This is really the question huh?Â When you leave for college or another county, what will your parents have left? Â (OK, besides more food in the fridge and less clothes to wash?)Â Our memory banks work only so well and for generations people have had portraits of important people in their life hanging in their mansion or on the wall of their mobile home.Â THAT is what your parents will have left.Â Your senior portrait.
A girl who is currently in High School facebooked me this question yesterday:
Hi Bruce, I have a question for you, as a sort of beginning photographer. I have friends who have asked me to do their senior portraits and to give them a quote. The problem is that I don't know anything about pricing senior portraits. I have done shoots with people, but I've only ever done paid work with sports. What are your suggestions?
Here was my reply:
I think what is happening right now is that many of your classmates are confused about what a real senior portrait is. It is not hiring someone with a good eye or has a good camera. For over 30 years there have been those good amateur photographers, but it has always been very different from hiring a true professional.
Facebook has hurt the true definition of a quality portrait...it has become the "latest/current" picture. Something that is beautiful thru time, that lasts and has impact is different than "new".
Here is what I'd say, "I appreciate your interest, but if you really want a great senior portrait, you need to hire a great full time professional. Here are some people you should call.....(and give them 2 names).
If your family doesn't have much money, I'll be glad to do it, but realize it is not what you'd get from a professional
(For example, over the past 20 yearsÂ I have spent easily 1000 hours learning how to pose people, 3000 hours learning lighting, 2000 hours nuances of composition, plusÂ Â lens selection and how to minimize large noses, lengthen round faces, enlarge one of the smaller eyes <90% has the one eye larger than the other>, and have easily $50,000 in backgrounds/sets/lights. I think you get the 'picture' !!!)
I then went on to tellÂ her that if they are in that last situation what to do to take their senior 'pictures' which is different than a senior 'portrait'.Â
Here are 2 examples:
The first one is a senior picture andÂ is from a photographer who has been doing paid photography for people for about 3 years.Â (No, they are NOT in Oregon, that would be unkind.)Â
Notice the static pose...the poor lighting on the nose and spilling onto her shoulders and feet, Â the squinting eyes. Her arm makes her body bigger.Â Tipping can be fun, but this is too much. Â Is it a ok photo? Yes.Â Is it a great portrait? No, because of those reasons.Â
OK...here is a coast image I recently took: Is it perfect?Â Â No.Â Few things in life are, Â but there is a big difference in posing and lighting, angles and impact.....