Looking for a senior photographer? One size does not fit all when it comes to senior photos – senior photography and photographers vary vastly in style, approach, and experience, among many other things, including packages and availability. So, how are you supposed to figure out the best senior photographer for you with so many options to choose from?!
Below, I’ve compiled a list of seven questions to ask a potential senior photographer before committing. In addition to these questions, don’t forget to check out their website and social media pages, as well as their reviews, before signing on the dotted line!
1. How would you describe your style?
Did you know that there are three general, popular styles of photography? These styles can be broken down into: moody, natural, and light and airy (for a great article explaining and showcasing the differences, click here!) Moody editing showcases deep tones and contrast, giving the work a modern look. Light and airy editing lightens shadows, reduces contrast, and showcases soft color palettes beautifully. Natural editing showcases classic, true-to-life colors and contrast. Knowing which style you prefer and what photographers in your area offer that style is a crucial first step in narrowing down potential candidates for the job!
2. How would you describe your approach?
Beyond the actual photos, the experience your photographer provides before, during, and after a session can vary vastly from photographer to photographer, because personalities vary from photographer to photographer. It can be challenging to get an idea of someone’s personality if you haven’t met them before, but a great way to get some insight into a photographer’s personality is to: (1) schedule a call with them to chat, (2) check out their website, and (3) check out their social media. Many photographers used social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook as their brand “voice,” designed to give potential clients a feel for what they can expect from them in real life!
3. How long have you been photographing seniors for?
Experience can be a key player when it comes to a senior photography investment, and should be weighed along with a photographer’s portfolio. I would never ever suggest to not hire a photographer just because they haven’t been in the field for a certain number of years – there are some incredibly talented photographers who hit the ground running with awesome work! And, likewise, there are some photographers who have been photographing seniors for years who simply have the experience without the greatest portfolio work. My advice: find someone who has a great portfolio (i.e., ask to see a full gallery from one of their sessions instead of just the highlights from a few different sessions!), and weigh it against their experience.
4. What is your availability?
Are you looking to have your photos taken during a certain time of the year? Do you need to have your yearbook photo in by a certain date? Believe it or not, senior session timeslots can fill up fast, and many photographers only offer a certain number of timeslots per season. From personal experience – I am typically fully booked for the fall (all the way through November) by the beginning of September. If you have a photographer in mind, make sure you contact them early to reserve your spot!
5. What packages do you offer, and what is included?
Much like style and approach, the packages senior photographers offer can vary widely from photographer to photographer. Before you start looking at senior packages, ask yourself: what do I really want to use these images for? Are you looking for physical print products to hang in your home? Do you want digital files to share on social media or to make your own announcements? Knowing your intentions for your photos will help you decide what senior photographer offers the best product for you!
Some senior photographers will offer only packages that include prints with no digitals. Some senior photographers will offer packages that only include digital images, with no prints. Some will offer packages that include both! The bottom line: make sure you know what you’re paying for before you sign a contract!
6. Do I receive digital copies of my photos?
I know, I know, I kind of talked about this one above, but it’s so important that I feel the need to mention it again: if you want to end up with the digital files from your session, make sure to ask if they are included in your package. Because we live in a digital age, I love including digital files with my senior packages. Plus… I was a senior once. My mom printed images to hang in her home, but what I really wanted were the digital files!
7. How long does it take to receive my full gallery of images?
If you are receiving a gallery of images from your senior photographer, make sure you ask how long it will take to edit and process your images! Why is this important? If your senior session is scheduled for October 25th and your yearbook photo is due on October 26th, there’s a very good chance you won’t have your full gallery of images to choose from! Asking your photographer for a general timeframe of when you should expect to receive your images is a great way to make sure you don’t end up without a photo in your senior yearbook!
The key: know what you want before talking to you potential senior photographers. Hiring someone who is the right fit for you and who can provide the experience and end product you are looking for is worth the time!
And if you are in the Pittsburgh area and in need of senior photos, feel free to reach out using the contact tab above – I’d love to chat!
PS - if you want to learn a little bit more about me and see a bit more of my personality and approach, check out my Instagram!