7 Tips for choosing a High School Senior Photographer
May 18, 2020 | By: Kate Loose
Looking for a High School Senior Photographer?
Here are SEVEN tips to KNOW you have found the best fit.
Moms, your going to want to read this too!
The day has come to start thinking about your senior pictures. If you're like most of my seniors you have been waiting for this day you entire life. Unless you're a boy and then you are waiting for the day after this day, which is the day you are DONE with your senior pictures. Or maybe it has never crossed your mind at all. Whether or not any of this is true, its really important to me that you to have a great experience. Here are seven tips to help you decide.
1. YOU HAVE TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! If you look strained or scared in the photos, you're probably not going to want to share those photos with your friends. As you look through your pictures, you want to be saying to yourself, "that's so me!" NOT "I look like a buffoon". Trust me, I have done this to kids when I was first starting out! Its your photographers job to catch things like how your nose wrinkles when you laugh or help you get your hair back to normal after you got slapped by a large gust of wind Montana style. Pick someone that can make you laugh even if there jokes are bad! Ask anyone you can find who used this photographer last year and find out what they thought of them. A photographer worth their salt does their homework and finds a way to get to know you a little before the shoot. No, thats not creeping, its our job! Pre-consults are a great way to do this too!
2. STYLE AND SPECIALIZATION: A photographer's style is their signature, that sets them apart. Check out their social media to see what they are good at. If you want to make sure they are consistent, ask to see a full client gallery. Almost no one does this. I'm proud of my client galleries and I love to show them off! Also, ask if they specialize in any particular area's. You may be wanting some really stand out action shots with your dirt bike, or some of you dunking the basket ball, or images with your 4-H animals. It never hurts to ask for examples!
3: TRAVEL: Will your photographer travel? I can't tell you the places I have been asked to go. From riding on the back of a four wheeler while clinging to my camera bag, hiking miles into forest service or crossing rivers in the back of a pickup. I even rode horseback with a camera teetering on either side of me. Making sure your that photographer is comfortable with your wild ideas ahead of time is always good. Also check to see if they charge for milage and potentially getting struck by lightning. Do they include travel time between locations as part of the session time? If you're looking to take your photographer on the back of a camel into the desert, be sure that they're cool with that. I hear it's a long ride!
4: ANIMALS / FRIENDS / FAMILY: A common idea for senior pictures is to include pets, siblings or friends in photos. If you're including animals, check to see if your photographer is experienced with animals and hopefully not scared of them. As an example, horses can be difficult to photograph, and control during a shoot. Inevitably you will want to jump on bareback with a dress for that perfect shot and that will be the day your horse wants to buck. Hire someone that will be able to see that coming and help you off QUICKLY! Another question to ask is if you will be charged extra to add a friend or sibling to the image. Siblings can cause mischief and be distracting, so they are almost always extra!
5. REFERRALS: Does your chosen photographer have referrals from people you know and trust? Check with your friends that have used that photographer. Ask if they had fun on the shoot or if their photographer used swear words to encourage a real smile rather than the cheesy one they were sporting for the first hour. (done it) Did the posing feel natural or forced? Like, did they have to hang out of a barn window, cheesin’ during the golden hour just to get that image that grandma always wanted? Were they able to see their images right away or did they have to wait like 3 months to get their proofs back?
6. COST: If you have a budget, and their price sheet seems a little or a lot over what you had in mind, remember great photography won't be cheap or easy. But in the same respect you don't want to be spending what you can't afford. Check to see if they are offering mini-sessions or payment plans to help scale down the cost. Better yet, you could offer to mow their lawn or clean their house. Photographers are really busy people!
7. DIGITAL FILES VS. PRINTS: What will the end result look like? Can you buy the digital files to print and share as much as you want? Will they do retouching? What does it cost? Are there packages to choose from? Will your digitals be delivered via a web gallery or on a zip drive? How large do you want to see yourself on the wall when mom orders that canvas of only your face? Where can you print your images? Do you have to print through the photographer, or can you print those images of you and your six cats that you brought into my studio, (hoping for a shot of y'all together) off your home computer printer? Side note, this really happened, or actually didn't happen. The cats DID NOT co-operate. Will they design your announcements or can you order them from Snapfish or Shutterfly?
There ya go! Thats seven things to think about when booking your high school senior photographer. Remember, if you can't laugh during your shoot, you're probably gunna look scared. Unless you're trying out that serious face and then your photographer might look scared. You won't want to show any of those to your friends! Choosing a photographer that is most suited to your style and personality is priority! Number one, your photographer must make you feel comfortable and excited about your session. NO, still not a stalker. And they MUST be willing to go the places that you're excited about. Yes, I would consider riding a camel. All jokes aside my number one priority at the end of your session is for you to feel beautiful! This isn't just a photo shoot. It's a right of passage, a moment that you have to reflect on the beauty inside of you. Because if there was one gift that I could give every kid that stood in front of my camera it would be the solid belief that they are amazing, valued and have so many gifts to give humanity. Above all else I want you to have the best experience, because you're only going to do this once, hopefully... and who ever you choose to be your photographer, needs to be a perfect fit.