I have so much fun with senior portrait sessions! I love learning about these kids that are now almost adults. They usually walk around with me and I always ask them what’s next. It’s a great conversation starter for a great session as I learn who they are and it makes it more easier to get them comfortable to show their personality.
Some people get their senior portraits at the start of senior year and some do them at the end. Either way is fine with me, it’s really just a personal preference. I’ve even had clients want to do some at the beginning of the school year and then some at the end of the school year with their cap and gowns.
Here are some things to keep in mind when doing senior sessions.
Be smart with your outfits.
You are usually on a photographer’s limited time. You may be paying for 30 minutes or an hour. So be smart with your outfits and the time spent changing into them. For a guy, you may want to consider a button down shirt with khakis, so you can easily take it off to reveal another casual shirt under it. Also, think about adding a school jacket into the mix with a football. For a girl, layer and un-layer. Again, a simple blue jean jacket over a nice tank top or shirt. I’ve even had girls wear skirts and then have shorts under them so they can easily maneuver into another outfit. Not only do we do this for time, but some parks that I have shot at don’t have public restrooms.
Come showing some personality.
The best sessions are when a lot of thought goes into these photo shoots and not just from the photographer. What’s a big priority or hobby that you are loving right now? Maybe it is sports, maybe it is a musical instrument, and maybe it is even friends! I’ve captured all kinds of portraits to where there’s a football, a violin, cosplay, and even friends. They usually turn out so great and mom really likes them. Why? Because it is those things that personalize your portraits. Those things are a part of you at your point in your life right now. We want to capture those. One day they might be memories. And that’s what I’m here for, to capture those memories.
Sometimes mom and dad need to step away.
I’ve seen annoyed seniors. Usually, we all know that it is mom and dad making you get these portraits done. A lot of seniors want to do it, because it is the “American Tradition”. However, even seniors can get stressed at the pressure. In my photography sessions, I try to talk to the senior – he may not be paying for the portraits, but he is as much of my client as mom and dad. They are usually adults now. Most of the time, it seems that the session goes better when we just walk away from mom and dad. The senior seems more relaxed and starts interacting with me (aka the camera) and I really do get their personality. Sometimes having mom and dad at this age does create some pressure, especially if mom is yelling at her young adult, “Don’t smile like that! Do a real smile.” While she only loves him and isn’t intentional, he may find this embarrassing at this age even just around a photographer. At this point in their lives, mom and dad have to learn to start stepping away anyway, right?
Seniors have to be one of my favorite subjects to photograph. If a family keeps yearly photos on the wall, it is usually the last year that the senior has portraits done before they have their own family. So these sessions may be the last wall portrait of their child as a child on their wall. That means something to me. I hope it means more to the family.
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