When it comes to senior portraits, things have really changed since I was in high school. I remember bringing two sweaters and selecting two backgrounds in a studio. I went by myself to a studio in a strip mall. The images were okay, but I didn't have a lot of input. See photo right. Janet circa 1987 (and Yes I liked The Cure).
These days a senior session is something to be celebrated. Planning and preparation are key. Sessions last 1-3 hours depending on the senior and their interests. We start in the studio then head out to other locations. Quick clothing changes in the back of a minivan or makeshift dressing room.
I have a makeup/hair stylist available for an even more finished look.
The sessions are fun and creative. Even the most resistant seniors (i.e., boys) almost always telling me that they had a good time during the session.
Unfortunately in the Mid-west, senior season is limited mostly from April-September. In Southern states they can photograph outside almost year round. So we do a high volume of work in a very short time. Some schools still bring in a photographer and just do a standard head shot. It gets the job done but not very fun.
After photographing seniors for the past 10 years, I have come up with many tips and suggestions.
Janet's Top 10 Tips for Senior Sessions:
1. Share your ideas w ith your photographer! I love to hear about special interests and ways to make them unique and personal.
2. Bring too much! I would rather help you go over wardrobe and pick the best pieces that photograph well then have you bring just a few things that may or may not work.
3. ACCESSORIZE. Bring lots of jewelry, scarves, shoes......
4. Don't over tan or burn right before your session. Avoid dark tan lines or pealing skin.
5. Practice hair and makeup before your session. Look for photos online that you like and try to replicate.
6. Try to be a bit organized with your outfits to make sure you have shoes, jewelry... that you like together. Nothing like missing an earring at the last minute.
7. Makeup. Girls bring powder to reduce shiny faces. Many sessions get a little warm especially outside. A little powder can take down the shine. Lip color. Most of us don't have a lot of color in our lips and they tend to blend in with our skin. So a little lip color is good for contrast. I try to have a few samples on hand for seniors to use, but it is better to have a color that you have picked out and feel good about.
8. Try to get a good night's sleep the night before your session and drink water. You will look and feel better if you are refreshed and well hydrated.
9. Pets are great but they need a little grooming too. Make sure they are brushed and eyes are cleaned. I usually have clients walk their pet around in the yard a few times before they come in to avoid accidents and help calm their fury friends.
10. Don't be afraid to be different. This is a special time for you to express yourself. When you look back 10, 20+ years from now, you can appreciate your favorite dog, beautiful prom dress, or stacks of Harry Potter Books. And as much as the session is about the senior, it is also about mom and dad. I like to have them along and sometimes even put them to work holding a reflector or flash. It is a fun day to share together and something you will all remember.
Editing of my less than perfect writing by Jan Feeney (friend and accomplished editor).