With September arriving, and the school year gearing up again, photography is usually the last thing on parent’s minds. But for those with High School seniors, now is the perfect time to start thinking about that all important image, the Senior Portrait. Senior portraits are usually due to the yearbook staff by November or December at the latest. And if you want to have time to book a session AND get prints made up, now is the time to start calling photographers! (or just contact me!)
Senior portraits are a lot of fun for me. Even when I was in High School myself! The year I graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School, I did senior portraits for FIVE of my friends. And the next year? I did three more! My general philosophy on senior portraits is that its best to do them outside when at all possible. Maine weather in general (and especially in the fall!) makes shooting outdoors problematic at best, but I think that overall, it’s worth it. Being in a natural setting tends to make the person in the picture more relaxed than sitting in a studio. And if the location has a strong tie to the person, the image becomes just that much richer.
This (above) is one of my favorite portraits of a high school senior. That really is a real live bird he is holding in his hands. We had just barely started taking pictures when the little guy flew into the window of the building we were standing near. We could tell the bird was alive, but it looked a little loopy. Loren (the guy in the picture) ever so delicately picked up the bird and warmed it in his hands. The moment was just so delicate I just started snapping away. Five minutes later, the bird had regained its equilibrium and flew off without a scratch. And we had this amazing photograph. And even more amazing is that one of Loren’s passions was ornithology – the study of birds. So in addition to it just being a cool picture, it was really meaningful to him and to what he was interested in at that point in his life.
Here is another great example of a less than traditional senior portrait. Amos was (and still is!) a very talented musician and was deeply interested in Indian music when he was in high school. One of the instruments he enjoyed most was his sitar. So we found a way to incorporate it into his portrait.
This is a more traditional, but still outdoor portrait.
This one was taken at Ft. Williams, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Ft. Williams has always been one of my favorite places to take portraits. You get everything from the ocean to open grass to forest-y to old stone buildings all in one park. The variety is just wonderful! It’s hard to go wrong anywhere on the coast of Maine though, and Belfast has all sorts of amazing locations to choose from as well.
My goal with these types of portraits is that the subject feel really relaxed with me. And to that end, I try and keep things as low key as possible. I recommend people bring at most one or two changes of outfits (though I find most are happiest with clothing they feel comfortable in which is usually the first outfit they chose and the one they wore to the shoot). As with all portraits, when you choose your outfit, you want to stay away from loud prints, bold stripes and any checker board type patterns. Subtle is good when it comes to clothing (unless of course you WANT the portrait to be all about your wacky wardrobe, but then that is another discussion!). Also think about if you have a specific prop you want to include in your portrait. Love horses? Bring me down to your stable! Spend a lot of time on the beach? Show me where your favorite spot is! Love the barn at your grandparent’s house? Lets go there! I’m very flexible about location and content. This is your time to capture how you are right now. And of course, still have something nice to send to all your relatives!