How to plan senior pictures in 5 easy steps: from the experts!
At JDP, we know senior pictures. Like, really, really know them. Whether you're a stressed-out mom preparing for the roller coaster ride that is senior year, or a current Junior looking to get the most out of your senior picture experience, let us tell you the BEST tips from our past clients!
1. Plan early!
You would never schedule a vacation or buy a prom dress two days before the big day, so why wait until the week before to schedule senior pictures? As one of the most important milestones of a school career, senior pictures are not a "back burner" event! Calling 3-4 months before to secure your session date is very common, especially if you're looking for a specific month. Do your research, talk it over with the family, and make it official with your photographer. It's much better to book super early and have time to get excited and plan than be upset that the photographer you loved is booked full. Our senior sessions for the summer are often booked by March!
2. Gather ideas from the start!
Are you seeing a theme already? Last-minute panic is never fun. A good photographer will provide you with information like timelines, style guides, and product examples, but senior sessions are all about personal style! Whether you need to order in pieces from somewhere like Rent the Runway, borrow a family heirloom, or just organize a great Pinterest board for inspiration, earlier is always better! DEFINITELY make sure all outfits are chosen and packed with accessories and shoes the night before! Senior pictures are an EXPERIENCE! The time leading up to them should be fun and exciting!
3. Make it a family affair!
Yes, senior pictures are about the senior, obviously. But working together to plan a session is VERY important! We've seen so many moms who are looking at their senior's wardrobe for the first time as they hang it up in the studio, and fights ensue over what was expected, what isn't appropriate, and so on. Trust me, it might not be the most fun of conversations, but pretty much anything beats arguing in the studio dressing room. Our typical senior session involves 3-4 outfits, so one can be completely the senior's choice (those images can go on canvases for her room, or in a folio) and the other outfits can be collaborations for family and parents to put in an album. Everyone wins!
4. Practice makes perfect!
Each of our seniors are unique, but there are a lot of similarities in our sessions. It sounds really silly, but practicing your photo faces is important! Selfie faces are NOT senior picture faces! Knowing how to get your face to make a variety of expressions (in front of other people!) is the key. Relaxed, natural smiles without raising your eyebrows (think of graduation day!), a sassy smirk (think of a fun secret no one else knows!), and how to give a fierce fashion look (think of how strong you are and breathe through your mouth!) are great starting places. EVERYONE blanks when they first get in front of the camera, but if you practice at home and with mom's help, you'll rock your look from the first shot!
5. Have a gameplan!
This is another step where the entire family is involved! As we said before, a good photographer will provide you with a pricelist and the ability to see the products you'll be purchasing to showcase these amazing senior images you'll have. Let me just tell you, nearly every client goes over what their "budget" is, mostly because they haven't had a boutique experience before. That doesn't at all mean they're unhappy about it! However, having some sort of plan of what you'd like is very helpful when it comes to ordering. If you show up to the ordering session with zero ideas of where you'd put a canvas collection, have never talked to your senior about what he or she would like to have as keepsakes, and haven't counted relatives to receive prints, it can be a tough, tense time for everyone. Again, no one wants to be in the room when family members are fighting, and it is so easily avoided!
So the moral of this story is, plan early and plan lots! Senior portraits are an important milestone that Class of 2017 seniors have been thinking about for years. Clear communication, research, and understanding the importance of investing in more than a cd of images to print (poorly) at Walmart is so insanely important! And of course, if you have questions, call the experts (us!) We can't wait to hear from you!