Timing Your Senior Photos

Your Senior Photos Timeline. When to book, when to schedule and how to make those decisions.

You are (or have) a senior! Or more ideally, a soon to be senior. This info will be more beneficial the sooner you have it!

There are a ton of decisions to make about senior photos, but the first ones you have to start with is scheduling the session. Let’s break this down.

Senior photos typically are done anytime between the spring of junior year and the early fall of senior year. This might vary more if you’re not here in Wisconsin but for us Midwest states, that’s the window. Mostly, they have to be done in time for you to submit your photo to the yearbook. Some schools’ deadlines are quite early in the fall and some aren’t until winter break. Find this out first so you’re not in a pinch come fall!

When do you need to get them scheduled with your photographer? Every photographer has a different scheduling situation depending on their business structure, how many seniors they accept during the season and a variety of other reasons. For me, I’m starting to book seniors now (end of junior year). I can take on about 40 seniors a year and by mid summer the schedule gets pretty full. If you wait until August to book, you’ll probably end up with an early morning shoot as evenings are full. So after you read this and decide about when you want the session, go ahead and shoot me a message. You can’t book to early!

Before you book, there are a few things to consider concerning your actual session date. If you plan on having your photos all done in an urban setting, there is a lot of leeway in timing. But if you want some natural settings included in your photos there are more factors to consider. Let’s go through the pros and cons by month.

May photos: Way to be an early bird!

Pros. You get to check that item off your to do list fairly early if you’re having photos done in May! The green of the season is fresh and bright. The spring flowers are popping so that’s a big plus for a flower loving girl. If you have a spring sport you’re incorporating, doing photos before the season ends makes it a little easier too. The fields are in good shape. You have access to your uniform and gear. And you get those senior images early to start your #ss posts!

Cons. You’re probably still pretty busy. School is still in session and if you have a lot of after school activities you might have a harder time getting schedules in sync. For the guys, you could very well look different in May than in late summer. You guys can have those huge growth spurts at any time! Sometimes I do think that it’s hard to feel like it’s time for senior photos when you’re technically still a junior, so there’s that.

June photos: Yes, do this!

Pros. I love shooting in June! We have that early summer greenery, and we’re not into heavy bug season yet. It’s plenty warm without being sweltering. You have recently become an official senior so having photos in June can be a great kick start to the year. It makes it real!

Cons. Not many here. The biggest reason I hear from people not wanting to have them done too early is because they want to be tan. That’s understandable. However, tan lines can cause some problems so a little less golden might be better. I don’t edit tan lines so if you have them, they will be in your photos. Also, you might want to consider how even that tan will be. For instance – in high school I never wore shorts. I didn’t for senior photos either so it wasn’t a problem. But had I worn shorts for my photos – my arms and my legs would have looked like they belonged to very different people!

July photos: Also a good option.

Pros. You can be pretty sure the weather is going to be warm. Summer is in full swing and you have had the chance to really plan out what you want from your senior photos. If you have any upper classmen friends you want to come with to your session they’re probably still around. You haven’t hit the hectic getting ready for school month yet. Fall sports haven’t started practicing yet. You’re probably able to work the schedule fairly well.

Cons. Drought. If we have a drought during the summer, it’s usually sometime in July and greenery can be pretty dried out. We can still find some nice greenery though, we just might not have big showy blooms. The most pain in the butt thing to deal with in July is the mosquitos. Some years it’s not so bad but all my horror stories of the massive swarms are from July sessions. Bug spray. Lots of bug spray.

August photos. You’re still okay.

Pros. You’ve got that tan! You might have changed in the last few months so you’re closer to the person you’ll be during your senior year. If you’re doing a fall sport, you now have access to all that equipment and you probably have that senior jersey. Maybe you’ve saved up enough during the summer that you bought yourself a new ride. You’ve also had friends getting their photos back and possibly gained some inspiration for what you’d like. And the excitement of senior year actually starting is growing fast!

Cons. The later we get in the month the better the chances of a cold snap. That may be right up your alley so that’s up to you whether it’s a con. If the weather really is a stinker and we get rained out, rescheduling opportunities are getting a little tight by mid August. Also, my overall timeline can take up to 6 weeks from your session to your final delivery. If we end up having to push your August session back to September and you have an end of October deadline for yearbook submissions, well…

September photos. I see you’re a procrastinator. No judgement here. I know some really good people with that trait.

Pros. If you don’t like too much heat you’ll probably be more comfortable in September. The summer job schedule is ending. You’re 100% senior now with the school year starting. And if it is cooling down, them darn skeeters are dying off. That makes me happy!

Cons. You have to be hoping hard for good weather on your scheduled day. The timeline is getting really tight so if it’s raining, we have to be fast and flexible with our rescheduling options. I have no Saturdays even available this year in September and one in only one in October. We’re getting short on light so after school can be a little tough for both of us.

I very strongly recommend you don’t wait until September for your photos. Now, if you must have fall color in your photos, I have a package option that makes that doable by including a mini session later in the year! If you want snow in your senior photos, or you want to do a small shoot with a very specific theme or style, it’s also great for that. It can even be used for a family mini session to get that holiday card photo done!

You can get images like these with the extra mini session in the Complete Package.

I hope all this info helped you get a jump start on your planning thoughts! Happy Planning!

If you didn’t catch last week’s post detailing the RJP Senior Experience, make sure you check that out here – The RJP Senior Experience. If you’re starting to think about where you want to have your photos, the next few weeks are going to highlight some of my favorite locations. Keep and eye out for them!

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