As a senior (or almost a senior), one of the traditions you may be looking forward to is taking your senior pictures. That’s probably why you’re reading this. But how do you ensure you get the photos you want, the ones that make you say, “Wow!!”? It takes some investigation and preparation.
To help you get the senior pictures you want, we’re sharing a list of 10 tips from the Professional Photographers of America Organization. From what to look for during your senior photographer search to preparing for your photo session, this time-tested advice is a great cheat sheet to getting those picture-perfect shots.
Some photographers’ styles are more retro, some may be more “sexy,” some edgy like in a magazine, some photojournalistic, some more classic and clean…which appeals to you? That is how Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Forester Photography in Madison, W.Va., says you should think as you research possible senior photographers. “Really look at the person in the photograph,” she adds. “You may think, ‘Oh, that’s a pretty good picture,’ but would you be happy if it was YOUR image?”
“Photographers can shoot 150 images, but only display the three that are good,” explains Forester. You don’t want to be limited to just three choices, do you? That’s why you need to see an entire session, so you can tell if the photographer is consistently good…or just lucky every now and then.In addition, seeing more image samples can show you how creative the photographer is. “You don’t want to see everybody standing by the same tree,” says Kent Smith, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., who runs Kent Smith Photography in Pickerington, Ohio, with his wife Sarah. “You want a uniqueness in the images so yours don’t look like everyone else’s.”
4. Seek Out Service –It’s harder to learn about the quality of a photographer’s service than it is to learn about their photography. This is where testimonials and reviews come in handy. Browse photographers’ websites for testimonials and stalk their Facebook pages.
Ask the photographer what their policy is if you don’t feel well the day of your senior photo session. “If you don’t feel 100 percent, or the weather isn’t cooperating, rebook your photo session. Find a photographer willing to reschedule,” advises Anundi. “We’re here to make you happy. This is about service and experience.”
5. Have A Consultation – Look for photographers who want to know about YOU. Some may give you an actual survey to fill out, others may simply ask questions about your likes and dislikes in a consultation. Their goal is the same, though: to make your photos reflect you.
6. Get the Parentals Involved – No way, you may think—but hear us out. Your parents have different tastes, yet they do want what’s best for you, and they are paying for those pictures (usually)! Plus, they have the perspective of time, according to Smith. “You may want to wear every trendy outfit for your pictures, but parents know you’ll regret it in the future,”
he says. “You need at least one outfit that will stand the test of time, one you can look back at and not be embarrassed!”
That may be hard to visualize as a senior, but your parents most likely have experienced it. What was trendy to wear in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s doesn’t always look so cool now…
And just say no if you are tempted to hit the stores and buy stuff you’ve never worn before. Why? “The main regret we see in our senior clients is someone who was talked into a new outfit, then looks at her images and says, ‘That’s not me,’” recalls Smith.So instead of shopping, look in your closet. Consider outfits that you live in, things that people would recognize you in. Try it on and see if you feel good in it. “If you don’t feel good in that outfit, you will project it in the photos,” says Forester.
For example, don’t over tan! If you tan before your portraits, don’t do it the day before. Build it up slowly, so the look is more natural…and you don’t overdo it. And thanks to his experience photographing seniors, Anundi knows that if you do your hair right before the session, you’ll be concerned about it the whole time (especially you girls). That’s why he suggests doing a test-run with your hair and makeup at least a week before the photos.
9. Think About the End Result – What do you want to take home with you? Part of your photographer search and planning should include what portrait products you want. Do you want something for Facebook? Ask the photographers what they have to offer for online use. And don’t forget about what you want in print. Do you want something a little different? Something more than the usual wallets?
“Digital images are great, but it’s best to go that route only if you have a plan on how to display them on your own,” cautions Moore. “And going through your photographer for products will ensure the highest-quality keepsake around.” After all, you don’t want your senior pictures online only…you’ll want to show them off in the house.
Some photo products that are hot right now are senior albums/storybooks and video slideshows. The slideshow of images (incorporated with video clips) is great for open houses, and don’t underestimate the custom-designed portrait album, which can contain quotes and other items to tell your story. “Albums are a great way to keep a collection of your favorite images without breaking the bank on piles of wallets you may end up shoving in a drawer,” Moore adds.
One of the best pieces of advice? Discuss a budget beforehand. Then gather information—based on the tips above—to support your best choice. When you look at the budget again, your research in quality and service may help sway your parents if needed.“Budgets are important during your senior year, but if photography is really important to you, choosing a professional photographer who provides great customer service and an experience of a lifetime will be better than going to an amateur,” says Moore “You’ll want to find a compromise in terms of style and budget; but ultimately, it should be a decision that both you and your parents make.”As you can see, it takes more than a nice camera to get those great senior shots you want. It takes finding a professional who’s invested in training and techniques, someone who knows how to hide your little flaws and bring out your best features. Someone who will go above and beyond to make you happy, comfortable and satisfied.
For more information on BRAND PHOTODESIGN’s senior photography services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brooke’s cell, 317-670-5880.