The Ultimate Senior Portrait Experience with Gary Box
I am photographing many high school seniors who I photographed their mom or dad’s senior photos. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been in this business for over 33 years in the same town. I keep joking that the first kid that comes in and says “you did my grandma’s senior photos,” maybe then I should hang it up. I often ask many of my seniors’ parents, “So who did YOUR senior portraits?” To the ones that say “you did!” I always ask how they look today. I get comments like, “They still look great, except for the hairstyle.” Some say, “Oh, I don’t remember.” I think that’s sad. I hope none of mine are saying that. I hope they remember the experience they had with me.
I keep adding new aspects to the senior expeience, trying to give them much more than just great photos that will last their entire lives. I’d love to share some of those with you!
It starts with the Studio Tour. We don’t do “consultations”—that’s not a fun word. It sounds like you’re considering a medical procedure. Instead, we do a Studio Tour. OK, I’ll confess, it’s a consultation, and then some. We start by greeting them, offing them a soda or water. I shake their hand and introduce myself. My tour starts with a slide presentation, using an Apple TV on a large TV in the gallery. It starts with “Who are you?” I explain this is the most important question I will ask them. I want to know who they are, because I want to capture more than just what they look like, I want to capture WHO they are!
The presentation goes into their school activities first. I have images that illustrate not only football, cheer, basketball, etc., but also band, color guard, theater and more. The second section covers non-school activities. More photos to get them thinking!
I show an image of a senior boy with a rope. I tell them he is a champion roper who came from near Houston. Their eyes get big, that’s a seven-hour drive. I tell them I shot low and he loved how it made him look tall and strong. Other images have stories attached to them. Like the bowler who’s throwing a ball and it’s not yet touching the ground. I tell them how I stood in the middle of the bowling lane, which is slick as ice, and told her to throw the ball at me and how I captured it before it even hit the ground. I took the shot, jumped out of the way and she made a strike with that shot. So did I. I want them to relate to the stories behind the images and how they capture the person in them.