If you are reading this post, you either are a High School Senior, or the proud parent of a High School Senior! Either way, congrats!!!
For the High School Senior:
Wow!!! Senior Year!!! You are probably a combination of psyched, nervous, and overwhelmed. You might know your first choice for next year, or you are still figuring it out. Maybe you are all done with your college visits, or you are still looking forward to more campus tours and interviews. So many decisions are involved in this year of essay topics, applications, Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision! Oh, my!
You may be a bit shell shocked that you have a High School Senior! Doesn't it feel like yesterday you were registering your child for nursery school, not discussing AP Classes? Time flies by in a flash!!! Document this special milestone with meaningful senior portraits to enjoy now, and for years to come. It is also a great time to consider updating your family portraits. Once kids start going away to school, it becomes harder and harder to capture family portraits. They can still be done when everyone comes home for holidays, but consider making the effort during senior year. It is a milestone in your senior's life, and for the family as well. I never had a client regret updating their family portraits!
Outdoor Senior Sessions
Here in the Northeast, most public high schools send all their High School Seniors to one photographer for a consistent look, typically with a backdrop, and the drape.
Some schools give their High School Seniors more creativity and flexibility with submitting an image of their choice with a lot more variables. You get to pick the setting, clothing and personality of your High School Senior Portrait!!!
If you have to go to a designated photographer for the yearbook, you can still do a session on your own to document this important milestone in your life with portraits that you love!
You are only a High School Senior once. Let's make it fun and what you want, if it is for the yearbook, or just for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.
It is great when you can incorporate your personality into your session documenting this milestone. This can be accomplished by the location you choose, the clothes you wear, and the props you may choose to include. For instance, we have photographed seniors for whom playing football is a significant part of their high school years, and done some of these sessions on their football field. Some seniors choose to do their session at a beach if that is what they love, or their own backyard. We have done sessions at a river with a crew shell, school campus, arboretum, and our private North Stamford Crane Song Photography pond and woods. So many choices and way to incorporate what is important to you! Often, we do part of the session with the seniors' dog, or dogs! Who can beat the unconditional love of your favorite dogs?
For those lucky enough to craft their own sessions, we offer the following tips and observations when planning your session:
Professional photographer. Make the investment in using a professional photographer. The correct lighting and posing makes a huge difference! A slight change in the position of a hand, arm or the tilt of the head can make you look thinner and be the difference between a Wow Portrait and a snapshot. The proper lighting, the catch in your eyes, posing all contribute to that 'wow' factor. Different photographers have different styles of photographing people. Check out their website and portfolio to make sure their style is one you like.
Locaton. If there is a place that brings an automatic smile to your face, then that is a good place to consider for your senior session location, as long as it is practical. Do you love the feel of sand between your toes and water lapping at your ankles? Then consider a beach location. During summer months this is often dictated by the town you live in, or club you belong to. We have done fun beach sessions at Tod's Point in Greenwich, Cove Island Park in Stamford, Roton Point in Norwalk, Wilson Point in Norwalk, Shippan Yacht Club in Stamford and private properties with beach and water access. As a former college swimmer, I always love sessions done by the water. At our own studio we have a wooded pond which is always a great option as well. We do many senior sessions at client's homes in their own yard. Other past locations for sessions include; The Bartlett Arboretum, Row America in Rye, and the grounds at King School in Stamford.
Clothes. You want to be comfortable and feel good in the clothes you wear to your session. We all have that favorite top that just makes us feel good, and a color that we get more compliments on than others. Try to avoid bold patterns and stripes. You want the attention on your face, not your clothes. Be careful selecting black or white. They look great with a tan, but if you have fair skin and no tan, they can wash you out. Feel free to bring a few choices to your session and get the opinion of your photographer.
Serious fun. Try to enjoy the experience. It is best when you can look back and think of your session as fun. If you have picked a location and clothes you enjoy, the fun often follows. If you are stressed about the prospect, then the stress can sometimes come through in your portraits. That is why it is also helpful to select a photographer whose style and personality you feel comfortable with, since you will spend some time together. If you are someone who doesn't like to smile, then tell your photographer. You don't want them to continue to try to get you to do something that you are not comfortable doing. Your photographer can't read your mind, but hopefully will read your non-verbal clues and know how to get some great portraits that you will love to look at for years to come. Keep in mind, sometimes these portraits are used for name tags for reunions in the future. Enjoy the experience!
Dogs. If you adore your family dog, think about including your dog in some of your portraits. For those that don't enjoy being photographed, and we all know there are some who don't, including your dog may help you relax. Don't do all your portraits with your dog, but think about doing some. Pets are a big part of our lives, and it is special to have a great portrait with your trusted confidant and four legged friend.