Tips for Prom Pictures 2016

Nikon D4, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, 2 – Alienbees B1600, Pocketwizard TTL system, ISO 250, ƒ/5.6, 1/200


First, pick a location before you do anything else. The public was the location my daughter and her friends had picked out.

Many years ago, I did her brother’s prom pictures [2008] in one of the family’s backyards. So look at how much location impacts your photos.

Nikon D3S, 14-24mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/60

At the time of these proms, spring isn’t in full swing. Look for a place with evergreens in the background or a lovely building.

This photo was from her oldest brother’s prom pictures in front of Bulloch Hall Plantation.

Arrive Early

I recommend getting there long before the kids are to show up. I suggest a minimum of 30 minutes, but believe me, an hour goes by quickly when you are doing all your test shots.

Here I am setting up my lights. After a couple of test shots, I moved the lights again.

My wife, who filled in as the test subject, took this of me setting up. I like to make this super simple and where I can crank the people through many poses. You know they are always running behind and have dinner reservations requiring you to move quickly.

Please keep it simple.


I cannot emphasize enough that adding an off-camera flash makes a HUGE difference. One significant way it helps is being sure you don’t have raccoon eyes due to the sun overhead. t was overcast on this day, which can be good without flashes. However, I chose to use the flash to give a suitable color temperature to be sure all those outfits they spent time picking out looked their absolute best.

Here you can see me working.

I suggest taking test shots and trying your best to use the lowest ISO setting where you can capture some of the available light and still use your strobes. I recommend that you are about -1 stop underexposed and use your strobes to make up the difference on the subjects to give you great exposure.

Use a Tripod

I was using a tripod for all the photos. It helped me to keep the pretty camera level. Also, in group photos, if everyone is great in a picture except for one person, then because I am taking multiple shots on a tripod, I can then take the one person and clone them into the other photo with ease.

Nikon D4, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, 2 – Alienbees B1600, Pocketwizard TTL system, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

Another great reason to use a tripod is that you can set everything up to get into the picture if you need to, as I did here with my wife and daughter. Now I can tell you the most cherished photos are the ones with the parents and their kids. I now know why as a very proud papa myself. Now, where has all the time gone?

Shoot Loose

Here is the photo I was taking when my wife captured me shooting. I intentionally shot these a little loose for cropping later purposes.

5×7 Crop Marks

The crop marks here for 5×7 and the 8×10 show how this can affect what is in the final print.

8×10 Crop Marks

Put Photos Online

Put your photos online for people to download, buy prints, and whatever else they need.

When people click to order, there are many options because you shot the photo loose for that reason.

Make it easy for people to download as I have here:

Business Cards & Take Email Addresses

We gave out my business card to everyone, and we took down their email so we could send them an email with the link to the gallery, directions on how to use the online system [with screen shots], and the ability now to have made my name known to the community. f we cannot read the email address, or it no longer works, they can reach out to us with my contact information.

I did this for free for my daughter and her friends. They were given a password to download the images for free. I also made it that if they wanted to order prints online, I would make some money to offset some of my time, but they could get the photos for free, with no strings attached.

There you have it. Remember these points for your Prom Pictures:

  1. Location
  2. Arrive Early
  3. Use Strobes
  4. Use Tripod
  5. Shoot Loose
  6. Put Photos Online
  7. Give out your information and take their information.