Create a Great High School Senior Portrait Session for Clients


If you take high school senior portraits, are you giving as much thought as you should create a superb portrait session? Fine art portraits for senior portraits have become commonplace and are in high demand today.

If you don't know what clients want, we can guarantee you that other professionals do know, and you're likely losing clients as a result. Here are some tips on what clients expect for their portrait sessions.

fine senior portrait photography photography


Clients want a highly personalized session. High school graduation is a significant milestone in the lives of high school seniors and their parents. They expect portraits explicitly designed for them.

So, how do you do that? Start by talking to them, understanding their vision for their portraits, and discussing how you, as their photographer, plan on achieving that vision. Meeting their expectations is paramount to a successful client-photographer relationship.

You'll need to focus on portraits which are unique, artistic, and celebrate their personality and style.

Many photographers also offer styling advice for their outfits and access to professional make-up and hair stylists.

Clients who invest in fine art high school senior portraits don't want a cookie-cutter look. They want highly personalized portraits which capture their child's personality.

Location Matters

Traditional dutch windmill near the canal. Netherlands, Landcape

During your first call with a client, you should establish their vision for their portrait. Part of that vision will involve the place for the portrait session. Most senior portraits today are taken outdoors, somewhere personal to the senior. That might be at an athletic field if they're an athlete, their own home, or a local park. You could also do studio portraits as well. The options are endless, but the background can make or break the personality of a portrait, so it's smart to invest time in selecting the right location.



Part of that first call when a potential client calls should involve an initial discussion, as we've discussed above. Chat with the client, ask questions, and fully understand what they want. Some photographers have a questionnaire they will send clients. Remember, the more you know and understand about your client, the better you can capture them in their senior portrait!

Offer Information

Information goes both ways. While you want to have information from a client to better customize their portrait session, you also want to give them essential details. You should explain how you work, your style, your pricing, the process for the portrait session, details about when they should arrive, and advice/guidance about clothing even if they're not using your stylists. Basically, send them - preferably in writing - any information which would be of value to them for their portrait session.


happy client

Typically, a reservation fee is due when an appointment is scheduled. Keep in mind that many experienced photographers will not schedule an appointment with a first-time client if they feel they can't reasonably give them what they expect for their portraits. Why? Because not meeting expectations for milestone portraits is a great way to lose future clients.

The last thing any photographer wants is an unhappy client complaining about them to their friends. It's a great way to lose future referrals! However, a happy client with gorgeous senior portraits is usually all too happy to refer their friends to you. (This is another reason why highly personalized portrait sessions and portraits are good for your career. No one wants the same senior portrait as their friend.)

A few days before the portrait session

few days before session

Lastly, a savvy photographer will review all logistics with the client a few days before the portrait session and make themselves, or an assistant, available to answer any last minute questions. You want clients arriving ready to get started. Starting late can mean running over into the next session with another client.