7 things you need to know about Pictures for Sorority Recruitment

Friday, September 6, 2013


Here is a little love from one of my moms last year after her daughter went through Sorority Rush!

"My daughter, thanks to you, had so many great pictures to choose from.  They wanted a head shot and a full body, not larger than 8x10.  Other moms had told me, basically, "Good luck, it's really competitive and we don't have good luck with girls getting bids at big schools..."  Well, she ended up getting a bid from her top choice, and was later told they wanted her pretty early in the process.  I love my daughter, but I have to think that your beautiful pics did a lot of good too, before they even met her!"   Karen - Denton

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This past year I had so many senior girls needing pictures for Sorority recruitment.  I learned that you need both a close-up head shot and a full-length image printed at 5x7 or 8x10, or the equivalent digital upload, depending on the school, and you will need around 12 copies of each.  I found it fascinating how the girls saw themselves and what they liked and didn't like, and enjoyed helping them choose favorite images and ones that they felt most represented their personalities and flattered their features.

It made me a little curious as to what Sororities are looking for in these images, and what they use them for... so I did a little research!  What I learned is that the photos need to be: 

* Real:  Good advice for all of life.  Represent and celebrate your style, not that of someone else.


If you are a smiling, natural girl who doesn't really use dramatic make-up or lots of jewelry, that is how your pictures should look.  If you wear red lipstick and sparkles every day, don't change it now!  Having said that, professional help with hair and make-up with someone you trust can be a good idea for pictures.

* Recent:  These photos are used primarily for identification purposes, so if you have blond hair in your picture and dark hair at Rush, it is going to be difficult to make the connection.

For instance, if Katelyn (above) sent in the picture on the left and then showed up as a brunette, it might become a hurdle identifying her, and one she shouldn't have to deal with on Recruitment week.

* Solo:  This makes me laugh... Of course, you need to be the only one in the picture!  You don't want to have to circle your face or write a note that says, "I'm the one on the right."
This is one of my seniors, Martha, who became a friend and models for me on styled shoots.  She is brilliant and beautiful, and would never commit one of these bloopers.

* Close-up:  Meaning one photo should have your face or head and shoulders filling the frame and the other needs to have your full person filling the frame.  You don't have to be stiff or standing like a stick, but you shouldn't be a small part of the image. 
The left one of my darling model, Emily, is obviously better than the right one.

* Modest:  These are young women looking for a future sister and friend, not a swimsuit competition.  Be smart, natural, and modest.
I can't believe I even have to include this, but some of the sororities said that they had received photos of girls wearing bikinis and it did NOT make a good impression.  The photo on the left is off of the internet, the photo on the right is one of my beautiful senior gymnasts this year from Southlake.

Quality:  This refers to not only resolution, but also light, lens, equipment, angle, megapixels, etc.  This is a reflection on you, your calling card.  You want it to make a great first impression.
OK, I am taking advantage of my friend and model again.  The left picture fulfills all the other requirements and it was free!  Someone even tagged her in it and put it on her Facebook and she was gracious enough not to untag herself.  But good glory, it doesn't even look like the gorgeous girl she is!  

* Friendly:  I am adding two observations of my own.  As a photographer, I love pictures in which the subject is not smiling.  My brand is "fashion" and I love that look, but for this purpose, I would choose a smiling shot over a similar shot in which you are not smiling, OR just make sure you are smiling in at least one of the two you send... the close-up or the full-length shot. 
For instance, my personal favorite of these two images is the one on the left, and I have it on my website.  But if I were helping her choose one for Rush, I would recommend the one on the right because it seems friendly and approachable.

*Eye Contact:  This is another freebie, and not part of my research, but people connect with eyes.  Classic portraiture usually has people looking away from the camera, but I'm not crazy about it.  I just feel the connection so much more when I see a sparkle in the eye.

Here are examples of head shots and full-length shots that might be submitted in advance of Rush.  I don't know if all these girls pledged sororities or not, but I do know many of them did.  They represent Texas AM, UT, Texas Tech, Texas State, TCU, OU, OSU, KSU, U of A, UNT, UT Tyler, and Dartmouth, and I feel connected to each of them because of the time we spent together doing senior pictures!

A few more tips... your number one goal is to be recognizable and consistent in your communication. For instance, Audra is very tall, so we showed off her height with camera angle in this full length shot. And since it was in an urban setting, we paired it with a casual, natural close up with beautiful backlight. Tip: light in photos like this with a smiling girl communicates happy, carefree times!

She also really liked this full length casual photo, which would be well paired with a glamorous close up that shows off her signature hair and smile, and shows her range.

Here are examples of head shots and full-length shots that might be submitted in advance of Rush.  I don't know if all these girls pledged sororities or not, but I do know many of them did.  They represent Texas AM, UT, Texas Tech, Texas State, TCU, OU, OSU, KSU, U of A, UNT, UT Tyler, and Dartmouth, and I feel connected to each of them because of the time we spent together doing senior pictures!

I love that Carly included her passion for Art in her pictures!

Sweet Sarah with the glorious mane.  So many girls asked for pictures that were like this Marcus senior.  She is well-loved.
Sydney is in New York studying Vocal performance and Music Therapy in the Honors College at Hofstra University.  Love her Vintage, studious look.
Erica won "Best Dressed" in her senior class and she carrying her style all of the way to Kappa Kappa Gamma at K-State!
Flower Mound High School's Meredith has such a delicate, refined look.  I am so thrilled that she is loving life as an Alpha Chi Omega at Oklahoma State!
Hannah blew her session out of the park and now has the images from her shoot repinned over 5,000 times on Pinterest.  She pledged Alpha Chi Omega at University of Arkansas.
 
Sara with the porcelain skin... I don't know if she pledged or not!  She is studying to be a Nurse Anesthetist at UT Tyler.
Emily is another girl I met and fell in love with!  You can see her photos in my styled shoots as well.  She pledged the Tri-Delta house at OU.
Alex got those great legs on the ice skating rink... And now she is at OU studying Theatre Tech.
Here is my girl, Martha, whom I am always happy to see sitting in my kitchen waiting for brownies.  She dates my son's best friend and is a kick-boxer and in the Navy.  My son loves to tell guys she can beat them up. :)
Stunning Olivia has had that angel face since grade school.  Her session shows her sweet, quiet personality and unique style.
 
I dare you to ever come across someone who doesn't have great things to say about Cassidy.  How does she do it?  I love this soft color on her and the ballet shoes to emphasize her years of dance.  She is rocking straight As at U of Arkansas!
More examples of different options.  Riley had so many great ones, it was impossible to choose!  She was one of my favorite all-time shoots.  She has mad modeling skills and is loving being in Delta Gamma at TCU.
Sabrina is hilarious and a great actress, I'm really glad she decided to bring out her glamorous side for the shoot.  She is friends with my son and told some great stories that mothers of sons never get from their own kids!  Haha!  I have to catch up with her to find out where she ended up this year.
McCall had some beautiful full-length shots with those strong cheerleader legs, but she really liked this one on the right and her school did not require a head-to-toe photo.  She pledged ADPi at TCU!

My canvas supplier accidentally sent me two 16x20 wraps of beautiful Brooke so I get to see her image ever day!  She is all Aggie at Texas A and M.
I had to tell Brittany that we had enough photos of her beloved horse, and I wanted some pictures of HER!  :)  She was a track star and showed horses in high school, and now is happily studying at U of Arkansas.
 Sheyenne is organized and punctual and mysterious all at the same time.  She already has this academic thing firmly under control at Texas State. :)  I love being Facebook friends with my seniors and keeping up with them.
Gabby won my Senior contest this past year and was a terrific model... She was planning to head to San Marcos and ended up in Lubbock instead and seems very happy at Texas Tech.
Here is an example of two good options, making sure she is smiling and connecting in at least one of the two shots.  The lovely Jackie used these for UT and pledged Kappa Delta.
Elly is majoring in Costume design, so these of her were appropriately dramatic.
Krissy is studying Art at UTA, but I think she is so busy with Church and creating her own volunteer activities, she didn't pledge a house.


If you are interested in Senior pictures and will possibly need head shots to pledge a sorority as well, please let me know so we can talk about your University requirements and how to fill them.  To see my Senior package, click here!

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To see more photos from photographer Lisa McNiel, check me out at here for www.Lisa-Marie-Photography.com or follow me here on Facebook.










Follow me on pinterest here: follow me

To see more photos from Flower Mound photographer Lisa McNiel, click North-Texas-Photographer or follow a DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook.