Senior portraits are not ordinary photographs. They commemorate an important part of a young person’s life: the pinnacle of their high school career as they embark on a promising new phase in life. In that regard, taking senior portraits is a rite of passage in itself!
That said, I did not take a senior portrait for the yearbook.
At my high school, senior portraits were taken in a single day during the summer in the school cafeteria. If you couldn’t make it, you were out of luck as they didn’t have make-up picture days.
I thought, Besides, I couldn’t possibly take time off from my minimum wage part time summer job of warming hamburger buns, scrubbing potatoes, and dispensing Frosty desserts just to take a picture for the yearbook! Pfft.
I know, sour grapes! But I do take some comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone. Adding insult to injury, my high school yearbook had a page listing the names of “Camera Shy Seniors.” We’d outnumbered the seniors who’d had portraits taken! So there!
But I don’t feel bad about missing out. Well, not anymore, thanks to a vicarious occasion I call: My Daughter’s Senior Portrait Photo Shoot!
I’d like to share what I learned:
📸You need to travel to the photography studio
Since my daughter’s high school works with a studio, senior portraits are not taken at the school cafeteria. For this photo shoot, we drove over 20 miles/ 32 km to the studio.
📸You need to arrive at the studio with hair and makeup done
📸You pay a sitting fee
The fee you pay varies depending on the type of photo you want: yearbook photo only; yearbook photo and one outfit; yearbook photo and two outfits; and so on.
📸You wear fake clothes for the standard yearbook picture
My daughter got a velvet drape Velcro’d to her over her clothes.
📸If you’ve selected an upgraded package, they will take your portrait in graduation gear
You are fitted with a gown along with a cap and tassel with graduation year. Then they’ll have you hold a leatherette diploma folder that’s gold-leaf embossed with your high school’s name in a fancy font, like Old English
📸If you’ve selected a further upgraded package, you go to another room with more backdrops
You can pose in regular clothes to show your personality. I saw some students wearing dance attire or athletic uniforms. One student posed with their pet! My daughter posed with her violin that she’s been playing since she was in middle school.
📸The entire photo shoot takes about 30 minutes (unless you take the yearbook photo only, in which case, you’re done in 5 minutes)!
After all the pictures were taken, I thought I’d be directed to another room to pore over sets of digital proofs. I thought I’d be unabashedly gushing over them. I thought I’d be suckered into buying prints of all of them. (And I would because proud mama.)
But I thought wrong. After all the pictures were taken, the studio said they would send an email with a link to view proofs and purchase prints. How efficient!
In terms of poses, props, and backdrops, overall, I’d say this senior portrait photo shoot was pretty similar to baby photo shoots they do at shopping mall studios! The only difference is who’s in tears! I’m not crying, you’re crying!
Wishing the Class of 2020 all the best! 🎓
Did you take high school senior portraits? Share your experience (and senior portrait, if you’d like) in the comments below!