For a lot of people, prom pictures are just as important as the prom itself and who can blame them! Prom is one of those special occasions that you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life, and why not have beautiful pictures to accompany those memories.

If you’re looking for tips and tricks to capture the best pictures (and get the most likes on Instagram), make sure to keep reading!

Location, location, location

First and foremost, you want to avoid a cluttered or busy background. When picking a location, keep in mind that the background of your images should be clean and not distracting in any way. After all, you should be the main focus in your prom pictures, not your surroundings!

For my own prom pictures, my friends and I went to a local park to get shots in front of blooming cherry blossom trees, but your location will totally be up to the weather and surrounding areas. If you’re unsure what location would work for you, keep reading for inspo!

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This shot is a great example of the perfect outdoor background location. It complements the colors of their outfits, but it doesn’t take away from the main focus of the picture—them!

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If you live in a city, the location options are endless! This bright red dress pops against the neutral background and it gives an interesting twist on a prom photoshoot.

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Stairs are always a great location option for single person shots or group pictures. The background is not distracting, and look at the contrast with this gorgeous gown!

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Don’t forget to beach it. If you live close to a beach, then you’ve got your location! The sun, sand, and water make for the perfect background and go with virtually every look.

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If the weather is acting up or you can’t find a interesting outdoor location, you can always create your own backdrop! Backdrop materials are super cheap and easy to find on Amazon. Plus, it may be more comfortable for you to shoot in your own home rather than around a bunch of gawking bystanders.

Lighting is key

Bad lighting can easily ruin your prom pictures. Because of this, your best bet is to take your photos outside. Shooting in full sunlight can be a bit tricky. If you do choose to shoot outside, it’s best to have the sun is behind you. Although the photographer may have to play around with the settings on their camera/phone, it ensures that you won’t be squinting throughout the entire shoot. It also allows for the sun to diffuse around you and create a softer effect. But, be careful that your face and gown aren’t shadowed.

The best time to shoot outside is during the “golden hour,” which refers to the periods of time shortly after sunrise or before sunset, Professionals also call this the “magic hour”–for good reason. The sun provides a warmer, redder glow and sharp shadows are reduced. The result is that the skin has a softer look and any jewels or shiny embellishments on your dress are highlighted. Shooting during the golden hour also makes it easier for you to face the sun without squinting.

If shooting outside isn’t an option, your best bet is to invest in an affordable ring light. A ring light is an easy way to control the lighting during a shoot and you can adjust it to your desired brightness.

Know your angles

You don’t have to be a supermodel to know your angles! Before the big day, don’t be afraid to grab a group of friends for a mock photoshoot to practice the angles and shots you feel most comfortable with. This way, you will already know what works and quickly take the photos you want on prom day.

Make sure to play around with different poses and angles. This ensures that you’ll have a variety of different images to choose from. Put your hands on your hips, leave them at your side, rest one hand on your thigh, have your hands in your pockets, hold your clutch, show off that leg slit—the options are truly endless!

Close-up shots are also a great way to show off memorable dress details, flowers, jewelry, and more. If you’re wearing something you want to highlight (for example, interesting back-of-dress detailing), don’t forget to have photos taken of it, while you coyly look over your shoulder!

Keep It Natural

The last thing you want are prom photos that  appear forced and awkward. While the camera can feel a bit intimidating, just know that you’ll love your photos much more if you look relaxed.

Make sure your shoulders aren’t tensed up or slumped forward, your arms aren’t stiff, and your knees aren’t locked. Just pretend that the cameras aren’t even there and you’re posing by yourself in front of a mirror!

Don’t forget candid photos! Some of the best prom pictures are candid so don’t be afraid to laugh with your friends/date, make conversation, put on some lipstick, and relax! You’ll want to remember this day as an exciting one, not forced and uncomfortable, or be preoccupied by photo shots. 

Get Creative

Even if you’re not a professional photographer or videographer, your phone has lots of awesome apps to make your photos and videos pop.

  • Boomerang is an Instagram app that takes a burst of photos and turns them into fun, quick looping videos.
  • If you’re looking for that glow, Kirakira+ is your best bet. Kirakira+ is an app that makes videos sparkle (perfect to show off that embellished dress!)
  • There are a slew of photo editing apps but some personal favorites are the Lightroom and Afterlight apps. They give you options to adjust light and contrast, add filters, and more.
  • Want to capture your getting-ready process for the ‘Gram? Download the Hyperlapse app! Hyperlapse is an app from Instagram that shoots fast-motion video so you can film your entire glam time but cut it down to just a few minutes of viewing.
  • If you want to design your Instagram stories, the Over app is a great option! You can lay out your stories, add text, graphics, and more!

Although snapping Instagrammable prom photos is important, keep in mind that the real event is prom, not the photo shoot! Remember to have fun and live in the moment. After all, most of us only get one prom!

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