I’m always a big fan of being yourself, being different, being creative.  Not only with your Senior Portraits, but with life in general.  I guess I am one to march to the beat of different drummer: my own.  One think I do hate is seeing the SAME EXACT senior portraits year after year, the same locations, same props, same photographers.  Here’s some good tips on how to BE DIFFERENT!

I don’t know if you see it or not, but whenever I am on facebook or myspace, I can see my friends and their friends as they are getting older and updating their status’ with their new fandangled senior portraits.  The problem: THEY ARE NOT NEW.  Johnny and Jill had the same exact senior portraits taken LAST YEAR, and I swear my very own senior portraits were almost identical.  I’ll admit, I hired a lame photographer (who’s name will not be posted).  I got the same portraits that my friend got.  Stupid “lay down in the grass here, move your head this way, lift your chin, say cheese!”  BLAH.  Bland as white bread.  So how can you make your senior portraits different?

1.  Think differently.  Think about what makes you unique.  Do you play an instrument?  Do you excel in sports?  Do you already know your dream college degree and what you want to do with your life?

Being a senior is a big preparatory step into life.  It was the first time that I started thinking about my future, for reals, and what I needed to make of it.  Although writing this blog is not my career (just a little hobby as I see so many emerging senior portrait artists that I wish I could have used for my own senior portraits), I am well on my way to working in my field of choice.  But, as a Senior, it is an important part of your life that you will likely never forget.  I was involved with drama, band (yes, band nerd), science and cross-country.  My senior year was something that I wish I could go back and just live that age again because it was so much fun.  I wish I had my senior portraits that reflected that time of my life, instead of just a cheesy headshot that said nothing about who I was or what I liked.  So, my recommendation: BE YOURSELF

2.  Look for a photographer who’s style you LOVE.  Tell your parents how important it is to you.  Start saving.

If you want great portraits, you need to pay for it.  The large studios will gouge you through the nose (like $100 for an 8×10?  CMON!) and give you crap.  Look for the professional photographers that are extremely artistic and different themselves.  They will not be cheap, so if they sound too cheap, you might need to look elsewhere.  Rarely are there many “discounts or specials”, but look around (facebook and twitter is a great way to find out what these photographers are up to).  But if your parents think it is still too expensive (even though its cheaper than the larger LAME studios), don’t be afraid to shell out a little dough for your very own portraits.  They will mean more to you if you are paying a portion yourself.  Some photographers (the good ones) will often have Rep/Ambassador/Model programs where you can actually earn money by promoting their studios, so be sure to plan ahead as this usually happens before school actually starts for most seniors.

3.  Plan with your photographer on capturing your true personality, your character, your activities, what defines you.

Call around to some of the photographers and see if they are on the same wavelength as you are.  Tell them what you have in mind and see how flexible they are.  Ask about clothing changes, instruments, pets, cars, multiple locations, retouching, etc . . .  It’s better to know your photographer, and even be their friend, if you want the best portraits possible.  Just remember, this is YOUR SENIOR YEAR.

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