This guest blog post is brought to you by Liz Oberacker with Pure Style Photography, a member of our Advisory Team. Liz specializes in lifestyle portrait (maternity, newborn, family, children, seniors), wedding, and event photography. When we asked her who does she enjoy shooting the most, she gushed about working with high school seniors. Because working with this specific niche can sometimes be "challenging," we asked Liz to share her experience and method.
Seniors are some of my favorite clients to work with. They are very unique in their personalities, likes, dislikes, and now more than ever, social media is on the top of their priority list. So from the very beginning I aim to create a web presence that appeals to them.
The most important thing is they need to feel comfortable. Once the Senior session is booked, I share with them my Essential Guide to Senior Pictures. This guide includes everything from inspiration on clothing, location, and much more.
The most frequently asked question I receive is, "What should I wear?." As with any session, I always encourage my clients to wear clothing that is reflective of them and their personality. I also encourage them to bring at least two outfits – one casual and one dressy. If they are in clothing they love that makes them feel confident, this will show through in their pictures. I also encourage them to bring anything that has been big in their lives throughout their years of school. For example, if they played baseball throughout high school I ask them to bring a bat, ball, and/or glove. If they skated, I encourage them to bring their skates. And I use those pieces to tell their story. Not in the way one would expect, but through story telling images. I use silhouettes, shallow depths of field, double exposures, etc.
From there we move onto my second most frequently asked question, "Where should we do them?." For this question I volley it back to my client. Asking them what type of background they would like. What kind of feel do they want to the pictures. And if they don't know, I offer a variety of options. I like to try some inside and some outside. This give the Senior lots of different looks and options to choose from when the see the final product.
Once we have the clothing and location down, it's show time. I encourage Mom to come because I always love taking pictures of the Senior with their Mom. Not only is it a big time in the Seniors life, it's also a big time in Mom's life. So documenting them together is very important to me.
I'm pretty laid back working with my clients. As with any session, I let the light direct me, and I try to find locations that will provide storytelling for their images. I like to capture them in ways that will convey their essence, and tell their story.
Once the session is the complete, within 2-3 weeks my client receives an online proofing gallery and a slideshow. I absolutely love making the slideshows and delivering them to my clients. It brings the session to life and really pulls at the heartstrings.
Once my clients have chosen their prints, I present their images in custom packaging. I always like my clients to feel like they are getting a present when they receive their pictures. It gives so much more value to the images, and I think clients appreciate that. I have branded boxes for prints and then for my custom USB drives I use the Kraft & Jute pouches. I always get an amazing response to the pouches because they are so stylish!
From beginning to end there is so much client care that goes into working with Seniors. These pictures are a right of passage, and they will look back at these throughout their lives and remember their high school years. That is not lost on me, so it's so important that their pictures are reflective of them and their lives. From beginning to end it's all about them – after all, it's their story!
Anytime I talk to professional photographers or other Lightroom users I am quick to ask if they are using Lightroom presets. I do this because I really can't imagine my Lightroom experience without them.