Senior photography has a crucial role in why I am in photography. It was one of my first glympses into how this hobby could be an actual business. In High School all my friends new that I was the photography nerd. Since I spent most of my free time in the darkroom challenging myself on how I could make my photos better, how I could print with more efficiency (using enlargers, stop baths and the like), and I basically took my camera wherever I went, a lot of my friends asked me to take their senior photos. Basically it was a win win for me, I got to hang out with my friends and I got some awesome shots (some of which are still my favorites). The only real downside was the cost. When you are in high school, you aren’t really making that much and then having to spend money on film, developing the film, getting it scanned and printed was easily $200-$300 and me being the awkward person that I am could never ask my friends for that much. In the end, I wasn’t making that much of a profit off my photography.
After college I started working at studios, sometimes that meant for a season and sometimes that meant I went months without a day off. But through that, I learned about posing (seeing as when I first started I knew next to nothing about posing and considered myself a strictly “candid” photographer) and lighting (once again being something that I knew nothing about and considered myself a strictly “natural light” photographer).
But the one time of year that I always looked forward to was senior sessions during the summer. To be honest, while a lot of the work that I did in studio helped me learn a lot on how to better my own skills, the one thing it lacked was a connection to the person that I was taking photos of. A lot of the sessions were more about time management to keep the sessions running along, having sessions stacked on one another made them seem more rushed.
Rushed or not, these sessions were fun. They took me out of the usual “sit, turn and tilt your head” head shots for year books and got to know the students I was taking pictures of. It then became a challenge of finding what made them unique and capturing that in a photo.
Looking back through all the photos that I have taken my favorites are still the seniors that I have taken, where they come through making it more than a portrait.