Hello guys, I am doing some senior photos this weekend, Never done them before, Dont do this kinda photography that much, just looking for some advice, I do live in Iowa so its pretty cold and snowy right now.
It's important to talk to the client as much as possible ahead of time so you know what they're expecting. Know if they're looking for specific shots or to include specific items like a ball or a jacket from their sport.
Since you're not that familiar with this kind of photography, I find it's always best to keep things basic. Make sure your set is clean, the expressions are good, your backgrounds are well-chosen and your compositions are flattering.
It's totally fine to try new stuff, but when you're just starting out, I think it's really important to get a couple well-done shots in the bag first before going out of the box.
Pay attention and do what you do. The more nervous you seem, the more nervous your subject will feel and that's never a good thing.
I do a lot of senior photos. They are fun and, frankly, easy. I'm not diminishing their importance or importance of doing it well but it's way easier to work with one subject than, say, a family portrait.
I'd take a look at other photographers' websites (Kent Smith) to get a few poses in mind. Know what your poses will be ahead of time. Know what your backgrounds/locations will be ahead of time. Keep the background simple. Keep a wide aperture so only senior is in focus. Make sure your student dresses well for the cold weather or you'll get runny eyes, red noses and a chilly look. Tell student to being a few outfits (tops). Put senior in the shade and use fill flash unless you are lucky enough to get really nice natural light. Try a lot of different poses. Do some head and shoulders and some full body.
I think it is of importance to mention getting your composition right in camera first. It's easy to snap snap snap and think "I'll crop later" (and sometimes you can) but it is better to slow down, pay attention to details, and frame your image properly the first time. Also, the small details matter (especially with girls). Make sure hair is positioned nicely, shirts are smoothed out, collars aren't wonky, undershirts aren't peaking out where they shouldn't, pants are zipped (yikes! I missed this once!), etc.
When shooting outdoors always be conscious of what is in the background. I sometimes tend to focus on my subject so hardcore that I didn't realize a stop sign was in the background or a car was passing.
i also do some photos of schools. i would just look at some of the year books from other years to get a idea of how to set your seniors up for you shoot.
This also made me think..... you will want to check and see if the school that the senior attends has yearbook photo rules. Some schools require boys be in a suit jacket and tie, girls in drapes etc. Other schools don't really give a rip. Generally they do request a head and shoulders shot. Keep in mind if you are photographing a female- if she is wearing a strapless top, once cropped she can look naked in the yearbook!