Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Senior Portraits What You Gotta Know Part One

Holy canolies, Seniors, it is almost time to go back to school! This amazing year will fly by, and then you will have your own wings with which to soar.

One of the big decisions you are going to have to make is senior portraits. I know that photography isn't going to change the economy or determine your future, but listen to this...it will probably be the last and forever portrait that hangs on your parents' wall. And it very well may be the last portraits you have done of just yourself.

So, the first decision is what photographer? If I were just interested in your business, I'd say me, lol...but that is not my main concern. I believe in the art of photography and in finding the perfect photographer that will best represent you in art. So, to find your perfect photographer, you are going to have to first think about who you are and how you want to be photographed.

Here are some things I ask my seniors and what every senior should think about.
Give me adjectives that describe your favorite personality aspects.
Silly, Sarcastic, Dark, Shy, Sexy, Happy-Go-Lucky, Serious, Athletic, Caring, Leader, the list could go on forever. Knowing the personality of my clients is so important to creating portraits that bring out that essence, and move a portrait from a "pretty picture" to "life as art"
What do you love to do?
This does not have to be something formal like football or band, this can also be butterfly collecting, or painting your toenails in the bathtub. The more I know about your passions and quirks, the more creative I can be with your session.
What does your parents love most about you?
So, often what you like and what your parents like will be different. And that's great, we'll just shoot to capture shots that both of you will love, that why you have a whole gallery full.
What is do you not like about yourself?
Maybe it's your nose when you are standing profile. Maybe it is the way you shift your weight to one foot. If I know these things then I can work to minimize or correct what bothers you.
What is your personal style?
What we wear and how we wear is our first impression statement to the world. Maybe you have this aspect developed to an art, and maybe this conversation gives you the heebie jeebies. Either way, your photographer should be able to help you use your style and the style of the image to portray an overall message. And, I will never suggest you wear neutral single colors. This is an excellent idea for a headshot in a yearbook, but in your custom photography shoot, your style should shine. Also, I have lots of accessories, and am have several wardrobe options to help you out.
Where do you want to go to do your session?
Someplace downtown, quaint and historic. Deep in the woods. On the lake. Industrial and edgy. The front porch at home. Just indoor studio shots? The more unique and varied a session is, the more I feel in my element artistically. I could not imagine limiting my seniors to the same locations and set ups, I know it would be convenient and wouldn't require much thought, but I'm an artist, not an assembly line operator, so it would suck the joy out of living!
What season do you want your session?
Yes, we are blessed with beautiful outdoor scenery all through the year. If you plan to take outdoor photos, what season is your favorite, or what do you envision for your session. Your photographer can help you with this, or if you want the ultimate senior session, I offer a four seasons session that allows you to capture the beauty of Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri in all it's glory. This will make an amazing album for years to come.
What is your budget?
This is very important to sit down with your parents and discuss. Custom portraiture is an investment. I have had seniors that talk about spending thousands of their own money on clothes for the senior shoot, but have their parents only spend a couple of hundred on their photos. Those clothes will go for quarters at a garage sale in a few years, but you will never get to have senior portraits again. If your parents are on a tight budget, and you have summer job money to spend, consider using some of your own money. Another thing to research is what payment options the photographer has. I am more than happy to work with any client on a custom payment plan that works for them. And I love to do trades. I am always in need of something (piano and dance lessons for my kids, yard work, a canoe or kayak, the list goes on).

The main thing is know who you are and what you want. This will be a very important skill to finding happiness and success well beyond the camera. If you can learn to discern who you are, what you like about yourself and what you want to accomplish, it will take a lot of guesswork out of choosing everything from a college major to who you should date. Come back soon and we'll chat some more. Of course, as always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to call or message me.


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