy with this package I put together (although my love of photography is in the editing!). Check them out if you’d like at (just copy the link into your browser – should work!) Have FUN! ~ Terri

    • Molly Gold04-29-13

      Terri you are SUCH a talented photographer!!! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas =)

  3. Kristin04-29-13

    I liked the look of the bird feeder…Have the girls take off their shoes for the trek!

    • Molly Gold04-29-13

      Kristin that’s my first choice too! If we can get the week’s forecast to cooperate and have the rain taper off we’ll be in good shape for a dry yard heels or barefoot ~ all the little details!

  4. Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}04-29-13

    I have a while before I need this advice, but this is great! I hope it’s a fun time for all!

  5. Audrey - Mom Generations04-30-13

    This is such a GREAT topic. I love the bird feeder area, but totally understand about the heels. I have to say, you have such a beautiful big backyard! Such a great spot for photos to be taken! I’ll be excited to see where you choose!

  6. Whitney Wingerd -MWS (@WhitneyMWS)04-30-13

    I say go for the birdhouse. No one’s going to be looking at the bottom of the girls’ heels in the pictures or during the prom.

    At my prom, I ended up outside in the grass & sinking in the grass anyway! It’s bound to happen – I say for for the best shot!

    And I bet with everyone goofing around, you could try all the spots!

    Gorgeous back yard!

    • Molly Gold04-30-13

      Thank you Whitney! I wish I had a patio for them all ~ SO much easier to navigate those heels and definitely a must do before senior year and graduation =)

  7. ClassyMommy04-30-13

    Awesome post. Love it. I think you go for photos in every spot- you never know what is going to look best and your yard is gorgeous. And PROM! Glad i have a few more years before I have to worry about this one but it will be here before I know it! xoxo

    • Molly Gold04-30-13

      Colleen you are so right ~ I think its just going to unfold quickly and we’ll be snapping shots where ever they are =) And yes…I know…PROM! =)

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