Senior pictures

tracey82

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Hi all! I'm new to this forum, and greatly appreciate your advice! I am a photographer in the Detroit area who has long done family pictures, and a few weddings. Recently, I have been asked to take some Senior pictures. Currently in my studio I mostly use muslin, or seamless paper as my background. Thinking back to my own senior pictures, or of more traditional picture studios, the background of choice seems to be handpainted canvas. Being that I do most of my shooting outdoors, and rarely even use my studio, I am hesitant to spend the money on these pricey backdrops. In your opinion, is it necessary to purchase these more sturdy backdrops, or could I achieve the desired look through a muslin backdrop?
Thanks for the advice!
TraceyLynn
TraceyLynnPhotography
 

Jean1234

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Most of the senior pictures I've seen recently tend to be outdoor "on location" type photos, not the traditional mug shots. You could search the forum for some examples. You may want to clarify what you've been asked for before looking into backdrops.
 

12sndsgood

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As Jean said, now a days senior shoots are more like model shoots, on location, diffrent outfit changes, versus your typical studio shot. check with the senior about wether these shots are just for the family or wether they are going to the school. if they are going to the school you will need to contact the school and get the information needed because some have strict guidelines about what they will accept. (some high school will only accept certain photographers as well)
 
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tracey82

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Most of the senior pictures I've seen recently tend to be outdoor "on location" type photos, not the traditional mug shots. You could search the forum for some examples. You may want to clarify what you've been asked for before looking into backdrops.

You are correct, in that outdoor pictures are a must. However, senior pictures also need to include a yearbook photo. Most schools require a blue or brown background, i'm just trying to figure out what exactly I should buy for these portrait shots for the actual yearbook.

Thanks!
 

Derrel

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Take a dark gray fabric background and you can fire a background light with a gel, or gels, fitted onto it and create a zillion different colors.
 
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tracey82

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Take a dark gray fabric background and you can fire a background light with a gel, or gels, fitted onto it and create a zillion different colors.

Thanks so much for the response! I hadn't really even thought of gels, but its certainly a great way to get many different colors without spending $$$! My only concern is the flat color. Typically a senior portrait background has that "textured" look. I'll have to dig up some yearbooks!
 

kcpyro

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You should look into what the yearbook requirements are first. Don't assume anything as that usually will cost you money. Many high schools these days only use the school photo for the yearbook. Senior Pictures are more an "experience" that parents are willing to spend money on.
 

CrookedLakeArts

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I just did senior portraits for a friend's son (non-paying, as I do not own a business, yet), and was amazed at the strict requirements set by the local high school. Thinking back to my own senior yearbook, all of the photos were different, most on location. This high school required (among other technical things) a solid color backdrop and formal-wear.
 

wyogirl

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My high school only put the school photo in the year book and they had a special session just for seniors. They were shot on a plain grey background. There were outfit requirements as well. You will definitely want to check with the school.
But, MY senior pictures were something totally separate and were not head-shot type of photos.
 

ronlane

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Take a dark gray fabric background and you can fire a background light with a gel, or gels, fitted onto it and create a zillion different colors.

I thought you were going to say to take it and load a paintball gun with multicolored balls and have fun shooting it.
 

Braineack

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I've never done a senior shoot and don't plan on ever doing one, but I do like this as a resource: Senior Style Guide |

browse throught the archives and get an idea of what others are doing for senior shoots.
 

Steve5D

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I graduated in 1980. Back then, no one hired a photographer to take "senior portraits". You got the portrait that the photographer hired by the school shot, and you were happy with that...
 

tirediron

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I graduated in 1980. Back then, no one hired a photographer to take "senior portraits". You got the portrait that the photographer hired by the school shot, and you were happy with that...
and walked to school. Up-hill. Both ways. In the snow.
 

sm4him

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I graduated in 1980. Back then, no one hired a photographer to take "senior portraits". You got the portrait that the photographer hired by the school shot, and you were happy with that...
and walked to school. Up-hill. Both ways. In the snow.

Class of '79 here. And yeah, senior pictures were ALWAYS taken at school by whoever they had hired to do them. We got one in cap & gown for the yearbook, and could take up to two outfits for "casual" shots.

And yes, I actually DID walk to school, and somehow, incredibly, it WAS uphill both ways. :lmao:
But not in the snow. I went to HS in Atlanta--just the PREDICTION of snow was enough to cancel school. :D

OP: I'd absolutely check with the specific high school about the shot for the yearbook. At the school my boys went to, they would not accept anything except the "official" school photographer's formal shot for the yearbook. You either used that shot, or didn't have a picture in the yearbook. You didn't have to BUY their photos, but you did have to have them done if you wanted to be in the yearbook.
Otherwise, I agree that all the other senior shots tend to be outdoors these days. I'm doing a series of "senior" pics for a friend, one session during each season of her daughter's senior year.
 

KmH

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Will you be paid to shoot the seniors?

Denny Mfg. makes some really nice computer painted backdrops, their Freedom Cloth is vibrant ans easy to work with, and at $799 for a 10' x 20' backdrop is a pretty good value from a business cost perspective.

At what point, dollar wise, do you define 'pricey'.
 

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