Having gone through many photo sessions, from senior photos to engagement photos, I have found that for many, letting someone take your photo can be completely awkward. The irony of the selfie is that even the most unconfident individual is confident taking a selfie. Along with tips from some other industry pros, and my years photographing people, let's break down the art of senior photos!
BE CONFIDENT //
I asked former LA-based model, Sydney Williams about some of her tips on being confident in front of a camera; first and foremost, she says the more fun she has, the less she thinks about the camera.
We are out to have a good time and get awesome photos that depict who you are! I always make time to make sure we get to know each other before I shove a camera in your face. A great way to relax and be the most genuine would be to invite someone who makes you laugh and feel comfortable. Ask your mom, dad, sister, brother or best friend (human or pet) to come along. Usually having one or two people makes your experience that much more memorable, and flow so smoothly.
EXPRESS YOURSELF //
Our senior photo sessions are usually two hours, which means there will be plenty of time to hang out and switch up wardrobe, so bring a few different everyday looks that are comfortable for you. Wear what is YOU, every day, head to toe. Try to plan out the different looks before we get started photographing, so there is no stress during the shoot; remember, the idea here is to have fun and keep the mood light.
If you play a sport, cheer or perform in band, bring your uniform. High school activities can play a huge part in our lives, and it's always a good idea to try and incorporate that into your senior photos, even if it's just for one or two photos.
FIND YOUR LOCATION //
Locations play a major part in the look of your final images. I like to pick environments that are special to you. A hike you find to be spiritual, a downtown brick alley that screams your edgy style, or the football field at sunset; make a list of your favorite spots and we will plan out a route that works best for your photo shoot.
During the summer months, the best sunlight happens early in the morning and later in the evening, around 6pm-8pm, so we will usually meet at a coffee shop near the first location, and get started photographing around 6 in the afternoon.
BRING WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY //
Props are always a good idea. Guitars, sports equipment, cameras, cars, books.. anything you love, bring it. Again this whole experience is about capturing who you are; telling a short story of YOU. Props only give us more awesome ways of telling that story! It also helps to give you confidence when you're doing something you enjoy, like play a few chords or kicking a soccer ball around.
WE ARE A TEAM //
The other big thing Sydney points out is that treating the photographer like a friend, and vice versa, always made things flow smoothly. She says, "When we would chat, it didn't feel like a business relationship. Whenever a photographer encouraged me, I felt so much better. I dealt with some really "big shot" photographers that knew they were famous and were not nice. Those were the worst shots."
My main focus during our photo shoot is to make a good friend. It's honestly such a special think that you're giving me permission to invade your space bubble with a camera, and I take that very seriously. It is my greatest priority to establish a relationship for all of us to have a good time.
WHAT YOU GET //
After all is said and done, I'll put your images through my nerdy, creative, computer processing to ensure they look as perfect as they possibly can, and add the best of the best in an online gallery for you to view, download, share, and even order prints! (everything from small wallets to huge canvases!) You'll get a fancy package in the mail, with a beautiful photo book of our day together, telling a short story of you.
Get excited. Bring people that help you be you. Dress like you. Bring things that show off you. And be ready to have a fun time with a weird, artsy person with a camera. You'll love the images you end up with, and you'll love the time it took to get them!