Tips to Take More Considerate Senior Portraits

Have you ever found yourself wondering how your senior photographs may be improved beyond the typical cap and gown shots? When it comes time to schedule your senior portrait session, give some consideration to lifestyle photography.

My firm is getting close to the conclusion of the senior picture season, and as I reflect on the many different senior photo shoots we’ve done this year, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me which ones are my favourites.

Although the traditional photograph of the graduate in cap and gown is frequently a request made by families, taking such pictures is among my least favourite activities related to photography. Because of this, I don’t spend a lot of time honing down on those catches, and I believe that my customers are starting to understand why.

I like to concentrate more on lifestyle portraiture when photographing seniors since I believe that pictures of this nature should be indicative of both the person and the environment in which they were taken. I just think that this will make the photographs more meaningful to look at many years from now, and the kinds of photo shoots that are like this are the ones that I like the most.

Think About the Place You Come From.

Farming and ranching are typical forms of livelihood in the surrounding area, which is home to our little town in rural Arizona. I was born and raised in this nation, and as I became older, a profound love for my homeland worked its way deeper and deeper into the very fibres of my identity.

There is something special about the way of life that is prevalent in little towns and minor villages all over the United States, and as a result, many of the pictures that I create represent at least a little bit of that way of life.

Think About When and How You Should Get Started.

If your schedule allows for some degree of creative leeway, deciding when to plan a shoot shouldn’t be too tough. The last hour to an hour and a half of daylight yields some of the best results for me when shooting photographs outside.

During this time, the lighting is at its most agreeable, and I can effortlessly produce the warm tones that are one of my favourite aspects of a photograph. When I first start photographing, I usually start with my longest lens, which is a Nikon 70-200mm. As my subject becomes more at ease in front of the camera, this provides them just a little bit more space to breathe. After that, I gradually get closer to the subject using a lens with a focal range of 24-70 millimetres to get broader photos and a fresh point of view.


When it comes to the gear I use, I want to keep things simple. In terms of equipment, if I had to provide any advice, it would be to “keep it simple, dumb” (KISS). This line of reasoning has, to a large extent, kept me out of trouble in terms of equipment-related issues up to this time.

When it comes to supplementary lighting equipment, I can get by with only a single Nikon SB-910 Speedlight and a modifier for the vast majority of my portrait sessions. As the sun sinks below the horizon, I will often add a backlight by attaching an additional Speedlight to the setup.

Find a suitable place to do the search.

When I first started out, I would spend entirely too much time thinking about potential shooting sites. The fact of the matter is that the ideal venues are the ones that are willing to cooperate with you. When it comes to senior portraits, as well as lifestyle photography in general, I usually do a little bit of research to figure out where my subject spends the most of their time in order to get the best possible shots of them.

Shooting a competitive swimmer in the sand dunes or a cowboy in a ballroom just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In this particular instance, the site was the home of my subject, which was situated on a modest family ranch.

It may be beneficial to determine a place by asking your subject questions about the activities that they take the greatest pleasure in performing the most.


When it comes to post-processing, I believe the majority of photographers eventually settle on a certain aesthetic that they want to replicate from set to set. It’s okay if you haven’t yet settled on a certain editing style just yet. It is inevitable. When it comes to the general appearance of your photos, however, it is essential to maintain consistency for the sake of your clients.

Because no one wants to pay for one thing and receive another, developing your own presets that include the fundamental adjustments you make the most often is beneficial in the process of developing a portfolio that is consistent and cohesive.

My personal go-to preset in Lightroom is one that I created myself and dubbed “My Sharp Punch.” At the beginning of the editing process, I apply it to each and every one of my photographs. The preset you’ve chosen includes some minor alterations to the contrast, clarity, and vibrancy of the picture, as well as a handful of sharpening tweaks.

Even though I’m only making a few tweaks, being able to save them all as a preset enables me to save a lot of time over the course of a project and helps ensure that the sets I deliver to my customers are uniform.


Let that shine through in your senior portraits, whether you’re from a more rural part of the world where boots collect mud and dust or you’re from a more urban part of the world where your clients are slickly dressed and smooth-talking young people.

You will be rewarded with a set of photographs that make perfect sense if you introduce your subjects and explain where they are from in the photographs. To a greater extent than the cowboy in the ballroom nonetheless.

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