To the Nervous Senior Parent

Parents – this one’s for you.

You have a senior – Class of 2022. Congratulations! You have so much to think about in the next year. You’re thinking about all the lasts that are coming. You’re trying to embrace all the moments you can before this chapter closes. Maybe this is your only child, your first senior or your last and now you’ll be an empty nester. You’re probably already thinking about when to have the graduation party and you’re definitely trying to figure out what happens after graduation. College, trade school, apprenticeship or straight into the work force? One of the first things to do this summer is get senior photos done. That can be stressful and it’s a big decision.

A special note for moms of boys.

I see this All. The. Time. More often than not moms are worried that their son isn’t going to smile for pictures, he really doesn’t care about this, he doesn’t like his photo taken. Moms tell me so frequently “I just want to get one nice picture of him.”

Mom – it’s going to be okay. For one thing, your son that probably towers over you and seems to not even need you anymore loves you. If nothing else, he’ll agree to take these photos for you. Second thing – I am pretty darn good at reading seniors and making sure they’re at ease and having fun. The biggest thing here is that you let him be himself. If your son is a t-shirt and jeans guy, let him wear t-shirt and jeans. Why would you want a photo on the wall that doesn’t show who he really is anyway. If there is anything that he’s interested in, anything at all, let him include it. That dirty old truck, the sports stuff, the dog, anything that he attaches to will make the photo session more tolerable for him. I get it that not everyone is super pumped to have their photo taken.

As far as working with me, I will never pretend to have a different personality for clients. BUT – I do know what parts of my personality to let out when I’m working with clients. I will let the loud and fun side out with a girl that is loving this whole thing, but when I have a guy that isn’t in to it, I let myself be more chill and just chat. And I work fast so we can always wrap up early when we hit that point of being just done.

Now for all the nervous parents –

I am here to help! And this isn’t just for the people who choose to use me for those images. If you do choose me to do your images, I know you don’t have to worry nearly as much as your brain is trying to convince you that you should.

How to choose your photographer:

First you have to find a photographer whose style you like. I describe my style as bright, clean and vibrant. If you like the dark and moody style that is so popular right now, I’m not the girl for you. If you really love the studio feel that has almost a magazine vibe to it, that’s cool! I’m not your girl though. And if you want every single square centimeter of skin to be perfected with incredible precision, that is definitely not me. Scroll to the images to see if you like my style.

If you don’t have a photographer in mind, ask upperclassmen parents for recommendations. This is the best way to get real opinions from people you trust. You can post on Facebook for recommendations but you’re going to have about 100 names thrown at you and then you have to sort through that. You could also do a quick Instagram hashtag search for senior photographer and your city name and see what you come up with.

Next up, money.

You have a budget and you need to stick to it. I get it and I know that at this point in my career my photography is an investment and not everyone will choose to hire me. That’s okay, I still want to help you out! Here are some questions to ask your photographer or research on them before signing that contract. (There should always be a contract when working with a professional.)

  1. The biggest question is do you receive digital files. It is not wrong for a photographer to not automatically hand over digital files. The images are the property of the photographer and the decision to include them is entirely dependent on their own business model. If you don’t receive digitals automatically, then know ahead of time what the cost is of prints and if there is an option to pay additionally for digitals.
  2. If you do receive digitals, know how many images you will get. For me this year, my short session include 15 images and my long ones include 25, both with the option to purchase more.
  3. Know if there are any additional costs after the session. You may receive digitals but not printing rights. In that case whatever you want printed you have to go back through your photographer. This isn’t just a way for that photographer to make more money. It’s a way for them to ensure that their work which they have spent a lot of time on is printed with a quality company that is not going to make it look like crap. Cough cough, Walmart.

The bullet points:

I could go on and on about all the things to consider but since you are busy and so am I here’s a quick list of things to know before your session:

  1. How many locations?
  2. How many wardrobes?
  3. Are animals okay?
  4. Can friends be included?
  5. What if it rains?
  6. Morning or evening?
  7. Timeline for delivery?
  8. What if you have to cancel?

With all that being considered, I will say with confidence that if you choose to hire me for senior photos, the hardest part is done. I have spent years making sure my client experience is exceptional. My seniors get a magazine in the mail with 40 pages of info and images to help inspire and plan for their session. They get a questionnaire to fill out that lets me get to know a few things about them ahead time and be clued in to what they really like and want in photos. I am pretty darn good at keeping the communication open and making sure you know what every step of the process is. All you have to do is read your email.

The most you have to worry about with me is getting in this year. I’m moving in August and I am only booking senior sessions through August 16th for now. It’s going to be a short senior season for me but it’s what I gotta do.

You might want to check out these blog posts too!

The RJP Senior Experience – This lays out the process of my senior experience.

Timing Your Senior Photos – This one explains the pros and cons of your options for scheduling by month. I wrote it before I knew I was moving though, so disregard the September option!

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