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How to Choose a Senior Photographer

#ivySEEN wants to wish you a Happy New Year!!! And help you choose a senior photographer that’s right for you.

Do you even need a senior photographer?  Well no actually, you don’t neeeeeed one, you WANT one.  And you don’t want just pretty pictures.  Just about anyone can grab a camera and get a decent picture of you.  What you want is a senior experience.  But what is that and who do you hire for a senior picture experience? Isn’t it just about the pictures? Yes, it is about the pictures but it isn’t ONLY about the pictures.  Below I will go through my top 5 things to look for when choosing a senior photographer.

1.The Pictures

Sure I said it isn’t just pretty pictures but you do want them to be pretty.  The very first thing to narrow down in your vast selection of hundreds of photographers is you should at least like the work in their portfolio.  Do you like the way the images make you feel? Do you like the poses? {Professional photographers spend a lot of time learning and studying this stuff} Do you like the editing–bright, dark, moody, happy.  So much of what a photographer shows you is linked to their style and brand.  If you like their work then they should get a check mark in the potential column.  This initial step will leave you with a lot of photographers so let’s go to the next step. 

2. The EXPERIENCE! 

Yep, this is in all caps and bold because this is probably the most important after your initial liking of the images. Does the photographer offer a variety of locations, outfits, professional hair and make-up, a fashion consult, concept shoots*, destination shoots*, extra options like an entry into a national modeling contest for their seniors, studio sessions? It’s a lot to consider but these extras are part of the fun in documenting the senior’s last year before they leave home. Think about what you want to do with your session{s} and how you want to feel during your time with the photographer.  Does the photographer let you bring friends to your shoot? Do they offer family photos? {you know it’s been awhile since you have had them}

*Concept shoots are creative sessions separate from your senior session and take planning and collaboration between the photographer and the senior. These sessions let the senior show a unique and interesting side to their personality that may not be a part of their senior session. 

*Destination Shoots: what are those?  “I want one!”  Destination sessions are the ultimate adventure in senior pictures. Think about your dream photoshoot? Then grab your photographer and take them to your favorite place in the world for a session like no other! The experience is what you are buying, the products are what you get to keep to remember this big transition in the senior’s life.

3. Accreditation

There are lots of ways photographers can show you that they are a good photographer and many of these ways are credible such as awards and publications but I think the best way to know you are getting a good egg is to read the testimonials and listen to word of mouth recommendations. Your friends want you to have a good experience and therefore they will share their favorites wether it is about food, movies, clothing and businesses so listen to your friends for sure!  When it comes to award winning images and publications, it is art and subject to the judges taste along with technical aspects but if another photographer has given them a thumbs up, an award or publication then that is for sure a star to be noted.  National memberships are paid for and are not earned HOWEVER it does show that your photographer is active in the photography community and takes care of their business by using the national, regional and local resources meant just for them.  The memberships are highly educational which means your photographer is continually working at their craft and business to give you the best opportunities in photography.

4. Products

There are so many options for you when it comes to displaying and using your images as art and for documenting this time in the senior’s life. Wall canvases, large wall prints, prints to give as gifts, matted prints, albums, digital licensing files for online sharing and the list goes on and on. You will want to consider what you need for your home, for your loved ones, your office and your senior.  Each person will want something different.  Currently my seniors are all about the digital files so they can share them online. My senior’s parents are wanting display pieces and archival quality prints that will last for years and can be viewed over and over again. Whatever your needs, your photographer should be able to help you with options and guide you in your choices. 

5. Budget

I put budget last since you don’t want this to be the first thing you look at.  The old adage stands true you get what you pay for so I don’t recommend shopping on price alone.  Your budget is important however and that is why it made the top 5 things to look for in a senior photographer. You want quality images, high end service + products and an amazing experience for both the senior and their parents. The amount of time, money and effort that goes into a full service senior experience is more than you would think and will be reflected in the prices. At minimum you are meeting with your photographer 3 times: the consult, the session and the ordering appointment.  Usually you are meeting more than this.  Plus there are many correspondences via email, text, phone and social media– and this is just the time spent with you. There are multiple behind the scenes details and work that is done between all of these meetings plus the details and work of owning and running a business. I’m going on and on but I wanted you to see that it isn’t just a few quick pictures. If it were then everyone would be doing it.

 

So to recap these are my top 5 things to look for when chosing a senior photographer. 

Love their images

Desire and WANT the EXPERIENCE they offer

Accreditation

Products

Budget

Thank you for stopping by and Cheers to a New Year!

by Ivy Towler

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