Forums > Photography Talk > High School Senior


Buzz Photography LLC

Posts: 578

Lafayette, Indiana, US

I have been asked to shoot a young ladies high school senior photos. I have never done this before so I was wondering if there's anything different I should think about? I do not have a studio so I don't have the normal props, like the numbers to show the graduation class. Do I really need props like this? What other things should I think about?

Sep 13 13 11:47 am Link



Posts: 23559

Salem, Oregon, US

we do it like a clothed model shoot. location shoots are common for seniors.

i think nancy poole does a nice job:

kirk voclain is well-known:

some folks trick it up (flaming footballs, collages with the year numbers, etc.) you can find templates for things called memory mates.

some seniors have bad acne so there's some extra work for those folks.

here's our gallery: … em-oregon/

regarding props i'll suggest to mom that she could bring matching flowers, balloons, etc. we usually haul a chair along. we had one shoot where dad brought two dogs along to be in some of the shots.

sky's the limit on senior shoots. some people go nuts and have seniors standing on jeeps in the water and all sorts of craziness. but sometimes mom just wants some good headshots for her mantle and grandma (often mom chooses most of the photos and maybe lets the senior choose one).

Sep 13 13 11:56 am Link


Northfire Productions

Posts: 11

Markham, Ontario, Canada

I would assume you're going to need the standard grad gear.  (Mortorboard, gown, diploma) and some type of flowers.  When we shoot for the high schools here, we do a bunch of formal shots with books and things also, and then a few casual ones  where the kids get to show off their interests.

Sep 13 13 11:56 am Link


Personal Photograph

Posts: 245

Davenport, Iowa, US

Many of the props the senior can supply, like a letter jacket, sports or band equipment.  As for a studio, most of the seniors I've shot seem to prefer outdoor locations anyway.  Good luck.

Sep 13 13 11:56 am Link


Stephen Fletcher

Posts: 7492

Norman, Oklahoma, US

A friend asked me to shoot her daughter and I told her to bring a friend along to keep her at ease.  I wound up shooting 3 Seniors perched along a tree limb.  They all had a blast.

Sep 13 13 12:02 pm Link



Posts: 7736

Martin, Tennessee, US

It's what I do...

I always have someone present with her.  Mom/Dad/Bro/Sis/GF
I shoot inside/outside, many different locations
I want as many clothes as they can bring, along with accessories
I send them to the local salon for makeup.  Something between daytime/evening.  Saves me time on the back end.
I shoot around their interest.
I pose them.

We have fun!

Sep 13 13 12:15 pm Link


Tommy Macabre

Posts: 92

Bend, Oregon, US

I've shot a lot of seniors and proms when I worked in a portrait studio. The first thing I would suggest is have the parents check with the school to make sure there are not specific requirements. Some schools for instance will require the yearbook shot to be on a specific background and may have requirements for clothing. Some would not allow spaghetti straps. I would also suggest finding a way to borrow a muslin set. You can do the head shots on the muslin with some three quarter traditional stuff. I would keep it simple and just use a three light setup with a spot on the background. Mom and dad will like those because they are older and will be used to traditional shots. Don't forget they are paying. The kid on the other hand will love wild and crazy shots and would rather be outside from my experience.
I would make the kid sit through the boring head shots first and when the parents are happy move outside. If you do it the other way around the kid will go from being all excited doing fun shots to having to sit still for head shots. He/she will just slouch and it will take a bunch of good jokes to get a smile.

Just my opinion.

Sep 13 13 12:29 pm Link


Douglas Photo 78

Posts: 185

Valparaiso, Florida, US

Don't do anything different than what you already do; if they are approaching you, then they hopefully have seen your images and want "you" because they like your style. If they don't know your style, then you might want to spend some time showing them your work and telling them about your style. Senior girls like the idea of being a "model" and having their own shoot; so you will probably not have any problems.

Sep 13 13 12:44 pm Link



Posts: 23559

Salem, Oregon, US

since 2005 we've seen schools get a lot more restrictive on the shot for the yearbook. some practically have military-grade specs now. often they post the info on their web site or the student may have been given a handout. but this is just for the one yearbook shot. the rest can be whatever.

somewhat surprisingly (this area hasn't changed since 1850) alternative toning, b&w and special effects have proven popular.

Tommy Macabre wrote:
The first thing I would suggest is have the parents check with the school to make sure there are not specific requirements.

Sep 13 13 01:09 pm Link