Help! My first paid senior portrait shoot and I have no idea what I'm doing!!

Russs

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A girl at my school asked for me to take her senior portraits since she's followed my photography for a while, but the thing is... I've never actually done proper portraits of people before!

I appreciate that she likes my work and trusts me to give good results, but I don't know the first things to taking senior portraits since I'm not even a senior yet! I'm used to taking photos alone and of nature and stuff so I'm afraid I'll be too awkward or quiet...

I really want to give it a go though! I'm just scared she'll be underwhelmed or disappointing so are there any tip anyone could give me to try and make the shoot to be less awkward and the photos look somewhat "professional" (or close to it)?

And she wants to do it on Sunday (which is the day the yearbook needs them by) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I'm really nervous!

EDIT: Yeah you guys are right. I got in WAY over my head and I think I overestimated myself. What I'll do is see if maybe my mentor might be able to go with me, but if he can't then I'll just refuse payment and do it for free. I might make an update thread to let anyone who's curious know how it goes. I figure some pictures are better than no pictures. I feel like she can't be too disappointed in a thing that was for free, right? I'm definitely going to think things through better next time so I don't make these same mistakes again... I'll just do the photoshoot as a punishment for my poor judgement and planning abilities so I can let the feeling really set in and maybe learn a thing or two!

EDIT 2: Yeah. I'll just try to tell her no if I can.

EDIT 3: I'm really conflicted now, but I'll go through with it and hope for the best if she doesn't find someone else to do it by then!
 
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SquarePeg

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Your last sentence is all the reason you need to say no.
 

Destin

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Just say no.

And remember: No means no.
 
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Russs

Russs

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Just say no.

And remember: No means no.
I just don't want to come off as rude or pretentious or anything though... I'll try to get the courage to say no though!
 

JonA_CT

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Just say no.

And remember: No means no.
I just don't want to come off as rude or pretentious or anything though... I'll try to get the courage to say no though!

I think it's more pretentious to say yes and then mess it up because you have no business doing it.
 

Cortian

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ISTM unlikely you'll figure it out by Sunday, so all you're likely to accomplish is mediocre results--at best. Mind you: These photos will be with her forever. Do you really want her to be eternally disappointed? Do you really want to be the cause of her eternal disappointment?

I'm thinking probably not ;). Take a pass on it, dude. Heck, lie if you have to. "Can't. Camera's broken."
 

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And she wants to do it on Sunday (which is the day the yearbook needs them by) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I'm really nervous!
You could take some photos and not accept any money. If she likes them, fine, if not, she is not out any money and can just not use them.

Not giving you the common courtesy of allowing a proper lead time she has not done you or herself any good.

Take a few minutes to look at some typical yearbook photos so you at least know where to start. Use whatever photo gear you have, and make the best of it. Don't expect your first try to be noteworthy.

An experienced pro will already know what poses to suggest, what to communicate with the client, have tripod, flashes, modifiers, reflectors, possibly more than one camera, and a good portrait lens.

Might be best if you don't do it.
 

SquarePeg

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Not to disparage your photographic ability or anything, but is it possible that she waited too long and didn’t schedule anything with any professional photographers and you’re her last option? In that case some photos is better than no photos, I guess but if you’re not sure if you’re ready, then you’re definitely not ready to be charging money. I like the idea of your offering to do it for free and if she uses them great and if not no harm no foul.
 

SCraig

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1. If they are due to the yearbook committee on Sunday and she wants to shoot on Sunday you will have little time to do any editing.

2. If you say no now then she is unlikely to be able to find someone else before then and she will have NO yearbook photograph.

3. An inexperienced photographer should NEVER have said they would take this on. NEVER. But now you're stuck with it or she will always remember not having senior photographs in the yearbook.

4. In my opinion all you can really do at this point is either hope for the best or find someone experienced to go with you and provide guidance. I'd strongly recommend the latter course of action. I'd also strongly recommending not trying something like this again.
 
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Not to disparage your photographic ability or anything, but is it possible that she waited too long and didn’t schedule anything with any professional photographers and you’re her last option? In that case some photos is better than no photos, I guess but if you’re not sure if you’re ready, then you’re definitely not ready to be charging money. I like the idea of your offering to do it for free and if she uses them great and if not no harm no foul.
tbh I think she just chose me as a cheaper alternative to a professional. Her and her friends were complaining about how expensive they were before approaching me. It's a little disheartening, but the truth hurts. I just won't charge her and hope for the best at this point. I'll use this as a little learning experience to plan things more carefully and try to make the best out of the situation I guess. Not to sound too highschoolish, but she knows I have a thing for her so I feel like she sort of tried to use that to her advantage and it worked... I can be so dumb at times!
 

SquarePeg

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Ahhhh...a crush. Very sweet!
 

matthew1959

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You could take a different approach. You need experience and she needs a yearbook photo. I would spend some time on YouTube learning what to do and get the creative juices flowing. I would then treat her as a model and pay her with the images. Try some things, be creative, have some fun and make her part of the process. Make sure she understands that she isn't a customer, she is a model working with you while you learn how to be a people photographer. In this case quantity might be your best friend since you need one good image for the yearbook.
 

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Not to sound too highschoolish, but she knows I have a thing for her so I feel like she sort of tried to use that to her advantage and it worked...
That actually makes it worse.

I wouldn't do it.

Wait until she calls again before you say "no".
 
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Russs

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Not to sound too highschoolish, but she knows I have a thing for her so I feel like she sort of tried to use that to her advantage and it worked...
That actually makes it worse.

I wouldn't do it.

Wait until she calls again before you say "no".
Yeah, she doesn't have my number so I'll tell her no when she comes up to me about it.
 

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