Not sure if you should have a professional headshot taken? Type your name into Google…
If it’s your senior year, you may be wondering why your parents keep bringing up this “senior portrait” idea when your Instagram feed is full of classy selfies. You may have even mastered your selfie game with a ring stand and carefully selected lighting.
Regardless, there are several reasons why you actually need proper photos taken by a trained professional photographer. As a photographer for Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, it’s my job to make the seniors who book my services look fantastic and be as comfortable as possible.
Let’s start with what senior portraits actually are.
What Are Senior Portraits?
You may think that professional photos are stuffy and stiff, but senior portraits are actually an opportunity for you to really showcase your style and interests, as well as encapsulate what you want to remember about your high school and college years.
Most people may know you as a jock, for example, but what about the fact that you’re an amateur videographer or a stellar Tiktok dancer?
Your senior portraits are yours, as in you should show up and be yourself wholly.
Why are they a big deal?
Your senior year is a major milestone. You are or will about to be an official adult. It may be your last year at home with your parents. You’re saying goodbye to your major formative years, and your relationships will change too.
Taking senior photos is a way to celebrate what’s in store for you as well as give your parents a very special memento. Further, your parents can use them for customized graduation announcements. Sending announcements to family members and friends often means you’ll get gifts, so that’s another plus too!
As far as why you should get senior portraits, here are several reasons.
Senior year is a time of a lot of change. You’re going to be an official adult and finally be able to do adult things. Very soon, you will get to actually go out and pursue your dreams.
Having these photos taken can help you celebrate all that there is to come.
2. You can see them as a reward.
It is really nice having professional photos taken. You will look amazing. So think of them as a reward! You’ve worked extremely hard to get where you are now as an almost high school graduate. All of those classes, extracurriculars, or sports practices. You got to this moment because of all of your hard work, and these photos can be your time to shine.
3. You get to be yourself.
High school helps form whom you are and whom you hope to become. If you love nothing else than playing a saxophone, bring it! Rather wear your soccer uniform or bring along your pet pig? Go for it! These pictures are you, and it’s a great idea to bring along multiple outfits, so you can show the different facets of yourself.
Plus my photojournalistic style really helps your photos seem, in the moment, less staged or stuffy.
4. You can encapsulate this time.
As I wrote earlier, your senior year is a major milestone. Your whole life is actually ahead of you, and you will never have another time in your life quite like graduating high school.
For both you and your parents, it’s a culmination of so much, and your senior portraits can crystalize that.
5. You get to look your best.
Even if you have a great selfie game, a professional photographer is trained on how to make you actually look your best. I, for one, will choose the best lighting and poses to accentuate what you have going for you as well as capture exactly what you would like to about yourself.
Further, if you need photos down the line for anything professional, like a LinkedIn profile, job interview, scholarship application, etc., you can go ahead and use one of these. Even better, bring an outfit that would be more “professional” or “neutral” in order to make sure your photos are versatile.
6. You can give them away as gifts.
All of my photos are delivered to you as digital files, so you can use those to make prints, canvas wall art, or anything else you might think of. You could then give them away as gifts to relatives, friends, teachers, etc.
Lastly, let’s discuss how important it is to have a professional photographer do these photos. I know you’ve taken plenty of selfies in your time, but letting your parents hire a professional is the better idea.
Despite all of your selfies, your experience won’t rival a professional photographer’s. We’re going to know the best angles, poses, lighting, and locations.
Further, a professional photographer will have equipment you likely won’t be able to rival. Unless you’ve been dreaming of being a photographer yourself and your parents were willing to shell out some money, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the kind of cameras, lenses, lights, and other equipment that a professional photographer has. All of that special equipment is expensive, and it takes training and expertise to use them properly.
Lastly, a professional photographer is also trained on proper editing once the photo is taken. They’ll be able to truly make your photos pop by correcting issues, playing with the color, etc. Got a pimple on the day you’re getting your photos taken? Don’t worry because your photographer can remove any from the final product!
While senior portraits may not seem a big deal to some, I promise you’ll look back fondly on them later. They’ll have truly captured a special time in your life and one you will never be able to get back. Plus, while taking them, you get to have fun being yourself and get to showcase all of who you’ve grown into being. The best professional photographer also will help you feel at ease and support you in creating the kind of photos you’d be proud to display or give as gifts.
Daniel Turbert is a philanthropist, president of a non-profit, and published photographer who runs a commercial photography studio in Chapel Hill, NC for headshots and fine art portraits