Senior year. On the cusp of adulthood. It can be a bittersweet time. Excitement for the future, tinged with sadness, preparing to leave friends and family to embark on this new chapter in your life. That is why your Senior Portrait Experience is so important. It should be a sweet memory to celebrate this time in your life. A visual memory. A tangible memory. Plus, when is the next time you will be professionally photographed? Many times it is your engagement pictures or maybe some family pictures before then. But even then, it’s not just about you. Your senior portraits are all about you. There are photographers everywhere these days, it seems. It can be overwhelming to know who to go to, and what to look for. I’ve created this little guide to help you make an informed decision.
What does the portrait experience include? A few things to consider.
Professional Hair and make up? Do you want professional hair and make up or are you a more natural do it yourself kind of Senior?
My personal opinion is that professional hair and make up can make a good portrait stunning. A good hair and make up artist knows how to apply make up for longevity and to hold up in the heat, hide imperfections, for natural light and to highlight what is most beautiful about you. If you haven’t yet, check out some before and afters to see what professional hair and make up can do to you. It can also relax jittery nerves about being in front of the camera and give that confidence boost that helps a girl shine through.
How customized will your experience be? A good photographer knows how to guide you, consult with you. He or she will know what clothing styles are the most flattering and what to stay away from. If you are into style and fashion, does he or she know about that?
How much does the photographer do to the images before you see them? What is the post processing that is included? Are the blemishes removed? Are they finished proofs?
What is the style of the photographer? There are many trends in photography that won’t stand the test of time. When you look at the images are they too lightened or do they have filter on them that is overly “yellow” or “gold” or “vintage” looking. The vintage look is popular at the moment and can be done beautifully, but can be very overdone and is a lot. Do the colors almost look neon? Too much saturation is also something I commonly see. Ask yourself when looking at a photographer’s work if the style is something that will still look classic in 15 years. Each photographer has their own particular style. I try to marry what my clients love and still stay true to my vision. My style is Modern and Chic and I try to be fashion foreword. Often my color tones in editing are deep and saturated. I love backlight. I love to do a variety of three quarter shots and close up shots that sometimes crop in at just the top of the head. I also make sure to do shots that give plenty of room. Just know that I’m going to do a variety of both.
Does your photographer have samples of products for you to see and touch? Will you be able to lay proofs side by side to compare? Will they spend the time with you helping you decide? Or will they just put them on an online gallery where you have to figure it out on your own?
I personally sell both digital collections and product collections. I see both, the Seniors tend to want to be able to share those digital files and the parents often want to know they are going to get quality products for their home. If you choose to only purchase a digital collection, I encourage you to print them from a recommended lab that calibrates their equipment so that your product matches the digitals and well, just print them period! Don’t let them gather dust in a drawer or get lost among all your other online pictures.
What about specialty products? Yes, you can print your own prints but you are seriously missing out on the beautiful art your images can be. Only pro labs can provide these specialty items at a quality that’s superior to the do it yourself labs. This is the main reason I don’t only sell digitals. I want you to have something incredible to lay on your coffee table, hang on your wall, mail out to friends. If you would like to see the current senior line up beautiful products I offer, check it out here. There are so many beautiful specialty products. I try to make sure that what I sell is something you can’t get any where else. Why else would you want it?
Lastly, For me, it’s all about the experience! When you are looking for your photographer, find out what the process includes from beginning to end. I want the day to be amazing and special and a day you’ll cherish when you think about it for years to come. My job is to make you shine, and come away feeling confident and beautiful. From professional hair and make up to posing to flatter you to your premier sales session to beautiful packaging. I want it all to be part of it.