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What to look for when hiring a high school senior portrait photographer

This is one thing you definitely want to get right.

I'm talking about hiring a high school senior portrait photographer.

Your son or daughter only gets one senior year. That's it. Once it goes, there's not getting it back, and let's face it - senior years are, shall we say, extravagant when it comes to costs.

Special dinners, Homecoming, prom, the perfect dress, the corsages, the cap and gown rental, and on and on.

Of course, you want to make sure whomever you hire to create high school senior portrait images is the right one.

A high school senior girl stands holding the net and a ball.
Let's reduce the stress of finding a high school senior portrait photographer

But how will you know?

That is why I wanted to share this post today, to make finding and hiring the right high school senior portrait photographer as easy as possible.

What to know at the start

Any Google search of high school senior portrait photographers in your area is bound to give you dozens upon dozens of results.

What's more is within that abundance is a wide spectrum of styles and prices.

That makes the first step toward what should be a special event for your senior unnecessarily stressful.

A high school boys leans against a tree with autumn foliage behind him.
The first steps before you ever search for a high school senior photographercan make things easier.

Here are a few things you can do before you ever start searching for a photographer to help reduce the stress:

  • Know your budget. And your budget will reflect how important these portraits are to you, much like a wedding. Does a bride splurge on the venue and food or do you think the photography is a high priority? Same thing here. If it's a high priority, you're going to want to budget at least $1,500, and likely more.

  • Decide how you'd like to use those images? I think it's critically important to know this at the start. If you're doing senior pictures just because it's a rite of passage, this could become a negative experience. Instead, look at the walls in your house. Is there a space where you'd like to create a gallery? Or do you want an album to keep, like an heirloom to pass down? Gifts for grandparents? Make a list of your priorities so when you go to look at a photographer's website, you'll see if what they provide matches what you want (and your budget).

  • Invite your high school senior to be part of the search. This is a biggie. You want her or him to be excited about the experience. Nothing worse than finding a photographer you love but then your high school senior rejects your choice. Being on the same page is so good for everyone.

Here are the insider secrets to look for

You ready to jam this search for the right high school senior photographer like a rock star?

Now that you have your budget and other priorities set, it's time to dive into this untamed wilderness of local high school senior photographers.

A high school girl sits on a stone fence with red flowers behind her.
Want the secrets to finding a great high school senior portrait photographer? Read on below.

It's not as scary as it might seem. Not if you know how to discern the differences between all of the photo businesses like the expert you're about to become.

Here are the secrets to look for:

  • Consistent photo style. This one is tops. Find photographers whose style of portrait is consistent no matter who is being photographed. Photographers with consistent style across their portfolio means you can have confidence that you're going to get what you expect for the money you pay for.

  • And speaking of style. What is their style, after all? How would you describe it? How would they describe it (and they should on their website)? Is it dreamy? Natural light? Dramatic? Edgy? Does the style fit your teenager? You're gonna wanna find a photographer that makes you say "Yes!" to that last question.

  • Transparency about pricing. A photographer who puts his or her pricing on their web page, from the session fee to the cost of prints, is a photographer who is not only a confident business owner but also one who respects what's important to you (budget and time).

  • What does the photographer share about the experience? Take a good look at their website. Does it share with you what kind of experience you can expect (beyond just calling it "amazing" or something like that)? I'm referring to the whole process, from inquiry to print delivery. Do you get the impression that they have consistent, predictable systems in place to support you and your student or do you get the sense the photographer's website is more about them and their photography than you?

  • Do they have a specialty, like, high school senior portraits? Okay, snark aside, there are photographers out there who have a specific niche. For example, my niche is creative on-location lighting for athletes and high school seniors. There are others who try to be all things to everyone (weddingsbabiesteenagersheadshotsmaternityfamilies). A specialist, though, should have expertise in what you need.

  • Find out if they have special connections. Like, hair and makeup. If a professional high school senior photographer has networked well, they may have connections - and savings - with other vendors who can play a part in your high school senior portrait experience.

I sincerely hope these help. Reach out if you have other questions, whether or not it's about Creative Sports Photography's high school senior lifestyle portrait service.

What's important, the most important I'd say, is that you find the right photographer for you and your son or daughter, whether or not it's me.

Dave Pidgeon is the owner and chief image maker at Creative Sports Photography, which includes high school senior lifestyle portraits. Reach out to Dave by clicking here.


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