7 Reasons I Wish I Could Redo My Senior Portraits
This afternoon I was cleaning out my closet, on one of the many times a year that I have to clean it out, and came across a box of high school keepsakes.
It contains most of the keepsakes you get during senior year; cap and gown, cords, graduation stoles, memory books, year books, pictures, etc. I actually forgot that I still had most of that stuff. Needless to say... I took a brief, or extended, break from cleaning to take a trip back down memory lane. I may actually need to start back cleaning my closet at some point...
I got completely lost in looking through my memory and year books and remembering the times.
- Gas was only 2.75 per gallon
- "Lean Wit It Rock Wit It" was my favorite song
- I wore extremely baggy clothes
- Apparently my morning routine consisted of singing "Apologize" by One Republic in the mirror while brushing my teeth.
It actually made me feel a bit old.
High school was one of the happiest times in my life. Looking through my box of keepsakes reminded me of how much fun those days were. I was involved in so many extra-curriculars... Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band (almost every band they offered at the school), Theater Tech, Step Team, ICE Club, Key Club and Gospel Choir... I'm forgetting a few but whatever. I made so many friends and cultivated tons of memories. I was having such a good time until I came across the proofs from my Senior Portraits...
I was reminded how much I disliked them. I think out of the 12 proof that I got back, I was only okay with one of them.
Senior Portraits are supposed to be an exciting experience to mark an extremely important milestone in our lives. I can't say that I got that much out of my experience. I remember that day just as if it were yesterday. I remember how excited I was that I was finally taking my senior photos. A lot of my friends were older than I and had the opportunity to do theirs before I was. It was something that I looked forward to because I knew how excited and pleased they were with their final portraits. I wanted nothing more than to share them with everyone, I was finally a senior!
Looking back over my experience now, I wish I could do it all over again. I look at my senior portraits and I'm not drawn to them in any way nor do I feel any emotions. I feel cheated and I barely feel like I'm looking at myself. I would invest in a photographer to capture my session for me. Here's 7 reasons why.
They didn't showcase my personality or who I am. Everyone who knows me knows that I have a unique personality. I am such a complicated soul with an outgoing persona. Looking back on my senior photos, I can't tell who I was at the time. They were just, "blah". Over the years, I've realized how much an image can impact the viewer. It's especially apparent by the reaction I get from my families when I show them their final images after their sessions. During their slideshows I get a range of emotions from laughter to tears of joy.
Everyone got the same thing. Again, I'm a unique person and I love standing out from the crowd so much that my mom constantly asks me if I'm crazy. I love being different and having different things. Comparing my senior sessions with my other friends, it's like we all got the exact same pictures. The only thing that was different was the person in the picture. This was a problem for me. I've grown accustomed to the idea of custom photography and I feel that everyone should have that experience. Every story is different.
It was impersonal. One thing I pride myself on when taking on a session is getting to know my clients before our shoot. I get to know their likes and dislikes, favorite colors and sports teams, favorite foods and even their most embarrassing moments. Not only does it allow for the person in front of the camera to feel at ease, but it also makes them feel like their time with the photographer is more personal.
The ordering process was difficult. One of the perks of custom photography is a guided session sales consultation where the photographer presents the images and guides you through placing your order. After my session, I received my proofs and gallery password in the mail 2 months later (which wasn't the issue, of course I know post-processing takes time... especially in high volume studios). I was given a price list and an order form and that's it. This is a personal one, but I can't have too many choices. Hehe. It's true, you should see me in line at a fast food restaurant... When it comes to shopping and there are so many things that are appealing, it's difficult for me to separate wants and needs. Especially when I can't see a sample. I need a professional to make recommendations based on my situation and what fits my lifestyle. Therefore....
I never bought any images. Not only was it hard making a decision, I just couldn't find any poses that I felt compelled to purchase.
I felt under prepared. I had no idea what to bring with me to my appointment. Although we received mailers a few weeks after school was out, there was no one to answer the questions that I had about what was to be expected. I had no idea what to bring with me, what to wear, how many outfits to bring, etc.
I felt rushed. Disclaimer: I completely understand that the company contracted for our appointments are a high volume studio, I couldn't imagine having to shoot 150-200 seniors in a week. I think I'd go crazy. However, I
believe know that there are ways to make your clients feel more at ease when you're running behind schedule. I learned that while working at Portrait Innovations during the Christmas season one year. Talk about hectic... Whew. I felt that interruptions earlier in the day caused the photographers to run behind on time for later sessions and I felt every bit of tension because of that.
I really wish I had knew then what I know now. I would have invested into hiring a professional to capture that time in my life. Stand out from the crowd and book your own custom senior portrait experience, that way you'll have something to look back on and be proud of.