Admittedly, this has been a stressful year for everyone. The novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on 2020 seniors and it appears it will be doing the same to the 2021 group of seniors. While a normal senior year is filled with momentous occasions, including your senior pictures, we have no clue what to expect for this class of seniors. From touring university campuses online or in person with face masks to enjoying your final football games (maybe) and dances as a high school student, your weekends and afternoons after school should be packed, but at this point there is too much uncertainty. As you start planning your schedule for this year, remember to leave plenty of time for everything related to your portraits because we certainly have not clue as to what will happen this year.
The summer after your junior year is when senior picture season officially starts. Although it may seem too early, it really isn’t; this is the best time to start looking online for a local photographer. Plan to spend a couple of weeks going through your options and talking with a few different photographers about what you want to see in your pictures. They’ll also have questions for you, and may give you a questionnaire to determine whether or not you’re a good fit for each other.
Once you’ve secured a photographer, the two of you-and probably your parents- will start discussing the art direction you’d like for your senior portraits. This means deciding on an aesthetic, booking a venue, and of course, going shopping for your outfits. Booking a venue may be tough because of the novel coronavirus, but event centers should be willing to work with you. It’s a good idea to have outfits – including shoes – selected at least two weeks before your photo shoot. This way, you’ll have time to wear your new clothes and shoes to make sure they fit comfortably.
Speak with your photographer about any makeup artists or hairstylists on their team. However, with the novel coronavirus, this maybe hair and makeup may be something you have to do yourself. You will need to decide what works for you and find out the details of how makeup artists are working during this time. If you like their work and their schedule is open, it may be less stressful to book in advance of the shoot-maybe a few weeks out. Whomever you decide to work with, make sure to schedule your appointment so that there’s about an hour between hair and makeup and your photo shoot. This time will act as a buffer between appointments in case you run into traffic or any other emergency.
If you can, book your photo shoot in the months between the start of the fall semester and the holiday season. Once you return from winter break and begin your final spring semester of high school, finding the time to go shopping for your senior pictures, book a venue, actually take your photos, and schedule any potential re-shoots will be difficult. Plus, you’ll want to have your graduation announcements ready and printed by spring. And if your photographer doesn’t partner with a graphic designer and print shop, you’ll need another few days to select a printer.
Also, be aware of any yearbook deadlines. Don’t wait to ask about when you should submit your senior photos. Be proactive and do this as soon as possible. Remember there’s always a chance that your yearbook committee will need to review your class’s senior portraits and possibly ask for re-submissions if outfits or other criteria don’t match your school’s standards.
While all of this may seem daunting, rest assured that your photographer will be aware of the time constraints you’re working with, and will be able to give you any advice about specific questions you have about the time frame for your senior pictures. After all, if they’re experienced, they’ve dealt with their share of tight deadlines.