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!





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)

Emma | Ultimate Senior Portrait Shoot Southern Maine, Seacoast NH

I know most girls are pretty much over their prom dresses after May. But it’s still the most expensive, and most beautiful outfit in their closet, and given the investment, it’s great to have an actual portrait in it. Since our Ultimate sessions include hair & makeup, as well as several hours of photography at various locations, we have time to stop at the studio to snag a few pics before we head off to the rest of the photoshoot.


Moms are happy and girls are glad they did it…and they’ll be even more glad in years to come.


Our next stop was a flower field…


Emma had a beautiful boho-inspired dress that was the perfect outfit to spin and twirl through the field.

Emma also liked the idea of having sea grass, so we headed to a nearby location that I knew had seagrass…


..but while we were parking I spotted a really cool, lush green, jungle-vibe spot and I asked Emma to trust me and step into the mess of vines and trees. I love the resulting photo and you’d probably not guess that she was standing in a parking lot when we took these shots. Teehee.


Then we stepped into the sea grass. Emma had brought these pants she loved, which she picked up while traveling in Paris. They were perfect and I really love when girls show up with clothing that is meaningful and different.


Our last stop was the ocean.


We got got sand between our toes…


climbed the rocks…


..and of course, ended the shoot with a little dip in the Atlantic.

“Oh, Erin!!!  All of the picture are so beautiful. Thank you so much. I don’t know how Em will narrow it down to 1 for the yearbook. Glad that I can buy the gallery and don’t have to pick just a couple.
You made the whole experience for Em completely fun and magical!!!!!”
-Lynne (Emma’s Mom)


Isabel | Ultimate Senior Portrait Session

Our ultimate senior portrait sessions are crazy fun. They start off with the princess treatment by Christine, at The Crown. Then I get them. Our first stop is the studio. Isabel’s mom, Kristen said she thought it would be good to get a “traditional studio” shot. I don’t really do “traditional”, my studio shots have a modern, editorial feel. I can’t even be sorry.MSS_4244-Edit.jpg

Then we stepped outside the studio…because it’s like right there…and our “outdoor studio” has a lot of texture and goodness.


I knew from Isabel and Kristen’s consultation that they wanted a diverse gallery, a little bit of everything – and her ultimate session gave us plenty of time to explore several locations.  Kristen told me that they were open to anything and they trusted me…so when Isabel wanted some shots in a “field of wildflowers” …I knew where we could find a “field” …and it was a little bit non-traditional…but their open mind and trust paid off!


After the field shots, we headed out to one of our favorite spots. Isabel had this amazing vibrant yellow dress that couldn’t have been more perfect. Beaulieu2-13



This spot has so much texture and interest and we worked every inch of that place.



We even pulled out our lighting equipment and went inside one of the forts.


We had such a great time, and Isabel was a total rockstar.


I think Kristen and Isabel loved their gallery as much as I do:

“We are so in love with the gallery”

“..many of my friends believe your shots/work are magazine worthy.  I can’t say enough how incredibly talented you are”

tee hee. I love it when a plan comes together.




Whitney’s Ultimate Session | NH Senior Portrait Photographer

Our Ultimate Senior sessions are so fun because there is so much time built in the schedule, we can accommodate multiple locations and outfit changes.


Once Whitney finished up with hair and makeup, we started shooting at the studio.

Of course, I had to laugh at myself for pulling out the fan, way to “mess up” hair right in the beginning of a 2+ hour shoot!


But Whitney’s gorgeous hair held her curls, even through the wind.  After grabbing a handful of studio shots, we went outside the studio and grabbed some sweet urban shots before hopping in our cars and heading to our 3rd location, where we had planned to spend the bulk of our time.


It was a gorgeous fall day, the leaves were colorful and still hanging onto the trees.


And Whitney was so fun to pose, and those amazing blue eyes just popped in the light.


As the sun set, the lighting was so gorgeous against the vibrant fall colors.


And our location gave us so many posing and background options.


Before we knew it, the sun set behind the horizon and it was time to wrap up our session.


It was such a great night and Whitney totally rocked her session.