While nothing can guarantee that your senior images will be exactly what you have pictured in your head, these tips will ensure they are as close to that as possible. There are some common mistakes that you’ll want to steer clear of. Here is my list of the top mistakes seniors make.
#1 Waiting too long to book your photographer.
The fix. Many times, I’m contacted too late. It takes time to plan and prepare for a session, professionally retouch the images, and finally design, order, receive and deliver the products. Be proactive and start looking for a senior photographer your junior year! Yes, at least a whole year early. Find several you like and follow them on all your social media networks, subscribe to their blog and newsletters, and stalk their web page. Style, consistency, personality and experience should all be determining factors. Pick a photographer that best matches the vision you have for your own portraits. Make contact and book your photographer early!! Waiting until you actually need the pictures will be too late! If you’re looking for a boutique portrait session experience, at the very least, allow five months before graduation to book your photographer. For best results, contact them at the start of your senior year.
#2 Not having a vision.
The fix. A lot of times, my senior clients don’t have any idea or vision for what they want their sessions to look like. At least, that’s what they tell me. I really think they’re just afraid to verbalize it. Know what personality traits, achievements and hobbies you want to document. Ask yourself what is important to you at this time in your life? What do you really enjoy? Don’t think you’ll appear shallow if you admit that you want to showcase your beauty. You are beautiful; tell the world! Create a mood board (Pinterest® is easy!) to convey the look and mood you want to capture in your senior portraits and share it with your photographer.
#3 Wanting things on Pinterest.
The fix. When you create this mood board, don’t get confused with feeling the need to copy and replicate shoots, poses or locations. Instead, allow your photographer the creativity to make the images other seniors will want to replicate. Make your sessions unique. Only use the Pinterest board as a tool to convey visual stimulation to your photographer.
#4 Not letting the photographer have creative control.
The fix. Not letting your photographer choose locations or have any input on your wardrobe really puts a damper on their creativity. I always feel a bit of a creative squash when I don’t get to exercise my imaginative process. Once you have created your mood board and verbalized what you’re expecting from the session, allow your photographer time to brainstorm and create a personalized experience. Make sure they are aware of everything you are planning on bringing to the session. Everything.
#5 Scheduling too many sessions.
The fix. Just because your photographer offers 17 sessions throughout the school year, doesn’t mean you have to purchase them. Plan out what you want to document. Ask your photographer how many sessions it will take to accomplish this. Hobbies, interests, achievements, collections, and family heirlooms are great things to be incorporated.
#6 Not diversifying their wardrobe choices.
The fix. Wearing the same types of clothes to three different locations really is not diversity. Consider wearing different styles of clothing at each session. Some options are formal clothing, dressy clothing, super casual clothing, winter clothing, summer clothing, beachwear and athletic uniforms.
#7 Not following the photographer’s advice.
The fix. If your photographer gives you advice, follow it. All of it. A photographer should give you a list of do’s and don’ts. Read through it. Study it. You should find a lot of valuable information. Follow that information to make your session memorable and pleasant. The advice will also make your images stunning and the best they can be.
#8 Not letting the photographer know about props.
The fix. Bringing your pet ostrich to the session without the photographer’s knowledge is really a bad idea. Make sure they know if you’re planning any props for you session. If you are bringing something as simple as a lucky rabbit’s foot, let the photographer know. The more they are able to prepare, plan, and visualize your senior session, the better it will be.
#9 Not letting the photographer know you don’t like something.
The fix. If the photographer is taking photographs from your bad side, let them know. If you’re unsure about how your gown is photographing, let them know. Worried about a blemish, bad hair, or too many spectators watching your session? Let them know. Don’t be afraid to tell the photographer you are displeased with any aspect of your session. If they’re professional, they’ll fix it.
I hope these tips help you to have the best possible senior portrait experience you can. If you follow them, they should improve your experience and your images by ten fold!
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
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I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
I am a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
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