With so many girls wanting to consider modeling, the “trend” right now is to make your senior portrait “experience” be all about high fashion, high energy, professional hair and make up, etc. And I think that is a really fun approach for some – but it’s also a bit over the top for me for senior portraits.
I can’t say how often I sit with parents in an ordering session when they are looking for the images that truly bring out THEIR child. They look for the looks, the expressions, the mannerisms, etc – that bring out the familiar child to them. Not the adult wanna be, or the “look what I could look like” version.
And so I focus so much more on capturing the senior as they are – and although I offer access to make up and hair professionals for anyone who wants them – I have very few seniors take me up on that option.
Does my business suffer because my clients aren’t “camera ready” by a professional? Maybe. Maybe I work a little bit harder in post processing to remove things from faces that aren’t permanent – but then again, I’m showing who they really are, not a made up version. And if I can judge from the parents reactions, I think that’s what THEY want. And isn’t it great that we can show a teenager how beautiful they are AS THEY ARE? Without saying – “hey you’re great – but look how much better we can make you”?
So do I offer a high fashion experience? In many ways I offer a version of that – I encourage lots of clothing options and lots of accessories even if that is what the SENIOR wants. But I look for clothes that make them feel great about themselves – and not just look good on them. One of the first questions I ask when I see their clothes for a session is which outfit do THEY LOVE TO WEAR? That’s the one I know they will feel comfortable in, and relaxed. And then we start the journey of finding a way to capture THEM. Because if they can relax and feel comfortable, and familiar, they will know I’m not trying to make them into something they aren’t. Not a lot of fake camera smiles, or poses that are stiff and uncomfortable. Just them – who they are and how they are.
I will really encourage them to be comfortable and free with smiles, expressions, poses – but I won’t ask them to be someone they are not. And unless they travel with professional hair and makeup everyday, that look just doesn’t scream senior portraits to me.
That’s my soapbox for the day. Thanks for listening.
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