When I was in high school, man that makes me feel old just saying that, and it was time for Senior Portraits they required us to go to this one studio in Dayton for our yearbook headshots. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, we never went without, but I would always feel guilty when I asked for something with a heavy price tag (unless it was Christmas). I remember looking at the price list during our studio consultation thinking “My God we’re barely making it now – how are we going to pay these prices?” My mom made it happen and I’m sure my grandparents paid their share too.
I had two in-studio sessions. One session was for my headshots and the other was for the portraits I would pass out to family and friends. Don’t get me wrong – I liked the photographer I had, I even wanted to go back to her, and I liked my portraits, but they lacked true meaning and my personality.
Photography is a form of art and storytelling. Your portraits should reflect who you are, and you shouldn’t settle for just any old location – that’s why I have come up with some questions and examples to help you brainstorm locations for your Senior Portraits:
1.) Is there a certain place that holds dear to your heart? – This could be your home away from home or place that holds a lot of heartfelt memories. For instance – my grandparents played an important role in my upbringing and their home always felt more like home than any of the apartments and houses I ever lived in with my mom. It was your typical country home – it sat on a little over two acres, had a detached garage, a barn, a gravel driveway, a few trees and bushes, and whatever flowers my grandmother decided to plant in the garden that year. I had so many wonderful memories there that I wanted to have my senior pictures taken there, but I think we weren’t able to do so because the studio photographers wouldn’t travel that far. The perks of the photography industry today – more photographers travel (within reason and charge so much per mile outside of their normal territory).
2.) What about a place you go to clear your head? – Where do you go when you’re drowning in your own thoughts? Do you take a walk to a secluded spot to relieve the pressures of the world off your shoulders? When we were living in Huber Heights, there was this path behind the middle school that led to this creek and waterfall that I liked to go to just to think – like a seventh grader had a lot to think about huh? A few years ago, I would spend my time before work, after work (when it wasn’t dark), or my days off running the paths of my local MetroPark listening to all the metal music my ears could handle so I couldn’t feel my heart breaking over the first gentleman I was able to be myself around.
3.) What are you passionate about? – Do you play any sports? Does stepping on the field or onto the court send a jolt of adrenaline through your body and make you feel like you can conquer the world? Are you in the school band? Are you in a recreational band that plays in Jim (or Jane) Doe’s garage or basement? Choosing a location based off your passion is a great way to think outside the box and have your portraits reflect on who you are!
4.) Think about where you don’t want your pictures taken! – It’s perfectly okay not to know where you want your pictures taken! Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with ideas of what we want or to even know what we want in the first place, so let’s think about what you don’t want. Where don’t you want your pictures taken? What don’t you want your pictures to look like? Once you know the answer to those questions I’m sure you’ll find what you do like and if not, then I would be glad to assist you through this process!
Although I am HIGHLY encouraging you to select a location as unique as you are, there are a few things that can throw a wrench in our plans so please take the following into consideration:
1.) Does this location require a permit? – Some gardens, parks, and commercial locations have photography restrictions on their premises and require photographers to have a permit to be able to take pictures. Permits could potentially be a lengthy process and could cost anywhere from an additional twenty bucks up to a couple hundred.
2.) Lighting is everything! – Here at Misfit & Co. we like to work with natural light to give your portraits more of an in the moment feeling, but too much or not enough light could be disastrous for your portraits. Make sure the locations have some areas of shade to help diffuse any harsh or direct lighting. If you’re concerned that your location might not be right for you, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to discuss our options.
3.) Does this location have a variety of scenery? – If you’re only looking to have your portraits taken at one location, ensure that there’s a variety of scenery so your ending gallery has more of a selection to choose from.
4.) Is this location easy to navigate? – Always be prepared to do some walking! Is your ideal location normally busy? This could potentially be problematic. I want to ensure that we are spending every minute together focused on capturing you and not waiting for people to no longer be in the background of your portrait.
Hopefully that helps get your brain gears turning and reduces the stress of finding a location for your session. If you’re still unsure, have any questions, or problems trying to pull your idea together please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and we can work through the process together. I do have one more tip before I close: HAVE FUN! This is the beginning of an exciting journey, enjoy it – enjoy every minute!