There is a strong chance that more people will see your senior portraits than any other photograph that is ever taken of you. Make sure you choose the right photographer. For your yearbook picture, your school might have a contract photographer you must use. But you deserve a senior portrait, not just a “senior picture.” Find the right senior portrait photographer to create that all-important image that will follow you forever. Here are some tips to help you in your search:
1. Do you love their portfolio?
There are many types of photography such as street photography, glamour, conceptual, fine-art, and lifestyle, just to name a few. What speaks to you? Not all photographers do all styles. Choose a photographer that has a vision, a point of view. Search for images that jar you. If you want to do something creative, don’t choose a photographer whose portfolio only has standard portrait images. This is your chance to shine. Don’t be ordinary. Find the photographer who is going to reflect your style and taste.
2. How much do senior portraits cost?
There are senior portrait photographers at all price points, so you should be able to find a photographer that falls within your budget. However, remember you get what you pay for. Just because someone has a “good” camera, that doesn’t mean they are a photographer. A good photographer knows what they are worth and expects to be paid for their skills. Professional photographers not only have invested in good equipment, they have studied photo editing, posing, lighting, printing and good business practices. Expect to pay $300 and up for a professional senior portrait photographer.
3. Do they offer an in-person consultation?
If they do not offer an in-person consulatation, they are not a professional. The in-person consultation is a critical part of the process. You will want to meet the senior portrait photographer to make sure you click with them. Being photographed is a very personal experience, and you want to make sure you are comfortable with your photographer. At the initial consultation, you should discuss price and most senior portrait photographers will ask for a “sitting fee” or “session fee” to reserve the time you would like to have your session. You will usually pay an upfront fee to book the session, then buy prints, packages or products at another in-person consultation. It is vital that at least one of your parents is involved in every step of the process. So make sure you bring one of your parents to the initial consultation and get their feedback on the photographer. The photographer should also explain everything that will happen in regards to your shoot, buying products, the make-up artist, clothing, etc., and answer every question you have. You should leave the consultation knowing every step of the photographer’s progress. You need to decide if you are comfortable with it.
4. Does your photographer focus on you?
Is your senior portrait photographer passionate about their craft? Your photographer should ask questions about you to find out what kind of shoot you would like. Make sure your photographer is excited to work with you and has some ideas for your shoot. Your shoot should be tailored to you. You don’t want to stand in front of the same old backdrop with the same old poses. Ask your photographer how he/she will make your images unique. Beware the photographer that only wants to talk about themselves. You are the client, so he/she should focus on you.