Senior photos: a guide

Megan Olmsted, reporter

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For the class of 2019, is is almost time to start thinking about senior photos. With senior photos come so many options. A professional photographer, a young photographer just starting out, or even doing them at home are a few of the options.

When considering a professional photographer, remember that it can get expensive. It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. For many professional photographers, photography is their only job. Many people don’t realize how expensive it actually is to be a photographer, especially in a world where no one wants to pay for photography anymore. Photographers have expensive cameras, sometimes around $10,000. They have to have the best computers possible to make sure their photos don’t get lost. They use the best editing software there is and spend hours upon hours editing the photos to make sure they are perfect. So no, professional photographers don’t get paid $1,000 an hour if that’s how much they charge for one hour. For the upcoming seniors that have the money and are willing to invest, professional senior photos are the way to go. They will be something to look back on their entire lives, and are always well worth the investment. Of course, it is always a good idea to look a lot at the photographer’s work to make sure it is right before investing.

Another option is finding young photographers that are aspiring to eventually be professional photographers. Many people don’t realize how many there actually are. There is definently a middle ground between doing senior photos at home and spending thousands of dollars on a photographer.

It is also a great way to support young artists. Many of these photographers’ photos are just as good as a professional’s, but usually at a fraction of the price. For the upcoming seniors that don’t want to spend a lot of money, want to support new photographers, and want great picture quality, this is the way to go.

“There’s very little difference between starting photographers and professionals. Choosing someone starting out is cheaper, and it helps build the photographer’s resume so they can become professionals in the future. They are easier to work with as well,” Tiernyn Sirico [12] said.

One more option is to take the photos at home. This gives seniors freedom to express themselves through their senior photos exactly how they want to. This is free, of course, but it usually helps to spend some time researching photography. It also helps to have a device that takes pictures at high enough quality, especially since a photo will be used in the yearbook.

basic photo tips

  • Use a nice camera. Senior photos, whether they are printed, used in the yearbook, or posted online, need to be high quality. When the photos are taken with a low quality phone camera, it can cause a lot of quality issues with the photo. Borrow a camera from someone you know, rent one, or save up and buy one.
  • Take the photos at “golden hour.” This is when the sun is setting and makes the prettiest lighting. Not only that, but the sun is shining on the front of the face rather than from above. When photos are taken with light from above, harsh shadows are created on the face; this can be very unflattering. You can also solve this problem by taking the photos in cloudy weather, in diffused lighting, shade, or looking towards the direction of light so no harsh shadows are created.
  • Don’t over-edit. This can take away a lot of the quality of a photo and, if done incorrectly, can ruin the photo. Lightly edit the photo, but be careful not to drastically change things like saturation, contrast, sharpness, etc.
  • Look at photos for inspiration. Having an idea for a photo can help with poses and photo angles. Photographers can help create poses, but if you are taking the photos yourself, it can really help a lot to look for pose ideas. It can also help to come up with creative ideas for photos that can make your photos stand out.
  • Research the rules of composition. Horizon lines, lines on roads, and any other lines should be parallel to the edges of the photo. Learn the rule of thirds. Don’t have too much extra, wasted space in the photo. Instead, focus more on the person.