Senior Photography

Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Portrait Photography for High School Seniors with Dan Brouillette

When I first ventured into photographing high school seniors back in 2004, I knew I wanted to take a fresh approach. I was young and heavily inspired by the images found in magazines such as GQ, ESPN Magazine, Rolling Stone and many others. The photography in these magazines usually featured musicians, athletes, actors and other famous faces. The photos accompany a story, so these images by definition are editorial. They help tell a story and capture the personality of a subject through a collaboration with the photographer who puts his or her point of view into the photograph. The key phrase here is “point of view.” 

For me, that phrase can be described as your style. Whether it’s lighting, lens choice, retouching or any number of technical elements or creative choices, having a solid point of view is important. As I ventured into high school senior photography, I noticed so many of the images looked the same. They were lacking in creative style, but more importantly, the images evoked zero emotion or reaction from the viewer. I had the opportunity to work with famed portrait photographer Nadav Kander, and one of the points he stressed during our time together is the importance of completing the triangle. What he meant by that is there are three key people involved with the photo: the photographer, the subject and the viewer. By completing the triangle, you bring all three into the process. We know that the photographer and subject create the image, but the viewer gets to be the author of the story. Photograph to make stories… not to tell them. To me, this approach results in more interesting photos that help bring out the personality of the subject while also captivating the attention of the audience. 

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To read the full article, launch the digital version of the October 2020 magazine.