How to Get the Most From Your Senior Portrait Session
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Saturday, July 12, 2014
By Barbara Steadman
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Choosing your senior photographer is the first step in the process toward getting great senior portraits that will mark this pivoltal point in your life.  But what happens after that?  This post is to walk you through the steps we use when working with our high school seniors.  We feel that if you know what to expect, the whole senior portrait experience can be fun, rewarding, and a true confidence builder!  

Of course the first thing you need to do when scheduling your senior portrait session is to call the photographer you are interested in working with.  It is a good idea to visit your chosen photographer's website first to familiarize yourself with their style of shooting including posing and background choices as well as pricing information if listed on their website and any other information that is available.  It is best if the photographer has at least one page on their site devoted to highschool seniors.  Our senior information page is HERE, and our senior gallery is HERE.  By viewing the website first, you can write down any questions you may have about their service or shooting style to ask during the telephone "interview".  I call this an interview because it is your chance to make sure this is the photographer you want to work with.  This is crucial as you are in fact hiring the photographer to work for you.  Possible questions to ask can include:

  • How many poses do you take for the session I'm interested in purchasing?  How much time will you spend with me?
  • Do you offer on location sessions and is there an extra charge as opposed to having all photographs taken at the studio location?
  • How many changes of clothing can I bring?  Can I bring extra, and ask you to help me decide what would look best for my portraits?
  • Can I bring props, my best friend, parents, or pets?
  • I'm really nervous about having my portraits taken.  What can you do to calm my nerves?
  • I'm a blinker (or a cheesy smiler, or one eye is smaller thatn the other, or I'm afraid of a blemish breakout)?  What can you do to help me?
  • How will I get to see my finished images?  How long before I can see them?
  • What kind of products to you offer?  
  • What is your payment policy?
  • How long before I receive my order?

These are just some of the questions you might be prompted to ask after looking at the photographer's website.  The key is to write them down as they come to you so that you will be organized and prepared to ask the questions you need answers to before committing your senior portraits to a photographer.

In the same way that it is important for you to find out as much as possible about the photographer and the experience that he or she can offer you, it is important for us as the photographer to get to know you by asking our own set of questions.  We may ask you what kind of music you like, who your favorite musician is, what sports you like, where you like to shop, or what you hope to get out of the senior portrait experience.  It's all part of the process in getting to know you better so that we can plan an exceptional portrait experience for you.  

I especially love it when we find common ground such as the time we discovered Marisa's love for her Wheaten Junior, the same age and breed as our beloved Cody!  

Although not mandatory, we suggest a consultation prior to the actual portrait session.  At the consultation, we will meet with you to discuss your expectations, go over clothing choices, outdoor locations, products available for purchase after the session, etc.  If you're hesitant at all about booking your session, it is an ideal opportunity to meet with us first -- and if you are sure, it's still a great opportunity to prepare yourself for the possibilities and get the most out of your session.  The session fee which includes your first print, is due following the consultation or upon booking the session.  This is necessary to hold your date. 

During the actual photo session, we do not put a limit on the amount of time we spend with you.  Our philosophy is to spend as much time as it takes to fully photograph every facet of your personality.  We want to tell your unique story which we feel cannot be rushed.  We encourage all our seniors to bring anything with them that expresses their uniqueness including props, friends and family members (pets are considered family by us!), vehicles, sports equipment and attire, musical instruments -- your imagination is the limit!  There is never an extra charge for this.

After your photo session, we schedule your Viewing and Ordering Session.  This is where you actually get to see your finished portraits projected on a large screen, and choose the portraits you wish to purchase.  It is important that everyone involved in the purchasing process attend this session.  Here we offer special guidance to make sure you choose the best prints, sizes and products that meet your needs.  This is actually a lot of fun and we encourage you to invite family and friends to cheer you on as you view your portraits.  We can call it a "movie" night with popcorn and iced tea!

In the following days and weeks, I will write different posts focusing on a different step in the process, covering it in much more detail.  Meanwhile, if you have any comments or suggestions, we'd love to read them.  Just leave 'em in the comments section below.  To visit our website, go to www.steadmanphotography.com.

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4 Comments
Laila Keirstead - I really wished that I asked these kinds of questions to the photographer that did my pictures when I was a senior because there were so many things I wanted to do for my pictures. Luckily I have daughters that can take full advantage of their photographer and get the pictures they want. I will have to remember to get all of the questions out of the way before we start taking the pictures.
Barbara Steadman - Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. It always means so much to me when I am able to help. I hope your daughter has a great experience having her senior photos taken during this special time in her life!
Mark Leach - My oldest daughter is about ready for her senior pictures, and I have never had to deal with this before. It is expensive so I want to make sure that we make the most of this. Your list of questions is very comprehensive and seems like this will help me find the best senior portrait photographers.
Delores Lyon - I agree that it is important to have the time to get all the pictures you could possibly. I also think that having good lighting is key when it comes to photos. However, it would be nice to have photos both indoors and outdoors. That way, you could have a wider selection of photos to choose from. http://www.magicglamour.com/gallery/seniors/