Preparing for the Perfect Prom Night

how to get ready for prom atlanta senior photographer

Getting ready for Prom can be daunting- there’s so much to remember, but you definitely don’t want to skimp when it comes to planning. The secret to a perfect evening is in the prep (and you know I’m all about some prep!) Sometimes all you need is a simple checklist to make sure you don’t overlook and important detail or booking that crucial appointment. I also want to make sure you look amazing in your photos (surprise, surprise!) so I’ve broken down easy ways to pose and a checklist of not-to-miss-photos.
I’m so excited to share some awesome tips so you know how to prep for prom, including a checklist so you have it all outlined in one place.



1. Prom To-Do Checklist


3- 5 weeks before:

 Dress shopping- you want to leave plenty of time for the hunt, especially if that perfect dress needs a few tweaks with alterations. A few great places for prom dresses around Atlanta are:
Fit for a Queen in Atlanta
Girli Girl Boutique in Downtown Buford
Sparkle and Sass in Sandy Springs
Bravura in Alpharetta
Book appointments for hair, makeup, and nails if you plan to have any of these done professionally. They book up faster than you think, especially during prom season. I highly recommend Sugarcoat for nails (they have multiple locations around the metro) and hair at the Phipps location.
Buy Your Tickets for the event and don’t forget to buy one for your date if they don’t attend your school
Make Reservations for pre-prom dinner. Consider time for travel and pre-dinner photos
Book Your Car/Limo


a week before:

Purchase Accessories like jewelry, shoes, hair pins, and clutch
Order your boutonniere or corsage
Buy proper undergarments for your dress if you need something special like a strapless or backless bra, stick-ons, and compression shorts. Make sure you try everything on before the big night
Finalize meet-up plans with your group including where and when to meet for photos, dinner, and after-prom activities


the week of:

Break in your shoes– scuff up the bottoms, practice walking in them, and notice if there is anywhere you might want to apply cushions to prevent blisters
Confirm your appointments and reservations– mistakes happen, double check to ensure a smooth day
Pack your emergency kit including bobby pins, safety pins, blister cushions, tissues, and extra makeup for touch-ups after dinner
Pack your overnight bag if you plan to spend the night out after. Don’t forget makeup remover and glasses if you wear contacts
Make a Prom Playlist to blast on your way to the dance

the day of:

Arrive a few minutes early to appointments
Make sure everyone knows to arrive on time for pictures so you aren’t late to dinner
Practice walking in your dress
Look at your makeup outside in natural light and make any adjustments


2. How To Prom Makeup and Nails

If you aren’t planning to get your nails or makeup done, here are a few tips to make sure they look as fabulous as your dress!

Nail Care 

– use a cuticle tool to push them back and trim as needed
– lather on a good hand moisturizer every night before bed for the days leading up to prom
– trim and file nails to be similar in length
– apply a coat of nail strengthener like Ella & Mila to give them a little shine

If you plan to add color, you can either match your dress color, or choose a nice neutral. My favs are Essie in Fairy Tailor and Pre-Show Jitters


Makeup Tips

–  apply blush and eye shadow a little darker than everyday so that it shows up well in photos
– avoid “sparkle” and excessive shimmer in highlighter and eye makeup- it will be very noticeable on camera, especially with flash
– mascara makes eyes pop (you can even opt for fake lashes for a glam look)
– only use powder where you are oily or shiny (usually your t-zone) to keep it from making you look cakey
– use a setting spray like Urban Decay “All-Nighter” or NYX Dewy Finish Spray to preserve all that hard work and ensure your look lasts into the night


3. Must-Have Prom Photos


You and Your Dress

Get all the angles!
Capture the details of your dress, your hair and nails, and get a gorgeous headshot of your makeup
Don’t forget to show off those shoes
Whip around to get the back of your dress, peek over your shoulder, all the things!

You and Your Date

Let’s see those matching colors!
Stand backs to camera and look over his shoulder with your corsage hand on his shoulder
Hold hands, look at each other, take some silly pics together- have fun and show your personalities
If your dress allows, hop on his back for the popular piggyback shot

You and Your Squad

Make sure you get some of just the girls and guys separately as well as a big group shot
Make sure there are plenty of personality shots- everyone looking silly in formalwear is always a hit
Do a big huddle photo and try different angles
Pretend it’s a Vogue photo shoot and get some serious faces, arms on shoulders, hand on hip, back to back, etc.

You and Your Family

Make sure you include mom and/or dad- this is a big day for them too!
You can take a few with siblings too

All the Festivities

If you’re taking a limo or party bus, snap a few shots from inside
Capture a shot at dinner and outside the restaurant
And of course, at the dance!


4. How To Pose for Prom Photos

What kind of photographer would I be if I didn’t include some tips for posing in photos?


Remember to push your chin forward and down slightly to elongate your neck and prevent a double-chin

Don’t forget posture– roll your shoulders back and stand up straight
Turn slightly away from camera and keep your weight on your back foot
Avoid looking stiff by putting your front foot slightly in front of the other or by bending a knee and crossing it in front of the other leg
Show your personality by taking some laughing shots, looking away, and incorporating movement


Use your dress– lightly grab your dress and bring your shoulder up to meet your chin. With flowy dresses, you can throw it up to the side too


Occupy your hands– keep them “busy” by putting them down by your side with elbows slightly away from your body or by holding your purse


Try some Vogue poses with your girls to get some cool, serious photos- put arms up on shoulders, stand different ways, put a hand on one hip, and don’t forget that magazine smolder!


*Pro tip- take photos in open shade (where there is space out of direct sun but not too dark) to avoid racoon eyes and squinting.


Want to make sure you don’t miss a thing when it comes to planning the perfect prom night? Get all the tips from this post and more in my FREE Ultimate Prom Planning Guide and have everything at your fingertips to get red-carpet ready!



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