Students Taking Senior Photos

an easy and cost effective way to avoid senior portrait purgatory




For those whose senior year has come around, an unmistakable landmark is never having to take part in the horror of school pictures. While you never have to sit through the awkward head-tilted-hands-folded-smile-perfectly-though-there’s-nothing-to-smile-at hell that is one shot photography, against the same bland background from which there is no recovery; from bad hair days, zits, or eye twitches, you have reached the new beast- senior portraits. There are approximately 170,000 photography studios in the U.S. at one’s disposal that all offer different packages ranging in price a number far too high to actual detail the specifics of. While there are certainly many advantages to having one of these professional photographers take your senior pictures the advantages of having an ameauter or semi-professional photographer take your pictures are numerous as well.

I have boiled down the things people look for in photographers to three things, the price, the quality of the image, and the product. Understandably some may choose to group the last two together.  I beg you to consider that the quality of an image has much more to do with the sharpness of the pixels and composition of a photo whereas the  product refers to the effectiveness of the photographer in portraying the reality of their choice. All that being said, this is only my summation based on my work as a photographer and the importance of such things are up to interpretation.

When it comes to price amateur photographers are significantly cheaper and at times will even take senior photos at no charge, and their equipment is more often than not comparable to that of a professional. Hannah Cochran (who opted to have her senior photos taken by yours truly) said that “…non professionals haven’t been affected by the industry of it all, you’re almost guaranteed someone who will try to push the boundaries of the generic senior photo” and went on to say that, “I feel as though mine came out more unique, personal, and genuine even, then they would have if I had gone to someone older then myself and that didn’t know me”. For Hannah, as for most people, getting her picture taken isn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. “It can be uncomfortable and awkward, especially when someone you don’t know is taking them”

Dylan Morneau, who started taking senior photos this year, understands this and said “…coming up with what prompt or joke that really makes them show me who they are is one of the best parts of the experience”.  

Rachael Cianci (this year also being her first in senior portraits) is in agreement on this front, stating “…when you use an ameuteur, especially someone you know, you’ll feel more natural as a subject… and it’s better for your budget”.

Whether or not you choose a professional photographer or an ameatuer one is, of course, up to you and your family. Your correspondent however, urges you to consider the latter if you wish to save your wallet, or if you wish to be more comfortable in the whole experience. Senior photos are both a milestone and a keepsake, but in the end they are photos, and how much you spend or do not spend on them does not equate their quality.

by Correspondent and Staff Photographer Sarah Eastland

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