Capturing High School Seniors

The thrill of celebrating the Class of 2014 is still here! Every time I log-in to Facebook or Instagram, I see more fun photos of teens setting out on their next great adventure!

You know what that means? The Class of 2015 is already thinking about senior year – and I am too.

Photographing teenagers on the cusp of starting their last year of high school is an honor. I get the opportunity to really get to know them during one of the most exhilarating times of their life. They are thinking about who they have grown to be and dreaming about the future. They have distinct styles and are excited to explore them.

Being able to document a young adult in that moment of time is a real joy for me.

So for all the moms out there (and I am one of them!) thinking about your child’s senior pictures, I’m encouraging you to slow down from life craziness and reflect on this time, and on this person you’ve helped to grow.

Think about how you want to remember them, and how they want to be portrayed, in their senior portraits.

Here are a few tips and ideas to keep in mind as you plan a senior session:

• Images from senior portrait sessions are impactful when incorporated to visual resumes for colleges – a popular product offering at Sara Harris Photography. I know as parents we are thinking about frames and sharing these images with family. Which we should. But there is a real additional value to senior portraits, too. Photo cards with your child’s accomplishments can be left behind during college tours, and given to recruiters at sports tournaments as a visual reminder. Showcasing your child – a face with a name – a product that will help them stand out.

• Make senior portraits its own special event. Let the shoot focus on the senior. Let them be themselves. Yes, seniors are still teenagers, but they are quickly becoming adults and want to showcase what makes them individual. (Plus, they get a little nervous being watched by their family.)

• Don’t forget to also schedule a separate family session. We want the senior to have their time to shine, but mom – you’re baby is getting ready to leave the nest. This is a great opportunity to create a memorable portrait of your core family. You will not regret it.

• Make time for consultations with your photographer. During a consultation, we map out your child’s portrait session to fit their personality. We like to let seniors be themselves, so it’s important to do a consultation with the photographer before the shoot. This is where we talk a lot about wardrobe, location, hair and make-up services with our partners at Dolce Vita Salon & Spa, and the stylistic logistics. This could be where we find out that your senior loves to run and sees their portraits in an open field. Or maybe their love of history draws them to the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. Horse lovers can pose with their four-legged companion, and athletes on their field of choice. If we meet briefly beforehand, we can plan and dream all of those details out.

• Take senior portraits the summer before their senior year, or in the fall after it begins. Most yearbook deadlines are in the fall, so you really want to start thinking about senior pictures in the spring of your junior year.

• Check with the high school on guidelines and deadlines. What space are seniors allotted in the yearbook? Are there specific requirements for drapes? When are senior portraits due to the school?

• Dress to impress. As far as wardrobe, encourage your senior to check out some of their favorite fashion blogs or look at the website of their favorite store to see how they are pairing pieces together. The details matter, so it’s important to coordinate clothes that have thought put into them, and finish the look off with an accessorized detail like a scarf or watch or belt.

• “Look your best. Look like yourself.” This is what we tell all our seniors. We also offer hair and makeup services through Dolce Vita Salon and Spa in Yorktown, VA. They have amazing makeup artists and stylists who work with each senior to create a look that makes them feel special and beautiful for their portraits while celebrating their own natural beauty.

Call me anytime to talk about portraits! I’d love to help capture your child during such a special time in their lives.

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