Seniorologie » The Study of Senior Portrait Photography

  • Welcome to Seniorologie! Learning, taking notes and studying are all things we have in common with high school seniors. As photographers, we are as much students as any senior! Seniorologie is an inspirational blog dedicated to the study of senior portrait photography. We will post unique sessions, behind the scenes, marketing, business tips and more! And if you are a senior, we have posts for you too! Whether you are looking for a photographer in your area, fashion tips to help you get ready for your session or inspiration for your upcoming shoot, we have it! So sit back, take notes, learn and be inspired!

Senior Inspiration – {Michelle Cuppy Photography}

Senior sessions are especially special when the senior has overcome something tramatic and the photographer gets to celebrate the senior’s life!  In this session below, photographer Michelle of Michelle Cuppy Photography captures a senior who is happy to be alive!

“A couple of years ago Emily almost died when she went into cardiac arrest while playing soccer,” said Michelle.  “It was a very inspirational shoot and Emily is an incredible person.  I really want to share this special lady with others!”

Check out this beautiful session below and read what else Michelle had to say about it.  Thank you so much for sharing this session with us Michelle!




emily1emily6What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
Fall in our area of Michigan is a really special time.  We have a lot of apple orchards here in Michigan as well as corn and many of the orchards take advantage of the corn before it’s cut and turn them into corn mazes.  My inspiration was to incorporate all of the beauty of fall and the unique features of our area.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
The photo shoot took place at Robinette’s Apple Orchard in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
I worked with the senior to make wardrobe choices but the concept for the shoot was mine.

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
I used the Canon 5D Mark iii as well as three lenses: 85mm 1.2 , 50mm 1.2 and 24-70mm 2.8

emily2emily3What time of day were these taken?
5:00-7:00 pm

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
I am very intentional when I am taking photos so there is very little post processing other than tweaks here and there.  I ran a VSCO lightroom film edit on all the photos as well as a minimal portraiture filter.  In addition I removed any red

What is your favorite thing about this session?
It was my client.  She is so full of life and has the most amazing smile.  She was very easy to work with and after her initial nervousness wore off she was a natural!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I want this session to convey the confidence that this senior has. She is hilarious and laughed throughout the entire session.  I wanted to capture that part of her personality.  My personal style is dreamy/moody and although I do some high-key photos most of my photos are low key and convey a mood.

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Take 5 minutes at the beginning of the session to do some warm up exercises and let them know you won’t be using any of the pictures you take at the beginning.  It takes the pressure off and before they they know it they are having so much fun they forget they were ever nervous!


Senior Inspiration – {Kelly Lynne Fotos}

Valentine’s is the perfect time to put together a fun senior session and that is exactly what photographer Kelly of Kelly Lynne Fotos did with her Rolemodels.  Valentine’s can be about the love you have for your friends so planning a photo session to capture your friends is a great way to remember the day!

“I wanted to celebrate my KLF Rolemodels,” said Kelly.  “It was a fun Galentine’s Party, just girls, celebrating being girls.”

Check out this fun session below and read what Kelly had to say about it!  Thanks for sharing your work with Seniorologie Kelly!!




2017-01-23_00012017-01-23_00082017-01-23_0002What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
Valentine’s is coming up and I wanted to celebrate my KLF Rolemodels.  It was a fun Galentine’s party. Just girls, celebrating being girls.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
It took place in my home in Temecula, California

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
We didn’t talk clothes for this session because it was more about having fun.  The girls did their own hair, makeup and outfits.

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
I had my studio lighting set up for our Photo Booth backdrop, used my D700 with my 35mm 1.8 lens.

2017-01-23_00062017-01-23_00032017-01-23_00092017-01-23_0004What time of day were these taken?
The party started at 1:30pm and ended at 3:30pm

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
I do most of my editing in LR, add a little contrast, warm it up a bit, then head over to Photoshop for any skin retouching and sharpening.

What is your favorite thing about this session?
My favorite part of this session was watching the girls have so much fun together.  I let them post themselves and just have fun with props and each other.

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
So much of senior year can be stressful for these girls and taking these moment to just relax and enjoy life is so important.  My style is natural and fun and I think that is what  you see in these images of my Rolemodels.

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Don’t stress too much about getting the perfect pose or the perfect lighting.  Just have fun and help your senior relax and have fun.  Capturing that in your image is what makes senior photography so rewarding.


Topic Tuesday – {The Perfect Number for your Portfolio}

Screen shot 2017-02-14 at 10.20.45 AMFor photographers, a website is the first impression you have with potential clients.  It is where potential clients will go to check you out, see your work and potentially decide whether to hire you or not.  So you want to make sure that your site has all the important pieces to attract your potential clients.

One of the key pieces to the website puzzle is your portfolio of images.  Showcasing your work and giving potential clients a visual as to what you can do for them is the way to attract your clientele.  But how do you decide what images to include and how many?

Here are a few tips for deciding on which photos and how many to include in your portfolio:

Define Your Ideal Client 

When deciding on which images to include in your portfolio, think about your ideal client.  What are they looking for in a photographer?  What are they like?  And how do you think they want to feel if you were to take their photo?  By trying to get into the mind of your client, it can help guide you when selecting images for your portfolio.  If you are a senior photographer, make sure you are showcasing seniors in your portfolio.  And if you photograph several genres then make sure you have separate portfolios for each.

Convey Emotions

What emotions do you want your clients to feel when they are looking at your images?  Do you want them to feel happy?  Like a Model?  Write down words that you want your clients to feel when they are photographed by you.  Then remember those words when choosing your images for your portfolio.  You want your potential clients to see these images and imagine feeling a certain way if they were to hire you to take their photos.

Showcase Your Style

Every photographer has a style and your portfolio should reflect that style.  Choose images that show a consistent theme or style throughout them while still showing range.  Make sure that the style is consistent but the images are not all exactly alike.  Showcase some head shots mixed with full body shots, some smiling shots with some non-smiling shots so they all tell a story of your style.  Don’t put several images of the same client in your portfolio but rather show off different clients.

Make an Initial Selection

Go through your image archive and make an initial selection.  Keeping in mind your ideal client, the emotions you want to convey and your style, pick images that you think showcase your work best.  Choose all the images you think will work.  Once you get your initial selection, go back through them with a more critical eye and weed out any that don’t stand out.

Pick the Right Number

How many images should you have in your portfolio?  A good rule of thumb is 10-20.  If you can’t make an impression to potential clients within that number, more won’t do the trick.  Remember if you are a senior photographer your target audience has a short attention span.  They are not going to want to go through tons and tons of images.  They want images that make an impact in the shortest time possible.  So keeping your images to 10-20 is the best way to make sure you are showcasing your best work to potential clients.

Update as You Grow

As you grow your photography business, book more clients and shoot more, you will want to update your portfolio.  Over time, our styles evolve and making sure your portfolio reflects that is key.  If you change your editing style, update your portfolio.  If you decide to specialize in a specific genre, update your portfolio.  As you create new work, make sure to update your portfolio.  As a senior photographer, showcasing the new class of seniors is also a good time to update your portfolio.  You don’t want the Class of 2018 viewing photos in your portfolio from the Class of 2015!  Trust me, teens will notice this!:)

Blog More Photos

While the portfolio needs to be concise with 10-20 images, a blog allows you to share more of each session and tell a story.  So utilize your blog to show off your sessions.  If a potential clients wants to see more of your work and wants to see what your latest sessions are like, a blog is the perfect place!

Take the time to make sure your portfolio showcases your best work and you will see the benefits by attracting your ideal client!

PS – I’m off to take my own advice and update my website portfolio!!:)



Fashion Friday – {Valentine’s Fashions}

Valentine’s is right around the corner and it is a fabulous time to put together a fun shoot for seniors!  Using the colors and fun props, there is so much photographers can do to celebrate this day!!

Below is an inspiration board for photographers to share with their seniors to show them how they can incorporate valentine’s into their wardrobe for a concept shoot or regular senior session!  Be sure to share this with your seniors!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!




Senior Inspiration – {Imagery by Carissa}

Branding is a key to business.  You have to showcase who you are to attract your potential clients.  So for photographers that means making sure the photos on your website scream your brand!

A lot of times we fill our websites with client photos which is awesome but what about taking some photos strictly for you? Photos that are completely and utterly about you and your brand!

In the session below, photographer Carissa of Imagery by Carissa took the time to style and execute this beautiful session that says so much about her and her brand!

“As I began the final stages of my website, I realized something was missing,” said Carissa.  “I needed some images that were just about me.  A session that embodies my brand and what it looks like to #beaflamingo.”

Check out this amazing session below and read what else Carissa had to say about it.  Thanks for sharing your amazing work with Seniorologie Carissa!!



lets-flamingle-2lets-flamingle-6lets-flamingle-1What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
FLAMINGOS! Late last year, after attending Conference 12 I really started working on my brand. The vision of the Flamingo came to light and it tooook offf! Everyone loved “Being a Flamingo”. My colors developed, the motto became huge but yet I hadn’t had a shoot that embodied the brand. So while summer was still hanging around- I figured I would take advantage of the yummy sunlight and colors of summer and bust out all the yard flamingos I could find!

Where did this photo shoot take place?
Downtown Wichita Falls. The blue building used to be a restaurant my grandfather owned. Currently abandoned, it made for the perfect setting for the shoot.

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
The girls seen in this shoot are some of my Dream Team members – or Senior Reps. They always get into our themed shoots and their clothes always blow me away!

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
Canon Mark iii, 70-200mm, 85mm

What time of day were these taken?
3 hours before sun down

lets-flamingle-4lets-flamingle-8lets-flamingle-3lets-flamingle-7What is your favorite thing about this session?
How fun it is! I had two other local photographers join in on the fun. Each one of them texted me later to tell me how much fun it was. I loved how their smiles and faces really reflected the feeling of that day. Just very casual, raw fun!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I am always told by my clients that they really enjoy my images because of the color, light heartedness and fun in the images. I never take myself to seriously and am always laughing. I believe this session sums me up in one pretty package!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Just have a good time! Don’t try and be cool or “hip”.  Just be you. They CHOSE YOU for a reason! My Seniors love me because I am quirky and real. I’m not the coolest or most hip photographer out there. But I am genuine and fun- and that’s what they love.