I love being a senior photographer. I love getting to know seniors, hearing their stories, and figuring out how to best capture pieces of them in photographs so they can remember, really remember, what it was like to be finishing high school and heading out into the world.
Sometimes, though, senior picture time can be stressful for the person being photographed and her mom. Here are five essentials to a super senior session. I hope they help you prepare for and enjoy your senior session.
Be YOU. If there’s one thing I want to emphasize most, it’s that you be yourself. You don’t need to have senior pictures like everyone else’s because you aren’t like everyone else. Pinterest is really helpful for ideas, but no pin can ever convey the essence of who you really are so don’t get caught up in recreating a picture that was meant for someone else. Some of my favorite senior pictures are ones that catch people laughing or making “that face” that everyone knows is them. It’s often the images that are the least posed and planned, the least forced and manipulated that we end up loving the best. Remember: there’s no wrong way to be you.
Location, location, location. And I’m not talking about real estate here. Choose a place for your senior pictures where you are relaxed, a place you love to be or that you think communicates something about who you are and what you think about life. There are really no wrong choices. It can be as simple as your backyard or as elaborate as the Boston Library, but it should be somewhere that feels right to you.
Wardrobe and Make Up. I recommend having two or three different wardrobe choices for your session. One you love, one your mom loves, and one that you both love. In general, I recommend having a dressy choice, a trendy choice, and a comfortable “this is what I love to wear” choice. Be aware that not everything that feels comfortable translates well in photographs. Take some time to try on each outfit you’re considering and take a quick phone picture of it so you can see if you like the way you look wearing it in pictures. For girls, make up should be slightly heavier than normal, but not too much eye make up and be aware that mineral make up sparkles in photos and can tend to look shiny. Be sure to pack your make up, extra hair spray, and a comb or brush for touch ups.
Props…Or Not. Some people love props and others find them corny. No one opinion on this is right. I’ve done many sessions without a single prop and loved them, and I’ve done others where there have been multiple props that have really added to the images we created. If you’re not sure whether or not you’d like props in any of your images, I recommend you bring them along so we can create a few images with them. If you end up not preferring them, nothing lost.
Have Fun and Be Engaged. Don’t forget to have fun. Make a memory. Laugh. Your senior portrait session should be a fun, relaxed time where you are involved in the creative process of capturing pieces of who you are in photos. Don’t be reluctant to offer suggestions or even decline suggestions your photographer has if it just doesn’t feel like you. I always have ideas, but because I value listening and learning about my client-friends, I always love to hear what you’re thinking and dreaming.
When I photograph seniors I have three rules:
- If you have an idea, tell me, and unless it’s really dangerous or illegal, we’ll try it.
- If I suggest something you really don’t like, tell me and we won’t do it.
- If I suggest something you’re not sure about, give it a try. You don’t need to choose that image if you end up not liking it.
I hope your senior session is everything and more you want it to be. Have fun and be you. Because there’s no wrong way to be you.
If you’re looking for a senior photographer, I’d love to be considered. Give me a call or email me and let’s get started. 757.362.4353