Your High School Senior Photo Shoot: A Not-So-Top-Secret Look Behind the Scenes
Everyone wants to know—but not everyone wants to ask—“What in the world actually happens at a photo shoot?” I’m about to give you the inside scoop so you’ll be ready to tackle your day with enthusiasm and kick the nerves to the curb. Hint: It’s probably a mix of some of the things you were thinking and a surprising amount of things you hadn’t even dreamed up. Trust me, your day in front of the camera lens is going to be all you imagined…and then some.
Choosing a Location
Don’t worry; you don’t have to choose just one! I like to wander during sessions to find unique spots. Sometimes you find a hidden gem when you least expect it, so bring comfy walking shoes. We’ll move around a lot during your photo shoot so I can capture you with as many different backgrounds and environments as possible. If we’re in a downtown area, we’ll easily walk several blocks to find the best locations for you.
Sometimes we go to popular areas like the Riparian Preserve or Nichols Park. Downtown Gilbert or a small local park are great because they are often less crowded and we’re able to get more creative shots and use the great backgrounds and colors that nature provides. Most high school seniors like a combination of both the natural elements AND a bit of the urban environment. When you’re with me, we cover a lot of ground—and that means we get a wide variety of shots.
C’mon, let’s take a look behind the scenes of what will make up your amazingly fun photo shoot!
Behind The Scenes
We typically arrive at our first location between 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon, depending on the weather, the sun, and the locations you’ve chosen. We’ll go through your outfits to determine which outfit will give the best vibes, which ones are “must-haves,” and you’ll use our portable changing room to change into your first outfit. My team and I will set up the equipment and take some test shots, and then we’ll be ready to capture some amazing shots of you in action!
In this shoot, I am working with my clients, Trevor, a 17-year-old basketball athlete from Mesquite High School, and his mother, Gina. During our session, Gina snapped a few pictures of Trevor’s session and I thought it would be fun to show some behind the scenes pictures compared to the final senior portraits.
This red wall really isn’t anything special, but when paired with Trevor’s flannel shirt, the headshot is great! Couple that with some prompts to get that genuine smile, and it’s a win for both of us!
It’s All About Lighting
Well, if you’re gonna do basketball pictures, we need a basketball court. Gina told me about a great park near their home with a nice basketball court. While this was a great opportunity to highlight Trevor’s love of basketball, I needed to assess the location and lighting—and we had to be careful because often, neighborhood parks can be crowded, making it tough to get the shots we’re after.
Gina was able to snap a few casual pics for me so that I could determine the layout of the park, including potential lighting issues, landscaping, and other details. The park was at street level with a lot of trees, so I instantly knew I could shoot great photos without houses distracting the scene. Score!
It’s not uncommon to find me climbing a ladder or laying on the ground to get the exact shot I want. Sometimes we just get creative and see what the results are! These shots really show what it’s like behind the scenes!
As the sun went down and we were done with action shots, it was time to pull out the lights. Since Gina is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, she also chose to paint a ball silver and the results were even better than we’d hoped!
We were having such a great time we kept shooting after dark. After a quick uniform change, we captured even more unique basketball shots. The sun sets quickly, and with the off camera lighting we can choose how much of the background to include in each photo offering plenty of variety.
Trendy Night Shots
If you want nighttime portraits—a popular photo trend for the Class of 2021—then we continue shooting into the evening. Downtown Gilbert is a favorite nighttime location, even if it’s just the edge of a parking lot or parking garage!
Highlighting Your Hobbies and Interests
Many high school seniors choose to include their sports because it might be the final games of their career. Trevor added basketball in several ways. We chose to start with Trevor’s Mesquite high school uniform (shown above) and a standard basketball. You want your senior in a suit and tie? No problem! It’s an incredible look and trust me, the guys love it when we combine this snazzy look with their favorite sport.
You don’t play sports?
This is actually a very common concern with my high school seniors! “But I don’t play sports, I’m not active in clubs, I’m just a regular teenager!” Well, one solution is to include your favorite pro sports team, as Trevor did. Now, his was even more awesome because he has a personalized Phoenix Suns jersey! However, any of your favorite sports teams would work. Don’t overlook your college team!
Or how about the college you’re attending? It just so happens that Trevor got an academic scholarship to the University of Arizona in Tucson!!!!!
Finishing the Photo Session
Most daytime photo shoots take 2 – 3 hours. I like to end the day by making sure we have at least 35 great shots. A checklist includes basic poses, close-up shots, and even some candid fun and funny shots of you being your quirky self. Whatever makes your personality shine through, that’s what I’m looking for—and that’s what I’ll capture in senior portraits.
Your memories of high school should be cherished. I will work with you to create a modern, authentic plan. When you trust me to capture your look, personality, and style in high-quality professional images, you’ll be proud to share your high school portraits with friends and family!