Your senior photo will end up in the yearbook for all to see—and on your parents’ wall, and on your Facebook profile—so the stakes are pretty high. Local photographers gave us their tips for ending up with a photo (or a whole album full!) that really lets you shine.
■ My clients want photos that are unique and different, and to do that, I hold the photo shoot at their home. It gives us access to their entire wardrobe, and girls especially love that they get to wear so many different clothes. We shoot throughout the house, inside and outside, but the bedroom is the place that shows their personality—it gives you insight into who that person is
. ■ Most of my clients are pretty open to help in picking their outfits. Your photographer can use his artistic eye to see which things complement the background best. And by the time we’re done, I have a lot of them tell me, I never thought of wearing this together; I have three whole new outfits now!
■ Parents think they want one picture for their wall or the desk, for the wallets and the graduation announcements, because that’s all they had when they went to school. We show them you can get a 10-page, custom album with maybe 30 pictures all together. It’s a really nice keepsake. The photos are also ideal for Facebook.
■ It used to be that everyone would have their pictures done in a park or the studio, which is nice, but now people are willing to do things that are a little funkier. They’re going to urban environments, like down by the Arch or in front of a wall with graffiti. One I’ve done a couple of times is by a Metrolink station—I love that urban feeling with the rail lines running behind them.
■ Many teens are uncomfortable with adults, particularly boys. The photos will turn out so much better if the client is relaxed, so that presents a challenge. I advise the parents that if the teen is shy, the mother should come to the sitting, so she can chat with the photographer. It takes the heat off them. Conversely, if they’re really talkative and love to share their life experiences, the mother should be nowhere in sight.
■ If you have a hard time smiling on command without it looking fake, I have a fool-proof cure: Lock yourself in the bathroom for 30 minutes and practice your smile. You might feel like crying after 15 minutes, but stick with it and I guarantee it will work. And you’ll never forget—you will always be able to produce a good smile.