Here's How To Avoid The 11 Huge Mistakes That 9 Out Of 10 Seniors Make With Their Senior Portrait!
Let's go through the 11 huge mistakes that 90% of all seniors and their parents make when it comes to their senior portraits.
Obviously, you should contact me right away if you are interested in having me create your senior portraits. I do a strictly limited number of sessions and my calendar fills up very quickly.
But that's not the point of this webpage. The point of this page is to give you these 11 major mistakes that most seniors make in reference to their senior portraits. If you don't decide to work with me, that's fine. I still want you to be aware of these major mistakes, so you don't make them yourself when planning your portraits!
Mistake #1 Ruins More Senior Portraits Than Anything!
Mistake #1 is wearing the wrong clothes! This is very normal. Even if the senior were a professional model, he or she still wouldn't know what to wear that would help him or her look the very best in a still photo. The "Art Director" would say what to wear! The “model” would just show up, and do what he's told! The hair person does the hair. The Art Director plans everything and tells the subject what to do next.
You see, people don't know what really photographs well. They just don't know. Well, we know. That's our job. And we love it. And we're really, really good at helping you select the best clothing for your photographs - clothing that will help you look your very best. We will help you with this. Don't worry.
For example, the wrong clothing can make up to a 44 pound difference in the way you look in your portrait! 44 pounds!!!
Now, most high school seniors want to look as thin as possible in their portraits. Clothing makes a HUGE difference in this area, so let's make sure your clothing is really perfect!
Mistake #2 Is A HUGE Destroyer Of Senior Portraits!
Mistake #2 is making mistakes with hair. Many seniors goof this up in several ways. But also, many photographers goof this up, too, because they don't know how to photograph hair properly.
This is such a big point! As you know, your hair is a huge part of your appearance. It can make or break how you look. We’ve all had “bad hair days” and if your photographer doesn’t know what he or she is doing, your photographs will look like a permanent “bad hair” day.
One of the things that separates my photography from that of many of the other photographers in the area is that I pay as much attention to the light that is lighting your hair, as I do to the lighting that is illuminating your face. And they are completely different lights!
For example, many seniors who go to other photographers often complain that, if they have dark hair, that their hair seems to disappear into the background. Or, if they have light hair, that their hair has no "life" or detail in the photograph. Or if their hair is brown, that it doesn't look as great as they wanted it to. It's not just how they combed or prepared it, it's how it's lit in the photograph, too!
Mistake #3 - An Amazing Secret Revealed!
Okay, you and I have to talk about blemishes here. If you (or your son or daughter) has some, and who doesn't, you’re probably worried about whether or not they will show in this portrait.
The HUGE mistake that almost EVERY SENIOR makes is that they don't ask the photographer about retouching before having the photos taken. I know, every senior is embarrassed about blemishes, and doesn't want to talk about it to ANYONE - especially a person they just met.
But this portrait is really important, and you want to look REALLY GREAT in it, so we need to talk about this blemish thing.
The secret: Be absolutely, positively sure that your photographer is going to carefully and painstakingly RETOUCH all your portraits - and do it to perfection! In my humble opinion, a portrait that is not professionally retouched is NOT A PORTRAIT! It's just a "picture" that no one cares enough about to properly finish and produce to the best quality that money can buy!
I guess that's another reason that so many seniors and their parents hire us to create their senior portraits. We honestly, sincerely care about how you or your son or daughter will look, and we aren't going to embarrass you in any way, but we are going to do everything in our power to help you look "like a million bucks" in these portraits, so all your friends are really impressed! (And "a million bucks" means THERE WILL BE NO BLEMISHES ON THE FINISHED PORTRAITS!)
You see, what this all "boils down to" is you want a photographer who is going to take good care of you. Someone whose only goal is to help seniors look absolutely perfect in their portraits! And that's what we are all about. Taking the time, and putting forth the effort to spare no expense in helping you look really attractive -better than you’ve ever looked - in your senior photographs!
Mistake #4 Is A "Silent Killer" Of Senior Portraits!
Most seniors don't understand (or don't want to admit) that they get nervous in front of a camera. And they don't know what to do about it.
You see, there are over 30 muscles in your face. And if you’re tense, these muscles tense up, and therefore, you won't like the photographs. You won't know why you don’t like 'em. You just won't.
One of the keys to a successful portrait session is allowing enough time for you to get to know us, and see just how well we are going to take care of you through this. We'll spend time with you so you begin to feel comfortable and confident about how you can trust us and take our advice on clothing selection, hair and make up, etc. This is going to make an enormous difference in how natural and confident you look once the photography begins.
I can't stress this enough. You see, most photographers just are not willing to do this. Why? Because it takes time. All they want to do is crank people through their studio like a "factory." They want to do your photograph as if they were building a car. They want to put you on the assembly line, and run you through, click-click-click-turn this way - click, etc... next person please.
We will not do that to you. We're going to meet you ahead of time, and we're going to treat this as if it were the most important photo of your life - because it is.
See what a huge difference this will make in how you feel on the day of your photography? You'll feel great. You'll know that what you’re wearing is perfect. You'll know that your hair is going to look perfect. You'll know that no blemishes will show! So You'll be confident, and excited - not nervous and apprehensive.
Mistake #5 Will Ruin Your Senior Portrait
If You Aren't Aware Of It! Most seniors don't realize that it takes longer than 10 minutes to create outstanding senior portraits.
One of the unique things that separates us from other photographers in the area, is that we take all the time that is necessary to create portraits that you will be proud of. Photographs that your friends and relatives will really love - yes love!
That's what we're all about. We're not going to rush you through like it's a factory. We're going to help you through this whole thing. We understand that this portrait is important to you, so we're not going to rush through this.
Mistake #6 Is Critically Important To Your Appearance In Your Portrait!
Most seniors don't realize that sometimes, "today is just not the day" for their senior portrait to be done. The hair just isn't right today. Or maybe you didn't sleep well last night. Or perhaps you’ve had too many stresses at school or home. Or maybe you just had a fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.
Well, we understand this. We honestly understand that the day we set up for your photography may end up not being the best day, when it arrives, for whatever reason. And we have absolutely no problem, whatsoever, with you calling us and rescheduling the session, if "today isn't the day." We WANT YOU TO DO THAT!
Now, we are very busy, but we understand this is a once-in-a-life-time thing. All the people who matter to you are going to see this portrait! So we want to make darn sure it's fantastic! Right?
Mistake #7 Is A Little Technical, But Extremely Important To You!
Seniors (and an awful lot of photographers) don't realize how important light is in photography. The wrong light, and the wrong direction of light can add up to 27 pounds to you on film, and also, bring out your worst features!
It's really a matter of life or death in portraiture. The light is the "paint brush" with which I "paint" your senior portrait. It's very important! Since I don’t do portraits in an assembly line fashion I will be able to customize the lighting to make you look your absolute best!
Mistake #8 Determines A Great Portrait Or A Terrible One!
Nine out of ten seniors don't realize how important posing is. The most important word when it comes to posing is "NATURAL." You absolutely don't want to look stiff and fake! One of the most common comments we hear from our clients is how "natural" the portraits look. Our seniors love how good they look, but they also love how "natural" they appear in the images.
You see, I understand that you want to look really great, but also you don’t want to be put into some weird, stupid, pathetic pose that makes you look stiff and unnatural.
Yes, I will "guide" you so the composition and "look" of the portraits is really great. But I will NOT push you around and try to put you into unnatural positions that are just plain crazy looking. You and I will work together to help you look confident, comfortable, and just plain great.
This Is Extremely Important To You! Don't Miss This:
You want to be sure to select a photographer who will not "manhandle" you with the posing. Many photographers tend to touch their clients and push them around way too much when posing them. The posing is so important, and should not be done by sticking you in the middle of your back if you aren’t sitting up quite straight enough! But that's what so many photographers do. Why? Because they're in a hurry. They have another dozen seniors to photograph before the day is over, and they can't take the time to "guide" you. They just stick their hand into your back, grab you by the shoulders, and get you to sit up straight. Not only does this make you really uncomfortable, but it also makes you look stiff!
That's why I call it "guiding". I will guide you with words. I don't grab you or poke you. This is so important to helping you feel comfortable!
However, I am really picky. I'll be very careful, and very attentive to detail. I may pick a little at your hair if something is out of place. I straighten your collar or sleeves. I straighten your shirt if it has a funny wrinkle in it. Don't worry about a thing! We'll make sure you look "like a million bucks”! We're very picky, but we don't manhandle you - and we won't drive you "nuts" with being overly picky either!
The key thing with posing, is that you look honestly natural. We're talking about where your arm is in the portrait. And, if your hand is in the portrait, does it look natural?
And so many seniors and their parents don't realize this when they're calling around to different photographers. They have no idea how important this is. So look at the photographs done by any photographer you're considering selecting. Do they look natural, or do they look "posed" or stiff?
Mistake #9 Is Of Enormous Importance! Don't Miss This One!
This mistake has ruined so many senior portraits! It's the mistake of not choosing a photographer who GUARANTEES THAT YOU WILL BE REALLY HAPPY - and who will give you all your money back, if you aren't!
Here's our guarantee: "You will be THRILLED (not just 'satisfied') with your portraits, or we will do whatever is necessary for you to be thrilled, or we will return every penny of your money. No hassles and no hard feelings either. We want you to be THRILLED with your senior portraits and we absolutely guarantee it!"
You see, only a photographer who really believes in his product and service is going to be willing to have such a powerful guarantee. So his guarantee is your first indication of whether or not you even want to work with him. I just can't stress this enough. Ask about the guarantee. Listen to their reaction. That will tell you if you want to trust your senior portraits to that photographer.
Mistake #10 Is So Obvious, And Yet Most Seniors Or Their Parents Don't Do It!
What's this mistake? Not asking lots of questions when you’re talking with photographers. Now, if you're still reading this, you certainly have the questions to ask, right?
Remember, you are the customer - you have all the rights! You have the right to ask the tough questions, before you make any decisions!
You ask them first about their guarantee, and see how they respond.
Then you ask them if they will meet with you in person, at no charge, to discuss the clothing, etc, and give you a tour.
Then you ask them if they will guarantee that they'll remove any and all blemishes you might have at the time of the photography.
Then ask them how much time they are going to spend with you. And do they do outdoor portraits, as well as indoor portraits.
Ask them if their posing is natural, or more "posy and stiff."
See how much you have learned so far? Pretty amazing, when you think about it, isn't it?
Mistake #11 Can Ruin Everything!
What's this mistake? It's choosing the WRONG PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR SENIOR PORTRAIT. Everything depends on that one decision.
And hopefully, now that you know these 11 major mistakes that most seniors or parents make - you won’t make those mistakes! You'll be able to chose the right photographer for yourself, based on all this new found information you now have!
Now, we may not be the right photographer for you. But the fact that you're still reading this means we probably are. Because we care about all the things I've talked about to you here. But the only way you'll really know for sure if we are right for you or not is to call us.
So What Should You Do Right Now?
Now, while it's fresh in your mind, pick up the phone, and call me so we can chat on the phone. No charge. No obligation. No sales pitch. We're not that kind of studio. We'll just chat. You can ask us any questions you may have. We'll see if there are any session times still remaining for seniors. If there are, and if you'd like to, we can set up a time for you to come in and we can show you around the studio, and chat a bit. There's still no charge or obligation. You do not need to have made a decision to hire us, before you can come in and chat with us! No way!
Then, after we meet and chat, if you feel you'd like to have us create your senior portraits, fine. If not, fine also. We are here to help you in any way we can. But we're not here to pressure you into doing anything you don't want to do. The decisions are completely up to you.
However, I do want to urge you to act immediately! Because we spend so much time with each one of the seniors we photograph, we can't photograph as many seniors as other photographers who have more of a "factory" arrangement.
Professional Senior Photographer
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