Professional portraits of graduating high school seniors have become as much of a tradition as the graduation ceremony. A student’s senior year is an important time for both the senior and the senior’s parents. For most people, this will be the last time a child’s portrait is taken before they leave the house to go to college, work, the military or some other life adventure.
The following tips are intended to help seniors and their parents prepare for senior pictures.
When selecting a high school senior photographer, do your homework. It is best to review the portfolios of at least three photographers. This can be done online in most cases. The idea is to find a style and approach that matches your personality. Are you traditional, edgy, fun, shy, care free or something else?
Once you select a style you like, then research pricing and options. Talk with your parents about a budget and use it as a guideline. Remember, if you are seeking out a memorable experience where a photographer spends anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours with you, the cost will be significantly higher than traditional school pictures, where the photographer might spend 30 – 60 seconds with you. If the cost seems too high but you really like the style, ask the photographer about specials. Explain your budget and see if they will work with you.
Once you have a photographer and a session date, it is time to prepare. How many outfit changes are you permitted during your session? Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out clothes. Plan ahead and remember you may want to shop for something new to complete one of your outfits. Also, think about props you might want to bring: balls, bats, sticks, musical instruments or something else.
Try to avoid overly trendy clothes and makeup. Consider a relaxed outfit and a dressy outfit at a minimum. Dark fingernails or bright neon colors may be your preference, but basic fashion sense should be followed. Avoid complex patterns, horizontal stripes, and reflective material in your clothes. Consider wearing long sleeve or three-quarter sleeve shirts. Sleeveless shirts may work for a few people, but not for most. When making choices, remember you may be showing these pictures to your grandchildren one day.
Don’t get your hair cut right before your photo session. In fact, try to provide at least one week lead time. Also, your hair should move freely when you move your head during the session. Too much hairspray or product can lead to undesired results for those with longer hair.
If the appearance of your hair is important to you, consider going to a professional stylist the morning of your photo shoot. Let them style, not cut, your hair and make it look its best.
Take good care of your skin as your session approaches. Avoid excessive sun, watch your diet, keep your face clean, and manage acne. The number one problem area for seniors is shiny skin. Another common mistake is the use of makeup and lotion containing glitter. Glitter reflects light, so quite a bit of the glitter on your skin will look like little white holes in a photograph if flash or some type of light source creates a reflection. Avoid all products using glitter including those that produce excessive shine prior to your photo session. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your professional photographer in person or by phone before the session. Your makeup salesperson may also be a helpful resource.
For some high school seniors, guys in particular, a related issue is excessive oil on the face. Because many females use a makeup base that helps to dull the shine, it is typically – but not always – less of an issue with women. Make sure you wash your face gently before your session and gently pat it dry with a towel. This will reduce the shine, and a clean face will feel great too.
For those wearing makeup, consider neutral eye colors, such as grays and browns. Avoid frosted shadows if possible. Resist the urge to wear more makeup than normal. Remember, your photographer should be touching up selected images so that your look your best. Ask if this service is included in the price of prints and products or if there is an extra charge.
If you normally shave under their arms or shave your face, do so the day of the photo session. Guys should shave their faces about 5-7 hours before to the time of the session if they have a heavy beard. Five o’clock shadow is almost impossible to remove once the photo is taken. Avoid shaving right before the session because it may irritate the skin at first.
If you wear glasses, consider having your optician remove the lenses for the session, particularly if you do not have non-glare coating on the lenses. Glare on lenses from light sources can be very distracting and time consuming to remove.
The Photo Shoot
You will definitely need an assistant to carry clothes and help out during the shoot. This might include both a parent and a friend or sibling. Bring people with you that make you happy and relaxed. That friend that always makes you smile and feel comfortable may be just the person you need to take away the stress of the day. Remember to share ideas with the photographer about looks or poses you would like to include. Most importantly, have fun.
Portraits By Rod Photography