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A Parent's Guide to Senior Portraits

A Parent's Guide on How to Prepare for Your Senior's Upcoming Senior Portraits

Today's senior portraits are not the same as they were when you were in high school. Whereas many of our senior portraits tended to be more posed and formal, senior portraits today are a much more personalized experience. Photographers today use different locations, props, and outfits to showcase a senior's unique personality. It is a much more individualized experience than we grew up with. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for this special milestone and ensure it goes smoothly.

1. Plan Ahead

Senior portrait sessions require careful planning. Start by researching photographers and booking your session well in advance. Be sure to include your senior in this process. All photographers tend to have their own "vibe," and you want to make sure you and your teen are both on the same page when it comes to editing and style. Remember, popular photographers can book up quickly, especially during peak seasons. So, if you haven't already started researching your photographer, now is a good time to start.

Parent's Guide to Senior Portraits | April Grayson Photography

2. Know Your Deadlines

One of the most important deadlines to keep in mind is the yearbook ad submission date. For many schools, it is early (think September) in the year. Make sure you know when these photos are due so you can plan your session accordingly. Keep in mind, it usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on how busy your photographer is, to get your images back. So, be sure you book your session in plenty of time to avoid any last-minute stress and ensure your teen’s portrait is included in their yearbook ad.

3. Include Your Teen in the Process

Talk to your teen about the session and involve them in the planning process. Be sure to listen and try to understand their vision and style preferences. Remember, this session is about capturing who they are at this moment. While it’s important to get those classic shots you want, be willing to compromise and let them express their individuality. They will only be a senior once in their life. Showcasing their interests and talents is going to be something you want to look back on and remember with a smile when you look at their senior portraits in the future.

A Parent's Guide to Senior Portraits | April Grayson Photography

4. Be the Support System

During the session, your role is to be the ultimate cheerleader. Stay positive and encouraging. Avoid any last-minute arguments about outfits or poses. The goal is to make your teen feel comfortable and confident. If they see you’re relaxed and supportive, they’ll feel more at ease and the photos will reflect that. Remember to relax and enjoy the moment. Every teenager is different, but each one is special and unique. The goal is to capture a small snapshot of that, not to make them look like everyone else.

5. Girls vs. Guys

Girls and guys can be very different when it comes to senior portraits. Girls often appreciate the preparation that goes into their senior portrait sessions, enjoying the excitement of choosing outfits, planning hairstyles, and envisioning the perfect shots. They tend to see it as a fun way to express their style and capture such an important milestone.

Guys, not so much. Some guys might not be as enthusiastic about the prep, as a matter of fact, they may dread having their portraits done, and that’s perfectly okay. What I tend to find, is that guys are often worried about feeling awkward in front of the camera. Part of my job is to help make them feel as comfortable as possible, and in the end, they are usually surprised at how much fun a session can actually be.

Despite these differences, the goal remains the same...We want to create memorable images that reflect each senior's unique personality and celebrate their accomplishments. They (and YOU) have worked hard to get to this point! They are worth celebrating!!

A Parent's Guide to Senioir Portraits | April Grayson Photography

Just an FYI...

On the day of the shoot, I always like to be sure and grab some shots of you and your senior! This means you get to be in a few photos with your teen, creating lasting memories. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

I hope this guide helps you feel more prepared and excited for your teen’s senior portrait session. Senior year tends to fly by and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Being able to capture these special moments is such a joy, and I can’t wait to work with you and your senior to create beautiful, lasting memories. Whenever you are ready to schedule your senior portraits, please feel free to shoot me an email at or fill out my contact form HERE, and we will get you on your way to some beautiful senior portraits!!!


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