Senior guide

This is your senior's turn to shine! We want to make this as fun and authentic as possible for your son or daughter, so with that in mind, we'll work with you on choosing a location, selecting outfits, incorporating props, and focusing on the kinds of looks and poses they love most. After you book, we'll schedule your pre-session consultation for about 3-4 weeks before your session so that we can brainstorm ideas and give you time to look for outfits or any other items you'd like to incorporate into the session.

Senior photography guide

7. the benefits of my longer sessions:

From when to book, when to have your session, what to wear, what to bring, and more, this guide will help get you well on your way towards having an incredible senior portrait session with me! 

I recommend choosing 2-3 of your favorite outfits. We'll want to make sure that the color choices and patterns/textures will work well with the backgrounds we'll have at our location. For example, avoid green when there will be lots of green trees or grass around. We want you to stand out! Outfits that have a lot of texture or subtle prints/patterns tend to work really well, as do layers and accessories, such as hats, vests, etc. I also recommend that at least one outfit be fairly casual and easy to move around in for sitting poses, etc. and then one outfit that is more dressy or dramatic. I've got a whole lot more advice on the topic of outfits that is included in my welcome letter as we start preparing for your session. And as you start thinking about what to wear and all of the advice out there, remember that the most important thing is for you to love how you look in what you are wearing!

1. book early!

I recommend booking at least 1-2 months in advance to give you time to plan and because space fills up quickly. If you would like to have the session on a weekend during the busiest time of year (August – October), then I recommend booking even earlier, such as 2-3 months in advance. My sessions are always held in the last hours of daylight to ensure all of my clients have the best lighting possible. This means that I never hold back-to-back sessions and my full attention for that day is devoted to you and ensuring that you have the best experience possible. You are going to shine!!!

Rather than just picking a nearby park, we'll help you choose a location that best incorporates your interests or is meaningful to you. Whether its mountains, trees, a field, urban setting, sports field, water, a favorite hiking trail, or something else altogether, we want this to be all about you and this starts by letting you, the senior help choose the location! And if you're stuck or need suggestions, I've got plenty of those!

I know so many great locations and I'm always up for trying new spots too! I know how to find beautiful light anywhere. When your first start thinking about location, ask yourself what you like most about our beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can keep it to a general type of setting for now and then during your pre-session consultation, I can help you narrow it down further from there. Here are some of the basic types of locations that we can start from:

  1. Traditional Park (landscaped).
  2. Nature Park (wild, no landscaping, may involve some hiking, trails, rougher terrain).
  3. Beach or water setting
  4. Urban/Other (involves building as background elements)
  5. Sports field/school
  6. Indoor setting (home, favorite hang-out spot)

With the exception of winter sessions (when the sun is generally never out), you can plan to have your session during the last few hours of daylight. Because the lighting is by far the best when the sun is low in the sky, I only book one session on a given day and we always have it during this time. I just would not feel good about offering "less than ideal" lighting for some clients just so that I could squeeze in a few more sessions at one location. So yours will be my ONLY session that day! It's going to be all about you!

We call this beautiful lighting situation at the end of the day the "golden hour" as it is that time when the light becomes softer, more flattering, and of course, beautifully golden because the lower sun angle means more blue/violet and shorter wavelength light gets refracted since it passes through more of the atmosphere on its way toward us on the ground. The result is that warmer, longer wavelengths reach us in greater quantity. Hence, golden light! In the summertime, this typically means starting at around 6pm or 7pm and then ending right around sunset. The other advantage of this is that we end at the best light of the day, typically coinciding with when your senior will feel most relaxed, dialed into posing naturally, and having fun!

2. choosing a location

3. choosing outfits:

4. what about props?

Let's get creative! Does you play an instrument, participate in sports, love reading books, have a pet, love their first car, or have any hobbies or interests? If so, then we can see how we can incorporate them into the session! Props, even if they are used for just a few images, are another great way to help you relax, feel comfortable having your photographs taken, help make the images more authentically about you as well! These could include sports equipment and/or uniforms, portable musical instruments, things you've made, your car, favorite book, etc.

My clients are always telling me how much they love how natural-looking everyone is in my photographs. And they love how I'm able to capture the beauty in the surroundings while still maintaining the focus of the image on the people being photographed. Some of that is lighting, framing, and editing, but a huge part is also posing. During your pre-session consultation, we'll also talk about poses and expression. I'll ask you about the kinds of images and looks you like and talk about how our location, posing, and your choice of outfits can help us create images you'll love.

6. what is the best time of day for my session?

Let's face it, not everyone feels super comfortable in front of the camera at the very beginning. During your session, I'll help you relax so that you can let your personality shine. I'll give you time to move and explore your surroundings to avoid stiff, static poses. We'll get you to laugh, have fun, and be yourself out there. I've had some seniors who at first didn't want to have their photograph taken (they were mainly doing it for Mom) end up having so much fun that they didn't want it to end! To keep it flowing, we'll make sure there is time to explore our location or hike to some new spots, as well as an outfit change or two. And trust me, that 2 hours is going to fly by! I've found that parents have a great time too, watching their son or daughter enjoy the experience of a photoshoot that is just for them. It's a great way for you to spend time together!

5. a word (or two) about posing:

7. What if it rains?

I love shooting in the rain! But if it’s going to be really nasty out there, we’ll reschedule. If you’re up for it, however, shooting when everything is wet and glistening can be absolutely amazing! Rain creates beautiful reflections, so sometimes if we can get out there shortly after the rain, something akin to magic can happen!

Parents have a great time too, watching their son or daughter enjoy the experience of a custom photoshoot just for them!