Senior Portraits are without a doubt a rite of passage. Your parents got their portraits done and their parents before them. More than likely those same portraits are hanging somewhere within view of the family room or are hanging on the wall at your grandparent’s house. It is a tradition deep seated in Americana and continues to be an institution to this day. So now it is your turn to start the process of selecting that perfect photographer whom you feel will capture that “just right” moment or the feeling you would like to convey in your priceless portraits that will adorn your parent’s wall for decades.
Back in the days of film photography the options for photographers was limited to just a few “Studios” that had cornered the market, so to speak, and your style choices were limited to whichever photographer happened to be on call the day of your shoot.
With the advent of digital photography your choices of photographers in Spokane has become exponentially larger so choosing a photographer has, without a doubt, become a daunting task. This new found mission can take hours of research and diligence on your part to find that “just right” fit for your vision of how you want future generations to see you. This vision must be coupled with a budget and fit into a tight window of just a few months to make it all happen.
Let me give you just a few suggestions to help you along in your undertaking. Remember, these are the photos your future children will look back on and say “That’s my mom in high school” or “Look at how great dad looked as a senior”.
1. Experience: This isn’t just a tagline it should be the primary basis of your decision that’s why I’ve put it first. Photography is an art and like with any other artist it takes time to develop the skill and aptitude for the craft. Anyone can pick up a digital camera and shoot pictures but do they have the eye for the shot? Do they take the complete environment into consideration before pushing the button? Most of the best photographers in the industry honed their skills in film photography. That was a different time when you had 24 or 36 opportunities (number of frames available on a film roll) to get the that perfect pose needed to capture that moment in time.
2. Equipment: Why is this important? Think about this. A photographer that has invested in their equipment, has invested in you. Photographers that have invested in their equipment are serious about their art. Many say that It’s not the camera that take the picture it’s the photographer but think about it this way. If a landscaper shows up to a job with just a pick and a shovel and driving an old beat up truck…. would you expect the quality to of your project to suffer? Same with photography. The photographer who shows up with a kit camera they bought from Best Buy for $499 hasn’t invested in one of the most critical aspects of the shoot. Quality equipment contributes to quality results.
3. Environment: Where and when will my pictures be taken? A lot of thought needs to be put into where and when you will be doing your photo session. Atmosphere and time of day are also critical aspects to be considered. Will you be in a hurry? Inside? Outside? Take the time to research where your photographer plans to take your pictures. Ask if you will be using backdrops or real props. A good photographer will have many options to choose from and give you flexibility for timing your photo shoot. Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal lighting when doing outdoor photography.
4. Editing: Does your photographer edit your photos? What do they use to edit? Again this lends itself to the quality of the session. If your photographer does “light retouching” what does that mean? Ask questions. Without a doubt Photoshop is the professional photographer’s choice for editing. It is a time consuming process to edit in Photoshop but it speaks volumes to the photographer’s commitment to you as a client. The time you spend in front of a camera is paled by the amount of time a professional photographer will take to edit your photos. Remember a quality professional photographer is proud of every piece of art they produce so spending the time it takes to get that result is of tantamount importance. Steer clear of the photographer who tells you that your images will be ready tomorrow!
5. Cost: Yes, this is an important thing to consider but as you can see I put it last on the list. It should be your LAST deciding factor not your first. Stated simply…you get what you pay for. Facebook is filled with pages and pages of photographers that will do your photo shoot for $150.00 (or even less) and give you a disk full of images. Chances are pretty high that those same photographers will be missing all or most of 1-4 of this list. A top notch professional photographer will have the experience, equipment and skills needed to produce high quality art that you will pass down from generation to generation. These same photographers will charge accordingly for the art they have created and you will receive heirloom quality works of art that will last for generations.