5 Things I’ve Learned Since My Own Senior Portraits
For this post, I decided to take a look back at 5 things I’ve learned since my own senior portraits. I graduated high school in 2008 (scarily close to my 10 year anniversary…) and it’s funny to think about how much senior photos have changed since then. I’m sure people did go out of their way to find a more creative photographer, but it wasn’t really the norm back then. My parents didn’t really know anything but the typical senior portrait studio (and neither did I, at the time). Senior photos were obviously important, but everyone at my high school went to the same run of the mill, cookie cutter place. It was fine for what it was, but it wasn’t really creative or artistic. I knew I didn’t want them, but I wasn’t educated about the alternative, so that’s what I got.
#1 The Photographer Matters
What a silly thing to think back on. I was still a photographer back then and art mattered to me, but I just didn’t know how to find options. The photographer was okay, but she was clearly inexperienced and not terribly comfortable with what she was doing. I ended up having to do two different sittings because we just got nothing out of the first batch of photos. The second time, all I can remember is how the person in the photos DID NOT look like me. Like, obviously it was me, but I was so stiff and fake looking. I ended up choosing one (because, again, did not know my options), but I cannot see myself in them at all.
#2 The Studio Matters
This sounds like #1, but I promise it’s slightly different. So, the place I went to was a local studio that EVERYONE in my school went to. You didn’t have to, but they were the preferred photographer. The photographer was just a photographer hired by the studio (so already, possibly not a lot of loyalty), but also, I knew even at the time that I did not want to go there. They did the same poses for everyone, same locations for everyone, and in the end, everyone felt like they had basically the same photos. Not a ton of variation and even my cousins (who were from local towns, but not the same school) ended up with what felt like identical photos. No one liked them, but no one really considered seeking out a more creative option.
#3 Location Matters
I’ve emphasized this in other posts, but location is SO important. I would’ve been a lot happier (even with these pictures) if I had been able to choose a different location. The studio basically used their indoor setup and then would walk down the street with you to a nearby park for the rest of your photos. Which is fine, but not when everyone’s photos use this formula. If I could’ve chosen a different location, I could’ve picked something that meant more to me. Either something that described me as a person or had sentimental attachment would’ve made them feel more me. I think it’s a mistake not to put pieces of your personality in your senior pictures. It’s your chance to state who you are and you might as well enjoy the experience.
#4 Clothing Matters
Another reason my photos feel so foreign to me is because I didn’t take the time to really figure out what I wanted to express myself as. Admittedly, I’m not always the most fashionable person. When it comes down to it, a lot of the time I prefer to be comfortable. Now, it’s easier to help others figure out what to wear and I have a better idea of what looks good on me. My mom mostly picked out what she wanted to see me and and I just let her. They just weren’t really ME.
#5 YOU Matter
What this is all leading to is that YOU need to take ownership of your senior portraits. You may not think it’s important now, but this is a big milestone for YOU. Take the time to research photographers, figure out what you want out of it, and take the reigns (mom will LOVE it). It not only makes it matter more to you, but you’re guaranteed to look back and see yourself in there. You won’t want to hide your senior photos, you’ll want to plaster them everywhere.
That’s it for 5 things I’ve learned since my own senior portraits. I will have to post my senior photos next time I’m around them (buried somewhere at my parents’ house). Visit the blog or follow me on Instagram for more Senior Photo tips. I love creating meaningful content for you guys! If there’s something you’d like to see a post about (or book a session), be sure to contact me here. Check out our Senior Photo gallery for more amazing Seniors.