I LOVE taking senior photos! Senior year is an exciting time for parents and students—it’s the culmination of the years of hard work, and the nostalgia sets in when both parents and seniors realize they’re about to have the last of their high school experiences and will soon be moving on to new stages of life.
Some seniors look forward to their senior photos and spend lots of time in preparation while others dread being in front of the camera and are only participating to please their parents. No matter which category you (or your student) fall into, I’ve put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of your photoshoot!
1. Be aware of your yearbook deadline when scheduling your session.
From my personal experience, I find that many schools in Colorado have a deadline around the middle to end of October during the student’s senior year. Be sure to check with your school as the deadline can vary from school to school.
The prime time to take senior photos is the summer before senior year. In Colorado, the weather is nice and warm, and the evenings are mild and beautiful! But the weather isn’t the only reason you may want to consider a summer session. After each session, your photographer will then edit your photos and you will want to factor the editing time into your timeline. The turnaround time for your photos will vary with each photographer and will depend on their workload and lifestyle. When planning for senior photos, give yourself extra time so you’re not in a rush to get your photo submitted for the yearbook. (Tip: the turnaround time should always be stated in the contract your photographer provides. Be sure to look for that when booking a session so you know when to expect your images.)
2. Plan for outfit changes.
The minimum amount of time I offer for sessions is one hour. One hour might not be a lot of time for a family with young kids, but it can be an eternity when you’re the only person in the shot and you only have one outfit… and no props. Planning for multiple outfits gives you more variety in your gallery and gives you more options in case you decide you don’t like your original outfit as much as you thought. I’ve found that 20 minutes in each outfit works well for my clients. They can take 10 minutes to change into their next outfit and still have another 20 minutes in their second ensemble. For sixty-minute sessions, I recommend two outfits. For ninety-minute sessions, I recommend three.
Bringing a few accessories or small props can also add a lot of visual interest to your images. A hat or jacket can go a long way in changing up an outfit with minimal effort. Props can also be a lot of fun! Keep in mind that many open spaces and parks in Colorado do not allow photographers to set up large props, so think of something you can hold in your hands, like a bouquet of flowers or a football. In addition to your outfits, props can add variety to your photos and help tell your unique story!
3. If you’re interested in multiple locations, consider scheduling multiple sessions.
I’ve had seniors who are happy with one location, and I’ve had others who are interested in two separate spots that are one hour apart. These are your senior photos and it’s a special experience in your life, so if you want multiple locations, go for multiple locations! But, make sure your expectations are realistic.
The best light for outdoor photos occurs during the two golden hours each day. Golden hour takes place in the hour after sunrise (starting just a little bit before sunrise) and one hour before sunset. If you want ideal light for your photos, but your locations are far enough apart that we can’t travel between them in that time, you may want to schedule two separate sessions at each spot.
4. Relax and have fun! 🙂
Your senior session is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a fun part of senior year. Don’t take yourself too seriously and give yourself permission to have a good time! I find that the seniors who are willing let their guard down and try unconventional poses (like running barefoot in a skirt on a hiking trail) enjoy their session the most and are blown away by the photos in their gallery.
I hope these tips help you prepare for your senior session and make for a smooth and easy process! Be sure to follow me on social media for more session tips and to see more images from my sessions. Click on the social media icons below to find me!