Senior Portrait Pre-Planning
Whether you are using pamarazzi or another photographer to capture your Senior portraits, it's important to do some pre-planning. To help you with your planning, here is a set of questions I ask ALL my clients in advance of scheduling a session. I find the answers to these questions helpful, whether or not I already know the Senior, to insure I capture their personality and that the photos I take are reflective of who they are.
☐ What are the favorite places or locations that have the most meaning to this Senior? (Aside from the usual local spots – the Gazebo, Lake Medina, Parks - I have taken seniors to Lake Erie, the Cultural Gardens/University Circle, the Rock Hall, and even NewYork City – so don’t be shy here! A senior will be most comfortable on a shoot if they are in one of their 'happy places")
☐ Circle at least FIVE adjectives that best describe your Senior:
☐ What one accomplishment during school has this senior been MOST proud of? (whether or not you can plan props around this OR just talking about this during the shoot will surely bring joy to their facial expression!)
☐ What makes this senior HAPPY? (ie a girlfriend? chipotle? reading a book? I use this info in the strategy)
☐ What extracurricular activities does this Senior participate in?
Music (list instruments played):
☐ What are this Senior’s Hobbies:
Reading (favorite books):
Collecting (list subject):
☐ What music does this senior love to listen to (artists/songs)?
☐ Does the Senior have any pets he/she wants to have included in any photos?
☐ Has the senior selected a college and/or a major/field of study? If not planning to go to college now, what career path will he/she be taking? Military?
☐ What else do you want the photographer to know about this Senior?
There are a few more important pre-planning thoughts beyond these questions. For example, are there specific groupings, poses or formats you want to be sure are included in the final package? Maybe you've been thinking about a collage or special pose - for example, a "now" and "then" photo from kindergarden to Senior. Or, would you like to arrange for a hair and makeup stylist for your session?
While we are working on our plan, be thinking about clothing. Most students will want to bring 1-3 outfits/shirts to change into. Neutral solid colors are very important - especially with outdoor sessions having detailed backgrounds. Some plaids or stripes may make the Senior look bulky or may be so "busy" they distract the viewer from focusing on the Senior's face/eyes!
Parents often WANT to be present for the shoot, but it is preferred to communicate your wishes then step away allowing the photographer and Senior to get to work. The Senior is very often much more relaxed and comfortable without an audience or with mom or dad giving additional feedback while trying to shoot portraits. Plus, it is always a nice surprise for a parent to see the final product. If the Senior wants a parent to be present because they are nervous, then we should accommodate their request. The goal is to capture the person.
Then there's the money. It is important to me that the work I do meets my client's needs and fits within their reasonable expectations. Unlike other photographers, although I have published rates, I don’t generally work from a ‘fixed rate’ – one size does not fit all! I will develop a plan for you based on your needs and budget. In many cases, you will decide what you want to pay and I will deliver results that meet your expectations. We will gather info and determine how to best give you the most for what you want to invest. What is your ideal reasonable target total budget for these portraits? This may influence how many different shots/poses and locations we go with, and how much time we invest on the session and editing. If you are using another photographer, you'll surely want to plan for all costs -- the shoot, any prints, frames, special products, etc., and you'll want to be sure you know how many sessions, clothing changes/poses, locations and/or # of shots your photographer will deliver for the agreed-upon investment.
With all of these things in mind, you'll likely get great results!
Questions? call pamarazzi!