Do We Need Senior Photos If We Had Yearbook Photos at the School? | Atlanta Photographer

When I began photographing seniors back in 2012, there was much more flexibility when it came to senior portraits. Moms could submit photos from outside photographers and didn’t necessarily need to go through the school in order for their child to be in the yearbook. That’s all changed for most local school around Atlanta. The school contracts a photography company to ensure the yearbook looks consistent and makes it easy for every student to have their picture taken. So, does that mean you shouldn’t worry about booking your own senior photo session? Heck no!

Let’s outline a few reasons why you should still hire a photographer who specializes in senior portraits and why there are so many misconceptions about school photos.



Do I have to have photos done at the school?

If you want your child to be featured in the yearbook, then yes. But, you don’t necessarily have to purchase anything. The school contracts a company to take everyone’s photo and put together a yearbook. These companies will absolutely offer packages and upsell you- but you DON’T have to buy anything unless you want to.


So why shouldn’t I just purchase their package and be done with it?

While you can definitely go this route and it makes sense for some people, the truth is that these companies hire and quickly train inexperienced people to work the cameras for shoot days. Most of the time, they are following a script and have a list of poses that they use for everyone. The camera is set on a tripod with tape to show them where to stand. They go from backdrop to backdrop, posing everyone the same, telling them to “smile nice’ and move on to the next person. While this can be a decent way to document year to year, senior year is different. You want a more personal experience to celebrate your child’s grad year. Think about any school photos you’ve purchased in the past- do you love them because it’s your child’s adorable face or because they are actually really well done photographs?


Ok, but what makes a senior photographer different from the school photographer?

Why I’m glad you asked! We all know that the yearbook sessions at the beginning of the school year are all the same, no matter what company your school hires to do them. Some even have them outside of the school these days, making you think they are going to be better. Truth is, these companies are still churning out thousands of seniors a week so it’s impossible to get the level of attention your senior deserves. It’s simple math- there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get through so many students, especially when Gwinnett county schools graduate upwards for 700 senior EACH! Everyone gets the same backgrounds, the same posing, the same forced smiles. Professional senior photographers not only give you a personalized experience, they are experts in lighting, posing, and creating a relaxed environment for your teen. Nothing is rushed or forced.


Most senior photographers will also provide-

– planning tools to help you
– a personal level of customer service
– advice on preparing for a session
– professional makeup for a flawless look
– creative posing that highlights personality
– giving direction during the shoot so they don’t feel awkward
– beautiful products that go beyond 5x7s
– a full-service experience from start to finish
– a session that is fun and memorable, not impersonal and boring

Over the years, I’ve heard many moms say they came to me because they or their child didn’t like their school photos. Especially those who don’t tend to be super comfortable in front of a camera (I can relate!) The packages weren’t that much more expensive and they were much happier with the images. You never want to spend money on something you don’t even like.


The bottom line is-

You’ll be required to have yearbook photos taken, but not required to purchase them. You are free to go to somewhere else for the images you want to show off to friends and family and to display in your home. If you or your teen want more of an individual experience where she can express her style and personality, you’ll definitely want to hire a photographer who specializes in senior photos to make your child feel like more than just an appointment on a schedule.



If this sounds like exactly what you want for senior year, I’d love to discuss your ideas and learn all about your unique teen! Click the link below to see all the details about my custom senior sessions-


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