Category: Helpful Hints

When do you take senior high school pictures?

When do you take senior high school pictures?  There are a couple answers.  Anytime and before mid to late October.

The easy one is the deadline for yearbook shots.  For our area, Northern Oakland County, Clarkston, Brandon, Lake Orion, Auburn Hills and Waterford, most schools deadline for yearbook image submission is mid to late October.  I think some schools are accepting delivery on CD/DVD (so 1990’s) and I believe all are accepting emailed submission.  All the schools have specific and slightly different size and proportion requirements.  You should have received some yearbook documents that give you your specific datesYour photographer should easily be able to submit the shots for you.  You should give yourself at least a week for image selection and preparation, although it can be done in a couple hours if really needed.  Request a confirmation that your student’s image has satisfactorily been received.

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The other answer is anytime.  Most students start getting sessions booked to shoot anywhere from August through November.  August can be warm, but there might be some summer activities you want to include, or you don’t want fall or winter scenes.  Late September and through October is always and great time, with the cooling temperatures and fall colors coming.  If you are into the white stuff or winter activities, you can schedule a winter session.  The only consideration for when is when you need the images. Some families like to include some of the session photography in the students “show off” pages. These pages are typically due a couple weeks after the yearbook deadline.

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I have had families shoot sessions as early as July and even as late as the July after the student has graduated.  Shooting one this evening.

Mark Kelly, MPKseniors is a Clarkston based portrait photographer.  Give him a call to schedule a senior high school sitting 248 238-8611

What to wear for a yearbook shot

What to wear for a yearbook shot. So you need to get a high school senior yearbook shot.  If you are at a public school, you will need to get the shot to the yearbook yourself (or through the photographer you choose).  If you are at a private school it is likely the school will provide the shot on a photo day.

Most of the requirements are pretty similar for public schools in northern Oakland County Clarkston, Lake Orion, Auburn Hills, Waterford and Brandon.  All request a studio situation, no outdoor shots or backgrounds.  All ask for a simple medium to light grey or blue background, plain or mottled is OK.

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Most schools will have female requirements that center around modesty.  Bare shoulders are almost always not allowed and the less cleavage the better.  I like to have the shots more about the student than the wardrobe.  Black top or white tops and anywhere in between are alright for the yearbook.  I try to advise against too bright of colors or strong patterns. Having a female student come right from a hair and makeup appointment works great.

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I have not seen any requirements for male student for attire.  Most wear a dress shirt, tie and jacket, some an open collared shirt and some just what they woke up with that morning (joke).  I like to keep jackets, shirts and ties as simple as possible.  Again make the picture about the student not the wardrobe.  There are times when a fine stripe in a shirt or jacket will give digital sensors trouble and create a moire pattern.  Best to get a haircut a few days before the shoot.

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One of the most important considerations, does the student feel comfortable and confined in the clothes?  It will show and it makes a difference.  In the end I make recommendations and share my opinion and then we shoot what you want.  They are you pictures.

Mark Kelly, MPKseniors is a Clarkston based portrait photographer.  Give him a call to schedule a senior high school sitting 248 238-8611

High school senior photography – sitting fees, printing, releases

Here we talk a little bit about the business end of high school senior photography.  We can review what sitting fees, printing, releases, reproduction rights and retouching mean to the client.

Sitting fee
My business model is to charge a fee to plan, prepare, shoot, process and deliver proofs of all the images shot.  My sitting fee also includes retouching and delivery of the yearbook shot.

The costs for printing is in addition and separate from the sitting fee.  You can order as many or as few prints as you like, there is no minimum order,  I actually encourage customers to order just as many prints as they know they need and then reorder additional prints.  This often happens with wallets.  I don’t like the experience of being forced into choosing images from a predefined package, so I don’t offer them.  I do start discounting packages that exceed $500

Reproduction rights
Copyright in America says that as the creator of images, I have the copyright the moment I click the shutter.  In a black and white world, no one can reproduce (print, copy, add to social media. . . ) images without permission from me. I include a review of this for the family in my worksheets and communications.

Model Release
It is also true that the senior maintains the right that no one can commercial reproduce their image without permission. That is why I have a a worksheet/model release that I have every senior and parent sign.  This release signing is optional if you prefer I do not use your likeness in my marketing efforts.

Editing and Retouching
I edit every image I shoot for color, contrast and exposure.  I also exclude test images and other images not suitable for printing.  I will take a few of my favorite shots and do some creative edits (less color, more color, B&W  . . .) and include them.  I make a web page of all the usable images and post them to a non-linked folder on my website.  You can use this site to share the images with family and friends and to make your image selections from.  For the yearbook image and images you order prints from I will reprocess the images with more care and then do basic retouching.  Basic retouching is slightly whitening the eyes and teeth, removing blemishes and gently softening the skin

Examples of my documents:

High School Senior portrait for the yearbook

Every high school I know of in the area requests a portrait for the yearbook.  Some schools use a specific photographer, others have preferred photographers and most have a list that have done well in the past.  This image is used in the yearbook as the student’s official picture and often is used for the class composite shot hanging in the hallway gallery.  studio portrait

Most of the schools require this shot to be submitted by mid October to mid November.  All the schools require the shot to be done in a studio setting with a simple background.  The shots are from mid-torso to mid-shoulder up.  The schools ask that both shoulders are showing.  The most common dress code is that girls should have their shoulders covered and minimal cleavage showing.  Not really any dress code for boys.  If you review most yearbooks for what boys are wearing you will see about 65% wear a jacket and tie, 15% shirt and tie, 15% a casual shirt and the remaining 5% wear whatever they woke up in that morning.  Every school has specifications for the sizing of the image and how it is to be delivered.  Some of the sizing specs make sense and are understandable and complete, most are usually missing one component and require guesswork.

The yearbook shot is a pretty simple shot for an experienced photographer and should not take much time to do.  With everything set up the sitting could be done in as little as 5 or 10 minutes, as long as an hour.  I like to include the yearbook shot with some additional studio portraits if the student likes.yearbook photography

After your session you should get a way to review the images and make your choice.  The photographer should then process the image, do appropriate retouching and submit the image to the school with confirmation to the parents.

For more about the yearbook shot and other senior high school photography FAQs go to: