It's your senior year! You've been crazy busy with SAT's, ACT's, college applications, prom committee, not to mention sports or homework! You have so many things to do and so many deadlines, it's definitely not as much fun as you were hoping! But wait.... don't forget your Senior pictures! That should be something that's not only enjoyable, but memorable!
You probably don't want one more thing to think about, so I've put together 5 tips to help you plan the most incredible Senior Session ever!
1) Budget - Unless you're financing your portrait session, you'll need to sit down with your parents and find out what the budget is for your Senior Session. Is your budget to cover the session only, or does it need to cover prints and announcements as well? Will it cover hair and make-up?
2) Photographer - There are probably hundreds of photographers in your town or city. There are cheap ones, expensive ones, bad ones, and great ones, so how do you choose the right one for you? First - look at senior photos your friends are posting. Do you just LOVE them? If so, ask them for the name of their photographer. Look at his/her website, Facebook account, and Instagram feed. Is the work consistent? Does his/her style speak to you? Photographers love referrals!
Not ready to commit yet? Check out hashtags on Instagram! #yourtownseniorphotographer, #seniorphotos, and #seniorphotographer are a few examples. Scroll through the photos to see which ones you really like. Check out the photographer and link to his/her website. Google is another option. Google 'your town senior photographer' and 'your school senior photographer.' You should find plenty of options. Another option is to have your parents ask their friends for a referral.
Call every photographer who you're considering hiring. Find out his/her rates and what the packages include. Are digital files included? Prints? Print credit? Announcements? Call and speak to every photographer you're interested in, even if the cost is higher than your budget. I have customized packages on occasion for a client. You never know if you don't ask!
Most importantly, you want to connect with your photographer. You want to be comfortable with and trust your photographer. This will help you relax during your session, and therefore your photos will be more natural and authentic.
3) Location - Where do you want to have your photos taken? What type of background do you prefer? Let your photographer know what you preferences are. He/She should have a go-to list of locations to offer you. What if your photographer works in a studio?
4) Style - This covers outfits, hair & make-up, and props. Some photographers allow for 2-3 outfit changes, some don't. Check to see what is included in your session. Pinterest is an excellent resource for wardrobe ideas. I send my Seniors a board full of wardrobe ideas and a board full of color palettes. Practice your hair and make-up ahead of time. Don't wax the day before your session! What about props? Do you play an instrument or play a sport? Bring the instrument and your team uniform. Let your photographer know what you plan to bring. Think about all the details before your session.
5) Parents - Include your parents in this adventure! Most likely, they're paying for it. This is a big transitional period in your life, exciting for you and bittersweet for them. Listen to your mom when she gives you advice on outfits. You might want to wear something totally trendy. She has the gift of experience and knows that in 5 years, you'll regret it. Definitely bring her along on your photo session. She will help hold your stuff, keep you relaxed, and cherish every moment.
I believe your Senior Photography Session should be all about you, and the things that make you shine! I want you to love the experience more than you love your photos!