It’s 2021 which means I’ve been a senior portrait photographer for a decade! Insane that 10 years have flown by! Ten years of senior pictures means I have a ton of advice and wisdom. I want you to have your dream senior portraits, so whether that is with me or another photographer, I hope these tips will help you before you book your senior pictures.
My Top Tips
I’ll try to put these in order for what to know first but just know the answer for everything is research and ask. Your photographer might be established like me and send you info in an email or chat on the phone so take notes. Don’t assume anything! And if your photographer doesn’t want to talk about all the details, run.
Do You Need a Pro?
This is tough! There are hundreds if not thousands of photographers in the Portland area. And even more if you count the people that have cameras and say they are photographers. You don’t have to go to a pro photographer. You can risk it and have a friend or parent take your senior pictures. But would you regret that? Would you feel like you missed out on that rite of passage? If you said yes, book a professional. If you said no, don’t sweat it!
How To Find a Professional Photographer
Professional photographers have websites so my top tip is to use Google. You can search for photographers near you, or search for senior picture photographers. Some photographers are general photographers, which means they will do just about any genre of photography. Others like myself specialize in one area. Make a list of the photographer websites you like and then search further. Ask friends or relatives that have had senior pictures taken who they used, did they like their experience, and the photos? But keep in mind, the value of these pictures isn’t the same for everyone. Some will want the whole shebang. They’ll want the extra pampering with hair and makeup, multiple outfits, locations for their dream senior portraits (what I offer) and others just want to meet up at a predetermined location and be done in less than an hour.
What to Ask
So you found a few photographers that you like. What do you do next? Reach out to them through their website. Most have a contact form. Avoid DMing through social media. Messages get lost, unread and it’s generally not a great way to communicate. If you want info from me, you’ll get an email asking to set up a call. I know, I know. You don’t want to talk on the phone. I get it. But this is a HUGE deal and I want to ensure that you get all the info before you book. This is a great time to ask all the questions. What is included? How many outfits can I bring? Can I bring my bff or my dog? Can I get my hair and makeup done before? How will I know what to do? How many images will we get from the shoot? Oh wait, how long is the photoshoot? Seriously, make a list of all those questions because every photographer offers something different. You might love a photographer’s work but then realize they don’t offer digital downloads or they don’t offer wall art and you really wanted a large piece for the dining room.
Investments Will Differ
Senior portraits are an investment. Whether your family budget is $500 or $5000, you need to know what you get for your investment. Everyone seems to want the digitals these days, but ask about more than that. Do they use a professional lab for prints, wall art, and albums? When will you have to pay, are their pre-payment plans or payment plans after you decide? Budgeting for senior portraits is something parents and teens need to work out ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than booking your dream photographer, loving every image and realizing you can’t afford the images or worse, realizing you signed a contract for a minimum purchase that you can’t afford.
My Top Tip
Start looking NOW! Seriously! In the Portland area, our window for senior pictures is June-October. And if you are waiting until the start of the school year, you might not get your dream photographer or your dream photoshoot. I can’t tell you how many years I get emails in November and December asking for a wheat field or flowers outside. Our weather is the best for outdoor portraits in the summer so plan ahead! Your photographer can help you determine the best time of year for what you want from your portraits but if they are already booked? You might not get everything you want.
Class of 2022 my calendar will open on March 1st for booking. But know what you gotta do to get access to that calendar? Reach out! Yes! Click here to get my inquiry email and then set up a call with me. I promise I’ll make it as painless as possible. I just want to ensure you get the senior portraits you’ve been dreaming about!