Senior portrait season kicks off the minute after the last day of school, as that is the official moment juniors become seniors, and it lasts until the day before the yearbook picture is due (which varies by school, but typically anywhere from October 1 – December 1).
As the Seacoast’s leading modern senior portrait photography studio, we get a lot of questions about senior portraits, including when they should be scheduled and taken. There are a few factors to consider as you plan your senior’s session…these factors are the key to figuring out when to schedule your session. For the sake of this article, we’re going to address senior girls. Let’s face it, most teenage guys would rather pretend senior portraits, (and perhaps photography in general), didn’t exist.
If this is your first child, you should be warned: senior portraits are not what they used to be. We are talking individualized, editorial, magazine style photoshoots. Kids aren’t lining up in the school gymnasium, holding roses, with an angelic hair-light pointed at the back of their aqua-net heightened hair anymore. That was the dream we lived.
WHEN to be photographed..in four easy steps
- Fashion. The major deciding factor for when to be photographed is fashion. Senior girls have ideas about what they want their portraits to look like, which is largely influenced by what they’re wearing. Some girls want to wear sundresses and some want to wear sweaters. The quickest way to determine when to be photographed, is to figure out what she wants to wear.
- Skin Tone. Girls often tell us that they want to be tan for their senior session, which gets trickier as summer turns into fall. If having a “summer glow” is important, she’ll want to schedule her session during the summer months, while she can still get to the beach.
- Schedule. This is the most pragmatic factor, but often overlooked. If your student is a fall athlete, their schedule tightens up in mid-August. Senior portraits are scheduled in the evening, typically 1-2 hours before sunset. That’s often the time students are practicing, have games, work, or are doing homework/studying (once school begins). Seniors who plan to get their hair & makeup done by a professional also need to remember that they’re navigating not only their busy schedules, but also the hair & makeup artist and photographer’s schedules. This is where planning ahead will make a big difference!
- Environment. The last factor is the environment. If your senior wants blooming flowers, she will want a summer session. If she wants colorful leaves, early October is her best bet. It’s worth noting that there are more weeks of blooming flowers than colorful leaves. There are only a few weeks of foliage, so if foliage is at the top of her list, her October date should be scheduled as early as possible (we have clients who book their fall sessions a year in advance). “Environment’ is the least of all the factors because many environments don’t really change with the seasons (cityscapes, beaches, forts, etc..), and honestly the picture is more about the senior than what’s behind her.
When to schedule your session
As soon as possible. The early bird gets the worm. The earlier you schedule your session, the more flexibility you’ll have in terms of choosing your date. You don’t have to have any of the details figured out, just get a date circled on the calendar. You can fill in the details about location and wardrobe later.
We think July & August are the perfect months for summer senior portraits. The weather is great, the tans are on point, and our schedule (and your senior’s schedule) isn’t completely jammed yet – which makes rescheduling in the event of rain, easy peasy. Of course we photograph seniors from June through November, so there’s really no right or wrong time to get photographed. We always make it work!