You’re only a high school senior once, so getting your senior portraits taken is an important milestone in your life. Other than your newborn and kindergarten pictures, your high school senior portraits are most likely going to adorn one of the walls in your parents home for years to come. So, how do you go about choosing a senior portrait photographer for your senior portraits that can not only take pictures of you that truly bring out your best but is also someone that is fun to work with?
The first thing you’re going to want to do is a generic Google search. Use keywords like “high school senior portrait photographer” or “high school senior portrait photography” along with the town/city you live in. Typically, the search results that show up on the first two pages are a good place to start. Take a look at the websites of the photographers and check out their work. Do you like what you see? Do the people in the photographs look natural and relaxed? Does the work of the photographer fit what you have in mind for your senior portraits? What kind of wording is used on the website? Does it seem like the photographer is easy to work with and will be accommodating to your requests? These are all important questions to ask and things to consider when choosing your photographer.
Next, you’ll want to find out if the photographer is someone you would want to work with. The photographer has the power to help make you feel at ease or to make you nervous and feel awkward, which will show up in your senior portraits. So, this is step is very important! E-mail and/or call the photographer and ask some questions. Does he/she seem friendly? Knowledgeable? Do they communicate well? Do they seem accommodating and flexible? These are all important in helping to ensure you get what you want out of your senior portrait session.
Something else to consider when choosing a senior portrait photographer is price. The bottom line is that, like most things, you get what you pay for. In this day and age, photographers are a dime a dozen and each year more and more “soccer moms with cameras” start advertising their senior portrait specials for $50 touting themselves as “professional” photographers when in reality they are far from a professional. They may have the social skills to pull off the facade of being a professional, but the work they produce is mediocre at best and often times their clients are sadly disappointed with their portraits.
Typically, you can expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for your senior portraits from a qualified and truly professional photographer with enough experience to produce the kind of results you want. Each photographer is different and offers a unique lineup up products ranging from high resolution CD’s, to specialty prints, to photo books, and everything in between. Try to remember that your senior portraits are an investment, and not an “expense”. These are images that you (and your parents) will keep forever, so go into the selection process of finding a photographer with an open mind and choose the photographer that you “click” with and feel the most comfortable around.
Here are some other things to consider when selecting your senior portrait photographer:
- How many years of experience does that photographer have?
- Can the photographer provide references upon your request?
- Does the photographer offer the kind of prints and products that you want (i.e. a high resolution CD, gallery wraps, large prints, etc)?
- Do you want an on-line gallery so that other family members can view/purchase your photos?
- Do you want black & white portraits, sepia toned, color, or a combination?
- How are the proofs presented? Are the final edited photographs presented as proofs, or are the images edited after you place your order?
- Do you want to bring a prop to your session (i.e. an instrument, sports uniform, your pet, etc)?
- Does the photographer allow other people to be in your senior portraits?
The task of choosing a senior portrait photographer can be daunting for some. But it’s important to take all these things into consideration during your selection process. While price should be taken into consideration, it shouldn’t override the vibe and connection you get from a photographer that you can tell will be good to work with and produce the kind of images you are looking for. In the end, you’ll be glad you spent a little extra and had an enjoyable experience during your senior portrait session.