Prom Photos Reveal How Much We Have(n’t) Changed

prom photos

From the paper frames to the plastic ivy, prom photography is as predictable as high school dances themselves. Full of high hormones, drama, and nervous chaperones, the prom experience is a tradition in the United States — and so, too, are the photos.

Regardless of the theme of your prom — some city that seemed exotic (Paris, Vegas, you name it) with the word  “Nights” after it, something having to do with Shakespeare, or a variation on a film that maybe had something to do with the nearest metropolitan area (hello, Sleepless in Seattle) — there’s a good chance if you went to a prom in the continental U.S., you posed in front of a backdrop surrounded by artificial plants, or you stood in your parents’ driveway for endless snapshots to commemorate all of the “memories.”

Editorial Marketing Specialist Rachel Gregg, shown to the left,  says her previous prom photos weren’t quite so all-American; for junior prom, she says, her look was a little more”goth-inspired.” For senior prom, though, she went with a look that was a little more mom-friendly and extremely universal.

To celebrate this most hallowed (or at least, most hyped) of seasons, some other CreativeLive staffers also agreed to show off their prom photos, too.

old prom photos

Managing Production Coordinator Jen Nelson says that even though she “looks 12” in this photo, she is, in fact, 15 years old.

unnamed-2 prom photography
Channel Marketing Lead Christina Loff shared several photos from her high school days, including these images from sophomore and senior year. We’re happy to report that in the years since these photos were taken, she has worn colors other than black.

vintage prom photos

Social Media Manager Lindsey Bluher has a high school reunion coming up, so she has no shortage of incredible formal and prom photos. “And yes,” she writes, “I had a business card with THAT email address.”

See also: Plastic ivy.

vintage prom photos

Who’s that? Why, it’s our one and only Head Of Partnerships & Key Talent George Varanakis, who says he’d had a crush on his date “since the 7th grade.”

vintage prom photos celesteprom2

More plastic ivy!

Executive Producer Celeste Olds had two different experiences, but managed to strike a similar pose. The first is a homecoming dance, the second is a prom photo. In the first, she says, she was attending “the worst dance I ever went to,” while in the second photo, she was having “the best time.”

“It wasn’t until a few years later, while flipping through old photos that I saw the poses from homecoming and prom side by side. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the contrast between my oddly dressed self struggling to cover up tears, in nearly the same pose as the slightly older, slightly wiser Celeste with the genuine ear-to-ear grin.”

vintage prom photos

As we learned in our senior photo roundup, VP of Content Ryan Vance has somehow managed not to age at all. We neglected to ask after the “Sea of Love” theme but we’re just assuming it went like this.

And of course, here’s mine.

prom photos

I’m the small one on the left. This is in my parents’ backyard. I attended the prom with my best friends and our dates. I wore the same shoes to both junior and senior prom and was crushed that my mother wouldn’t let me get contact lenses for the occasion. I don’t recall any of us springing for the “official” photos and, come to think of it, I’m not even sure if those were an option.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.