How to prepare
The question I get all the time is "How many outfits should I bring". Depending on which senior portrait session package you choose will determine how much time we have, but I typically tell my seniors to bring 3-5 outfits that they love. We may not use all of them, but it at least gives us some options based on the weather, the location, and how you're feeling. For ALL of my sessions, senior or not, I tell my clients the biggest thing is to make sure you are comfortable because it will show in the photos and you don't want to be tugging at your shirt and trying to make sure everything is all in the right place.
Don't be afraid to wear something fun and out of the box. If that's who you are, do it! I also tell my seniors that they can do some casual and some dressy outfits if they would like. Your senior photos are about YOU. What makes you, you? Keep that in mind when picking out your clothes. If you are a skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor's kind of person, wear that! Don't be afraid to express your personality!
Do you know where you're going to school or what your will be majoring in or sports you will be playing? Include that! Bring a shirt with your future school's mascot or something with their colors.
Girls, don't forget to accessorize! Bring options of necklaces and bracelets. Even bring scarves, hats, jackets. Whatever you like to wear, bring it. That is probably the one thing that most clients forget is the jewelry. And while I'm talking to the girls, don't forget the appropriate bras and underwear for your outfits! If you need a strapless bra for an outfit, bring it!
Props are quite possibly the most important part of your senior session. Whether you enjoy music or sports or animals or underwater basket weaving, we can work to incorporate your hobbies into your session. Let me know what some of your interests are and we can make sure that your location and outfits match your props you may have. If you want photos with your horse, I will want to select a location that has some good space. If you want to include your dog, toto, I will make sure to bring some of my "tools" to get his attention. And if you want to include books or basketballs or cars, we can do it!
I LOVE when seniors incorporate their interests. If you're not creative and don't know how, lets chat and we can throw some ideas back and forth on what you like and how we can turn that into a fun and creative shoot! I can't stress enough about how these photos are about YOU and the things you love and that mean a lot to you. Even if you think it might be odd or tough to make look good, let me know and we can always try something. Maybe you're into art, we can do pictures in an alley with fun murals or find some cool sculptures.
The options for your senior photos are endless, so lets make it fun for you! And if you're having fun, I'm having fun! I love when seniors get into their photos!
Your location for your session is what is going to bring it all together. I typically ask clients if they have a location in mind and if not, I ask if they prefer outdoorsy or urban. Depending on your outfit choices and prop options, this will influence the location we choose. If you're an outdoorsy or country person, I would likely not put you in an alley downtown because it might look out of place.
I do have a couple requirements on locations as a comfort and liability for both of us
1- We have to have permission to use the location. Whether its private property or a park with permit requirements, we have to follow the rules and make sure we are allowed to use this location.
I know that a lot of seniors use train tracks as a location for their photos, but railroad tracks/crossings are private property and taking photos on them would be trespassing and subject to punishment. Not to mention it is not a safe place to take photos. So, unfortunately I will have to nix any photos suggested on railroad tracks.
2- It has to be a safe location. The last think I want is for anyone to get hurt so if something doesn't feel right or the scene looks unsafe, I will suggest another location. I've heard horror stories of photographers not trusting their gut when it comes to safety and I will learn from their mistakes.
I know that now I sound like a rule stickler and lame, but other than those two simple requirements, I am option to all kinds of options for photos. Whether it is your family farm, your school, a cool alley, or a beautiful park, I am open to getting creative and having fun!