Photographing High School Senior Portraits
Illustration by

Photographing High School Senior Portraits

with Derrick Story

Video: Reviewing the final selects picked by the photographer

Since you've been on this journey with me, I thought that you'd Now we're looking at Zach and I like this series and this is when we saw that And here's a shot that I'm going to recommend for her year book.
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  1. 3m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Understanding the art and business of portraiture
      1m 58s
  2. 14m 15s
    1. Understanding the general guidelines for senior portraits
      1m 44s
    2. Exploring the light in various shoot locations
      3m 24s
    3. Understanding the business of senior portraits
      3m 36s
    4. Pricing for portrait shoots
      2m 55s
    5. Setting up a portable studio
      2m 36s
  3. 28m 34s
    1. Understanding the minimum space requirements for a studio shoot
      2m 25s
    2. Working with portable stands and backdrops
      2m 44s
    3. Posing and photographing female subjects
      7m 21s
    4. Discussing the interior shoot expectations with a student
      4m 35s
    5. Posing and photographing a male subject
      8m 36s
    6. Working with continuous lights vs. strobes
      2m 53s
  4. 31m 18s
    1. Reviewing the gear for the outdoor portrait shoot
      5m 35s
    2. Reviewing additional accessories for the outdoor portrait shoot
      3m 52s
    3. Working with family members during a portrait shoot
      5m 49s
    4. Discussing the expectations for the yearbook portrait
      4m 55s
    5. Shooting a portrait, starting with natural light
      7m 5s
    6. Taking advantage of the golden hour for outdoor portraits
      4m 2s
  5. 39m 36s
    1. Sorting through the portrait shoot session
      7m 17s
    2. Picking the set to share with the client
      6m 54s
    3. Sharing the image set with the client
      5m 42s
    4. Working with a client in person to review images
      9m 26s
    5. Touching up and post work on the client favorites
      5m 6s
    6. Reviewing the final selects picked by the photographer
      5m 11s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photographing High School Senior Portraits
1h 56m Intermediate Jun 02, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The senior portrait is a traditional rite of passage for a high school student. But senior portraits aren't what they used to be: staid, format portraits shot in front of a mottled gray background. These days, an effective senior portrait conveys the personality of its subject, and is often shot on-location or outdoors.

In this course, photographer and educator Derrick Story details the art and the process of modern senior portraiture, from working with the subject and his or her parents to plan a shot list, to shooting indoors and out, to delivering the final shots. Along the way, he examines gear and workflow considerations, including lighting, sharing proofs, and post-processing.

And because senior portraiture is a potentially lucrative business, the course concludes with a discussion of various business angles, including developing a pricing strategy, connecting with local high schools, marketing through social media outlets, and more.

Derrick Story

Reviewing the final selects picked by the photographer

Since you've been on this journey with me, I thought that you'd like to see some of the images that I'm choosing that I like. Now of course, the students themselves will probably pick a few others too, but this is fun. This is just for us, because you've seen the beginning, the middle and now, you're going to get to see some of the almost finished product. I'm going to show you. We'll start with Catherine. You haven't seen any of those images yet. One of the things that I want to mention, as we're looking at Catherine's shots here, is this idea of letting them be them.

Or even encouraging them to be them. Making them comfortable. Getting them there you know, keeping it light as, you know, Max talked about in his interview, that was so important. So that when you're interacting with them, when you're behind the camera, then you really get the person, you know, that represent, you get a photo that represents the person. And I think, above all, the expression and, that energy is the most important part of it.

Sure, we talked about technical details and those are important but not as important as the expression and the energy. Now we're looking at Zach and I like this series and this is when we saw that that backdrop with that roll up door, and we said, you know, that would be good for him. And I think, it really is, I, I like his look here. And then, here's a shot with a hoodie. And, almost forgot about the hoodie, and then next thing you know, he's getting ready to go and he's holding like oh my gosh.

You know, and he, and he, he stayed and let me do that shot. And I'm really glad he did because, like this image right here, I really enjoy a lot. And again, I feel like, this is Zach. I feel like I'm looking at this young man that I got to know. And of course, Ashley, outdoors, and you know, she, she really shined in the sun, didn't she. And we're looking at her, and we've got these highlights going. And here's a shot that I'm going to recommend for her year book.

And it's a cropped version of, this wide shot here that we have. And remember, you know, you can shoot wide. You can shoot landscape and all that. We have enough resolution to crop and, and bring in the shot that they need for the year book. And again, I think the thing that jumps out at me about Ashley is how, after we did the first shoot, and she had a chance to really kind of absorb it all, and then she relaxed even more and we've got even more of her in the second shoot.

And then finally, there was Max, and you know, Max and I, we went over these shots, and I like it that, we're looking at, right now of course, we're looking at one of the experimental shots. And, you know, it made me feel good that he liked the experimental shots. And that, maybe he won't use em, for his yearbook photo, but, that maybe he'll want a few of those for his own personal use. Maybe he'll use those on social. This one shot with the dramatic lighting, I think it will be a great Instagram selfie, you know, so I was, I was happy to, to hear about that.

All right, so we'll back, back out, so you can kind of see the thumbnails here. So, just to reiterate the highlights of this process because this is something you can do. This is something that if, if you have a basic photography skills and if you like young adults. I mean, I think that's part of it. If, if you don't like being around kids, this is not going to probably be as enjoyable for you. But if you like being around young adults, and you have basic camera skills, just remember this.

You get them in a good situation, where they can shine. Do you, your legwork beforehand. Scout if you can. Get the paperwork taken care of. And all those sort of details, so that when it's time to shoot, you can really immerse in the shooting process itself. Be efficient in post production. You know, do the two pass system for rating your images, and, you know, get it distilled down to the 20, 30, 40 shots that you think you want to present to them.

Don't spend a lot of times on those. Just use the global edits, and get them nice and clean. Then, once you hear from the subject the shots that they want, you can spend a little extra time on those. Make sure you get them, those final shots, in a timely manner. And if they do want to meet with you, have a little something extra for them, a print or something like that, to end the project on a really high note. I think just following those basic guidelines, you can be very successful at this and I think you'll find it quite satisfying, I know I do and I'm already looking forward to the next shoot.

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