Brandon Hopper

6 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Senior Session

Congratulations on reaching the end of your high school career! Graduation is a huge moment in any student’s life. Whether you’re preparing to head off to college or start your career, or even if you’re taking a gap year, this moment marks a huge milestone both in your life and the lives of your parents, and it deserves to be celebrated. 

Senior portraits are a perfect way to capture your transition into adult life, but getting in front of the camera can be a little nerve-wracking for some. You may not know how to pose or what expression to have on your face. Do you smile? Do you face the camera or look away? What time of year should you have your photos taken? 

Well, we’re here to answer all your questions. In fact, that’s why we put together this list of tips for getting the most out of your senior session and getting images you’ll love. And if you still have questions after reading these tips, feel free to ask! 

Trust your photographer
This is the number one tip for any type of photo shoot. You hired a professional to ensure you get images you love and will want to share with family and friends, so trust their expertise. Even if you’ve never worked with a pro photographer before, you can rest assured that they will guide you through poses, making sure they get the best possible shots. When you choose a photographer who specializes in senior portraits, you get to work with someone who has years of experience taking just the type of photos you’re looking for and who is sure to provide you with photos you’ll adore! 

Be fully present
You probably hear a lot about mindfulness these days, but one of the best ways to truly enjoy your senior session and feel more comfortable is to simply be in the moment. Don’t stress about your hair or makeup or how you’re standing. Just focus on relaxing and being your genuine self. Talk to your photographer, interact with them, and chances are they’ll encourage a smile or laugh out of you. These small, fun moments are so much more authentic than carefully posed and staged portraits and will allow your true personality to show through your photos. 

Have fun
Speaking of showing off your personality, don’t be afraid to look silly, act goofy, or make a funny face. Sometimes a ridiculous pose is just the thing you need to loosen up! Dance around, wave your arms, go frolicking through a field—your senior session is all about you, from the things you love to your high school accomplishments. The more you let yourself relax and have fun, the more you show off who you are, which is exactly what everyone wants to see. 

Plan out your outfits
When it comes to choosing what to wear for your session, be sure to think ahead. Choose outfits you love and pieces that make you feel good. If you buy anything new, be sure to wear it and try it out before your session. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable. And don’t forget to take your undergarments into consideration! You don’t want bright underwear showing through your flowing white dress or bra straps peeking out of a cute blouse. Plan your whole outfit down to your accessories to make sure everything goes together. 

Get your makeup and hair professionally done
You may be a pro at makeup, but the skills of a licensed makeup artist can ensure that you look perfect in every photo. A professional can also help make sure your makeup doesn’t run or smear during your session. The same goes for a professional hair stylist, who can style your hair in a way that looks amazing on you and holds through all your posing and outfit changes. 

Only bring people who make you feel at ease
You don’t want a crowd at your photo session, so be sure to only invite along people who bring out the best in you and let you be your true self. It’s natural to bring a parent along (chances are they’re probably footing the bill for your session), but only include other friends or family members if you feel comfortable around them. If someone is there who makes you feel awkward, your images will come out inauthentic, and we want the real you to shine through!

5 Reasons to Hire a Pro to Take Your Senior Photos

You get your hair cut by a professional. You hire a pro to fix your car or work on your home. You would only let a professional landscape and redo your yard. 

So why would you trust your photos, your precious family memories, to an amateur? 

Even if you have a cousin with a fancy camera and photo editing software, you should still invest in a professional photographer. The milestones in your life are memories you’ll want to hold onto for years to come, and you deserve to have quality images of those moments. 

You will get better images
It doesn’t matter how nice your cousin’s camera is if they don’t know how to use it. A professional photographer has studied and trained, learning the ins and outs of lighting, posing, framing, and editing for years. They’ve photographed tons of other people and know what makes a good photo and a bad one. When you hire a professional photographer, you can expect to receive quality images as a result—photos you’ll be thrilled to share with friends or hang on your wall. 

You’ll look your absolute best
We’ve all been there: Someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, and you look pale or sloppy or just not good. When most people snap a photo, they aren’t thinking much about lighting or angles. A professional photographer, however, will know just how to pose you and photograph you so you look your best in every shot. That’s a confidence boost we could all use! 

You might need a little help
With a professional photographer, you don’t have to worry if you don’t know how to pose or what expression you should have. They can guide you every step of the way to ensure that your images come out just the way you want. So, instead of practicing your smile in the mirror or stressing about poses, you can relax and trust that you’re in the best possible hands. 

You can express your personality
If you ask a friend or family member to take your senior photos, chances are you may end up with some pretty basic posed images. A professional photographer, however, will work with you to make sure your images capture your interests, personality, and accomplishments. From backgrounds to props to locations, a pro can ensure your photos truly reflect who you are and what your high school career has been all about. 

You deserve quality images
Graduation is a huge milestone in your life, and you deserve to celebrate it with gorgeous images. From announcements to graduation parties, you’ll want to share your senior photos with friends and family so they can celebrate your accomplishments with you. This moment is one you will want to look back on in the future, maybe even with your own children someday, and you deserve to have beautiful, professional images to mark this time in your life.

What to Wear for Your Senior Session

You’re getting closer to graduation every day, and you may even have developed a case of senioritis. Senior portraits are the perfect way to commemorate this exciting time in your life, but choosing what to wear for your session can be a challenge. How do you express your personality while avoiding outfits that will look dated in the years to come? 

To help you pick the perfect outfits to mark your high school graduation, we put together a few tips so you’re not staring at your closet helplessly on the day of your session! 

Avoid bright colors
We love color as much as anyone, but bright colors can distract from the subject of your photos: you. Some bright colors will even wash out your skin and clash with your surroundings. Instead, go with neutral colors or jewel tones (think gray, blue, and dark green) that flatter any skin tone and pair perfectly with both garden or park backgrounds and a more urban setting. 

Choose from the clothes you own
The best way to express your personality is through clothing you already own and love. While we definitely won’t stop you from buying something new, doing so means you run the risk of something not fitting or not looking right on the day of your session, and then you have to come up with a last-minute plan B. The perfect outfit for you looks like you. If you have a favorite dress or shirt, wear it! 

Stay away from graphic tees
You may love a certain band or movie right now, but who knows what your taste will be even five to 10 years in the future. While a solid T-shirt is a great casual look, a graphic tee or shirt with words on it can really date your photos or even create cringe-worthy images where only part of a word or phrase is shown. The only exception to this rule is a school T-shirt that shows off your mascot or an organization you participate in and love. 

Show off your culture
Even if you don’t wear traditional clothes from your culture to school, they can be a beautiful choice for your senior portraits. Whatever your heritage, clothing is a great way to express it and a timeless choice for your images. After all, your session is all about you, and what better way to show your personality than to celebrate your heritage. 

Pick versatile—and comfortable—outfits
When taking your senior portraits, your photographer will likely have you in a variety of poses, so make sure you choose outfits. that are comfortable and look good whether you’re standing, sitting, or even lying down. Constantly having to readjust can be annoying, and an overly tight or restrictive outfit really limits the amount of poses available to you. Never choose looking good over comfort—you can definitely have both! 

Think about your underwear
What you wear under your clothes is just as important as the clothes themselves. If you’re planning on wearing white, you don’t want brightly colored underwear that shows through your clothes or a bra that clearly shows through your blouse. As for guys, you don’t want your boxers peeking out from your pants or bunching up under your shorts. When you’re choosing your outfits for your session, try them on with underwear to make sure everything looks good and fits right.

Add a little variety
Chances are you have more than one style, and your outfit choices should reflect that. Your best bet is to choose both a casual outfit (think jeans and a fun tee) and a more formal outfit, like a dress or suit jacket. You don’t want all your portraits to look exactly the same, and having different styles gives your images more variety and will give you even more photos to love.

5 Tips on Finding the Right Senior Photographer

Senior portraits have changed a lot in the last few decades. Instead of a formal studio portrait, these images are often taken outside, even at the high school, and feature multiple outfits and poses, allowing students to show off who they are, what they love, and even their plans and dreams for the future. 

Choosing a photographer to take your senior photos is important because, like any professional images, these are photos you will want to look back on for years to come. You want to find a photographer you click with, someone with experience and skill who you can trust to capture your personality and help you mark this momentous occasion in your life. 

Know what style you want
Different photographers have different styles. Some specialize in posed, stylized portraits, while others go for a more natural look. As you’re researching photographers in your area, look at their images from previous sessions and determine if these are the kind of photos you want from your session. 

Find someone you connect with
If you’re not particularly comfortable in front of the camera, it’s especially important to choose a photographer who makes you feel at ease and can answer all your questions. The right photographer will talk to you about what you want and expect from your session and will help plan out locations and even offer wardrobe advice. The more comfortable you feel with your photographer, the better your images will turn out. 

Look into their credentials
There are plenty of amateur photographers out there. You want someone who has the experience and skill to create quality images. Talk to potential photographers about their previous work, where they learned photography, any organizations they belong to, and how many years they’ve been taking photos as a profession. If this sounds like a job interview, you’re right—it is! After all, you are hiring a photographer for their services, and you don’t want to hire someone who can’t do the job you want.

Read the reviews
You wouldn’t buy a product on Amazon without reading the reviews. Don’t hire a photographer without looking into what previous clients have said about them. Even better, talk to friends and family in the area and see if they have worked with the photographer before or have any knowledge of how they conduct business. 

Make sure your parents are happy
It’s true that your senior session is all about you, but if your parents are paying for it, it’s important that they’re pleased with your photographer and the resulting images from your session. Your graduation is about you and your accomplishments, but it’s also about the people who have supported you along the way.

Essential Questions to Ask a Potential Senior Photographer

Chances are your senior portrait session may be your first time working with a photographer, so you want to make sure you choose someone who can create the images you want to mark this milestone in your life. The right photographer can make all the difference when it comes to getting photos you’ll want to share with everyone you love. 

Not sure how to choose the right photographer for you? You’re in luck! We’ve compiled some questions you should ask of any potential senior photographer become committing to a photo session. 

What packages do you offer?
Pricing is often the number one concern when it comes to choosing a photographer. If your parents are paying, be sure to talk to them about a budget for your session, as well as what products they would like before speaking to any photographer. When you speak with a photographer, ask about pricing, different package options, and what’s included with each package. Many photographers offer a certain number of prints or products with your session, while some simply include digital files and rights to all edited images. Know what your options are before you book your photo shoot. 

Will we have a consultation?
You don’t want to meet your photographer for the first time at your session. It’s important to have a face-to-face consultation ahead of time so you can both get a better idea of each other’s personalities and whether you would work well together. If a photographer is unwilling to schedule a consultation, they’re probably not as professional as they seem and not a good fit. 

How would you describe your photography style?
Every photographer is different. Some may specialize in artistic, posed images, while others prefer a more candid, journalistic style. A photographer may do only studio images, only natural light sessions, or a combination of both. Know ahead of time what style of photos you like best and choose a photographer whose style matches your vision. 

How many outfits can I have in my session?
Most photographers have a limit on the number of outfits you can bring to a session, just to ensure that things keep moving and you don’t waste valuable photo time changing clothes. If you have several outfits in mind, but your photographer only allows two, you either need to compromise on your wardrobe choices, pay for additional time, or find a different photographer. It’s important to know ahead of time how many outfits you can wear so you can plan your outfits in advance. 

When will I receive my images?
This is especially important if you need your images for graduation announcements or a party. Find out how long it will take to get your images, even if it’s just a general idea. Understand that editing images takes times, and you are not the photographer’s only client, but you also don’t want to wait months to get your images. 

What are your cancellation and rescheduling policies?
Life happens, and you may have to reschedule your session or cancel it altogether. It’s important to know ahead of time if you can get a partial or full refund in the event of a cancellation, as well as the policy for rescheduling your session, should the issue arise. 

Will I have the rights to print my images?
This is a very important question. If you want to print graduation announcements or even use your senior photo in your yearbook, you need to clear it with the photographer. Many photographers provide rights to all digital images, allowing you to print as many copies as you’d like, but it’s important to be sure before you do so. 

By asking questions and getting answers from any potential senior photographer, you can ensure that you find the right professional who is a perfect match for your personality and can help you get the images you want to mark your high school graduation!

How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

Parenting young children can be exhausting, but you still want to remember every moment, and photos are a great way to do that. However, any parent knows how difficult it can be to capture pictures of kids who are always in motion—and sometimes throwing a fit. Check out these tips from the professionals for taking better photos of your children. 

Take advantage of natural light.
When taking photos in your home, look for places with plenty of window light. This natural light will help eliminate harsh shadows and give your photos a fresh, even appearance. Plus, what better way to capture images of your children than in the home you share? 

Go explore.
Candid photos are a great way to capture your kids’ personalities, and getting outside to explore lets your children get out some energy and allows you to take images of them being their genuine selves. 

Ask for help from a friend.
When you’re behind the camera, it can be hard to also get your child’s attention. Consider enlisting a friend or family member to help get your kid to look at you by making fun noises or pulling a goofy face. 

Have a camera on hand.
You never know when the moment and the light will be perfect for snapping a few photos. It could be just a simple day at the park or a visit to Grandma and Grandpa, but you’ll value every memory you manage to capture in the future. 

Pay attention to everyday moments.
You don’t have to plan a grand photo shoot to create memories of your children. You’ll want to remember the everyday moments too, like bath time or reading a bedtime story. Be sure to capture candid photos of your kids just living life, whether it’s playing or even just eating breakfast. 

When it comes to taking photos of your kids, the important thing is capturing their personalities, so you can have images to cherish for years to come. Hopefully, these tips can help you make the most of your photos!

Why You Should Take Yearly Family Portraits

How many times have you wanted to take a family photo, maybe for your Christmas cards, and then simply been too busy? Life gets hectic, and you find you don’t have time to wrangle all the kids and sit everyone down for a proper photo. 

Or maybe you have albums full of photos of your kids, but none with you and your spouse in them because one of you is always taking the pictures. 

This is where a professional family photo shoot is a great idea. Instead of worrying about taking a photo yourself, you can let a professional shoot, edit, and even print the photos, providing you with memories to cherish for the rest of your life. 

Capture changes in your family.
From first steps to braces to high school, as your kids grow up, you don’t want to miss a moment. Having an annual family photo taken allows you to document all the changes in your family, whether it’s a new addition or a rapidly growing child. Professional family photos will be something you and your children can look back on for years to come. 

Create art for your home.
What better way to decorate your home or office than with beautiful photos of the ones you love? You may have plenty of photos of your kids snapped on your cell phone and even some selfies of the whole family, but those are hardly the kind of pictures you want blown up on canvas and hanging above the fireplace. A professional family photo shoot helps you ensure that everyone will be in the photo, looking their best. 

Start a tradition.
Whether you grew up taking family photos or not, it’s a great tradition to start with your family. Someday your grandchildren and maybe even their children will look back on your family photos, so it’s important to have quality, professional images for future generations to enjoy. And once you start the tradition of taking family photos each year, your children can continue it when they have families of their own. 

Eliminate the stress of taking your own photos.
Instead of trying to organize and shoot a family photo yourself, a professional can do the work for you. Professional photographers work frequently with families and children and will know how to keep your kids happy and get them to pose. Even better, they can often help with printing the photos, so you know you’re getting the best quality images of your family.

Next time you’re thinking about how much you need an updated family photo, consider scheduling a session with a professional photographer—and make it a tradition that your family can enjoy for years to come. 

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Family Photographer

When it comes to photography, many people put a lot of effort into choosing a wedding photography but not as much consideration into who will capture their family photos. But these images of your family are just as important and will be something for your children, grandchildren, and future generations to look back on. 

If you’re looking for a family photographer, take time to ask any potentials these five questions—and don’t shy away from voicing your concerns or clearly asking for what you want. 

How many years of experience do you have?
While it’s great to help out a friend, if you’re looking for gorgeous Christmas card images, you don’t want to book a photographer who’s just starting out. Ask about their experience and look at some of their past work to determine if their images are consistent and their style would be a good fit for your family. You want a photographer who knows what they’re doing, has high-quality equipment, and can handle any type of lighting situation—or any rambunctious kids. 

Do you specialize in a specific type of photography?
If you’re looking for a certain kind of photography, make sure to choose a photographer whose style matches what you’re seeking. Some photographers do more posed photos, and some go for a more candid look, while others do both depending on the client. If you want something specific for your images, don’t be afraid to ask. 

Do you have a lot of repeat clients?
The best photographers often capture multiple milestones for the same families, from engagements to weddings to newborns and beyond. If a photographer has the same clients coming back again and again, that’s a good sign that their work is strong and consistent—and that they’re easy to work with. 

What is your policy for canceling or rescheduling?
You never know what could happen to keep you from making it to your family photo session. Be sure to ask about your photographer’s cancelation policy and whether you would be able to reschedule your shoot, if necessary. 

Have you had any experience with _____________?
You may have unique concerns based on your family’s needs or challenges. Maybe you have a special needs child or a situation that may require some poses outside of the norm. While it helps to have a photographer who has some experience with concerns similar to yours, the most important thing is finding someone who will be understanding and compassionate and who will work with you and your family to get great photos.

When you’re looking for a photographer to capture the love your family shares, it’s important to choose someone who’s willing and able to help you create your vision for your family portraits. Be sure to check out as many of their galleries as you can and be open about what you want for your images. 

4 Things to Think About When Choosing a Photographer for Your Family Photos

When it comes to having your family photos taken, you need to find a photographer you’re comfortable with and who can take quality, professional photos of you and your family. Consider these concerns when you start looking for the perfect photographer to capture your next family photo. 

Know what type of photos you want.
Before you start searching for photographers in your area, think about what you want out of your session. Are you looking for candid photos capturing your family’s laughter or more posed photos? Do you want your photos taken in a professional studio or at a favorite park or on the beach? Knowing what you’re looking for can help you narrow down your list of possible photographers. And once you do choose someone, don’t hesitate to talk to them about exactly what you want. 

Talk to friends who have images you love.
You can spend all day googling photographers in your area, but one of the best ways to find the perfect photographer is through recommendations. If you have a friend whose family photos you’ve always admired, ask who took the shots. Plus, many photographers offer bonuses or discounts for referrals. 

Find the best fit.
Most likely, you have a vision in mind for your family photos. You want a photographer who can help you achieve that vision. When looking through their portfolio, make sure you like the style of the photos—the composition, the editing, and the poses. If their work is consistent, you can expect your photos to look similar in style to the ones in their portfolio. 

Be clear on what you’re getting.
Before you sign a contract for your session, know what your photo package includes. Be sure to ask your photographer these questions:

  •     How many photos will I receive from the session?
  •     What’s included in the cost?
  •     Will I receive digital files of the photos?

Take your time to find the right photographer to take your family photos. After all, you want to capture memories that you can cherish for years to come. 

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Family Photo Session

Having a professional family photo session is a great way to create memories for a lifetime. A family session can be a fun and playful time for you and your kids, but it can also be stressful, especially when it comes to getting everyone dressed and ready to go. Check out these tips for taking the stress out of your family photo session. 

Talk to your kids.
The best way to prepare your children for a photo session is to tell them what to expect. Help them understand the importance of following the photographer’s directions and smiling when asked. Most importantly, try to make them seem how fun the session can be. After all, you want to capture your family enjoying spending time together! 

Pick out your outfits early.
You may not want every member of your family to match perfectly, but you don’t want the colors in their clothes to clash. Try to choose outfits for each of you that coordinate—similar styles and all in the same color palette. Plus, having your outfits chosen in advance will save you time on the day of the session. 

Make sure everyone is comfortable.
Even if you have visions of your kids dressed in their Sunday best, it’s more important that they’re comfortable. If your children are in overly warm or restrictive clothes, they’re more likely to become irritable and less likely to smile for photos. Be sure to check the weather forecast and choose outfits accordingly. 

Work around naptime—and get plenty of rest.
If your kids take a nap during the day, try to schedule your photo session after that time, so everyone will be refreshed. And make sure that you’re well-rested too! You’ll be able to handle small stresses better if you get a good night’s sleep the night before your session. 

Above all—have fun!
Do your best to relax and have fun with your family during your photo session. Candid shots with genuine smiles are better than forced grins and will better capture your family’s personalities. Don’t worry too much about the little things and just enjoy being with your children and capturing memories!  

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