Why are Senior Portraits taken in Junior summer?

I had often wondered why Senior portraits were taken during a student's Junior summer.  I have to admit it never made sense to me; people can change a lot in one year.  But after a little research and my experience photographing seniors, I've found there are at least nine really good reasons to schedule a summer or early fall senior session and some of them may surprise you.


1. Celebration - The number one benefit of having your senior portraits taken during your junior summer is that you and your family can enjoy your senior portraits during your senior year.  You'll enjoy having senior portraits displayed in your home during the months and activities surrounding your last year of high school before you head off to college.  Senior portraits are part of a building celebration, not a bookend.  If you wait until the spring you will only have a few months to enjoy them before you launch to college and adult life.

2. Weather  -  If you live at the beach you'll likely want a tan, so don't wait until spring break to schedule your portraits. Take advantage of Junior summer. If you have a theme in mind the climate where you live may demand senior portraits are taken at a certain time of year.  Fall leaves are only colorful in the fall.  Looking for a snow queen theme?  Well, you'll need snow for that.  Beach portraits have their own unique mix of things to consider, the temperature and humidity may be high in summer.  However, if you wait until the first cold snap - likely in October- those pretty green grasses and soft sandy colored sea oats will all turn brown and, of course, your tan will start to fade as well.

3.  Creative, professionally designed products take time to produce.  If you plan to have a boutique studio design a yearbook page or create custom photo graduation announcements, party invitations, or thank you cards, you'll need a little lead time. Final selections need to be made before spring, so they will arrive in plenty of time for graduation.

4. Budget is another reason it may be a good idea to start early.  Specialty studios often offer payment plans and multiple ordering dates for different products. This makes it possible for families to stretch their purchases over time which means you'll enjoy new senior items arriving at intervals over the course of your senior year.  For example, you may decide to order display prints for your home and holiday gifts in the fall, then order a senior portrait album in January or February, and graduation announcements and party invitations in early spring so they're ready to mail out in time for graduation.

5. You Do have a choice! - Senior year is unlike any other.  It's a celebration of the person you have become. Why follow the crowd?  Think outside the box, and hire a creative, boutique photography studio to express your style. 

6. Yearbook submissions - Keep in mind most school's have a contracted photographer that provides the senior yearbook photos (so they'll all look alike in the yearbook). Check into your school's advertised deadline date.  You won't want to miss it.  Many boutique studios will reimburse you in product for the cost of the basic senior headshot session if you schedule senior portraits with their studio.

7. Timing - It seems like waiting until a few months before you graduate would make the most sense.  However, professional portrait studios especially high volume ones need you to start early because they cannot possibly process everyone in the 8 weeks prior to graduation. 

8.  Senior portraits make great Christmas gifts for grandparents, family, and close friends during your senior year. Another good reason for scheduling your portraits in summer or early fall  is so that you will have time to make your selections and have professional prints and retouching done in time to wrap as gifts for the holidays.

9. Summer is a great time to get the family together for an updated family portrait.  You will love having a new family portrait to take with you to college... and so will Mom! She is going to miss you so much more than she's letting on.

Senior portraits are a fun, graduation tradition and a great time to let your individuality and personality shine.  If you're a planner or highly creative and have a theme or adventurous idea in mind, starting early is a safe way to ensure a fabulous senior portrait experience.  For more information on wardrobe styling and interviews with area boutique owners, make-up artists, and hairstylists, etc. subscribe to our monthly Senior Soiree blog.


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