Choosing a Senior Photographer: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

You are only a senior in high school once, and this is such an important time in your life!  This is probably the last time you’ll have a beautiful portrait taken until one of the other most important moments in your life, your wedding day.  (Crazy to think about that, right?)  The biggest factor in whether you have a great experience and photos you love when all is said and done is the photographer you choose.

Which brings me to a few things I’d love to share with you this week – the Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Senior Photographer.  In the future, I’ll share a few more tips for how to go about choosing the right photog, but for now, I thought I’d stick with the three most common things I see or hear about when talking about senior photos with my clients.

Mistakes to Avoid

#1 – Choosing your photographer just based on price.  Photographers that charge very little for a session often promise everything for next to nothing.  All of your pictures on a CD for $200, with copyright release (Did you know that the copyright release actually stays with the creator of the images?  What you want is a print release).  Free prints when you book your session.  Free additional session with your session!  When it seems too good to be true, it usually is.  You’ll often find one or many of these factors coming in to play with bottom-dollar photographers:  tons of clients at a low price, which means they have no time for you, you have to wait months to see your photos, they have tacky or non-existent post-processing and Photoshop work, you receive average images with nothing that truly wows you, the photographer is disorganized and rushed, there might be ridiculous ordering requirements…I could keep going.

I completely understand that each family has their own budget and wants to keep things within reason, but it is also important to understand the value of what you are investing in, not just the price.  Is spending $150 more to ensure that your daughter doesn’t have shadows across her face or purple skin or a cheap book that falls apart within one year or the same pose as everyone else of value to you?  Possibly.  If so, then keep searching based on more than just price.

#2 – Having a friend do it for you.  A fancy camera does not make a good photographer.  If that were true, then there would be a LOT more people calling themselves professional photographers!  We often like to think that just because someone has the goods, that they can deliver.  This isn’t the case.

Professional photographers have training, education, and experience to know what poses, backgrounds, and expressions will flatter you best.  We are also prepared for a variety of lighting scenarios, understand the principles of good composition, and even more importantly, we genuinely care for and feel accountable to our clients!  We want you to love your photos and love your experience.  We’re not just goofing around and having fun on a Sunday afternoon, we are there to serve you and give you are absolute best.  I’ve actually had people come to me after failed attempts at friend photos multiple times – don’t make the same mistake!

#3 – Not talking with your parents/child about your preferred photographer.  This is a tricky one, because we all know that parent-child relationships aren’t always smooth!  It’s really important that you discuss together what kind of senior photos you want and what’s important to you.  Since most often it is the parents who are paying, seniors, you need to make sure your parents approve of the photographer you’re absolutely DYING to use for your senior pics.  Do they like the posing and style of the photographer?   And parents, make sure that your child is equally enthusiastic about your preferred photographer.

However you choose to navigate this, I highly recommend that you are on the same page about who you choose to use as a photographer.  It will save you some future tension and conflict, I promise!   I get contacted by both seniors and parents, and I always make sure to double check that everyone is equally excited about working me before the session.  It just makes everything so much better!


I hope this short list can help you avoid making some common mistakes, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what the experience is like with me, please get in touch!



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