High School Senior Photos


One of the really fun parts of my photography business is shooting high school senior photos.  This post includes some images from a recent shoot with Kay.

A little bit about the market for high school photos. In most schools, one photography firm, usually a big national operation, has the exclusive rights to shoot yearbook pictures.  Some of the kids choose to have additional pictures taken for the yearbook or just for fun. While I generally don’t disparage the competition, a lot of this work is pretty mediocre, produced by high volume photo “mills” without a lot of creativity or imagination.

Some kids choose to hire their own photographer.  For the work I do with high school children, I work hard to create images that are unique, fun and capture the personality of the girl or boy. When I’m working with a girl, I usually bring in Maria Dominici, a fabulous makeup artist with over 20 years experience. See Maria’s website, by clicking here. Maria worked with me on the shoot with Kay. _DSC0107

Here’s how the process works for the  photoshoot. Generally, we’ll have a couple of phone conversations and/or meet before the shoot to talk about pose ideas, outfits, and even props we might use.  (The flowers in the images below were a prop idea of Kay’s mom.) From the beginning, I really want the kids to be comfortable and see the whole experience as a fun project.

With my shoot with Kay, I took about 300 pictures. After the shoot, Kay and her mom looked over the unedited images to make their choices. I expected they’d pick about 15 images.  Happily, they choose close to 40 pictures.

Next, the editing  work in Photoshop. This involves cropping, color correction, adjustments to contrast, removing blemishes and a host of other changes. I still try to keep the images as natural looking as possible.










I take a lot of pride in my work and will spend as much time as needed at the computer working on the images – sometime as much as 45 minutes on one picture. Then, I’ll make a disk of the images to give to the client. If prints are needed I’m happy to make them, or the client may choose to make prints on their own. The client owns full rights to the images and may as many prints as they wish.












It was hard to choose just a few images from the shoot to include in this post – Kay looked so beautiful in so many of them!


One might think high schoolers would be self conscious and awkward having their pictures taken. My experience has been just the opposite – they enjoy the process and generally don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we adults do. Kay, for example, was an absolute joy to work with. Her infectious smile came naturally. It never occurred to me to suggest a smile – it was always there.


I hope you will keep me in mind, gentle reader, if you know of any high school-aged children who would be interested in a photo shoot.  It’s a wonderful age and the images can be a lasting witness and record of this special time in life, to be enjoyed for decades to come. 

 While this shoot was in the studio, I often work outside as well. Whatever the client wants, I try to be as accomodative as possible.  Thanks for reading this somewhat longer than usual post. And many thanks to Kay for being such a lovely, happy and smart young lady – and a real pleasure to shoot!


3 Responses to “High School Senior Photos”

  1. August 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm


    Wonderful pictures, as usual. As you know I have a son who will be a senior at SHS this fall and I just found out that the yearbook assesses a $50 fee for not using the ‘official’ photographer. As you mentioned in your post, I think girls are more likely to use an outside photographer than boys but I was shocked to hear about the penalty fee. Do you think that’s a standard practice?

  2. August 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Hi Deb, thanks for your kind comments. the $50 fee is shocking indeed and I’ve heard of similar situations. wonder who gets the money – the school or the photography outfit? the big photo mills that are locked into the schools likely pay the school a fee for the contracts. might be interesting for your son and some of his friends to “protest” this fee – first just ask for a justification and perhaps refuse to pay it. pls know I’d be honored to shoot him and any others from his school.

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