Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to work with several guest bloggers. Today’s guest blogger is one of my favorites! She’s a talented writer, creative photographer and excellent public speaker, my daughter, Anna Mares. As my photography assistant, she has written blog posts, assisted at photoshoots, helped with social media and culled sessions. Although I wish she could stay my assistant here in Pittsburgh. She is moving to the Chicago area to study at Wheaton College. – Laura
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched friends sheepishly share their senior photos with friends, prefacing by explaining how their mom liked the photographer, but they simply hate the photos. Choosing a photographer is a source of agony, stress, research and oftentimes disappointment. It’s such a common mistake, but why?
I’m Anna Mares, a 2022 high school graduate who has gone through the process, and I’m here to help you choose the right Senior Photographer.
This blog will help you choose a photographer that will take senior pictures you actually like how you look.
Choosing a Senior Photographer is all about chemistry–really! Choose your photographer based on how well your styles mesh, and how well your personalities blend. Are you introverted and need a photographer who will gently encourage you and make you feel bold and beautiful? Look for photographers who consistently promise to help their seniors feel self love, and who have reviews that parrot that promise. Are you crazy adventurous and want a photographer who is more than willing to help you fulfill those visions? Look for out-of-the box photographers that focus on creative style that’s different from the crowd.
Next, when considering style, look on both Instagram and personal websites. Find a photographer who values what you value. If you want natural images where your friends will actually recognize you, don’t choose “Magic Steve’s Photo Company,” —even if he’s your great uncle’s best friend. You can’t change a photographer, so don’t go into the shoot thinking that the pictures they’ll take of you will somehow be different or better than the rest of their online portfolio.
Aesthetics + Styles
In addition, read a lot of Senior Photography blogs. Try to learn about all the different aesthetics and styles that photographers use in your area or city. They usually broadly fit into these categories: Studio Stylized, Pinterest cutsie, Moody Urban and Natural Bohemian.
Studio Stylized features studio lights, rarely natural lighting, and has a couple looks that they use over and over again. You usually know exactly what you’ll get, which is great for people that find this photographer from a friend and want that same pose or photo set up for their portrait. Studio Stylized is usually pretty bright, and is a more “classic” approach to senior portraits. It’s the most similar to what your parents may have used for their photos!
Pinterest Cutsie is super dainty and girly, and usually sticks to fields and railroad tracks. This style of photographer is like 2010 Taylor Swift, with a cute cowgirl vibe.
Moody Urban features stark black-and-white portraits, and hangs around graffiti spots and city structures. Moody Urban likes to stick to industrial settings and can have a more masculine and artsy aesthetic.
Lastly, Natural Bohemian is a happy-go-lucky photographer who is extremely adventurous and creative. They dip into the other categories but maintain a style that just feels “real.” They adapt to their client and attempt to represent their specific personality through their photography. Not to be biased, but Natural Bohemian is probably my favorite style because it’s the most adaptable, and I love experimenting with different styles and aesthetics during photo shots.
The biggest takeaway, however, is that you need to find a photographer who reflects your style preference. Don’t expect a Moody Urban photographer to take a Pinterest Cutsie photo for you! To determine what style reflects you, take a look at who you follow on Instagram influencer-wise, and see if you start to notice a pattern of personal style there. If not, just explore photographers from your city and choose the photographer whose style excites you the most.
Out of the Box
My last tip is to pay attention to who your friends hire, but don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Reach out to friends who graduated a few years before you and hear their feedback: Who did they choose? Did they like the photographer? Why did they like them? This light research will help you make a more informed decision. However, if your friends all used a photographer who just doesn’t make you feel excited about booking your senior portrait session, look online or on Instagram to find a better match!
Overall, respect your family’s input photographer-wise, but don’t be afraid to explain to them why you’d much rather prefer a photographer who actually fits your style. Explain how you might be self-conscious in front of the camera, but this one photographer has amazing reviews from clients that rave about their ability to make seniors feel confident. Explain that the photographer they may like takes pictures of people that are more “moody” or “cutsie” than you.
Equipped with this blog, you’ll know how to navigate the tricky world of choosing your senior photographer and you’re much closer to ending up with pictures you’ll actually love.