Certainly, the way we take senior portraits today is very different than the way it was done just 20 years ago…or more. IF it was done at all, it was one or two images…maybe you selected your own, maybe you got to wear what you wanted. In my high school the privilege for seniors was to wear what they wanted, but also to get to go to one of 3 professional photographers “in town” and have your own photos done – choose the one you wanted for senior photos (and yes, in the yearbook!) and get a TON of wallets for all your friends to sign on the back and give to each other. I still have all those handwritten wallets from my class mates in a scrapbook, carefully preserved so I can see their writing, their thoughts…and their images.
For years I’ve offered an option to kids and families so they don’t have to “settle” for the school photographer. I LOVE working this age group because there is so much there. And having the chance to help someone feel beautiful when they might not be feeling great about themselves is something I treasure about what I do.
But recently I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about senior portraits. Like “why bother”…or “I have SO MANY photos of myself already”. Or “I’ll never care about that later”… or better yet, the ones that do the sessions and then pick themselves apart in the images. (so counter productive to improving our self images folks). Even parents are guilty of this – picking apart little things in the sales room about their kids expressions, their smiles, how they dressed, and more. It’s so hard to see.
There are a lot of reasons that folks use to not want to print anything any longer – and I could go on my soap box all day with arguments against, and maybe even for digital files instead of prints. But that’s not what I want my soap box to be about today.
The one objection I wanted to address is the one I’ve heard a lot this spring – “I have so many photos of myself”. And we do…selfies are the rage, right? You take a thousand photos of yourself – your friends take candids of you. You grab a photo everywhere because it’s so convenient with your phone. You are almost tired of seeing your own face, right?
But what do you DO WITH THEM?
Are any of them good enough to print? Or do you just do it to share with friends and social media?
Have you thought about where social media will be in 20 or more years? Will you look back on those images and remember feeling great about yourself? Or are the photos just there…on your phone until you buy a new one and lose them all maybe. Did you even upload to a cloud storage location so you would for sure have them someday? Or do you think Instagram and Facebook will keep your photos forever and you’ll archive them that way? Maybe they will…if they are still here in 20 or 30 years.
Maybe you don’t like what is now the “old school” way of taking professional photos and getting prints from the favorites…but if you don’t do that will you only have the candid moments of funny faces maybe on social media someday? Will you parents have to pull up your Facebook page or Instagram feed to show off their kids to family and friends on their next trip? Will you really never print any images for yourself because you’ve seen yourself so much in selfies?????
Call me old fashioned, and maybe I finally am…but taking the time to dress up, have a photo session that makes you look beautiful and have a good time..then getting beautiful prints or even a book of those images – well, THAT is timeless. A true professional photographer works hard for you to give you images that take YOU (the you in those selfies) and gives you a beautiful background, poses you so you look great, presents options to you, retouches carefully distracting elements, then works to optimize your images for beautiful prints that will last a lifetime. So you can enjoy them for a lifetime. Or more. Timeless….
But maybe you have to be old fashioned to understand TIMELESS is important.
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