As a senior portrait photographer, I’ve heard this question from moms many times…”What’s the difference between school yearbook photos and senior portrait sessions?” Let me explain! First of all, you’ll be hearing from your teen’s school at about this time to schedule their school yearbook photo. For school yearbook photos, the school’s mission is to get photos of each of the graduating seniors in a uniform way so no one stands out and they all look professional. Often, the school will give the students a gown to wear if they’re a girl or have the boys wear a black suit and tie. The goal is get a photo of them that is a quick snapshot and in doing so it often lacks personality too. The photos are taken inside with studio lighting and they do not get to choose their outfit.
On the contrary for a senior portrait session, the teens get to choose their outfits and even get an outfit change during their session so they can have one more casual look to match a hobby like cheerleading or which showcases their personality. The second outfit is often more formal like a dress for a girl or a dress shirt and tie for a guy and this is usually the look that their moms and grandmas end up liking the most.
Whereas school yearbook photos only take a few minutes to complete a full senior portrait session is given 60-90 minutes. This gives us plenty of time to change outfits, have different poses, backdrops and special lighting effects to give variety to the images in your album. It also gives the teen the time needed to warm up to me as their photographer so I can capture their most genuine and authentic smiles. I also like to meet with my senior portrait clients and their moms before we even go on the shoot so that we aren’t strangers anymore and I feel more like a friend than someone who is there just to capture photos of them. This again helps me to capture their true personality as they are more comfortable and relaxed if we have already met and bonded prior to their session.
Senior portrait sessions are also at an outdoor location of your choice and the spot chosen should reflect your personality too. For example, if you ride horses, you may want your session to be held on a farm, if you’re more modern a city backdrop may be more appropriate. I have a list of local favorites that I can suggest, but am open to suggestions if you have a favorite spot in mind too.
After your senior portrait session, we have what I call the Session Premiere which is when I come to your home with a delicious dessert and together we watch the slide show of your retouched images. We select your favorites and how you’d like to use them such as in an album, to be made into wall art like a gallery canvas wrap, in a phone app to share on social media, to be made into graduation announcements and prints for extended family.
So all in all having senior portraits taken by a photographer who specializes in senior portrait photography is a much different experience than simply having a snapshot taken at school to include in the yearbook.
So what should you do when your teen’s school contacts you to schedule their yearbook photo? I would say to go ahead and schedule it so that you make sure that the photo meets their requirements, but to wait to purchase any photos until after you see your photos from your senior portrait session. I guarantee that there will be MANY that you like more than your yearbook photo so I would hold off on ordering anything until you see all of your options. 😉
For more frequently asked questions and answers for what to expect at your senior portrait session, check out my FAQ page here.
If you’d like to schedule a free consultation to set up your teen’s senior portrait session, you can do so by filling out this form.
Thanks so much and I look forward to creating beautiful images and memories with you!
When I first met Erin what struck me most was her beautiful
strawberry blond hair and her laid back nature.
She mentioned that one of her besties, Sara Nastasi had referred her to
me and that they were very close friends.
I immediately knew that we would be a great match because I had enjoyed
working with Sara so much so knew that if they were friends we would hit it off
great too. I asked Erin some questions
to get to know her better before her shoot and she said that her favorite ways
to spend an afternoon are to hang out with her friends, to sit outside in the
sun or to go to the beach. She played
softball in high school and is a total nature girl, who loves being outside so
I knew that the Howard County Conservancy would be the perfect fit for her shoot
since it’s so relaxing and beautiful there much like her.
Erin said that what she learned in high school was that it’s
ok to be yourself everywhere you go.
“You don’t need to change who you are for anyone,” she explained. I love that she has learned this lesson so
early in life and believe it’s something that will take her far. Her favorite subject in school is Anatomy and
she plans to study nursing at York College in the fall.
During Erin’s senior portrait session she seemed so relaxed
and at ease and it was the perfect shoot.
She had her friend, Sara do her makeup for her which looked beautiful
and her first outfit was a blue romper that looked amazing with the greenery
behind her. Her second outfit was a
bright yellow top which was my favorite because it complimented her hair so well
and stood out in front of the flowers in the background.
Her mom served as our assistant for the shoot fixing her
hair and framing her with branches to get some different shots. We were later joined by her dad and brother
and even took a few sibling photos so they would have both of them in the
photos to remember this special time as Erin gets ready to head off for
Overall it was the perfect evening and I’m so happy that her
family chose me to capture this important time in her life. I wish Erin all the best as she starts out on
her own and know that she’s going to be an incredible nurse one day!
To inquire about your own senior or family portrait session,
please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at 443-900-5170.
Best of luck to Erin and the graduating class of 2019!
Carolin was a student in my 5th grade class at
Centennial Lane Elementary School. It
was the year I had just given birth to my daughter and I returned to school a
different person and probably not as focused as I would have liked to have
been. What Carolin remembers though is
that I taught her and her classmates to be good people. She said of everything she learned from me,
that’s what stuck with her the most. We
used to sit in circles on the floor and have “talks” about how to make good
choices, be kind to others and how to be the best person we could be. That’s what she remembers and that fills my
heart to know that I made that kind of impact on her and hopefully her peers
Fast forward 7 years later and she is now finished with high
school. Her mom made a Facebook post showing
pictures of her on her first and last day of elementary school and her first
and last day of high school with the caption, “First and last day of elementary
school. First and last day of high
school. All in a blink.” Her post made me cry as I remember being
there on her last day of elementary school waving goodbye to her and her class
as they cheered and clapped ready to start out on their new adventure in middle
Years later her mom, Annie saw one of my own posts on Facebook saying that I was recruiting girls for my Street Team modeling program for which she signed Carolin up. Carolin became my assistant after that and created so many amazing videos for me too. I told her my favorite thing about working with her though was the sense of calm that she brought over me as I was waiting for my clients to arrive at our shoot location. I don’t think she realized just how much her presence alone made me feel better and how much I valued our time together.
Annie’s post made it all so real for me. All in a blink. That’s how life goes by. It made me think of my own kids and how their
lives would go by just the same. I am so
grateful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Carolin and her
family and to capture family photos of the four of them before Carolin headed
off to start college.
Life does go by in a blink which is all the more reason to
celebrate the here and now. Capturing
your family as they are today is a great privilege of mine and something that I
love doing. If you would value the chance to have your own family captured in
this way, please reach out to me. You can call the studio at 443-900-5170 or
email email@example.com and we can set up your free phone consultation today. Thanks so much and best of luck to Carolin
and the graduating class of 2019!
If you’re like me when your hubby asks what you want for
Mother’s Day I usually respond with, “Time by myself..” This year we are doing something different
though and going to lunch with my mom and then leaving the kids with her while
my husband and I go to a vineyard in Virginia and stay the night there. Looking forward to some couple time without
the little ones!
I talked to some of my friends who are also local business owners and found out that they were offering some great things that I thought might interest you, so I am sharing them here:
Victoria O’Neill of Bridal Glow with Victoria O who does makeup for my Glamour Shoots with Julie clients is offering a 2 hour makeup lesson including a product review, step by step instructions and pictures sent over after your lesson of the routine you created. The cost is $100 for the 2 hour session. If you’d like to add on professional photos of yourself in your full makeup, I can do a glamour mini session for you immediately following your makeup session for $150 including 2 digital images with a print release. These photos are great for social media profile shots, professional headshots or dating profile shots. To book the makeup session alone, contact Victoria through her website here. To book the makeup session with the professional photos, fill out this form here.
2. My personal trainer, Lindsay Pickett of Active Mom
is offering a grocery trip to Whole Foods with her for a
limited time when you book a personal training package with her. She will guide you through the store and help
with what to buy to make healthy, fulfilling recipes. Plus a Q&A in regards to exercise,
working out or anything else lifestyle related!
My favorite place to get my nails done, Four One Oh Nail Bar is offering a special on spray tans at their VersaPro Spray Booth for all mamas and expecting mamas (as long as they’ve consulted with their doctor first.) The cost is $25 for the spray tan while typically the full price spray tans are $40-$48. Limit one offer per client. It can be purchased on a gift card as well.
4. Who doesn’t want a clean house for Mother’s Day?
I hired Maria from R and N property management to clean our home for us bimonthly and it’s been one of the best investments I’ve made…She does an amazing job and it frees up so much more time for me to get my work done and everything else that I need to do to take care of my kids when they’re home. Maria is offering a $45 discount for any residential cleaning if you mention “Mother’s Day gift” before May 19th.
5. Finally, my family portrait business
Summer Mint Photography is offering a free 12×18 gallery canvas wrap and home tour to map out your wall space when you book a family portrait session in May. Your session can be any time this summer, it would just need to be booked by the end of May to receive the special offer. To book a free consultation fill out this form here. As a bonus you will also receive a $25 gift card for some pampering for mom from Jayshree at Vedic Spa when you book your family’s photo session!
Let me know which of these offers sounds like something
you’d love to be treated with and happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mamas
This past Sunday we had Tiffany’s family photo session at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock. It was a beautiful, cool and crisp day and her family arrived in great spirits as always. I knew Tiffany through school since we taught together briefly before I left to stay home with my own kids. We originally had our session scheduled in August, but it started to rain so we rescheduled and were lucky to have a beautiful fall day instead.
When they first arrived at the conservancy, Tiffany’s son hopped out of their car looking so handsome in his plaid shirt and khaki pants and her daughter looked cute as ever in her sweater dress and cowgirl boots. Her children immediately began talking to me and were comfortable with me right away and I was with them too.
Talking to Tiffany’s son made me miss my days as an elementary school teacher since he was in 3rd grade and close to the age of the kids I used to teach. His humor was infectious and his happy and friendly attitude made the whole session so much fun. His sister was sweet and gentle and so cuddly with her parents too.
I could feel the calming presence of the family and could see how much they loved each other and were happy to spend the day together in this way. Tiffany’s husband carried my equipment around for me as we moved from spot to spot and you could see what a hands on dad and loving husband he was too.
We first spent time by the barn capturing their family portraits and next headed into the field where Tiffany said her daughter looked like a little bunny rabbit posing in the long grass. Next, we went to the rock garden and the kids enjoyed walking along the pond and I was able to capture great candid photos this way. One of my favorite parts was when her son started offering suggestions on poses to try and I just loved how much he seemed to enjoy modeling for the camera. Overall it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday and I’m so grateful that Tiffany chose me to photograph her beautiful family!
This past week I had the honor of taking senior portraits for Sara who is a senior at Liberty High School. When I first met with Sara and her mom for their pre-design consultation, I liked them both immediately. Sara seemed so content and relaxed and you can tell by their interaction how much her mom loves and admires the person that she is. Sara is a competitive cheerleader and cheers almost every day of the week. We were so excited to take her portraits but then an injury during tumbling caused us to push back her session along with a series of very rainy days here in Maryland.
However, it was well worth the wait… the night of her session was the first sunny day we’ve seen in a while and Sara was glowing when she stepped out of her car. She had on the cutest outfit and her hair and makeup were flawless. Truly a photographer’s dream come true in a model….
Sara’s mom wanted to give us the space we needed to create our magic together and she joked that she felt like a stalker lingering through the gardens, watching Sara as she posed for her shots but not wanting to get too close and mess up the flow that we had going together.
As soon as we started shooting a beaver or something looking like one ran out of the bushes and startled us but was so fun to see. Sara said she loved nature and was happy to see it. Her mom said that there were lots of frogs in the gardens who were quite vocal during the shoot as well.
The highlight of Sara’s session for me was when we placed her in a field and she had on a gorgeous yellow gown that glowed in the sunset. She looked absolutely stunning and I told her that I had just captured the shot that I had envisioned upon our first meeting when she said she wanted to be in a rustic location and to be in a field.
As the night ended I found myself not wanting it to be over and wishing that Sara was younger so that she could be one of my Street Team models and we could continue shooting together throughout the year. She moved so effortlessly from pose to pose and has these gorgeous eyes which show her confidence and belief in herself and her power as the strong young woman that she is.
As the sun set and it was time to part ways there were hugs all around and I thought to myself what perfect clients they were and how they made my job so easy and fun. Just then her mom texted me thanking me for making this such a positive and fun experience for them so I was happy to hear that they felt the same way.
If your daughter or son is a senior and you would love to have some beautiful images of them, you can call the studio at 443-900-5170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about what to expect from a senior portrait session.
If your daughter or son is currently a junior in high school and would enjoy modeling for us, you can check out my website here to learn more about our Street Team program and they can apply here to join us.
Last night at 10:30pm I received a text from the mom of one of my senior clients saying that her daughter sprained her ankle and wouldn’t be able to make it to her session the next night. She said her daughter was swollen from crying because she’s a competitive cheerleader and would be forced to stay off her leg until it was healed. My heart went out to both her and her mom because first as a mom I know how much it hurts to see your baby in pain, but also for my senior who cares so much about her sport and ability to stay active.
I found myself trying to think of ways to make her feel better because although we’ve only met once I liked her right away and cared about her already. I remember feeling sad because she was already a senior, so we would most likely only be working together the one time. With my Street Team models who are juniors, we have a full year of experiences together creating deeper and more meaningful relationships.
It was then that I realized how much my Street Team models mean to me and that our relationship is so much more than just photographer and model. We become more like friends and as a former teacher myself, being a role model to the teens comes so naturally to me.
If you are a junior in high school, I hope that you will consider joining our street team too. I look forward to getting to know the real you and reminding you how amazing you are inside and out in case you forgot that fact somewhere along the way. While on our team, you will enjoy making new friendships, participating in our community service project, modeling for mini sessions, receiving social media images, team t shirts, swag bags and print credits to use towards your senior portrait sessions next summer. To apply you can go here. I can’t wait to get to know you better and to welcome you to our 2019 Street Team!
This past week I had the pleasure of taking senior portraits for Madi, a senior at Glenelg High School. Madi lives across the street and we are lucky enough to have her as our kids’ babysitter too! She has the most laid back attitude and just goes with the flow which I so admire about her. She also plays softball and works at NinjaBE, which is a fun place for kids to go for jumping and climbing.
The first thing I noticed about Madi when I first met her was how striking her eyes were. She has these long lashes and her eyes are the prettiest shade of green. She’s gentle and kind and I was so thrilled when her mom asked me to take her senior portraits.
We chose Old Savage Mill for her shoot location because she said that she wanted a rustic vibe and I thought she would really enjoy the bridge there and the beautiful stone and brick backgrounds. We started at the bridge and the sun was shining so beautifully down on her that I stayed in that area with her for quite some time. Next she changed into her casual outfit and I could see how much more comfortable she was which showed on camera as well.
She was in the flow and I was able to capture her natural laugh on camera which made me so happy. Her mom asked her to make a peace sign which she does so often in pictures because that is one of her trademarks.
Next her mom asked if she wanted to take some shots with a messy bun look because that’s how she normally wears her hair and she wanted her to look like herself. This is when I captured some of my favorite shots of the day. She was radiating beauty and I decided to put some of these shots in black and white too because she looked like such a classic beauty to me.
At the end of the night I thanked Madi and her mom, Dana for making my night. I love photographing seniors and there was something about their energy in particular that made me feel so relaxed and like myself that allowed me to capture some of my favorite senior shots I have taken.
If your daughter or son is a senior in high school and you would love to have some gorgeous photos of them too, you can call the studio at 443-900-5170 or email email@example.com. The season ends the last weekend in October and won’t start up again until the spring. Thanks and I hope you have an amazing fall!
Last weekend we traveled to North Carolina to reunite with my husband’s side of the family. It was the first time that all 6 cousins have been together and the love and happiness we all shared in this reunion was something I will always cherish. I love my husband’s family like my own. From day 1 they welcomed me into their family and his mom even asked me to call her, “Mom” even before we were married. I was with them the day they said goodbye to their father and it bonded us forever having gone through such a difficult time together. Shortly after that my husband and I got engaged and then started a family of our own. Our brothers and sisters all had kids at about the same time we did so they are all close in age which is great. However, we are spread out across the country so it’s very rare that we all get together like this.
Being all together in North Carolina was more than we could have hoped for. I met my niece, Elle (age 4) for the first time and I haven’t seen my niece, Bailey (age 5) since she was a baby so seeing her personality shine through was so much fun too. I loved them instantly and hugging them in person was so special to me. There’s something about Elle that really drew me to her and I immediately loved her quiet and gentle nature. Bailey immediately connected with my daughter, Emily and the two of them were inseparable the whole weekend.
My mother-in-law told me before the trip that she would love pictures of all of her grandchildren so I made a point to capture all of them together. Aunt Sara bought them all matching Frozen pajamas which made for an adorable shot.
Next my mother-in-law asked me to photograph her own, grown children together including my husband and his brother and sister. It was this photo of her own children that brought her to tears. I can only imagine how this must have made her feel seeing them all together after all of these years and with children of their own now too. It was such an emotional moment that I am honored to have been a part of. The gratitude she and we all were feeling was such a beautiful moment. This is what made me think about the power of a picture. Memories like this need to be documented and each time you look back at your photos, those beautiful feelings you were feeling that day will come flooding back to you.
On our way home from the trip I told my husband that I was feeling sad that we were heading back to Maryland and that his family was not there. It was then that I realized how hard being apart from his family really was for him too. We agreed to make more of an effort to make annual trips to all be together again.
The night we got home from our trip, I received a text from my mother-in-law that she took while on an evening walk with her dog. It was a photo of a fountain that I had said that I loved and in her message she said she knew that I loved it so wanted me to have a photo of it. This made me feel so special that she was thinking of me and I responded by telling her what a great family we have and she agreed. What great memories we all have now until we meet again!
A big part of my purpose is to help others to fully love and accept themselves as they are today. This goes a lot deeper than just how a person looks, but how they feel too. I believe that when we are in perfect balance and are doing what we are put on this Earth to do, we are truly beautiful. I love being able to play a part in helping others to uncover their true selves and to love what they see too.
In my personal quest for balance, I decided to give acupuncture a try. I had been driving past Glenwood Acupuncture and Healing Arts for a few years now and remember looking at their sign and being intrigued by the idea of it. I never went in though because I have been afraid of needles in the past and thought I had to have a very specific medical reason for needing the acupuncture treatments such as pain of some type. It was my husband who started going to acupuncture first and over time I saw what a huge impact it had on him. I saw his stress reduced, a much calmer state of mind and longed for this same type of calm. That’s when I decided to make an appointment with Riz from Glenwood Acupuncture and Healing Arts and I’m so glad I did.
What first struck me about Riz, my acupuncture practitioner, was how comfortable I was basically telling him my life story and why I had some of my less desirable internal traits as a result of some traumas I had been through in my past. He helped me to see how far I had come despite what I had been through and told me that I was a, “beacon of light to others with my positive outlook on the world.” This helped me to see that despite my past, I am completely in love with the person I am today. Soon after we started treatments I wrote a difficult blog article about my upbringing called, “Uncovering My Truth” that you can check out here. After sharing this blog there was a huge release of emotions that felt amazing, like I was being honest for the first time in my life. For my next acupuncture treatment, I asked Riz to help me to release more of the emotions from my past and told him that I was open to receiving help from my spirit guides to do this. He arranged the needles in such a way to help me access my higher power and something miraculous happened next…
Not two minutes after Riz left the room, I felt a rush of cold over my body and saw just my legs raising off the table. I saw a cloud that looked like vapor rise out of my legs and immediately following that I felt a warm embrace that to me felt like it was from God himself. It was the greatest feeling of love I have ever felt and a moment I will never forget. I then called on each of my angels that I had known personally on Earth like my grandparents and family friends and felt each of them as they came to embrace me and tell me they loved me and how proud they were of me. After my treatment I told Riz what I had experienced and he said that although it was rare, people like me who are so open to receiving are able to enjoy sensations such as this while having acupuncture treatments. I was curious to learn more about how acupuncture works exactly and how Riz got started as a practitioner so decided to interview him and his responses are below…
How would you explain to others what you do as an acupuncture practitioner?
Some people call what I do “Alternative Medicine”, but I prefer to consider myself a resource for wellness, healing, and prevention. I’m fortunate to be able to practice true healthcare, rather than sick care — which has evolved over time to become our societal norm. My business is to humbly deliver the various types of care and knowledge that I have learned to the community, and spread positivity so that it may have a ripple effect out to the masses.
What exactly is acupuncture and how does it work in general terms?
At it’s very basic, acupuncture is a stimulus to the body that produces an internal response. When we stimulate the body with an acupuncture needle, or even a laser or light pressure, a cascade of beneficial effects begins – increased local blood circulation, reduced inflammation, trigger point release, a shift in the nervous system from sympathetic to more parasympathetic, and more. Scientists like Dr. Helene Langevin have extensively studied what happens when an acupuncture point is stimulated with a needle and found that more than forty separate reactions occur in those few seconds.
What are some of the reasons people first try acupuncture?
Here’s one reason people don’t try it – because they are scared of needles! Everyone should know how tiny our needles are, and I even carry a brochure at my office entitled “Do Acupuncture Needles Hurt?”. Please come by and grab one if this is a concern for you, and also be aware that we can do non-needle acupuncture too! OK so back to the question – most people are curious. They heard good things from someone else, and they may have unsuccessfully tried other things like pharmaceutical prescriptions, or surgeries, or just lived with something long enough and got tired enough of it to try something new or different. Another reason people come is because they discover that acupuncture is an included benefit in their medical insurance plan, which can sometimes make treatment plans more affordable. Others have had acupuncture in the past and did well with it. These days we are even having physicians recommend acupuncture to their patients, which is awesome!
What inspired you to start your business?
I had always wanted to be a business owner since I was a child, but as a youngster I did not know what kind of business would be best for me. I think like most people, I did not know what I wanted to do when I grew up. So, I decided to do what most people do – go to college and get a job. After being in the private sector for several years and enjoying some professional success, I yearned to be able to use my hands to do something more useful for the world. I felt like all I was doing was helping the corporation I worked for to grow larger, and often times the emphasis to increase profits would come at the expense of the customers. On a walk one day, I found a place called Tai Sophia Institute, which has since then become the Maryland University of Integrative Health. I had walked by it so many times, but never ventured in until that serene October day. They taught acupuncture and herbal medicine there, and I discovered that acupuncture was a licensed and regulated profession in the USA. In order to learn it I would need to go to graduate school and earn a Master’s degree, and then in order to practice it I would need to obtain a license from the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. It immediately felt like things had come full circle and that this was my true calling. I was so excited – what a unique way to be able to deliver natural health and wellness to the community! I decided that taking the risk to do something good for the world would be worth the potential cost of abandoning what I had spent most of my life pursuing, and I am so very glad and grateful that I did this.
Whom do you primarily serve?
The tools that i work with allow me to help just about anyone. I have treated my own children as babies, and in the clinic I have treated school age children and even patients in their 90’s! I thoroughly enjoy that I have “something for everybody” and that I strive to turn nobody away. However, it is important to know when it is appropriate to refer to other practitioners who may be better skilled at handling particular cases, so I also value maintaining a network of other high quality practitioners.
What is your “signature” or what sets you apart in your field?
This may be a better question for my patients, but if I had to pick something, it would be open-mindedness. Being receptive to learning about what’s new, strange, and different has exposed me to many types of things that aren’t necessarily a part of traditional acupuncture practice. I use a wide variety of technology – computerized meridian diagnosis, electroacupuncture, PEMF therapy, CES therapy, microcurrent, PBM therapy, HeartMath, and more. I think this lends itself to a very nice blend of mixing old and new, Eastern and Western; which I think is more harmonious and realistic in today’s world.
What does self-care mean to you and how can getting acupuncture and balancing nutrition contribute to self-care?
Self-care is a very broad term that could probably be discussed ad nauseum. It means doing that which keeps one strong and resilient, and balanced. It means not holding on to too much stress. It means getting enough movement and breathing, and social nourishment, and eating nutritious food. It means one takes the time to reflect and ponder and meditate, and unify the heart and brain. Receiving acupuncture treatment enables self-care because it can allow the nervous system to release pent up stress and tension, induce better breathing, and allow one to return feeling more like their actual self. However, acupuncture is not something most people do every day unless you live in Asia. This is why nutrition is key – because we eat every day. The state of health is directly influenced by the quality of the fuel being consumed.
I hope that you found these tips helpful and that you will give acupuncture a try too! To set up an appointment, you can contact Riz at 410-489-9175 or visit their website at www.glenwoodacu.com and you can say that I sent you! 😉