Creative Senior Portraits That Sell

March17_LargeBlog_MAnderson

Creative Senior Portraits That Sell with Melanie Anderson

 

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The March edition of Shutter Magazine is all about seniors, one of my favorite subjects. It’s about the ability to create with a client who, for the most part, actually wants to be there, wants to be photographed and is willing to try new locations. Senior clients tend to be more trendy, a bit more made up and all about showcasing their own style. They appreciate cutting-edge products like metal and custom albums and books.

 

I have several favorite products for my senior clients. We sell a ton of canvas wall portraits. My goal is for their images to showcase their personality and style. Remember to show what you want to sell, because you will sell what you show.

 

Products

 

Metal is sporty and edgy. These extreme sports images are a huge hit at our studio. The metal has a grungy appearance, enhancing the overall feel of the design.

 

Canvas is classic but modern. These are my favorite style of wall portraits. Because I photograph mostly outside, the canvas allows the texture and color of the locations to add to the overall look and feel of the portrait.

 

Framed shots are classic. I don’t include the glass with the frame. I prefer the image to shine through. We mount and luster-coat all our framed images for durability and quality.

 

Albums capture a variety of poses, expressions, outfits and backgrounds in one product.

 

Brag books are fun and small, showcasing a variety of images. Moms love these because they fit in their purse and display nicely on a desk at work, allowing them to show off many images in one creative design.

 

Announcements showcase a variety of images for graduation and other milestones. We sell these in 5×5 and 5×7. We suggest that extended family members can frame them if a client’s budget is limited.

 

Signature books are our version of the yearbook. They allow family and friends to answer fun questions about their favorite times together.

 

Posing

 

Another way to make a senior feel great is through posing. Be mindful of your posing. Think about portrait standards with the S-curve and the C-curve. Pose females on their back leg. Be mindful of body frame and curves. This curve slims the client. Other slimming methods are to pull the arms away from the body and “turtle-necking”—the neck helps slim the client, thus avoiding rolls underneath the chin. A C-curve is more masculine and used mostly with males. Females can pose with the C-curve, but males cannot pose with the S-curve, which is just too feminine.

 

Most photographers have issues with posing clients and their hands. I’m constantly asked what to do with them. I tell all my clients, both male and female, to put their thumbs in their pockets and keep their fingers relaxed. It’s always the standard pose for my clients unless the client is sitting. In this case, I have them rest their hands in their lap, usually crossed at the wrists. I ask males to appear causal and relaxed.

 

For expressions, I strive for a smile in the eyes, or a more serious look. I have conversations with my clients while photographing. The camera is my eye, ready to capture that interaction that comes only from responding to whatever it is I am saying in the moment.

 

Being a fast and intentional shooter also helps with my senior portraiture. These young adults often come into the studio nervous about how they will look in their photos. When I take photos with intention and show previews from the back of my camera, it lessens their anxiety and allows them to relax. Here is when personality comes out and real smiles are shown through pictures. Making your seniors feel beautiful and special makes them look good, but also makes you look professional.

 

Locations

 

The following locations each offer a different vibe and style.

 

Urban alleyways, stairs and brick walls offer an edgy style. We utilize the natural environment around our studio. One of our alleys is even labeled “Anderson Alley” because of how much we frequent it. The great thing about our location is that we have a variety of alleys, each with different colors and shades of bricks and natural textures, giving seniors options and us a choice when matching clothes to backgrounds.

 

A field, park, weedy backlot, lake or ivy-filled area offers a boho and carefree approach to senior photos. Female fashion trends all go for this look, so these environments are very hot now with our senior models. We accompany these photos with sun rays or bokeh to enhance the beautiful light.

 

Clothing

 

Outfits are important. We tell our seniors to pack their whole wardrobe. Girls bring suitcases and guys bring backpacks. We match outfits to personality, background and even emotional attachment. These are photos they will have for the rest of their lives, so the outfit they are wearing can make or break a photo. We tell our seniors to bring solids, casual outfits and a few dressier options. This allows me and my staff to choose from a variety of outfits for any situation.

 

 

Action Plans

 

  • Create an extreme sports metal piece as a “sample” to begin showcasing this style.
  • Be intentional with your posing.
  • Try new locations.

 

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the March issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.