I’ve been shooting senior portraits for 10 years, so I’ve learned a few things about what they want from them.
I adore senior photography. I love making girls feel great about themselves and seeing the way parents dote on their children. It makes my job so fulfilling and keeps me coming back for more. Besides being behind the camera capturing these memories, I pride myself in helping seniors prepare for the perfect senior portrait session. Sometimes, that means prepping the moms too! After noticing a few things over the years, I decided to make a list for moms to help them with a few things they might not have thought of when it comes to their daughter’s portrait session. Who knows, maybe it’ll land you the Mom of the Year Award (and let’s face it, that can be hard to come by with teenagers).
So let’s begin!
1. To Feel Not Only Beautiful, But Confident
Between social media and the celebrities they see in the media, teens these days are bombarded by messages of beauty and what that looks like. Your daughter may have great self-esteem, but chances are, no matter how “pretty” people may say she is, she craves confidence. Who doesn’t love a great photo of themselves? It boosts your self-esteem and makes you want to hold your head up high and say, “Wow, that’s ME!”. It’s so important for girls this age to feel that inner beauty.
2. To Feel Comfortable (she’s nervous)
Your daughter may not tell you this about having her photo taken, but she’s worried. Worried she’ll be awkward. Worried she won’t be able to do the poses right. Worried she won’t choose the right outfits. It’s so important to have a photographer that will help her throughout the process to set her mind at ease and help her relax so she can be herself. A good photographer should pose with her, constantly remind her of how great she is doing, and tell her how amazing she looks. Their job is to bring out your daughter’s personality and make her feel comfortable the entire time she is with them.
3. Your Input
Some teenagers like to run the show, but in my experience, girls want mom to give their opinions on the outfits they choose and the ideas they have for their senior session. It may be because mom is paying, or maybe because these photos are ultimately for you to remember them by when they leave for college. Either way, be involved in the planning process, even if it’s just being there to help them shop for new clothes.
4. To Feel Special
What person on this planet doesn’t want to feel special? Teenagers might act like they rule the world, but most of them need to hear that they are unique and be reassured of this status on a regular basis. A good photographer should make your daughter feel taken care of and treat her like she is the most important person alive.
5. For You To Have Great Memories Of Her
Would you be happy if all you had after she graduates is a boring drape photo from the school? That’s not how she wants to be represented either. She wants you to have keepsakes that show that smile you love. That sundress she wore to her 17th birthday party. A collection of images that show all the things you love about her so you can look at them everyday and remember her just as she is now.
6. To Show Off Her Personal Style
Many teens these days have a great sense of style and it is important for them to show it off. Your daughter wants to express herself in photos, especially ones she’ll be immortalized in until, well, her wedding day. While your input is important, be sure you don’t stifle her creativity and instead, collaborate on outfit choices. Maybe let her pick two outfits and you get one. Or let her choose her favorite shoes to wear with your favorite sundress. And don’t forget to help her incorporate sentimental pieces into her wardrobe like a special piece of jewelry from grandma.
7. A great photo with YOU
For some moms and daughters, this is a given. I have seen some amazing relationships over the years, but sometimes, you might think “nah, she wouldn’t want a photo with her mom” when in reality, it might be super important to her. It’s so easy for you to tag along for the session and jump in for a few snaps while she’s wearing your favorite outfit. That simple action usually results in a memory that moms are so glad we captured. Imagine having that photo to look at anytime you are missing your daughter during that first year away. (or vise versa!)
8. Better Than Mediocre
Teens can be very outspoken (ain’t that the truth!) but sometimes clam up when it comes to something mom is footing the bill for. Remember, they crave experiences and senior portraits are no different. Think of it like a vacation- you can stay near the beach and yeah, you’re on vacation, but it definitely leaves something to be desired. Now, if you stay right on the beach, you can hear the waves at night and enjoy a walk in the sand anytime you wish. It’s all about the little things; the quality of the experience.
My goal is for you to be as happy as these moms:
“Everything was perfect. Ashley did an awesome job at listening to what Delaney wanted and was interested in. Her team did a wonderful job doing her makeup, and her assistant was too cute for words. Thank you, Urban Trend!” -Cyndy G.
“There are no words to describe the valuable memories you captured. Jasmin and I will honestly be forever grateful. Ashley is kind, makes you feel like a million dollar person, & makes you feel very comfortable like if you were a true model. She makes each girl feel like she is the prettiest girl alive.” – Dalia S.
“[My daughter] had such a great time and the whole experience, from make up session to photo shoot, it was amazing. The pictures were gorgeous and Ashley captured her personality perfectly!” -Julie B.
“Working with Ashley to create our daughter’s senior pictures was the best decision we ever made! From day one, Ashley worked tirelessly to make sure Maddie felt comfortable, beautiful, and made sure to capture her “genuine self”. She’s open to suggestions & extremely easy to work with as a parent, as well. This is definitely an experience we will always cherish!!” – Kim E.