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!

Conference 12 Miami


Empowering.  Motivating.  Inspiring.  Uplifting.  Life Changing.  These are just a few of the words that Conference 12 2015 Alumni used to describe their experience at the conference!  To say my heart was full when reading the way they described their experience is an understatement!

Conference 12 is an event held in order to do just what the words above say!  Our goal was to host an event that gave photographers and creative business owners a place to feel empowered and inspired so that they could create, run and be successful in a business they love!

This year Conference 12 is being held in Miami October 20-23 and we can’t wait to see alumni as well as meet new attendees at this event!  We have so many fun things planned for our attendees as well as so much education!  I hand pick the best photographers and creatives to teach classes on subjects that are real to our industry.  I make sure that each speaker is open, honest and willing to give information that has helped them in order to help you!

In addition to the classes, we also have breakout sessions and panel discussions where we have a dialog of information to help everyone grow.  Hot Topics in our industry is one of our favorite panels because it allows us to touch on things we are all aware of and we get down and dirty and real and honest about these topics.  Rep programs are also a huge topic that affects the senior industry and this year we will have a panel discussion with all the speakers in order to give attendees real information about these programs.  What works and what doesn’t and all the different ways that photographers use rep programs in their business.  No one size fits all so by having all the speakers share, attendees will get a wide range of information and be able to pick and choose bits from each speaker in order to implement them into their business.

On top of all of that awesome education, we have AMAZING photo shoots planned!  These shoots are worthy of the pages of a fashion magazine and will push attendees to create outside their comfort zones!  Clients back home will see your amazing talent by the images you create at Conference 12!

Throughout the education, the shoots and all the fun, Conference 12 aims to create an atmosphere of community and creativity not competition.  One of the biggest compliments we have received is that the attendees felt a sense of community and support.  That is what we all need!  Running a business by yourself can be hard and having a community of support is the key to success!  So if you are looking for an event to attend this year to help you succeed in your business, join us in Miami!  Conference 12 is the event for you!!

To register or to find out more information, visit  Only a few spots remain for this event!!

Check out some of our fun photos from last year’s event below!  Just think, you could be having this much fun learning about business and photography in Miami this year!:)



Senior Inspiration – {Slice of Lime Photography}

Fashion plays an important role in senior photography.  How your clients dress says a lot about their personality through photos.

Emil of Slice of Lime Photography has a great eye for fashion and as a result her senior clients dress to perfection.  Emil took her street team out to get to know them and give them a fun fashion shoot.

Check out this awesome shoot below and read what Emil had to say about it.  Thanks for sharing this session with Seniorologie Emil!



Tell us a little about this session…

These are all images from the headshot shoots I did with the girls on my street team this year. I rented out a local community center where we met up, talked about our upcoming editorial shoots, played games to get to know each other, talked about possible volunteer opportunities and they each got a Slice of Lime tank top, which they styled and we then did some group shots together and individual headshot about a block up the street at an old factory that currently operates as an antique market.  The building also contains a Rita’s Italian Water Ice, so we seized the chance to shoot their as well since it was the first day of spring and Rita’s gives out FREE water ice on the first day of spring every year! 

What was your goal of these head shoot sessions?  

These headshot sessions were more about the HANG and for the girls to get to know me, know each other, and get some cute head shots that could be used to introduce them as members of the Class of 2017 street team.  It was pretty straight forward and simplistic in terms of “creativity” and focused mostly on capture glimpses of their personalities and their new connection as a team. 

Did you collaborate on the wardrobe for these shots? Each girl was given free reign to style their Slice of Lime tank tops how they wished. This is where you got to see all sorts of their personality and style; some girls were more chill and understated and laid back with minimal styling;while other girls went to town with BLINGY accessories, hats, make up, etc. 

What equipment was used for this shoot?  All these were shot with my Canon 5d mark ii and Canon 24-70mm 2.8L


What time of day were these taken?  The shoot with the bigger group of girls was shot on a day that was mostly overcast around 2-3pm. The other two girls were shot around 5pm later in the week; mostly in open shade.

What editing process did you use?  My processing is all done in Lightroom with Red Leaf pre-sets as the base that I then tweaked into custom pre-sets of my own. I like to keep my images minimally processed; some light touch up of the skin was done in LR as well.

What did you want to accomplish with this shoot?  This is my 3rd year having a senior model street team program. This year I wanted to do something different and have a hang out for my girls to let them get to know each other well ahead of any editorial shoots we had planned. I wanted this “head shot shoot” to start with a hang out that was about more than just photos. The time we spent hanging out before the shoot, where many of the girls were meeting for the first time, really allowed for them to start to get to know each other. While there were many girls on the team that already knew each other, it’s cool to see the chemistry that comes through in the pictures from the girls who had just met as well. So I have to say that the chemistry and the personality that comes through in the images is my favorite thing about his shoot. 

What do you want this session to convey about you and your photography style?   I really wanted these first group shots and head shots with my Street Team girls to capture a connection…be it with with each other or with a feeling of fun, youthfulness, anticipation of the senior year ahead…and that hopefully gave a glimpse into who each of them was individually as well.

Can you share one tip regarding senior photography?

My tip regarding working with seniors in a group format is to take some time before you jump into the styled shoots with your team for the year, to just spend time together, let them get to know each other, and nurture the friendships. Then, do some simple, understated, chill head shots that focus on them and the budding friendships (or the friendships that they come into the group with as well). That will set the tone for the interactions during your styled concept shoots to be more natural/less forced as the girls have already started to build rapport with each other and have been photographed by you at least once all ready and will generally be more at ease in front of the camera for the styled shoots.:) 


Senior Inspiration – {Jolene Dombrowski}

Destination sessions are something I myself strive to add to my business.  Mixing love of travel with a senior session is a dream.  Jolene Dombrowski traveled to NYC for the first time to photograph a senior and this session below is fabulous!

“This was my first time to NYC so I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Jolene.  “The Greenwich Village/Soho portion was inspired a little bit by Sex in the City a little bit by random shots I’d seen of famous people in NYC, ha!”

Check out this awesome session below and read what else Jolene had to say about it!  Thanks for sharing this session with Seniorologie Jolene!




What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?

This was my first time to NYC so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  The Greenwich Village/Soho portion was inspired a little bit by Sex in the City a little bit by random shots I’d seen of famous people in NYC, ha!

Where did this photo shoot take place?

NYC – Highline Park, Greenwich Village, Soho, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square and Central Park, whew!

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?

The senior and I met ahead of time to discuss what locations and what clothing would look best for each location.


What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?

Canon 5DMarkIII




What time of day were these taken?

Highline, Greenwich Village, Soho and Brooklyn Bridge were taken in the evening.  Times Square was at sunrise as to avoid the cray cray that accompanies that and central park was immediately following.

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?

VSCO and Alien Skin actions, heavily tweeked.

What is your favorite thing about this session?

My client really wanted to make sure her images looked very New York.  I love images that show a deeper emotion; that are true to who the subject is.  I was hopeful that I could create images that did both and I think I did!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?

My goal for this session was to show my beautiful client as a girl with a grand future ahead of her.  I envisioned this little girl in a big city with all of her dreams and aspirations.  As far as my personal style, I hope these images show a little bit of who she is on the inside too!  At lease that is my goal with all of my girls!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?

For a destination session such as this, planning is KEY!  We had everything including locations, timeline, outfits and accessories mapped out.  That being said, we were also willing to be flexible if the weather threw us a curve ball.  For me, the in-person consultation is so important.  It helps the senior to get to know me a little bit more before we have our shoot and it also helps me to have some say in outfits and accessories.  I saw that most of her outfits were neutral so I threw the colorful blanket in my suitcase last minute.  I think the pop of color was a nice addition to her session and had we not met and discussed clothing ahead of time, I wouldn’t have even thought to bring it.  

For a session in NYC the biggest issue we had was the sheer amount of people we had to work around.  The sunrise portion of the session was much easier to work with and in the future that is what I would recommend to my client.


Guest Judge – {Nicole Cook}

We are so excited to announce today’s guest judge!  Nicole Cook of Nicole Cook Photography is our guest judge this week and she is also one of our fabulous speakers for Conference 12!

Nicole is a senior photographer in Northern California and she loves to give her seniors a model experience in their sessions.  Her work has a fashion and editorial edge to it due to her experience in fashion photography before she specialized in high school seniors.

Nicole is joining us in Miami at Conference 12 to talk about how to work with models and give us tips on working with agencies and more!  We are so excited to have her as a speaker and super stoked to have her as a guest judge this week!

Be sure to share your senior photos by posting on our Facebook wall as well as on Instagram and tag @seniorologie and use the hashtag #seniorologiespotlight.  Nicole will be viewing all the photos posted by Friday, September 30 and we will announce the top three on Saturday on the blog.  The winner will be our Facebook timeline cover for the week.


Now let’s meet Nicole….

Tell us a little about yourself…Nicole Cook is a portrait photographer in Northern California specializing in photographing high school senior girls who want a fun and unique model-for-a-day experience. Before finding her passion for working with teens, she pursued fashion photography and worked alongside the editors of magazines such as Florum Fashion, Bay Fashion, Gastronomique En Vogue and Fit Aphrodite to photograph fashion editorials and a fitness magazine cover. Her shift to portrait photography has earned her four magazine covers for Senior Style Guide, Modern Teen Style, Lemonade and Lenses and CHIC Magazine, as well as numerous editorials. Her work was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by an international panel of judges at WPPI, and she’s honored to have been named Top 25 Teen Photographers and a Leading Legend by Senior Style Guide Magazine for two years. Locally, Nicole is an agency approved photographer for a professional modeling agency in Sacramento, which selected her as a partner for projects involving teens, and has been a photographer for Sacramento Fashion Week for the past few years. When not working, Nicole loves spending time with her sweet husband, spunky little boy, and cute little puppy. 

How long have you been in business?  7 years

What do you love most about photographing seniors?  Senior year is one of the biggest transitions of a person’s life, and I love being able to capture seniors at their best so they can always remember that feeling of confidence before they set off for college and adulthood. And of course I love the way their faces light up when they first see their images, and the tears in their parents’ eyes when their child is perfectly captured – that’s what keeps me going!

What’s in your camera bag?  Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 70-200 2.0L II
Canon 135 2.0L
Canon 50 1.4

Favorite type of location for a senior shoot?  I love shooting near flowers!

What is one tip you can share regarding senior photography?  Tailor each session to your client and make sure their poses feel natural to them and are representative of their personalities. If your client is uncomfortable in any way it’ll show in the images, so make sure you help them feel comfortable and confident and you’ll both be happier with the results!


Seniorologie Spotlight – {September 24, 2016}

We are so excited to announce our top three images this week, chosen by our guest judge Erin Neace of Lux Seniors.  Thank you to everyone who entered photos this week and thanks to Erin for being our guest judge!

This week’s top three are Brittany Marie Photo, Megan Bolyard Photography and Keala J Photo.brittanymariephotomegankeala

Congrats to these three!  Be sure to check out our Facebook Timeline Cover Image to see which of these three is the winner and tune in to the blog Monday to see who our next guest judge is!


Senior Inspiration – {Corrie Barto Photography}

Shopping can be a great source of inspiration!  You see a beautiful dress or outfit and a shoot can pop into your mind.  That is exactly the case for this shoot below by Corrie Barto Photography.

“While shopping on New Year’s Day, I came across this gorgeous maroon sequin romper that you see in the images,” said Corrie.  “It was my inspiration piece that lead to a 6 month process of building my team, styling outfits, choosing the best location and much more!”

Check out this fun session below and read what else Corrie had to share!  Thank you for sharing this awesome session with Seniorologie Corrie!




dsc_5180dsc_5335dsc_5203What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
While shopping on New Year’s Day, I came across this gorgeous maroon sequin romper that you will see in the images.  I had to have it.  Once I found it, I scoured the racks and found the aqua sequin dress and silver shift dress, and the wheels started turning.  I knew I wanted some sort of urban location to go with the glam of the sequins.  This began a 6 month search for the perfect outfits for all 9 of my spokesmodels.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
Skyhouse Dallas is a brand new high rise apartment building in the heart of downtown Dallas.  Two roof decks and a parking deck, as well as the surrounding areas around the building were mine to use because I am friends with the building manager.  It worked out perfectly!  The views were stunning.

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
I had the vision for this shoot, and my ROLEmodels helped supplement the wardrobe with some of their clothes and shoes.

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
I used my Nikon D750 and swapped between my 85 mm f1.8 and 24-70 mm f2.8 lenses.  I used my reflector when I needed a bit more light.

What time of day were these taken?
6:30 to 8:30 pm

dsc_5427dsc_5211-editdsc_5460dsc_5220Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
I used Lightroom for most of the post-processing, using my presets, hand editing for tweaks, and brushes for skin smoothing and eye brightening.  These girls were all so gorgeous, so it didn’t take long to edit them!

What is your favorite thing about this session?
I loved seeing my vision come to life when the girls, the clothes, and the location all came together after months and months of planning.  I love the group shots and also the groupings of girls I had on the roof deck with the skyline in the background.

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I am always up for helping style my seniors, but most of them have a very unique sense of self and I don’t get to do much styling.  I loved that for this shoot,  I could give my input on how they had their make-up done, although I would have wanted more diverse hairstyles.  I allowed them to decide on their hair for this shoot.  I try to get a variety of expressions, laughter, and emotion in at least some of my images, and this session was perfect to get this done.  We did a lot of serious faces, but I’m a sucker for a laughing shot.  I’m really into sparkles, and in this part of the North Dallas area I don’t see much of this from my seniors…so I LOVED that I got to style them up in some glitz and glam!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Go with your gut when deciding how to get the best shot.  I went back and forth on renting a wide angle prime lens (vs using my 24-70 zoom), and opted not to get it.  I am kicking myself for not having a prime lens when getting shots of the girls with the skyline in background.  If you want to try something different, DO IT!  I learned a hard lesson and while I’m totally excited about the results, I wish I had pushed myself and tried something a little different.  It’s harder to experiment when you are shooting a paying client vs at a model shoot.