Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients

by Amii Wroblewski

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

School is right around the corner which means senior season is in full swing! I absolutely LOVE shooting seniors, and specifically senior girls as they are caught in that in-between stage of wanting to be an adult but they are still just a kid. It’s an exciting time in their lives as they begin to venture away from the home! I want to capture those moments in their lives which is why I’ve built my business around seniors.

My favorite part of a senior session is that moment right after the mom and dad have viewed their daughter’s images and they say to me “You captured her personality perfectly!” Nothing means more to me than hearing that since THAT is my goal. So how do you go about capturing the essence of a senior’s personality? For me, it’s a multitude of factors that help me at a shoot. For those that are members of ClickinMoms, it’s no secret that I shoot only senior girls and I strictly deal with all client interactions in person…from meeting them prior to the shoot to sitting down with them for their ordering session. With that said, one of my goals at the in-person consultation is to get to know the needs/wants of the parents and get to know the senior. I like to know how her friends would describe her personality, what’s her personal style, the kind of music she listens to, what she likes to do during her school breaks, etc. This allows me to formulate a plan as to what location would work best, give the senior tips on styling, hair and make-up. And on top of that, I have to stay true to who I am as a photographer.

Each and every one of my seniors have my phone number, are a Facebook friend of mine and have my email address. I want to be accessible to them in every way possible! I will say that Facebook is my biggest form of communication with the senior prior to the shoot. We are able to communicate quickly about the upcoming session, which comes in really handy since most seniors use their phone as their main access to Facebook (this means faster replies!). Also, it’s through these forms of communication that my senior client can send me pictures of what they have planned for their wardrobe for their shoot.

Why do I find it necessary to know what they are wearing? Well, for one, it allows me to get to know them even better through their clothing choices. I can quickly tell if they are a casual, girl-next-door type or if they are a trendy uptown kind of girl. It also allows me to give them feedback on whether I believe an outfit will be flattering on them, if they need to add/change any accessories or even whether the location we have tentatively chosen will work. My senior girls LOVE that they can get my input…they trust that I truly want their senior pictures to be the best they can be!

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

All of my senior girls get their make-up professionally done by a make-up artist as part of their session fee that they have paid. I really like my girls to be on the natural side and my make-up artist does a brilliant job making the girls look amazing. The make-up is my secret weapon when it comes to editing the images. Not only do the girls look beautiful but usually their skin also looks radiant and smooth. Since make-up for camera usually needs to be heavily applied, I have had some hesitant seniors that felt the make-up artist went overboard but I tell them to trust me that they won’t look so “done up” when they view their images….and they are shocked at how right I was! I’m not a fan of the magazine air-brushed look for my work. I don’t ever want my impressionable clients to think that I thought of them as “flawed” and required extensive editing on my part. With make-up, lighting and posing, you can achieve beautiful images of your clients without a lot of work on the back end.

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

That leads me to posing! Honestly, when I first started out with seniors, I thought they would be SOOOO easy. While I loved every single minute of my first and subsequent senior sessions, I certainly saw how I needed to work on posing. Many of my seniors would look at me like “So, what do you want me to do?” and I would be like “Uh…just do something!” Obviously, that did NOT make me look professional and there was a lot missing out of those first few shoots due to poor posing. Well lack of posing, really. I decided I needed to educate myself on posing and started with whatever magazine/catalog I had lying around. I looked at everything from body position, how the legs were crossed, where the hands were, the angle of the face, etc. I even took a mental note of the various outfits that were on these catalog models…I saw that particular poses were used with dresses and then that other poses were better suited to long-sleeve/pants outfits. I paid attention to how the hair fell across the shoulders since hair could really make or break the composition. Armed with all of that knowledge, I worked hard at each and every one of my senior sessions to create “perfect” posed shots. While that was okay, I eventually settled on a more relaxed posed style.

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

What is a relaxed posing style? For me, it’s about setting up a pose and then getting the senior to relax into it. I don’t want it to look posed or unnatural for the senior and her surroundings. I really want to make it look like I just happened to snap the picture at the right time without her knowing it. And interestingly enough, those tend to be the shots that the parents want!

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

I think many photographers would be shocked to know that I really don’t move my seniors around that much. You can set up your senior and then shoot around her, getting closer to or farther from her, shooting from the side, from above, etc. You will get a variety of unique shots when you may have originally thought there was only ONE pose/shot available. This is one reason why I end up with so many unique images for each senior session.

But how do you get relaxed poses AND incorporate their personality into a shot? Well, having had the opportunity to get to know the senior on various levels prior to the shoot when we meeting up at the shoot it’s like we’re old friends. We talk A LOT during the shoot while I’m setting them up into their poses and then, all of a sudden, I’ll back up (still chatting) and BAM, I click the shutter and I’ve got them in mid-laugh!

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

My seniors are pretty vocal about how they envision their pictures. I’ve been told “I don’t make a good serious face so don’t ask me to” or “I’m not a ‘hold my arm over my head’ kind of girl so I don’t want those poses”. I fully respect that the seniors know what they like or don’t like and make sure to listen to them. I think allowing them to be “grown up” and talk to me in that manner allows them to truly feel confident and at ease both in front of the camera and also with me as the photographer.

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

Hopefully this has helped give you some helpful tips the next time you try your hand at senior photography!

Senior Photography | Posing and Connecting with Your Clients photo

Amii Wroblewski, Texas
Photographer
website | facebook
Dallas/Fort Worth resident Amii, sincerely loves spending time with her family whether they’re playing in the pool or snuggled up watching a movie. Her must-haves in life are “an awesome relationship with my husband and spending quality time with my son.” Cooking and reading are two of her hobbies but her love for knitting has taken over as she creates a newborn wardrobe for her second son. Amii says that she is a “very minimal, modern individual with a bold personality and a very straight-forward life” and this is clearly reflected in her clean and fresh senior photography. The Canon 5d mark ii, 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.8 and a Lensbaby Composer is the gear of choice for Amii.

19 Comments

  • I really enjoy Amii's work and am glad to hear some extra info on what works for her. Great read!

  • A great post today! Thank Amii!

  • sara says:

    awesome article amii! you rock :)

  • Michelle E. says:

    Great article. Love your work Amii!

  • Nikki Moore says:

    Great tips, from the always generous Amii. Thanks for all the ideas you've given me!

  • Anna says:

    This is a great article, and I LOVE Amii's work!!

  • Jessica Woods says:

    Amii is AH-MAZING! :) Thanks for this great info!

  • Ann marie says:

    I love amii's work!!

  • Jill Samter Photogra says:

    Great post! Your tips are spot on! Being a mom of two teen daughters I know how important it is for them to feel completely special and also heard before any photo session. The best ones are when they helped plan it out! Seniors are by far one of my favorite to shoot!

  • Pingback: Weekly Photography Links: 08-05-2011 | Photography for beginners
  • Thanks so much for sharing these tips, Amii! Your clients must love all of the personal attention they receive from you.

  • shaji Maheswaran says:

    Thank you . Can i get some magazine/catalog name for reference

  • jenney says:

    Thank you so much. This post has been very helpful. My niece asked me to do her senior pics this year and I am clueless. I am not a professional and don't pretend to be one. With all that said I really don't want to disappoint her and I know that I am all she can afford (free) … so this information will help give me a little confidence that I can do this for her and the pics, although not professional will turn out fine… Thanks for the tips!!!

  • Julia says:

    As always Amii…you are amazing!

  • celeste j says:

    I can't believe I'm just seeing this! Love the information, Amii you are always so helpful and encouraging.

  • Phil says:

    It's exactly how I think a shooting session must be, and how a photographer has to be in his/her work. Trying to have the more natural and true picture of the subject, of who she (or he) is, of the personnality, etc.

    As I'm just a begginer, I tried some sessions, and people told me my pictures look natural, but I didn't knew how to make them more natural, as I wasn't really statisfied.

    I now have few tips for the next ones, thank you.

    Excellent work!!

  • Jayme says:

    I agree that professional hair and makeup makes a huge difference.

  • Thanks for sharing all this awesome advice! I love the idea about getting professional makeup artist. Help those seniors to bring out their best features!

  • Christieleevz says:

    I would like some tips to photographing larger build teens or clothing choices to accentuate their features. Love the communicating with them instead of just what mom wants.

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