Senior Portrait Guide
How to guide to make senior portraits fun and painless.
Tips on how to choose your
Senior Portrait Photographer

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Email Tim@tgfoto.com 913-648-6625  Table of Contents

1. Yearbook Photos(the confusion starts)- Ads vs  Head and Shoulders.
2. What if my senior doesn’t want senior portraits?
3. Should a Parent come to the session.
4. What to wear and what to bring with you.
5. Hair and make up and blemishes
6. What if it rains or bad weather? (Or bad hair day)
7. Pictures online Plus Prints
8. How long should I schedule in advance?
9. How much will it cost?
10. What if I don’t like the pictures
11. How long does it take to get my pictures
12. Choosing the right photographer.
13. Should I have a friend do my senior pictures?
14. Keeping seniors safe
15. More yearbook photo info
16. Referrals-Earn $$ & Gift Certificates for your fundraiser
17. Senior Portrait Insurance-Discontinued
18. Complete Senior Portrait Packages and Prices

1. Yearbook photos-There are 2 different yearbook photo needs. One is the traditional head and shoulders pose. The other one is for the yearbook ad parents put in the back of the yearbook.
    The head and shoulder pose- Kansas is still one of the remaining states that allows school systems to force you to go to the mass market school picture company to get your photo in the yearbook, but you aren't required to purchase anything. If you want true professional photos instead of pictures taken by someone with a few days training, think Tim Galyean Photography. If you want great images at a budget price instead of overpriced pictures because the school pix company has a captive market, call Tim Galyean Photography.         See #15 below for additional yearbook photo info.
     Yearbook ad photos. Pay attention to deadline dates as you will have to pay more the longer you wait.  The first deadline is in August for the ad to be submitted for many schools. Since we offer same day or next day digital files with our senior portrait sessions many seniors will come to us in May or June to get some current senior pictures for the yb ad. Our early bird special priced packages are perfect for yb ad photos.

2. What if my senior doesn’t want senior portraits? This is totally normal, most of us don’t like our picture taken because of all the bad unprofessional looking portraits taken in the past.  First, don’t try to convince them that it’s for them, it’s not, it’s for their friends, relatives, grandparents, parents, and their future kids.  Once you explain to them it’s for Mom they will be much more cooperative. Another reason they hate them, especially guys, they have seen other guys pictures and inexperienced (friends with a camera) pose guys like girls, and to make it worse the photographer thinking they are creating art, applies all kinds of pretty soft focus Photoshop to a guys face. The girls have it tough also, a few of their friends went to a photographer that they spent thousands of dollars on and they feel their pictures won’t compare to their friends.
   Some things you can do, one is to tell them it’s for you. We offer quick photo sessions and this year we’ve added an Express Senior Portrait session. -It’s a 10 minute fast paced indoor outdoor session, perfect for the senior who hates having their portrait taken. Side note-The only way this works is because I’ve been doing senior pictures for 30 years and know how to work with teens, and what poses to do and what lighting to do with each individual person.

3. Should a Parent come to the session? They don’t have to but probably 90% do. Some seniors want the parent to be by their side the whole time, or at least have them there to help with outfits (such as hanging them back up) or to make sure all the outfits make it to the studio. Sisters are good helpers also. Friends can sometimes be a distraction.

4. What to wear and what to bring with you. This one is easier to answer over the phone after we get more info about the senior. Pets are fine but if  we have one that doesn’t cooperate it does take up a fair amount of time to get a nice photo. Props, it’s nice to bring something, anything that captures who they are during their senior year.  It doesn’t have to be their whole trophy case (yes some do that) but a band instrument, a book, letter jacket, car, dance shoes, etc..  When you schedule your session we can give you more ideas such as what colors photograph the best for the particular outdoor season. We also have lots of sample pictures here on our web site gallery.

5. Hair and make up and blemishes.  Hair, get your hair cut at least a week before your session, sometimes hair cuts go bad.  Some sports teams cut their hair…in ways the parents don’t like, if your senior is planning on doing this be sure to get senior portraits done first.  Make up-if you are doing your own, usually put it on heavier than normal. There are make up artist you can also hire and some stores offer free makeovers if you buy some of their stuff. Blemishes-make up will cover up most blemishes, guys too, a couple spots of cover up from mom and your pictures will need less retouching. All the prints in your package that we print are retouched to remove any blemishes.

6. What if it rains or bad weather? (Or bad hair day) We reschedule for rain or bad weather days. Cloudy is good, lighting storms not good. July and August it’s usually hot and humid, morning session times are best for those days. Girls, if humidity is bad on your hair type, consider June or September sessions.  Winter it’s going to be cold. However it is the Midwest so anything is possible.  If you are sick it’s best to reschedule.

7. Pictures online Plus Prints- We offer professional printed prints plus digital files with all of our senior packages. 2015 we have moved to your own personal online album posting instead of CDs. This way you can view your photos that day or the next after your session from your phone or computer, and download the full size files from your online album.

8. How long should I schedule in advance? It varies a bunch. October we schedule family and senior sessions 7 days a week to try to fit everyone in. January we might do 7 sessions the whole month.  A good rule is 2-3 weeks in advance unless we have a special discount day, or a day you really need to have, such as a day off of school, then schedule as soon as possible, we can always change it later.

9. How much will it cost? We try to cover what we call welfare to wealthy, and what that really means is not so much how much money a person has, it means how much they want to budget for senior portraits.  Our senior packages range from $400 to $1200. We have other specials on our web site.  October we don’t run any specials since we stay overbooked for that month. With the exception if you purchase a package on special like this time of year, then you can use that package/session in October.

10. What if I don’t like the pictures? We show you your pictures right after the session, if you don’t like any of them then you don’t have to order anything or pay anything, no session fee, nothing.  If a print has a problem with it, we will fix it. After the digital files leave the studio (online) there are no refunds.

11. How long does it take to get my pictures?  Same day or next day for your digital files to be posted into your album. You can download them and use the digital files as soon as we get them online, with our new Photo App you can also view and share them from your mobile device. 4 weeks for finished prints.

12. Choosing the right photographer. Lots of different options out there, seems like everyone is a photographer these days. We get most of our business from referrals so that would be a starting point. Then check the style and quality of a photographers work, then make sure your finished product fits in your budget. The most best most expensive portraits are worthless if they don’t fit your budget, also the cheapest, free pictures are worthless too if you don’t like them.

13. Should I have a friend do my pictures? Short answer, no. It’s kind of  like loaning a friend money. Here’s a few of the problems with having a friend or relative with a DSLR camera, that is “just starting out” do your senior portraits. First, they may do your pictures for free, but they might come out good and might not. You might see the finished pictures (after xxxx time editing) and you might not.  So let’s say you get your portraits done by an amateur friend and you don’t like them, then what? Do you hurt your friends feelings and tell them the truth or do you lie to them and be stuck with bad senior portraits? Problem two, if you have more that one friend who is now a photographer, then which one do you choose? Whoever you don’t choose will not be happy with you for choosing your other friend. How about quality, professional studios have expensive calibrated cameras and monitors so skin colors come out the way they want them to. Full time professionals have been trained in working with people, posing and lighting.  One more, the senior portrait experience just isn’t that same when mom or dad takes the senior to the back yard with their DSLR. With our low special pricing options, it can be less expensive for us to do your senior portraits than a friend. It will less stressful for sure.   

14. Keeping seniors safe- Coming from a Dad with 3 daughters, and 8 granddaughters,  safety is important for a parent. The new wave of pro photographers is to not have a studio, and many won’t even post a home phone number or home address. Some locations in the popular old building locations parts of the city may not be safe compared to the traditional studios. Railroad tracks-Just say No. They are illegal and dangerous. If you don’t know a photographer never go alone when meeting them somewhere.  At our studio my wife is always there when photographing senior girls in case they need help with outfits and they don’t bring a parent or friend. In a rare case she is not there we will call and make sure the senior girl is bringing a parent.

15. More yearbook photo info- There is no law in Kansas that says you have to go to a school picked studio to be in the yearbook. Again, YOU DO NOT have to buy any pictures from the over priced school selected contract studio. The way I understand fair trade laws is that it’s illegal for schools to force you to pay a photographer they contracted (not you) or to be left out of the yearbook. If the school wants to provide a free yearbook session/photo then they can force you to go to a certain photographer or be left out. I don’t have the resources to fight big school districts but if you parents want to let your opinions be heard feel free to do so and let the schools know how you feel about being forced to pay to be in the yearbook. Underclass do not have to pay to be in the yearbook. If your school will accept our yearbook photos then get with the yearbook teacher and find out what size your photo needs to be and what kind of background they want it on and we can supply you a yearbook photo to submit to the school. When submitting your own yb photo be sure to get a receipt from they person you gave it to.

16. Earn Credit for each referral- For 2017 we are offering a $10 Amazon Gift card for referrals. See specials page for detials or call for info.
Fundraiser-We offer gift certificates for your benefit or fundraising auctions. Email or call to get some for your event.

17. Senior Portrait Insurance-Only $25 guarantees you senior portraits you will like. (2017 Update….#17 Never got any interest but I’ll just leave it here anyway)
Basic description-You come in by 6-30-15 for a 2 outfit senior portrait session. Session can be indoor and/or outdoor. Indoor for more dressy or outdoor for more casual. You pay $25. BUT, you don’t have to buy anything else nor are you expected to buy anything else. This is just like insurance. If you choose to buy a package later on the $25 will be applied towards your purchase.
Why would you need senior portrait insurance you ask? Let’s go over a few examples.
#1. Let’s say your well meaning friend has a new camera and is excited about doing their first senior portrait session, ON YOU.  Now if senior and parents love the pictures all is good. But if senior or parents don’t like them then you are in a bad spot for not ordering and buying pictures from your good friend or relative that you don’t like. What now?
  Now is when the senior portrait insurance kicks in. You just tell your friend that back in June you already had some professional senior portraits taken by a 30 year veteran senior portrait photographer and so you are getting some other pictures from him. No hurt feelings or loss of friendship because you went to Tim first. Everyone wins.
#2 You are really pretty and a photogenic senior that every friend and relative with a new camera wants to take your senior portraits. Again, senior and parents are in a bad spot. Choose one and everyone else will be hurt. Senior portrait insurance to the rescue. You just tell everyone, I’m sorry but my Mom, Or senior, already had me take some pictures at Tim’s studio.  Again, Mom and senior win again and no loss of friends or hurt feelings.
#3 That totally amazing expensive studio that you went to now you find out after the session, expects you to spend thousands of dollars to get your portraits and digital files and parents just can’t afford it. Senior portrait Insurance! You can come back and get a affordable package and still have money left for a Spring Break trip.
#4 One more example. You just want to buy the school contract pictures, but then you find out how much they will cost you for the quality you get. Save your money and use your senior portrait insurance.
Email, text, or call for more info or to schedule your session.

18. Complete Senior Portrait Packages and Prices-Click here.


Please feel free to email or call use with your ideas or concerns about your professional photography experience. 913-648-6625  tim@tgfoto.com