When is the Best Time to Schedule Senior Pictures? | A Parent’s Guide to Senior Portraits | Phoenix Photographer

It's easy to look at the available options and become overwhelmed with the choices for senior pictures, but if you focus on these 5 Super-Simple Tips, you'll be cool and collected—and you'll end up with senior pictures that highlight the very best of your soon-to-be graduate.

Dear Mom & Dad: A Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

For most parents, senior portraits are a distant memory. Two or three decades ago, we may have had the chance to change into a second outfit or even throw on our school jacket to change things up for senior pictures, but things have changed a lot since then.

Now vs. Then

The sky’s the limit for today’s seniors, and creativity is the name of the game when it comes to planning a senior photo shoot. Professional photographers are in tune with client needs, and they encourage individuality more than ever before. This gives graduates more opportunities to stand out and and make sure their personality really shines in their photographs. From traditional sessions in a studio to trendy urban photo shoots, the opportunities are endless.

Your kiddo has been working their entire school career at whatever drives them and inspires them. Whether it’s academics, sports, music, art, theater, or all of the above, their senior pictures are the perfect chance for them to showcase their unique talents, passions, and personality. Plus, you’ll have keepsake memories of their senior year that will last forever! (The right photographer will also make sure you have plenty of images to display around the house to comfort you when they leave for college!)

Print Senior Pictures Mesa, AZ

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

It’s easy to look at the available options and become overwhelmed with the choices for senior pictures, but if you focus on these 5 Super-Simple Tips, you’ll be cool and collected—and you’ll end up with senior pictures that highlight the very best of your soon-to-be graduate!

Can you believe we’re already talking about 2023 graduation? Let’s get this photo party started! Don’t get overwhelmed; stay on track with these 5 tips to ensure you get the fabulous senior pictures you and your teen are looking for.

  1. Make a Note of the Yearbook Deadline
    Knowing the yearbook deadline encourages you to schedule a senior session in advance instead of putting it off until the last minute. Depending on your requirements, a senior photo session will start with a yearbook portrait followed by creative shots that are unique to your child. In most instances, it takes at least two weeks to receive the final images, so be sure to plan accordingly. Oh, and before you schedule your yearbook photo shoot, read this! The school requires a pic of your teen for the yearbook, but did you know that you don’t have to use their photographer?
  2. Keep Your Senior’s Schedule in Mind
    You already know how frantic your kiddo’s schedule can be. Before you schedule a session, sit down with your senior to discuss a good time. When they are just as involved as you are in their photo shoot, your teen will be even more eager to make sure everything turns out perfectly! Even the specific time of day matters when scheduling a senior session. Ideally, for outdoor portrait sessions, you’ll want to take photos just after sunrise or just before sunset, as this is when we can catch that beautiful golden sunlight. The specific time varies throughout the year based on the sunset time. As a general rule, we’ll start your session about two hours prior to sunset, which means in January or February we start around 3:30-4:00, but in April we’ll start around 5:00. In the Arizona summer, most sessions take place at sunrise, which helps us beat the heat and provides some gorgeous images!
  3. Sports, Concerts, and other Events
    Keeping schedules in mind, you and your teen are the best people to assess your schedule. If they play baseball, do your best to schedule a fall session instead of waiting until spring when there will be daily practices and games. Football players, swimmers, and divers typically compete in the fall, so a spring session could work better. If your teen participates in band, orchestra, or theater, think about when those performances will be and schedule far enough in advance so it won’t be stressful.
  4. Compromise with Your Teen
    You may have a specific idea about the photos you would like to see, but this is about your teenager and what makes them feel confident and comfortable. Most senior sessions allow for several outfit changes, so use this as an opportunity to find a happy balance between what you want and what your senior wants. Be patient and hear them out before you dismiss their ideas. Their portraits should represent who they are and what they love. I make it a point to shoot images that both parents and teens love! I don’t expect you to to always prefer the same image, so I shoot a variety to make everyone happy.
  5. Encourage Sharing and Ask Questions
    Prior to a senior session, get your child to open up about their passions, hopes, and dreams. This information will help guide the shoot and ensure the most authentic photos. Knowing what your senior wants these photos to represent will also guide their outfit and location choices. Don’t forget to include your senior in the search for a photographer. After all, a photographer’s style needs to be one of the first things you look for when choosing a senior portrait photographer.

If you follow these easy tips, you’ll get started in plenty of time and ensure you have a stress-free senior portrait session for your teen. It’s all about planning and preparation.

Cute Outfits Senior Pictures Girls

The Good News

Once you’re booked and on the calendar, at Magical Memories by Michelle, you’ll never miss a deadline or a step you need to complete. I’ll keep you on track and make sure you and your teen are prepared for the big day! From How-To guides to What to Wear and Style Guides, you’ll get plenty of expert advice and insights. And don’t forget about the exclusive Style Closet! (Worried about what to wear or how to accessorize? Not with the Style Closet at your disposal!)

When you select your professional photographer, be sure you’re getting the clarity and guidance you need from the very beginning, and you’ll have a fun and stress-free experience with your teen!

6 Comments
  • Great tips for parents of new seniors! The start of senior year can be so overwhelming for students and parents and you are taking some of that stress away!

    • Hey Brandi! I know when my kids were seniors, there was so much going on, especially if it is your first senior. I’m glad you found these tips helpful!

  • What a fantastic walk through all the questions seniors have and need answers to! Putting this at their fingertips makes scheduling senior photo sessions easy. I cannot even describe the gift offered when a photographer makes things easy for her client. This is great!

    • Thanks Andrea! I really want this to be easy for all my parents and seniors, and I know it can be overwhelming!

  • Wonderful tips on selecting the best time to schedule senior pictures! It’s a tough thing to choose when you have so much going on for your senior year.

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