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Senior Portraits: A Primer

This is the first in a series of articles about senior portraits.  Not how to photograph them, market them or even get into the business of them.  But more along the lines of education for parents and students alike who want to go into the senior portrait season with a bit more savvy & educated about the many choices they have available.

Let’s start out with what exactly senior portraits are.

In short, they are thought of by many as a rite of passage.  The “it’s my turn” phenomenon started somewhere along the way, giving young people an opportunity to give family and friends a picture of themselves, maybe as a celebration of the graduation prospect, but more likely a final “farewell” to the days of high school and a “hello” to the adulthood which follows.

Whatever it may mean to you, this area is passionate about senior portraits.  Not all areas of the country are.  Some portrait photographers in other states routinely ask the question “what are senior portraits?”  After a brief description, they say “kids will never go for that, much less the parents.”  Around here, participation in senior portraits is pretty healthy (as in, there are lots of people doing it).

High schools typically engage a photography company to take senior portraits.  The photography company is responsible for scheduling the seniors to have their portraits taken (usually at the school) during a 2-3 week period during the summer between their junior and senior year.  While students are always encouraged and compelled to participate, it is not a requirement.  Many schools require that the school photographer take their yearbook photo, due mostly to the desire to avoid a multitude of different backgrounds and dress codes.  Just for the record, we comply with the background and dress code requirements for Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan county seniors.  The reason why the schools select a single photographer is because the photographer makes a deal to donate back up to 50% of their sales to the school.  This usually helps fund the production of the yearbook, and keeps the individual cost of yearbook sales down.

Students who want to comply with the school’s mandated dress code and background for their yearbook photo should either have their yearbook photo taken at the school (they usually do it at no charge), or select an area photographer who meets the requirements and can do it for them.  We do not charge to take the yearbook photo, as long as you are also having other pictures done with us.  We do charge for taking and submitting the yearbook photo if you are having no other photos taken.

After all is said and done, a senior (and parent, most likely) will look at the photos, the packages, and their picture needs and decide what to order.  There is such a variety of photographic products now, I’m going to hold off on that for another installment.

So, that’s the basics.  There’s more to come.  Next up: Choices.

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Senior: Paula

A dancer for many years, she called for senior portraits and all I could think of is “you’re too young for senior portraits!”  But alas, she is… I know they all grow up, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Senior: Brandon

As I’ve said before, musicians fascinate me.  Brandon seemed… a mystery to me.  So we focused on that.  I think it worked.

Senior: Kayla

You’re not seeing double… I’ve posted some of Kayla’s portraits before.  She had multiple sessions, and so therefore had lots of photos.  Since she loves the camera so much (and it kind of likes her, too), I’m sure she’ll be happy to see herself in print again. 😉

Senior: Kellyn

I first met Kellyn when she was a dancer.  A bit older, perhaps even a bit wiser… but quite personable. 🙂

Senior: Alix

There are lots of seniors that come to us because they saw the work we did for friends of theirs.  Alix was fun, has a lot of ambition and is a flier for her cheer group.  We didn’t do any of her cheer photos yet, but those will come later in a separate post.

For more information, visit our Seniors page!

Help a friend; be a part of science

A friend of ours is working on a science fair project and we’re trying to lend her a hand to get more participants to complete a study she is doing.  Here’s what she provided as information for the project:

“Hannah Williams is conducting a science fair project in need of people willing to read an eye chart and have their picture taken. The test will only last less than five minutes, but you cannot have your contacts in to read the chart. The picture will be cropped to only show your left eye as shown in the picture.  Any and all participants are appreciated; thanks in advance!”

We are hosting Hannah at our studio on Saturday, October 30 at 4:00pm until she has photographed everyone participating.  At last count, she needs 35 more participants.  Wouldn’t it be great if we got ALL 35 of them for her?

If you can make it, please call (304-263-3100) or email ( to let us know you are coming.  You can also reach us on Facebook ( to respond that you will be at the studio.

PLEASE NOTE: Hannah wants to make it clear than anyone under the age of 18 is also welcome to participate, however their parents must sign the consent form.  Hannah will have forms available for everyone.

As Hannah points out, this takes less than five minutes, and is to help her with a school science fair project.  We are only helping her out, and offering space to gather everyone at once to make it go quicker.  There is no obligation to purchase anything, and nobody will try to sell you anything.  We’re just doing this because we like Hannah and think this is a worthwhile project (mostly because we are both fascinated by eyes).

Please call, email, contact us in some way so we can make sure to plan enough time for everyone.


Angela and Jared got engaged!

We met them in nearby historic Harpers Ferry.  Diana went with me on this one.  She not only helped, but also took a few of the shots (one is below).  It worked out well, and they bought me an ice cream when we were done!  Looking forward to their wedding in April 2011. 🙂

For more information, look at our Seniors page.

Senior: Alex

I didn’t know what to expect with Alex… but his father’s humor really got Alex to relax and enjoy himself.  We only did one outfit with Alex, but he was particularly proud of the cap & gown shot, so we’re using it for his blog post. 🙂