7 Tips for Choosing the Best Photographer for Senior Pictures

7 Tips for Choosing the Best Photographer for Senior Pictures

7 Tips for Choosing the Best Photographer for Senior Pictures

There are thousands of photographers out there, so how do you know which one is the best photographer for your senior pictures? How do you choose? What should you look for? How do you make that decision when there are thousands of photographers? Not all sessions are the same, so you’ll need to decide what’s important to you! These tips are designed to make sure that you’re picking the perfect senior photographer to capture your senior year!

Tip #1: Do your research.

Ask around. Ask other moms and seniors about their experiences with photographers that they’ve used. Additionally, you should ask each photographer you are considering for references and reviews. Check the photographer’s social media. Dig through their website to see if their style matches yours. When you’ve done all of that, make sure that you feel confident that you will be comfortable spending an hour or more with this person. You want to feel a connection not only to their work but to them. Again, you only experience senior year once. Make your senior portrait session count!

A good way to gauge what your experience with a photographer will be like is by noting how quickly they respond to your emails, calls, or texts. Does it take days or do you usually hear back from them within 24 hours? It’s important to have reasonable expectations and to realize that you are not their only client, but you also want to feel like you are important to them. Make sure that you have a good feeling when you communicate with your photographer. Are they excited about your shoot? Are they giving you helpful advice?  (Psssst…my goal is to make EVERY client feel like my ONLY client!)

Bests Photographer AZ Senior Pictures

Tip #2: Don’t let price alone dictate your decision.

I get it. Teenagers are expensive! Car insurance, prom, college, life…it’s never ending! Price is the first thing that most people ask about. Don’t let price be the roadblock to getting the look and experience you want! These are your senior photos! If you go with the cheapest photographer or have a friend take them, are you going to get images you love?  Will you have envy or regret about your senior pictures?  This is a rite of passage, one of the most important milestones of your teenage years.

Find someone you love and believe will deliver the best experience and images! You’re only going to do this once!  And this is super important…try to find someone who will guide you through the process, help with styling, and offer ideas for product selection. While there are times to hire a hobbyist, hiring a professional is definitely worth it when it comes to senior pictures.

I know there is a wide range of prices out there, and I know I’m on the high end, but that’s because of what I offer and what I deliver for each and every client.

Tip #3: Choose a photographer that specializes in senior pictures.

Many photographers think it is best to offer a little of everything, and some do it very well! I used to be that photographer, the one who took newborns and families, seniors and engagements, pretty much anything that was requested. Over the years it became very obvious that my true passion is working with teens and seniors, and when you love what you do, it makes all the difference in the world!

If a photographer only works with a few seniors here and there, they may not be the best choice. Being an amazing family or newborn photographer doesn’t mean that they’re as good at photographing seniors (although they may be!). This is why it’s important to ask to see a full session and really look at their portfolio before making a decision. Are there a lot of different seniors shown? Do they show both guys and girls? You want to be sure that you hire a photographer who is an expert and knows how to help you look and feel your best. You’ll also want to be sure you’re not just a number to them, but a priority. If you hire a wedding photographer, they will likely be focused on brides. If you hire a newborn photographer, they’ll be great at posing babies but may not be able to help with styling.

By specializing in senior pictures, it allows me to keep up with trends, have a dedicated Style Closet, and have years of experience working with teenagers. My first seniors were the Class of 2011, and after a few years I began only doing sessions for teens and seniors. Now, I get recognized regularly by industry leaders and published in magazines!

Best Photographer AZ

Tip #4: Choose a Professional Photographer

One of the most important tips for your senior pictures is choose a professional photographer!  You’re only a high school senior once, so why not hire the best? These days, anyone can buy a “good camera” and “become a photographer.”  It is a great hobby!  But for your senior pictures, please be sure to choose a professional. You don’t want someone who is just starting out to document such an important milestone!  I’m a full time professional photographer. My goal is to produce beautiful, timeless portraits for you.  This isn’t a weekend gig or something I do just for fun.  Think twice before you ask your BFF with a cell phone or your favorite uncle. While they might be good, they do not have the skills and artistry to capture your unique personality in photographs, and have limited time behind the lens.

You also want to make sure that if it’s required, your photographer has permission and/or a permit to use the location you select. This is a HUGE deal and a big difference between a professional photographer and a hobbyist! While it maybe isn’t always required, it is always best to ask if you’re in a public place! Some of the parks require permits for day use, some places strictly prohibit photography. Please be respectful on their decisions. I’ve used restaurants, stores, and even private residences…but never without asking first!

Professional photographers have standards to uphold and are always improving their skills to you the best. This is done for a reason! I want you to be confident that I will produce amazing portraits for you!

Tip #5: Take your session to the next level.

Who doesn’t want to feel amazing when they are being photographed? Being pampered on the day of your session is not only fun but it will make you feel more confident and beautiful. Find out if the photographer has a professional hair and makeup artist to help you achieve the look you want. Make sure that the photographer is willing to meet with you before your session! It is often hard to open up to someone you’ve never met. Find someone who is easy to reach and responds to your questions. You don’t want this to be a stressful photo shoot!  Getting helpful advice and knowing exactly what to expect at the session is a plus and goes a long way to calm nerves and make both you and your parents feel confident.

Tip #6: The truth about portfolio building.

Often people will try to cut costs by hiring a new photographer or someone who is portfolio building, but here’s why that can be a problem. Are you paying for a senior session that represents you or for your photographer to build their portfolio? I always remind my clients that this is their time, not mine. I’m here to provide my talent and experience but it’s not my session, it’s yours! I’m happy to suggest locations that offer interesting backgrounds or give a certain vibe. If you’re unsure about what to wear, I’m happy to help you choose outfits. This is all part of a photographer’s job!

However, if a photographer is telling you what they want for your session, it’s important to ask yourself if the photo shoot is more about them than it is about you. Your input and creative expression are key! If you need ideas, I’m full of them, but even when I use similar ideas or locations, I don’t want your pictures to look to like your friends’ pictures. I want you to have something different! Is there a limit on locations or outfits? Often photographers will only let you change once or twice, or don’t have a place for you to change if you’re outdoors. Be sure you get all the details before you commit!

Tip #7: Include your parents.

This may seem like an odd thing to look for in a senior photographer, but it’s still essential. Having one or both of your parents involved in the session is important! Make sure the photographer allows a parent to be present at the shoot at all times. A good senior photographer will shoot for both you and your parents and provide you with images that everyone in your family will love. A few sessions this spring I had both Mom & Dad at the photo shoot and it was phenomenal! It makes me feel like we’re all in this together! (And just as I typed that I heard High School Musical in my head, which wasn’t intentional!) Plus, sometimes I convince them to step in for a quick picture. Go ahead, let the tears roll down your face.

There you have it! I hope that these tips have been helpful and will help you pick the best photographer for you. If you think we might be a good fit, I’d love to meet you and offer you a free in-person consultation.

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Mesquite Senior Pictures | Track Athlete | Gilbert, Arizona

Mesquite Senior Pictures | Track Athlete | Gilbert, Arizona

Mesquite Senior Pictures

If you’re a high school senior, you’ll definitely want to include your favorite sport for your senior pictures. That was the case with Aaron, who is a track athlete for Mesquite High School in Chandler, AZ. Aaron is a Class of 2019 graduate who came to us at the very beginning of his senior year. We didn’t actually do his photo shoot until January, but this gave him plenty of time to prepare and finalize exactly what he wanted. 

Even though his mom and dad live in different states, they decided that the professional senior pictures, experience, and heirloom quality artwork was something that was important enough to splurge on for their only son. I knew after our consultation that our Luxury Image Box would be a great product for this family since it would hold a lot of pictures and give them the flexibility to display and change out photos easily. I wanted to be sure we had a wide variety of images that could fill their image box with beautiful senior pictures.

Senior Pictures at the Track

We started Aaron’s photo shoot at Mesquite High School so we could take some amazing sports images of Aaron in action. He was fully prepared with his track uniform, warm ups, and all his gear. I knew we wanted a gorgeous sun flare image showing the Mesquite scoreboard, as well as images of Aaron sprinting. Now, it wasn’t terribly hot that day but in Arizona…well, it can be warm just about any day! I hadn’t really planned on him going all out for me, but he did, and boy did it pay off! The intensity and drive on his face shows exactly how determined he is!

Tumbleweed Park in Chandler

We had decided ahead of time that Downtown Chandler and Tumbleweed Park would be great locations to include for Aaron’s senior pictures. Aaron loved the idea of this old, rustic truck, which is quite popular for our seniors. Mom will always love a gorgeous images of her son smiling, and with a smile like this, it was definitely a favorite! I probably had to crack a few dumb jokes to get these authentic smiles, but that’s what part of my job. I’ll give you tips to look natural instead of stiff and posed. 

Mesquite Chandler Senior Pictures Guys

Composite Sports Artwork

While I’ve been creating these images for years, my clients still love them! We take a simple image of the senior in front of a textured wall, leaving enough room to add a sports image next to him. Then we find a great sports image, superimpose, magic, and there you go! Definitely one of our most requested products and it looks amazing printed on our Signature Silk photographic paper!

The Skateboard

If you know me, you know I love The Big Bang Theory, so this shirt made me smile. While it isn’t part of his normal wardrobe, both Aaron and his mom wanted to incorporate his skateboard and clothing from his younger teen years. Rather than just taking some basic holding his board, we put him in action again, and again, and again, in order to catch the perfect shot! Fancy location? Nope, just the side of the road with a street light behind him, but with proper off camera lighting, we were able to create this great shot at dusk!

    

Suit and Tie for the Guys

I’m a very casual person, I live in t-shirts and denim shorts nearly all year here in AZ. I didn’t used to push too hard to my seniors to bring nice clothes, since I wanted to capture their true essence. Then I had a senior guy a few years ago with a white shirt, tie, and suspenders, and that was the beginning of my love for these images! Especially at night, the guys just look stunning and it really helps boost their self confidence. They’re adults now, so to see themselves looking all handsome in a suit and tie and think of them heading into the adult world? It’s nothing short of fantastic! If I can encourage even a little extra self confidence in every senior that walks through my door, I’ll be a happy camper!

Featured in Senior Guys Style

Just after I finished editing Aaron’s images, I posted this gorgeous shot to my Instagram and it wasn’t long before it was selected to be featured on Senior Guys Style! Their account features high school senior guys from the the best senior portrait photographers worldwide. I was excited, Aaron was excited, and of course mom got to show off her son even more!

 

Senior Guys Style Featured Photographer

Include Mom for Your Senior Pictures

She’s been there for you since day one. She loves you more than you’ll ever know. So yes, this needed to happen. I haven’t done it very often but for some reason this night, I asked Melissa to step in for a just a few quick shots. Instead of fussing over her hair and makeup saying she wasn’t ready, she proudly stepped in beaming with pride! I hope this picture brings them smiles and tears for years to come. Yes, mom cried when she saw it for the first time. 

Boys have a very special relationship with their moms which is truly evident in this picture. I found a poem that fit perfectly, and we used it on Aaron’s image box. 

Sons do grow into men
and no longer play with toys.
But in our hearts as mothers,
they’ll always be our little boys.

Want to see more Hamilton and Mesquite senior pictures? Here are a couple blog posts you might enjoy! Both of them are athletes and had images taken at night in Downtown Chandler. 
Matthew, Hamilton High School
Briana, Hamilton High School

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson Save & Exit

Embrace Your Senior Year of High School | Preparing for the Future

Embrace Your Senior Year of High School | Preparing for the Future

Enjoy Your Senior Year! Class of 2020…It’s Your Turn!

High school has flown by, and now you’re a senior!!! When you look back, have you really enjoyed high school? Or did you just fly through, waiting for the next chapter of your life to begin? Now is the time to make the most of your senior year! While this all may seem daunting, relax! It will be OK! Now is the perfect time to start planning these things, because the earlier you start planning, the easier it will be in the spring! Trust me,  you’ll thank yourself later! Planning in small increments over a long period of time will significantly reduce your stress levels. So plan early, but don’t stress!

 

  • Visiting college campuses

The best way to start planning the future is to visit the place you might be living at for the next four years. This will help you make an informed decision about your future. Don’t let this slide! Get your essays written and submit those applications! Before you know it, it will be spring and graduation comes quickly! When you’re planning your visits, try to schedule your visit while school is in session.

Plan for College

  • Start planning and saving…NOW!

While it’s true you still have a little while, it’s best to start planning early. Start thinking and planning where you want to live- are you going to live at home, in a dorm, or in an apartment? Will you have a meal plan? Some colleges have rules involving staying in dorms and having meal plans, so check with your college to see if you are required to have one or both of those things. Some other things to check is what is included in the dorms, whether you have communal bathrooms or private bathrooms, how close your dorm room is to certain buildings, etc. It’s better to be prepared so when you arrive on campus, you aren’t surprised on much.

  • Spend more time with friends

Whatever you decide to do after high school, it’s likely that some of your friends will be moving away. Try to take advantage and spend time together. Also, be sure to make new friends too! See if you know anyone at the universities you’ve visited. Maybe you’ll be able to connect with old teammates, friends’ siblings, or your friend that moved away a few years ago. And be sure to nurture your current friendships. Doing this will ensure that you’ll have someone to talk to if things get rough next year.

  • Thank your teachers

This is the time to reach out to those teachers who made an impact on you. Your teachers would totally love to hear a small token of your gratitude. Remember, most of them have a passion for what they do. Showing appreciation will go a long way. Whether it’s your math teacher who got you through Algebra or your favorite coach, let them know how they’ve helped you grow. You might even take some time to drop a note to your favorite elementary school teacher too!

  • Spend more time with family

It’s hard to balance school life, homework, and friends, but don’t forget to spend time with your family. Mom is probably having a hard time too, so take this time to do something special together. She’s gotten you through the last 17 years and you’re gonna need her even more as you venture into the adult world! You may be going away to school next year, joining the military, or moving out on your own. Enjoy having your family close!
Enjoy Senior Year Family Mom

  • Be adventurous

Explore new things, new places, something different. Take a day trip with your BFF’s, or visit a new coffee shop, check out the museum in your town.

  • Be upfront with your feelings

There’s no better time to embrace honesty. Don’t leave that chance for things unsaid. Definitely don’t be rude or mean about things, but saying how you feel about things that scare you will help you leave high school with no regrets. Get it off your chest and it will help you enter your next chapter of your life with nothing holding you back.

  • Embrace school activities

This is your chance to fully participate in everything your school has to offer. Don’t look back and regret not going for the last time. This includes sports, football games, dances, and spirit days! While some of you may be playing sports in college, for others the number of games or meets left may be limited. Make the most of it!
Enjoy Senior Year Sports

  • Forgive and Forget

It’s time to let go of old grudges. It’s your senior year! Honestly, it probably won’t matter that much in the future. Holding on to the past will only leave you with negative impact on your life. Relax and let it go!

  • Practice basic life skills

Now is the time to learn how to be more self sufficient. Learn some basics!  For example, learn how to do laundry correctly.  No, you’re not supposed to dump your entire month’s worth of clothes into one load. Cook some basic dishes, maybe even cook a vegetable.  Learn the basics of car maintenance and make sure it is in good working condition. And definitely be sure you know how to handle money. Practicing now while you still have parents around to guide you, will help get a handle on some of the adulting that will be hitting hard next year!

If you’re an athlete, check out our tips for your senior sports portraits!

 

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

 

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Tips for Senior Sports Portraits | Senior Pictures for Athletes

Tips for Senior Sports Portraits | Senior Pictures for Athletes

Tips to Prepare for Sports Portraits

Specializing in senior pictures allows me to really keep up on trends and help you prepare for your senior sports portraits! For athletes, that means making sure I can capture everything about their sport, whether they play club sports or school sports. As a mom, you may think your child will be in this sport forever, often even college. The reality is that high school is often the last time your teenager may compete. Also, for all the moms who think their son won’t enjoy a senior portrait session, this is just one way to get them involved and loving it! Don’t pass up what might be your last opportunity to create senior pictures like these!

Bring Your Gear

I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often socks are forgotten or the ball is left in the garage. Plan ahead, make a list, and bring it all! Pack your uniform, ball, t-shirt, jersey, letter jacket, warm-ups, shoes, socks, and other equipment for your sport. 

       

Be Ready to Play

The best part is capturing seniors doing what they love. I mean actually playing and having fun! Of course during a game or meet, this can be difficult, but during your senior pictures we’ll have time to shoot and play around with some creative ideas. Admittedly I don’t know much about every single sport, so while I definitely have ideas, I also want your input. Be prepared to show off! It’s OK, I absolutely love meeting all these talented athletes and sharing in their success!

Athlete Senior Pictures AZ

Go All Out

Even though the stands aren’t full, don’t hold back! I was reminded of this during a spring photo shoot when I asked one of my track kids to go run. Let me tell you, he sure did and it made the images that much more amazing! Going full speed brought the photos to life with his realistic emotion and expression. 

Be Flexible With Locations

Sometimes your school will be great for senior pictures and sometimes other locations might work better. Always check with your school and get permission before your photo shoot if you’d like to use the field. We’ve used grassy areas, urban streets, neighborhood courts, and even other schools’ fields (again, with permission!) and much to my surprise, the alternative locations have been far better than we’d imagined!

This urban area provided the perfect backdrop for Nicholas’ wrestling pictures! Mom loved the blue, the texture was perfect, and Nicholas came with every single detailed piece of clothing as if he were ready for a wrestling match. Check out the socks, that’s the best part!

This particular day, Perry had either baseball practice or a game, but another local high school’s baseball field was completely empty! It made this the perfect night for taking our time and capturing exactly what we wanted without having other people around. 

And sometimes, we get lucky and the school works out beautifully! There was actually practice this day, but since we didn’t really need much space, the coaches at Mesquite High School were more than happy to let us use the track.

Want to see more more senior sports portraits? Here are a couple more posts you might enjoy!
Matthew, club soccer
Jalen, high school football

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Guys Senior Pictures | Desert Ridge High School | Mesa Senior Photographer

Guys Senior Pictures | Desert Ridge High School | Mesa Senior Photographer

Guys Senior Pictures

Sometimes I wish people would speak up! When Joseph’s mom Christina contacted me, it turns out that she’d been stalking my photography for years. Like literally since I started 10 years ago! Joe is a graduate from Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, AZ and like most guys, well, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about senior pictures. So here are a few things you can do to make a guy’s senior pictures a little more exciting for them.

Get a Great Headshot

Most guys are doing this just for mom. And what does mom want? A gorgeous headshot of her boy, especially with that hair! I love it!!!

The next step was to find out what Joe liked. Turns out he really likes Michigan where his grandparents live. So I did my best to find an area that didn’t look like the desert, had some green, and would remind him of his favorite place. Love this soft image of where we were able to get some amazing hazy sunlight.

Favorite Clothing

I’m sure you’ve heard me say that clothing can make or break senior pictures. While that is somewhat true, it mostly applies if you’re in a specific location going for a certain look. In Joe’s case, he loves his plaids and his favorite jacket. Perfect! In the beautiful green areas, the colors really worked and as you can see from his smile, he was having thrilled when I asked him to pull out that jacket!

Fun Lighting After Dark

And of course, hitting the streets after dark is sure to get some super cool night time pictures of your senior guy! This image was taken in downtown Gilbert. We parked in the lot, walked to the edge of the street, and were done in 10 minutes! While we were there, Joe managed to find someone’s leftover dinner sitting on the bench. That definitely gave us all a good laugh!

Senior Pictures Desert Ridge Guys Mesa, AZ

High School Senior Pictures:  A Memorable Experience

Most guys that are graduating from high school say they don’t want a full senior portrait session.  But they really do, they just want it to be fun and not like the typical portrait session you’ve probably imagined!  Or maybe you’ve had a portrait session that was rushed and stressful. When we take the time to get to know you, we can capture amazing moments, real laughter, and create beautiful images your family will love!  After all, you know he’ll always be your little boy, so let’s make sure we have senior pictures to remember this once in a lifetime accomplishment!

Now Scheduling Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

 

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

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