I know the idea of working with teens and seniors is exciting and scary. Magazine style work without all the fuss. They look and act as if they are fearless! On IG and snapping, hitting all their poses styled and looking like fresh fa days.
But, when you sit down with them or get them in front of your camera you become a nervous wreck and they seem to have no clue what they’re doing.
Here are my top 3 tips to help and your senior be comfortable during a senior portrait session.
Preparation is the key to us all feeling comfortable in any situation that we feel as if we are lacking control over. For me, preparation for a session as detailed and as important as a high school senior session means having an in-person 45min – 1hour consultation with the senior and (most likely) the mom.
This consultation is so important! It really sets the tone for the rest of the working relationship you are striving to build with this family. You will get to know how the parent and child relationship works between them and how to be different from the parent interacting with the teen/senior so that you can gain a sense of comfort and trust with the most important person, the senior being photographed. This is really important.
I’ll talk more about this when I go live.
#2 You Must Be Confident!
If the senior has picked you as their preferred photographer from all the other photographers on IG that should feel really good. At that point, know that whatever you have been doing is good! They selected you because something drew them to you. Be it your style of shooting, the creative and exciting locations you choose, they like how you connected when photographing their friend, whatever it is they already like you! Don’t go trying to be different or to fit their style, if they wanted that they would have picked someone else.
During the in-person consultation, you will get to know what he/she has in mind for location, theme, style, etc. for their session. Don’t worry and be sure to communicate with your client every step of the way to ensure a successful senior portrait session.
Don’t go overboard, pick the top three ideas that fit the feedback from the consult and narrow it down from there.
Quick tip: pick a location that offers multiple shooting spots within walking distance to maximize time.
This is one pain point I hear from a lot from photographers. Posing seniors!
I learned this a few years ago, I can’t remember who said it or where I read it. It was during that time when you are reading everything on the internet, researching for days on end.
Pick 3 and focus!
When you are striving to focus on a specific topic in an effort to become better you can’t focus on everything all at one time. You have to take bite-size bits of information and work diligently until it becomes normal, a habit for you. Photography and posing are no different.
Look through those sample poses gather 1 or 2 ideas from each category above. In each outfit stay focused on those poses, making small adjustments as you shoot.
Last tip, remember what it felt like when you were in high school. You felt like your parents specifically didn’t know anything or understand you, maybe you were a bit rebellious, the adults that you felt comfortable around were really relaxed, open to hearing your thoughts and being honest with their guidance. Make them feel like you are their ally, not another authority figure telling them what to do and how to do it. Feed off of their energy and be open and flexible during the session.
Thanks for stopping by! You can always reach out if you need anything!
Tiarra Sacred Amos is a Metro Detroit-based photographer who’s been capturing people and events for nearly a decade. Sacred graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications. She is also a United States Air Force Veteran, having served her country for four years. After the Air Force, she decided to pursue her passion and founded Moon Reflections Photography — a full-service photography company that creates an unforgettable, one-of-kind experience for clients. Sacred’s work has been featured in online and print publications, including SEEN Magazine, The Michigan Chronicle, The Huffington Post, Ebony.com, Essence.com and Rolling Out Magazine, among others. Besides being a respected freelance photographer, motivational speaker, and educator, she enjoys being a loving wife and mother of two children.
At Reset 2020, Sacred will be leading a styled shoot focused on high school seniors.