To the Nervous Senior Parent

Parents – this one’s for you.

You have a soon to be senior. 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. For the past few years I have described my style as bright, clean and vibrant. I have shot all natural light as I don’t have a studio and didn’t have space to store lighting equipment. That is changing. The studio is a fall project but lighting on location is ready now. I can go so many more places and shoot at any time of day now. That being said, I have no intention of changing my style – just expanding it.

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.

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 and what my answer is:

  1. Are they print/product based or only digital? (A: Print/product. Let’s get those gorgeous images on your wall and in your album!)
  2. If I only get digitals, do I have print rights? (A: The digital copies of the images you have ordered wall art or albums of are printable up to a 5 x 7)
  3. How many locations? (A: 1 for the half hour session, as many as we need beyond that.)
  4. How many wardrobes? (A: How fast can you change? )
  5. Are animals okay? (A: Absolutely!)
  6. Can friends be included? (A: Also absolutely, just keep it to a few shots)
  7. What if it rains? (A: Option to reschedule)
  8. Morning or evening? (A: Anytime works for me to shoot, child care is my limiting factor.)
  9. Timeline for delivery? (A: About 6 weeks from your ordering session your products will be here and ready for pick up.)
  10. What if you have to cancel? (A: It happens. We can talk about that at your consult if it’s a concern.)

The Bottom Line

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 and this year it is going through a big elevation. My seniors get a senior experience magazine with 40 pages of info and images to help inspire and plan for their session. Our in person consultation 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. Yes, I know that’s harder than it sounds.

The most you have to worry about is figuring out what your vision is for these images and where you’re going to hang them in your home!

You might want to check out these blog posts too!

Timing Your Senior Photos – This one explains the pros and cons of your options for scheduling by month.

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