Senior portraits are kind of a big deal. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated (with something more than just selfies, of course). There are so many professional senior photographers and photography studios in Fond du Lac and the surrounding area, and searching for Fond du Lac photographers will turn up many results which can be overwhelming. Choosing the right senior portrait photographer who can best capture these important images can be a daunting task, so I’ve put together a few tips on what to consider when making this decision.
Style is often the first thing that draws someone to a senior portrait photographer. You should be sure that you love the overall look of the photos you see advertised, in regards to posing, backgrounds, lighting, color, editing, and skin retouching. Does the photographer aim for that perfectly posed and smiling wall portrait, for those totally un-posed and candid expressions with lots of movement, or a mixture of both? Do they capture the photos from a variety of interesting angles and perspectives? Can they turn ordinary locations into amazing backdrops? Are the photos primarily taken outdoors on-location, or in a local photography studio, and is the photographer proficient in both types of settings? Is the work done using natural light, off-camera flash, or both? Do they use props? Do they edit the photos to look natural and timeless? Do they retouch blemishes from skin? Is the overall style consistent across all their advertised work? A photographer is an artist, and each will have a slightly different signature look to their work. Because everyone has different stylistic preferences, there will always be a photographer for every high school senior. Ultimately, the style of the photos should be something that you can see yourself loving both today and still many years from now.
Your senior portrait session experience is highly personal, and you’ll likely be interacting with your photographer multiple times. The photographer you choose should be someone you can trust to capture your best features, someone you can effortlessly connect with, and someone who makes you feel at ease and comfortable during your session. While you might be able to get an idea of the photographer’s personality online, conversing or meeting in person will help you confirm that they are the right fit for you. Make sure that your photographer is truly excited and passionate about what they do, because this will be evident in their art.
Hiring a photographer for senior portraits is something that only happens once, so you should also make sure that this person is a true professional and experienced at what they do. Experience and longevity in the industry will help ensure that the photographer can work in a variety of challenging environments and produce the same quality of work every time. Operating and sustaining a successful and profitable business indicates that the photographer has many satisfied past clients. Make sure they are operating a legal, registered business, and that they are insured. While this might not directly affect you, it can give you peace of mind that the photographer takes their job and their clients seriously. In addition, photographers should have professional-grade camera equipment, carry backup equipment in case of a malfunction, and utilize redundant forms of data storage to protect your photos. Because photography is such a custom service, it is also a good idea to sign a contract that explains in writing exactly what you will receive, what you will owe, business policies, and what the photographer’s obligations to you are.
Just like style, services and pricing ranges vastly from one photographer to the next. There is no true industry standard when it comes to pricing, and searching the internet for “What do senior pictures cost?” gives some very inaccurate answers. Generally speaking, a better overall experience and higher quality photography will demand a higher price. All of the little things can translate to better photos and a better feeling about the entire experience. While there are some photographers who are more hands-off, a luxury senior photographer will offer things like in-person consultations and ordering, custom session planning, styling and prep tips, a client closet, product design, hair and makeup artist referrals, and professional print products. When researching senior photographers in the area, you should ask about what services or products are included with the session fee, what types of products will be available for purchase, and what amount on average clients spend on their portrait order. A professional photographer should be transparent about pricing and policies. They should have samples of products featuring their own work, so you can see an accurate representation of what your finished products may look like. With all of the right information, you can decide if your expectations match up with your budget, or if you are willing to stretch your budget because you truly love a photographer’s work and know that you will not be able to get it elsewhere. As the saying goes, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
Roxanne Abler – Roxanne Elise Photography is a professional senior portrait photographer with a photography studio in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, serving the Fox Valley and East-Central Wisconsin.
Check out Roxanne’s senior portfolio here!