How to choose a Senior Portrait Photographer | Southern Maine Seacoast NH Senior Portrait Photographer

It’s that time of year again! Senior portrait season is here. For some soon-to-be seniors this is the day they have dreamed of since junior high and for others, they dread the vulnerability of someone else “controlling” the camera and seeing the pictures before they do.

This is the selfie-generation we’re talking about.


There are a ton of photographers and “people with nice cameras” who are willing to take your senior’s photograph. How to choose?

1. Look at their portfolio. Let’s face it, a photographer’s website is going to have their best work. Start there. The website should be beautiful. Perfect skin tones, true to life color, and facial clarity. If the website is “just okay”, chances are, their every day pictures are probably not great.

2. Look at their recent work. Check them out on social media. Do you like what you see? Different photographers have different editing styles. Stay away from photographers who look like they put trendy instagram filters on their pictures. You can put filters on your selfies, but when you pay a professional to take your pictures, you want a clean, timeless look. These are your forever pictures.

3. Look at their longevity. How long have they been in business? Do you want to trust your senior portraits to someone who just opened up a photography Facebook page, or slapped “photography” onto the end of their name on their instagram account? Probably not. If your hard drive crashes five years from now, it would be nice to go back to the photographer who took your pictures to see if you can get a copy from them. You won’t be able to do that with someone who is no longer in business.

4. Ask questions. Approximately how many seniors do you shoot per year? How many years have you been shooting seniors? What kind of camera do you shoot with? (then google it; your photographer’s camera should cost thousands of dollars). What software do you edit with, do you edit blemishes? (ACR, Bridge, Lightroom, Photoshop – all acceptable answers). At Mercy Street Studio we all use both Lightroom and Photoshop on our pictures.


These are your forever pictures. It’s an investment worth getting right.


..or you could just skip the hassle and contact us, we’ll take care of you!





Ultimate Senior Portrait Session | Exeter High School

Somewhere in mid-September I fell waaaay behind on blogging our Ultimate Senior Portrait Sessions, which were a BLAST this year. We had more of these sessions than ever before, and more adventures than ever before.

Molly’s session was definitely high on our list of fun and adventure.


Molly’s mom was the mastermind behind planning her session. She wanted sunflowers, which were in bloom in MA…but also a little bit of an urban feel, and also some nature, and water, oh, and some beach.

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No problem.


We plotted out our trip: Newburyport, Plum Island, Colby Farm.

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We met Molly and her mom in downtown Newburyport on one of those perfect weather days, sunny and just the right temperature. The storefronts were bursting with gorgeous window boxes in full bloom. Molly introduced herself with poise and confidence and showed us her wardrobe which was piled deep in the back of her mom’s car.


Not only is she a natural beauty, but she’s a girl who knows what she wants. Being a nature lover, she decided that shooting in downtown Newburyport didn’t really feel like her, so we headed over to the park to grab some shots where we were surrounded by nature, and then down by the waterfront. After a quick outfit and hair change, we hopped in our cars and met at Plum Island.


Time was flying by and we could feel the sun sinking lower with every passing moment. We needed to get to the sunflower farm before it was too late. We hopped in our cars like we were in the Amazing Race and set off towards our next destination.


The farm was magnificent. The sun was in the exact perfect position when we arrived. We walked quickly from our cars to the field as that warm golden light was covering the field and I knew it wouldn’t last long. Even though there were people EVERYWHERE, with each frame it was like Molly was the only one there.


As the sun set behind the trees, a residual burst of orange/pink sprung up from the sun’s setting glory and we soaked in every last bit of it.

What an amazing senior portrait session, and kickoff to a most unforgettable senior year.



Morgan’s Ultimate Senior Portrait Session | ME Senior Photographer

I’m going to try very hard not to share every.single.image from Morgan’s shoot, which is going to take a great deal of restraint, because I’m in love with them all.


I photographed Morgan when she was in 8th grade, and her sister a few years ago, and I knew from these past interactions that the fashion was going to be ON POINT.


I also knew this shoot was going to be epic, because Morgan wanted to be photographed on a sailboat, and honestly I couldn’t think of anything greater than photographing her on one.


Morgan’s mom is the unsung hero of this shoot because she worked behind the scenes to get the boat(s)/locations squared away.


When I met them at The Crown I got a peek into the trunk at her outfits, accessories, and shoes. I squealed with delight (on the inside, of course) …I think…actually I may have squealed out loud. It’s all a blur now. Anyway, I LOVED Morgan’s style.


We headed over to the yacht club and (with permission) boarded some of the boats. And then we took a short boat ride out to a catamaran for some more pictures. PaulM-22b

It was everything.


Morgan was so fun to photograph, and honestly if the shoot had ended right there it would’ve been A-Mazing…but we had planned a 2nd destination, so we hoped in our cars and headed to Odiorne Point for some additional photos.


I had only shot one other time at Odiorne, a few years ago, but remembered some really cool graffiti walls that I wanted to find. I thought the graffiti would pair well with Morgan’s edgy urban mini skirt and she was game for an adventure, so we set off into the woods to see if we could locate them.

PaulM-26Unfortunately the area that had the graffiti was filled in with large boulders, but we made the best of it by using what we could of the space, and the filler boulders.


Per usual, my squirrel-like perceptions lead me to spot a bridge on the way to Odiorne Point that I felt was perfect for photos. I’m sure it wasn’t what they had in mind when they thought of that location, but they trusted, and we walked over to he bridge. Honestly the bridge shots are straight up eye candy for me. Photographers dig lines. The pants. The bridge. All the lines.


Soon we couldn’t deny that the sun was setting and we had one shot left…a water shot. Morgan slipped into a gorgeous lace dress and we scoured the muddy shoreline for a spot for her to enter the water.


We stole the last few minutes of daylight getting our water shots.

It was such a fun shoot, I rushed home to upload her images; opening those files was like opening a treasure chest.

Thank you Morgan and Anita for a wonderful, adventurous photoshoot.



Grace’s Ultimate Senior Portrait Session | Maine Senior Photographer

Grace’s ultimate senior photoshoot was such an incredible and unique experience. Her mom was so truly thoughtful about the locations, there were many little stops (eight, but who’s counting), it made for one of the most memorable photoshoots, the kind that makes my heart feel warm as I remember it.


We started out in South Berwick, which made sense, not only because that’s where I picked Grace up from her Hair & Makeup appointment, but because Grace goes to High School at Berwick Academy, this is her downtown.


We ventured up 91 to her dad’s business, which was a total photography playground. Barn, tall flowers, and logs. Oh, and Grace was kind enough to have arrived earlier in the day to arrange a bunch of heavy tree trunks so that we could use them as a photography backdrop (above)…at least that’s what she told me.  hehe


And though the sunflowers weren’t an actual part of Grace’s “meaningful places” tour, she had this yellow dress, and all that gorgeous blonde hair ..and well…don’t you think it was worth a few minute diversion?


So we continued on. Grace spent a lot of time here as a kid. York Wild Kingdom. If you’re from this area, you know what’s up.


Oh the memories…


The next location was Grace’s grandmom’s house. Grace was super close to her grandmom, who had passed away in the spring. It was so special to have photographed Grace at her home, I feel like maybe she was smiling down on us.


The next few spots are places that Grace drives by every day…this is her ‘hood.


…and where she had her prom pictures taken last spring…


and more pictures from her hometown


I think when Grace goes away to college, she’ll look back at her senior pictures with a special fondness, not only thinking of the memories we made the night we made these photos, but the many memories she holds in her heart of the places pictured behind her.


Thank you, Grace, for sharing your special places with me. I loved photographing you. I loved your dry wit, and giggling with you and your mom. I loved how you were like superwoman, changing in your moms car between locations, hehe.

“These photographs are downright AMAZING! I love all of them:) It want them all plastered around my house because they make me smile:) (but that would be a bit excessive…don’t you think??)” – Lisa (Grace’s mom)

Erin’s Ultimate Senior Portrait Session |St Thomas High School

On the way to meet Erin and her mom at The Crown for her ultimate senior portrait session I stopped by my mom’s house. I can’t remember the exact nature of my visit, but I remember lamenting to my mom about my headache and general blahness that was making me feel more like laying down then embarking on a three hour photoshoot.

I left her house with a hug and found Erin and her mom at the studio. Immediately I was healed. I’m not kidding. In fact, in all the years I’ve been photographing people no matter what has gone on before the shoot, all symptoms seem to leave me the minute the camera starts clicking. It’s a phenomenon.

Erin brought in her glorious wardrobe, including her prom dress that she pulled out from under a mattress in her basement. It was wrinkled and hadn’t been loved in a while, likely since prom night. But she put it on and brought it back to life. She was stunning.


I’m sure you’ll agree.


Then we stepped outside the studio for a few sidewalk pictures before heading out on our way.


Erin’s and her mom giggled so much together, I loved being with them. They have a really sweet relationship, it’s so obvious that they truly enjoy each other’s company.



Their laughter was infectious and I feel like the three of us spent much of her session giggling. That’s a great way to spend three hours!


Erin is not only beautiful, but suuuuper photogenic and moves effortlessly in front of the camera. She was a dream to photograph, but also to be around. She’s sweet, funny, and adventurous.


Sweeney5-24Erin wanted some photos under the pier at Fort Foster, but unfortunately we were there at high tide, and the bottom of the pier was underwater.



We decided not to let a little ocean water stop us. We waded through the thigh-high water in our jeans to get our shots. Giggling all the way.  (And big props to my assistant Caleb, who rolled up his pants and waded with us.)


Then the real water shots. Erin changed into an off shoulder black dress and we planned out our water shots. The problem was that the waves were coming in fast and furious and our first attempt was ROUGH. We decided to walk down the rocky path (shoe-less) to see if we could find some calmer water.


And then magic happened.


This is one of my very favorite photographs I’ve taken all year. I’m in love with it. ^^


I left this shoot with my jeans wet up to my butt and sand caked between my toes, but totally energized and excited to rush home and upload the magic housed within my camera. It didn’t dawn on me that I had had a headache until the moment I sat in the car after the shoot.

I love that my job takes me to a place where I forget my aches and pains and completely lose track of time. I think that means I love what I do. I’m so grateful that you guys allow me to do this.


“These are AMAZING” – Kristen (Erin’s mom)