How to go about choosing a Senior Portrait Photographer that is right for you.
I remember my senior portraits (barely). I went by myself. They weren't a big deal, and the whole process wasn't all that exciting. I drove to my high school, wore a simple shirt and jeans. My photographer must have been really cool because he had me put on one of those triangular black "drapes" that was almost off the shoulders but not quite, but that ensured I looked all "graduation and adult-like" showing off my neckline and cool necklaces (and big hair, of course).
Today, it's completely different, and the idea of it all can be very overwhelming for both parents and students, especially for your first “senior”.
Why are Senior Portraits a Big Deal?
Senior portraits are about celebrating a life stage - for many teens, their entire senior year is filled with many milestones, and it is definitely one worth noting and celebrating in many ways, including portraiture.
Their last year with their childhood friends.
Their last year ‘home’.
Their last year living under “mom & dad’s” wings. (even though that may not end until they are out of college, if not, married!)
Capture that! Never forget who they are, at this EXACT moment.
How Do You Choose the Perfect Photographer?
You should choose a senior portrait photographer the same way you would choose a photographer for any other type of life event (like headshots, weddings, family). It's important that the style of the photographer, their personality AND what they offer be a fit for you, otherwise it may not work. Don’t just simply compare photographer's prices. There are a lot of things that determine what a photographer charges, and so simply comparing pricing doesn't help you understand that. Do some homework.
Here are some things you can do:
1. View their Website Portfolios, FB albums, Instagram, Twitter
(to get an overall ‘feel’ of their work, style, personality)
2. Read their bios (are they someone you would like to hang out with?)
3. Understand their experience - a photographer with years of experience is often more expensive than someone just starting out. That makes sense, right? That should show in their work as well. While many people think that because they have a great camera they can take great pictures, there is so much more to professional photography than that, and your photographer should have credentials they can share with you as well.
4. Word of mouth - word of mouth is a great way to find potential photographers in your area. Happy clients like to share their experiences (and unhappy clients like to share much, much more).
5. Studio (do they work out of their parent’s basement or garage (even though their work can be impeccable…does their location make you comfortable?)
6. Set a budget - like anything else, know what you can and are willing to spend, and then look at what their pricing is and see if you feel that what you will get (including the things like style, experience, quality and products) feels like a fit with what you would pay.
Making the Final Selection
Set up a time to talk to the photographer by phone or in person to ask any additional questions.
Agree on locations for the shoot to avoid mishaps or confusion on the day of your shoot.