High school students who just completed junior year are starting to peruse the internet with their parents for local photographers who might take their senior portraits. Sure, local schools do have suggestions for students of photographers in the area they can call, but its quite common these days to seek out someone among the local photography community who fits the style the senior is looking for. Some seniors will opt not to have photos taken at all, and some are beginning to stock their closet with the many outfits that they will wear for their photo shoot. Below are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a high school senior photographer this summer.
You don't need to have the photos taken in summer, you can absolutely choose to have the photos taken in fall or winter during your senior year. Summer is popular because school is out of session (more time available to schedule), the weather is beautiful and the trees are green, and if you want to use your senior portraits in the yearbook at all you'll need to turn it in usually by October of the senior year. Keep in mind if you wait for spring, your photos may or may not be ready in time for your graduation party.
Some schools require a certain photographer to take their headshot for the yearbook, but you're completely free to hire whoever you wish for the personal photos you have taken to hang on your own walls. Some schools allow you to bring in photographs taken by outside photographers for the yearbook headshot, and some have restrictions. So be sure to check with your school district on their yearbook guidelines. Even if they require a certain photographer (or just a certain color backdrop) for the headshot, often you can purchase a yearbook ad and put any photos you wish in it, along with a personal memo from parents to the senior.
Think about the season you want to have the photos taken, and remember to schedule far in advance. In addition to the season, decide on the type of location you like. I usually ask first if the client is looking for a nature or urban setting... then go from there on suggestions on where we could go. Indoor in our studio is always an option for someone who likes the look of a backdrop or just want a simple session.
Clothing options are really personal to the senior. I try to suggest they choose outfits that represent their personality, and vary them throughout the shoot. So if they choose a session with two outfits, have one outfit more casual than the other. Also, maybe choose one in bright color and one more neutral. Try to stay away from small busy patterns or stripes, but large patterns like florals can work really great. The outfit should really match the scenery as well, so think about whether your images are going to be in a field or a brick lined alley way.
Ask your photographer if they provide the option to purchase graduation party invitations using one of the photos from your session, this is a great way to give a print to each person invited to the grad party. Or, on the flip side, you can use an image on your thank you cards you'll send post-graduation.
Whoever you choose to photograph your senior portrait session this summer... be sure to look at their portfolio thoroughly and choose someone who has a style you really like!