High School senior year is one of the most magnificent milestones life has to offer. More than an approach to emancipation, by the time you graduate, opportunities abound for demonstrating the lessons learned along the way, celebrating the obstacles overcome, and dreaming dreams for a future likely to turn out better than imagined. The paths walked, the creativity evolving in each student is different – each senior is unique. There are certain steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome for your once-in-a-lifetime senior portrait experience: Select a photography studio that is right for your needs in price-point, products, and creative style; take advantage of design consultations if offered; prepare your wardrobe in advance; groom thoughtfully prior to your photography session, and be familiar with the products your chosen photography studio offers so when you view your incredible images, you don’t get lost in the ordering process.
Select a photographer that is right for your needs in price-point, products, and creative style. Amateurs are flooding the photography industry posing as professionals. Opposite, old-school photographers have learned how to rope entire classes of students like herds of cattle, rushing the masses through cookie-cutter sets. There are a plethora of legitimate, licensed, talented, and respected photographers to choose from in nearly every city, state, and small town in our country. Find a photographer who is licensed and legally able to operate. Once you find out they’re legitimate, investigate their creative style to make sure your desires for your images match the artwork of the photographer. Price-point is important, but you should educate yourself on what’s standard in the photography industry. Don’t be afraid to invest in the memories of your past and dreams of your future. Don’t sell yourself short on the budget friendly photog just because the price is right. Finally, make sure your chosen photographer can produce the types of products with which you daydream of showcasing your amazing images. For more, visit this link for Five Steps to Finding the Picture Perfect Photographer!
Take advantage of design consultations if offered. Design consultations are usually free of charge and no obligation. This allows you to meet your photographer(s) to make sure your personalities are a good match. Even if the creative style, products, and budget are on point, if the photographer makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable, that will translate in your images. Design consultations also allow you to scope out the environment, eyeball the sets and backgrounds available, chit chat about poses, and your photographer will usually take the time to help you figure out important details such as what to wear and how to prepare for your senior portrait session. Meeting your photographer in advance can also eliminate some of that awkward discomfort that sometimes happens when meeting people for the first time.
Prepare your wardrobe in advance. Try on each outfit and look in the mirror. Can you bend? Can you squat? Can you kneel? Young ladies particularly, with short skirts or tight dresses, feel extremely confident coming into their shoot, but quickly realize the outfit does not allow for flexible posing, or is so tight it distorts the figure on camera. Take the advice your photographer offers and make sure your clothes fit comfortably, allowing you to bend. Take the time to iron your clothes; it’s easier to remove wrinkles before you arrive than it is to pay for post-processing edits. Socks and shoes may appear in images, so think those through as well. Ladies do well to wear mid-to-long sleeves, avoiding spaghetti straps, tube tops, or sleeveless tops/dresses. Consider uniforms as well as trophies and other treasured trinkets. Its better to bring too much with you than to wish you had brought more. Bring one formal, one classy, and one casual outfit as a general rule.
Groom completely before your session. The time to wish you had a haircut is before your portraits are taken, not when you’re viewing them on the big screen! Gentlemen should consider facial hair – if a clean-shaven look is preferred, shave prior to the session rather than wishing you had after. Ladies, check those fingernails and toenails! Nail polish is the most-often forgotten tidbit and can be time-consuming and expensive in post processing. Don’t rely on Photoshop edits for things you can do in advance. Communicate with your photographer about retouching needs such as bruises, scratches, acne, or areas about which you might feel insecure. With posing, lighting, photography skill, and retouching, your photographer can help bring out the very best of your features, while drawing attention away from imperfections.
Last, but far from least, beware of “faux-tographers” who offer images on c.d., but don’t offer printed portraits or custom products. Think about your product needs, which family members, friends, or associates you’re gifting with prints, memory books, formal albums, custom graduation announcements, or the bling and glam that is endless with custom possibilities. Whether you’re after a personalized phone cover, bangle bracelets, or senior rep cards in custom aluminum tins, since you’re going to go through the experience of having your portraits professionally made, you should consider product needs, price points, and payment plans. During your viewing session, when you see your phenomenal images floating on the big screen, if you’ve not given some forethought to your needs, you may feel overwhelmed and have difficulty making decisions. Explore your home for potential placement for artwork, make lists of family members or friends who need images, and what sizes they may want. Of course, it helps if your photography studio offers online viewing galleries for extended family and friends, or out of town loved ones.
You deserve the best senior portrait experience you can imagine – and no one plays a more important role in planning and securing that experience than you. Go in strong, go informed, and celebrate the very most of these milestone moments. And congratulations! You’ve successfully traversed a portion of your journey you’ll recall often for the rest of your days. Be proud.