High School Senior Pictures: Tips for Bringing Your Car
Did you know that besides being an Arizona senior portrait photographer, I also love cars!!! When my dad was alive we used to go to the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction every year. When I was in high school we watched many IndyCar races together and went to PIR (now ISM Raceway) in the spring for races leading up to the Indy 500. So yes, there is a little history for you that I’m not sure even our son knew until last January when I took him out to Barrett-Jackson. So maybe that’s why senior guys (and some girls) love bring their cars to their senior photo shoot with me.
1. Remove High School Parking Permit
Many of them are hangers these days instead of stickers, so remember to take it down and put it somewhere safe. Believe it or not, Tyler had his parking pass stickers on his windshield, so I used Photoshop to remove them. However, leaving your tassel hanging from your mirror is perfectly OK!
2. Wash Your Car, Inside and Out
I want to say this is obvious, but let’s mention it just to be sure. Yes, I will use Photoshop to edit out dirt and scratches, but please don’t go off-roading right before your photography session! You might even consider splurging on a detail the day before your shoot. Make sure the windows are clean. We’ll likely be doing pictures with the windows both up and down. Don’t worry too much about dings and scratches, I’ll take care of those. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see some of the car’s interior, so make sure that’s cleaned up too. No Dutch Bros cups, old fast food containers, or school paperwork on the floor please!
3. Special Treatment
If you prefer certain locations for your car, please let me know! Often we’ll go into a parking garage with speed bumps. If your car sits too low and will be damaged from that, please just let me know ahead of time. Trust me, I totally understand! We couldn’t take this beautiful Lamborghini over speed bumps so we drove out to the edge of Chandler where we found this beautiful Arizona desert waiting for us! Don’t be fooled, this is actually the end of a busy road at a stop sign. I had to run out in between cars turning, but nobody minded! We had a lot of people stop and ask about this beauty since you don’t see these driving around everyday!
I personally love the look of a senior guys in a nice suit. And don’t forget the sunglasses! Doesn’t Cole look absolutely gorgeous?? We found a small space in a golf course parking lot, out of the way of traffic where we could get beautiful natural light for senior pictures with his car.
However, as you can see, long sleeves & jeans paired with sunglasses and a baseball hat also look amazing! The image below was shot in natural light in a Chandler parking garage and was published in the premier issue of Senior Year Magazine!
5. Consider Renting or Borrowing
We’re definitely not all lucky enough to have amazing cars at our fingertips, so it pays to be a little creative. Just before Trevor’s senior photos I found this amazing blue 1965 Shelby Cobra that was for sale. I emailed the selling explaining what we wanted to do, just shoot pictures, not drive the car. I asked if he’d be willing to drive the car to a certain location and just let us use the car for an hour or so. As you can see, he said yes…and even took Trevor for a ride on the empty roads, revving the engine the whole way! Trevor was in heaven! It’s a good thing we got the pictures done this day though. The next morning the car was on it’s way to a new owner.
Every year Desert Ridge High School’s theater booster club has a car show. Earlier this year I was a vendor and showcased some of our awesome products at the show, mostly of high school seniors with their cars. I told Trevor to walk the rows of cars and talk to the owners of any cars he thought would be good for senior photos. Trevor’s favorite color has always been yellow, so when he came across this Buick GS, he again asked the owner about borrowing the car. During those spring months we met some amazing people and found that most car enthusiasts are thrilled to allow you to take pictures with their precious cars! This guy has the car all polished and ready to go, and even brought additional cloths to the photo shoot for a few last minute touch ups. It is amazing how nice people are if you just ask!
While we don’t have a sports car of our own, Trevor’s grandma has a friend with a silver 50th anniversary Corvette! She’s known Trevor since he was just 4 years old and was more than willing to drive the car to our empty back road for more senior pictures. In her mind, it was a very small, simple gesture but meant the world to Trevor. And me too! All the owners of these cars were incredibly nice and patient, and even enjoyed seeing how a senior photo shoot works.
Final Thoughts on Preparing Your Car For Senior Pictures
- Remember to take down anything hanging from your rear view mirror, such as a school parking pass.
- Wash it. Self explanatory, right?
- Let me know what restrictions you have on locations so we can accommodate them.
- Think about what style you’d like for pictures with your car. Choose a few different looks for lots of variety
- Consider renting or borrowing a car for a very memorable senior photography session.