It used to be a high school senior portrait was more of the traditional kind – girls wearing a black drape, guys in a classic tuxedo. But times have changed, and this ain’t your mama’s senior portrait anymore!
Now a senior portrait is more of a representation of who you are now, highlights your accomplishments, personality, and showcases who you want to become in your next step. This occasion is extremely important, and choosing a photographer isn’t always an easy task. I’m sure you already know of about 5 photographers off hand. So choosing one to give you an experience that you will remember forever is no easy decision. So this is why I have compiled this list of 10 tips to consider when picking your senior photographer.
1.) Find what YOU like
There are so many different styles and visions when it comes to photography. Make sure you pick a photographer based on the STYLE they shoot and retouch. Does someone edit with all vintage looks? Do you love black and white, but the photographer who chose doesn't show any AMAZING black and white portraits? Pick a photographer because you love their style of photography and can imagine your portraits done by them.
2.) Make a Connection
This is extremely important for guys and girls. Make sure you have a connection with your photographer. You want one that will feel comfotable around and someone who is going to take the time to get to you know and ask you what you want out of your session. Do they offer a design consultation so you can plan your session? Or do they just see you at your session and pick a generic place to photograph you?
3.) Check Credentials
This is a time you won’t have a chance to redo. You only are a high school senior once, so why not hire the best? Professional photographers have unique skills and training in artistry and technology, so they know how to capture your unique personality and interests in images. The pros have standards to uphold and are always improving their skills to give you the best. Many are members of professional organizations and have become certified and master photographers. This is done for a reason..so you KNOW they will give you amazing portraits.
4.) Retouching or no?
Does your photographer do a professional enhancement to your photos. While no one is perfect, you do not want to be remembered for that pimple that showed up the day before your sessions. Professional Photographers will retouch your images with ease so you do not have to stress about stray hairs or any acne in your portraits. The retouching should look natural and bring our the beauty already captured in the image..not fix something that wasn’t captured correctly in the first place.
5.) Check their Reviews
As you look for your photographer, good customer service should be high on your list. This is when references, reviews and testimonials can help you find a photographer that will deliver the customer experience you want. Did you have a friend or family member choose that particular photographer? If so, make sure you ask them how their entire experience was. They will be more than happy to share their thoughts with you.
6.) Notice how they use light
Any good photographer knows that the key to great images comes from having the right lighting. As a customer, it’s not your job to know an F-stop from an aperture, but as you review portfolios and websites, pay special attention to the photographer’s use of light – in doing so, you’ll see how an expert can use light to take an image from OK to amazing! Amazing photos are not achieved because of a good camera, they are achieved because of the users abilities to use a tool and resources around them to make an amazing image.
7.) Posing vs. Awkwardness
There is alot of education and practice that goes into learning how to pose so it feels natural and not awkward. Professional photographers have the knowledge of lighting and how to flatter a figure that makes all the difference in posing. You want your images to be natural, but posed enough to make sure you look your best.
8.) Make sure they offer plenty of options
As you shop for the right senior photographer, look for someone who can offer multiple options. Look at albums, collages, wall frames and everything in between. Discover what you like - informal, casual, fun and/or serious shots. A good photographer will take your ideas, show you what will work, what may not and why. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see the whole enchilada - the entire photo shoot. This gives you greater insight as to the photographer’s whole body of work, not just selected images.
9.) Make mom and dad happy!
Yes, a senior session is all about you. But, parents (and their wallets) typically have a vested interest in this experience. Parent and teen should be involved in the process and the decision. As a senior celebrates this milestone, it’s also about the people and support system that helped make it happen.
10.) Investments that stand the test of time
Some may think that professional portraits will be way over budget, but many professionals offer different options in terms of sessions and options of final products. When choosing a professional, you will get products and prints that will be archival and last for years to come without fading or peeling. Also, technology changes, so make sure you don’t just get a CD that will be outdated and unusable in 5-10 years. Professional Prints and products like albums, will last a lifetime and will be enjoyed for years after the digital version is gone.
I hope you find these tips helpful in your search for your senior portrait photographer. My hope for all graduating seniors is that they find someone to give them portraits they will love and cherish for years to come.
Of course I would LOVE for you to choose me as your photographer, so if you feel like I'm a good fit for you, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you my entire guide on our Senior Portrait Experience here at Freeland Photography.