Hey babe! Can you believe it?! The moment is finally here. Your senior year. I remember that season of my life like it was yesterday. In high school, it brought all those memorable moments and the emotions that came with them. Prom night, telling my parents I was staying at a friend’s house when I really went out to a party… (only the second party of my high school life I might add). Having to say goodbye to all the teachers I had grown so close to over the last 4 years. Graduation. And finally saying goodbye to all my friends because I decided to go to college 500 miles away. You probably have a lot of weird emotions going through your head too. As weird as they might be, you’ll want to hold on to them!
One of my favorite experiences from my senior year though was having my pictures done. My photographer was a lady I babysat for and had grown close to. She was even a mentor to me during the early stages of my photographer and I’m so thankful for her! We drove around to all sorts of places and she listened to every idea I had and made it come to life. I still look back on the pictures she did for me and they instantly take me back to that time and fill me with all those good emotions. In a time when I was struggling to understand who I was, Jaime helped me discover me. (See below, me spring of 2012) ??
The term senior applies whether you’re graduating high school or college. I didn’t have pictures done my senior year of college and I kind of regret it. Okay, I really regret it. But my senior year I also did senior pictures for my best friends and we had such a blast.
All of this applies to boys too! (See the #1, #2, #4 of the Why section below and I’ll tell you). The pampering part is targeted more towards the ladies, but guys need to get them done too!
There’s never a right or wrong time to take your Senior Portraits (unless of course you choose January – when it’s the coldest here or July / August – when it’s the hottest here). As with all my sessions, I like to start Senior Portraits 2 hours before sunset. Right when that Golden Hour starts. As far as the time of year goes, it’s totally up to you and the vibe you’re going for! Personally my favorite is Spring, right before you graduate. Reason 1 is that it’s started to warm up, flowers are blooming, and it’s such a pleasant time. Reason 2 is that you usually get your cap & gown around then and I love incorporating them in to pictures!
- You might pick summer if the beach is your second home. Let me tell you, a twirly sundress with a floppy hat would be SO cute. If you spend a lot of time on a boat, let’s find a slip or a pretty marina. Summer is also a good time to shoot because it’s so bright and cheery and the Golden Hour is mahhhh-velous.
- If you’re more of an outdoorsy person with sports or hiking you might choose fall so we can capture you in some of those places without sweating our butts off like we would in the summer time. If you’re someone who accessorizes or love your layers, fall is also a great time to shoot so you can layer all the things. (Scarves, rancher hats, off the shoulder sweaters)
- Winter is my least popular, but is still chosen! During winter we typically pick somewhere indoors, maybe the coffeeshop you and your friends visit together, or your favorite hangout spot.
- And my favorite, Spring. I already told you a couple reasons up there ??, but spring is also a popular time to shoot outside of your campus. Whether it’s high school or college, it helps to add a personal touch to show everyone where you’re coming from. (I still love driving past my high school whenever I visit home, all these years later)
- One reason for getting Senior Portraits done are to get some decent headshots of you. Now that you’re graduating, you’re going to need some professional images or yourself for your Linked In profile (but if we’re being honest I can’t tell you the last time I updated mine… I really probably should). You might also get them done for your resume or cover letter so you can leave an impression on a potential employer when you finish an interview – it will help them remember who you were when they have a face to remember you by.
- One of the lesser popular reasons (but still valid) is for yearbook pictures. Some yearbooks let you use your own image instead of the dreaded black drape picture. If you can’t choose your school picture, then maybe you can put them on a feature page. I remember in my senior year our school sold half and full page spreads in the yearbook for parents to write letters to their kids or for students to announce where they were going to college or what they were doing next with their lives.
- My favorite reasons to get Senior Portraits done is to just feel good about yourself! You’re already making an investment by getting Portraits done, why not make it worth your while? Get your makeup and hair professional done. Hit the nail salon the day before. Get pampered! We all know you’ve been busting your butt to finish this year, you deserve to reward yourself, sister!
- Probably the most important reason is for Graduation Announcements. Even if you don’t come from a big family, I’m sure your parents’ close friends are excited to hear about your future endeavors! Stay tuned for a blog where I’ll talk more about the importance of Grad Announcements! (What’s Next?)
- We all know the pandemic really threw a wrench in to all of our plans, and if it ruined your graduation, or your prom, you still need to document these moments!
What to Bring
You might be thinking ‘why do I even need to bring anything to the session? It’s all about me, isn’t it?’ And you’re exactly right! It is all about you and we want that to show in your portraits!
- Did you do any extra curricular activities? Were you in a club or a sorority? Bring something to represent that.
- What do you hope to pursue in your professional life? Teaching? I brought a stack of books and a clipboard with my name on it to get some pictures done so I could announce that I had been hired as a teacher. Nursing? Bring a stethoscope or a coat.
- Pets are always a favorite. I’m honestly terrified of cats, so please don’t bring one of those. But if you want to bring your pup, or your turtle (I’ve even seen some girls bring their ferrets!) Go for it! I do suggest that if you’re going to bring a pet, you should bring someone to either take it home when we’re finished with them for the series of images, or hold on to them because you probably won’t want them in every single picture.
- Food at a session might sound kind of silly, but I lived off of ChikFilA when I was in college. Bring an 8 count nugget meal with a cookies & cream milkshake to get some adorable, candid pictures! Don’t forget the CFA Sauce.
- It’s no secret that friends make everything more fun. Bring your bestie to your shoot and use them as a hype man (I’ll probably ask them to tell some embarrassing stories to get some good belly laughs out of you) and they can even hop in a couple pictures because they’ve such a big part of your life!
I hope this helped you decide what to do for your Senior Portraits! Stay tuned for my next post in the series… Fashion Trends and How to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes.