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!:)



Guest Judge – {Stephanie Pana}

This week we have the crazy talented Stephanie Pana as our guest judge and we are so excited!!  I have followed Stephanie’s work for a while now and I am honored to have her on the blog!!  Check out Stephanie’s interview below and see some of her amazing work!

To enter our weekly Seniorologie Spotlight Image of the Week contest and have Stephanie view your images, follow the below guidelines:

  • Post an image on Seniorologie’s Facebook wall and tag or comment with your business name
  • Use the name of the contest in your post – SENIOROLOGIE SPOTLIGHT
  • Post an image on Instagram
  • Tag us @seniorologie and use hashtag #seniorologiespotlight
  • You can post as many photos as you like!
  • The top three images will be chosen this week by Stephanie and they will be posted on the blog Saturday.  The winning image will be displayed as our timeline cover for the next week.

Introducing Stephanie Pana….


Tell us a little about yourself…Stephanie Pana is a Stylized Portrait Photographer based out of the Chicagoland area. Specializing specifically in teen & senior portraits, she has become known for bringing an editorial flare to her images. She continually brings mood, richness and style to every photo she captures. She holds a strong love of fashion, avocado toast & Justin Timberlake!

How long have you been in business?  6 years

What do you love most about photographing seniors?  Photographing this age group is SO important to me. I went through so many changes when I was in High School, but primarily during my Senior year i when the biggest changes happened to me. You are officially becoming a young adult and embracing who YOU are. I think it’s so beautiful to capture that glimmer of hope of your future & the maturity that is glowing through each of these teens.

What’s in your camera bag?  Keeping it simple! I shoot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50L and 85L as my two main lenses.

Favorite type of location to shootOoh! I would have to say urban. A little more variety & a little easier to pose my models! My general style is quite moody as well, so that type of location always pairs well.

What is one tip you can share regarding senior photography?  Continually finding YOU in your work. I felt so lost when it came to this aspect for so long. I didn’t know what I wanted MY images to look like. I knew I loved so many other photographers, but kept falling into the same patterns trying to be like someone else. Once I realized I needed to find ME in my work, the rest fell into place. I know my style is constantly evolving, but I know now that it is something staying true to my personal style and creative voice.


Facebook Link:



Seniorologie Spotlight – {August 28, 2016}


This week Sarah Modene helped us out by being our guest judge of the week!  Sarah picked three beautiful images to represent our Top Three and one of these will be the Seniorologie Spotlight Image of the Week.  That image will be displayed as our Facebook Timeline cover image for this week!  A big Thank You to Sarah for guest judging!!

The top thee images this week are from Brandi Herman Photography, Stacey Dershem Photography and ART Photography.  Congratulations to these three!!

If you want to enter your image for our weekly image contest follow the rules below:

  • Post one of your favorite images on the Seniorologie Facebook Page
  • Be sure to tag or comment with your business name
  • Use the name Seniorologie Spotlight when entering this Seniorologie Image Contest
  • You may also post on Instagram and tag @seniorologie and use the hashtag #seniorologiespotlight – we will not see your image if we are not tagged and if the hashtag is not used

Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow for this week’s guest judge!!  Thanks again to Sarah Modene and Congratulations to these three beautiful images below!



Seniorologie Road Trip Recap

It’s been said that “we wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment.”  I discovered the true meaning of this statement on the adventure of a lifetime!  The Seniorologie Road Trip was amazing!  Seeing the opposite coast, spending quality time with amazing women, talking photography, business and more was extremely fulfilling to me.  What started out as a dream and an idea turned into something that gave me new excitement for my business, inspiration and friendship.

We began our journey in San Francisco.  Spanki Mills and I met up with our two brave road trippers, Carole and Amy, and started the trip with an awesome photo shoot.  Sutro Baths was the spot of our shoot.  While it was cold and a bit misty, we were still able to capture some amazing images.  We were joined by some other awesome photographers for the shoot and had a great time shooting and learning from each other.

DSC_0486Our models for San Francisco were two girls from South Carolina.  One of my very first reps happens to go to school in San Francisco and a friend of hers from home was visiting so they made the perfect models for our shoot out.  It was so great to catch up with them and I loved being able to share this experience with them.


14055593_10154607189953128_968773956_n14101934_10154607189808128_215442796_nRoad_Trip-2Road_Trip-10804_30890804_3286After our shoot, we enjoyed some Q&A time with out attendees.  I think it is such a great experience just chatting with others that share a passion for what we do.  Hearing how someone else does something or gaining insight into ideas that will help in business is invaluable.

The next day we were off on our adventure!!  Loading up four women’s luggage was a bit of a challenge but we managed to get it all in the car and head out on our way.  Highway 1 down the coast is every bit as amazing as it sounds!  The views, the scenery and the conversation in the car was amazing.

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Our first stop was Big Sur.  This rugged stretch of California’s Central Coast was everything I thought it would be.  Quaint, gorgeous and a perfect stop on our road trip.  We stayed at Glen Oaks Big Sur which is a small motor lodge that is decorated with a modern mountain vibe.   The locals were so nice and we were able to relax, grab lunch at The Big Sur Roadhouse before our photo shoot.

The hair and makeup team for the Big Sur photo shoot was unique.  Glamology is a mobile trailer that can go anywhere to get models ready for an event.  So with the beautiful coastline as the backdrop and a field of cows, the hair and makeup team pulled over on the side of Highway 1 and got our models ready for the shoot!  We all just couldn’t believe how amazing it was to be able to just park anywhere and get two girls ready for a fun photo shoot.

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Because of the forest fires, we were unable to shoot at our original destination.  But being able to change and go with the flow is part of a road trip.  So luckily Spanki had visited Big Sur a few days before and was able to fine a location that was perfect.

Pfieffer Beach is this small secluded beach down a skinny winding road.  At the end of the road is white sand and huge rocks that are the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot.  It was a bit chilly but the sun was shining and we were able to meet up with another attendee who joined us for the shoot.

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Our two models were sisters so it was awesome to be able to capture them together.  The relationship between two sisters is very special and capturing that relationship on camera was a pleasure.



After the shoot, we went to a yummy restaurant that was in what seemed like a treehouse.  The views were breathtaking and the food was delicious.  Breaking bread and having a meal after such a fun filled day was a great chance to connect with our road trippers and talk about things they struggle with in their businesses.

The next morning we were back on Highway 1 heading for San Luis Obispo.  The central coast of California is full of cute towns with that ultimate California vibe.  We wanted to stop in each one of them to explore and take photos but we had to stay on schedule.

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When we arrived in the super cute, hip town of San Luis Obispo we met up with photographer Kiwi Ashby!  Kiwi allowed us to use her studio and her models for the photo shoot and I can’t thank her enough for all she did to help.  Her studio was right in the middle of downtown SLO and we were able to walk around and explore the town while the models got ready.  After a yummy lunch, we were off to Pismo Dunes.

I have never seen anything quite like Pismo Dunes.  There were sand dunes as far as the eye could see.  I felt as if I were in another country, some exotic desert.  I was definitely getting a bit jealous of the amazing locations that Californians have to choose from at this point in the trip.  The diverse landscapes available to photographers must be a dream come true.

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We had some awesome photographers meet up with us at the dunes for our shoot and the models were perfect for this location.  With flowy dresses and bare feet, this location gave us something completely different to photograph than what we had experienced thus far.  While we were shooting, we could hear the sounds of the four wheelers and dune buggies in the background which gave us a unique atmosphere to shoot in.  The sand was a perfect reflector and the sun set over the dunes was magical.


That night we drove to LA.  We had to be in LA for hair and makeup for the models the next morning so we wanted to get there and be able to rest.  We bunked for the night in a cool hotel called The Custom Hotel and the next morning met our next two models before the shoot.

The LA shoot location was at a beautiful mission.  The old buildings provided lots of texture for our photo shoot.  Our models were styled in clothing from Free People that completely matched our location.  The mission provided a backdrop filled with gardens, arches, buildings, doorways and more.  The attendees were able to capture some unique photos and many said they may use this location in the future for photo shoots.




After the shoot was over, we wanted a bit of time to reflect.  We tried really hard to find a nice spot on a beach to watch the sunset but the fog had other plans.  So we discussed the trip, what we loved, what we might do differently and really dug deep with our two attendees into what they wanted for their businesses.

Even though it was hard to say goodbye, the road trip had to end sometime.  We all had to get back to our families and businesses.  I feel like that old movie where they say, “We will always have Paris.”  But in our case, “We will always have California!”  This trip truly was amazing.  I have always wanted to do something like this and I am so glad that I finally got the chance to do it.  I couldn’t have asked for better road trip companions.  These ladies made the trip the best it could be.  I only wish we could do it all over again!!

Travel is now part of my soul.  I know that the more I travel the more I will learn and the more my eyes will be open.  I hope to get the opportunity to continue traveling, meeting other photographers that share a passion for senior photography and seeing amazing things on future journeys!  A big thank you to Spanki, Carole and Amy for being a part of this journey!!  Love you all!



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Senior Inspiration – {The Focused Soul}

A question I get a lot is, “when is the best season to do senior photos?”  I often answer that seniors should choose the season that best fits their personality.  In this session below, photographer Jenni of The Focused Soul, offered this client a session that gave her the opportunity to have her photos taken in both the fall and spring time!

“Sydnee chose my seasonal package and opted for an autumn and a spring session,” said Jenni.

I love that this session gave this senior a chance to have both seasons captured in her senior photos.  Check out this session below and read what else Jenni had to say about it.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful work with Seniorologie Jenni!





What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?

I didn’t even have to put much thought into this session.  We had planned on shooting in the families orchard but they didn’t get many blooms this year.  Instead,I wanted to wait for a sunny evening and shoot Sydnee in the glowing sunlight.

Where did this photo shoot take place?

Sydnee’s family owns a farm in rural southern Michigan and we chose to shoot there amongst the barns and fields.

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

Sydnee styled her session herself.  She chose actual vintage pieces from a local antique store.  The dresses are period pieces, with one being from the 1920’s.

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

I shot this session with the Nikon D3 and I used my 50mm 1.4 for most of the session.


What time of day were these taken?


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

All images were edited in Lightroom.

What is your favorite thing about this session?

Sydnee is my favorite this from this session.  She glowed from the second she stepped out of the house.  Every outfit was perfect, every smile, she moved gracefully, and she is just beautiful,

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

Sydnee is beautiful inside and out, with grace and confidence.  

I try to capture images that can be loved every year, that never go out of style.

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

Have fun!   Seriously!  This is going to be a memory for this senior that she will share with her family and friends.

Make it fun, but be sure to show them that you know what you’re doing.  Don’t be afraid to show the back of your camera, ask them what their vision for the session is, and to explain why you are doing something! Your confidence will drive theirs!


Seniorologie Spotlight – Guest Judge Sarah Modene

This week’s guest judge is Sarah Modene!  Sarah is a fabulous photographer in Tampa, Florida and we are so excited to have her as a guest judge this week.

Be sure to enter your images this week by posting on our Seniorologie Facebook wall or posting on Instagram, tagging @seniorologie and using the hashtag #seniorologiespotlight.  Sarah will view all the images posted by Friday and we will announce the top three Saturday.  The winner will be showcased on our Facebook timeline cover photo so everyone can see which image is our Seniorologie Spotlight of the week.

To get to know Sarah a little more, we asked her to answer some questions.  Check out her interview below and some of her beautiful images!  Thanks Sarah for being our Guest Judge this week!!

sarahTell us a little about you…

I’m a full-time senior photographer with two studios in Toledo, Ohio and Tampa Bay, Florida! I love what I do and couldn’t ask for a more rewarding and fulfilling career. When I’m not behind the camera or running my business, I love to travel and explore new places, hunt for rare finds at vintage thrift shops, and play keyboards in a local indie band.

How long have you been in business?

7 years, the past 4 have been specializing only in High School Seniors.

What do you love most about photographing seniors?

I love the opportunity to help my Seniors get a confidence boost and show them how beautiful they really are, both inside and out! It’s such a unique time in their lives when having someone help you realize just how awesome you are can make a huge difference with your self-esteem!

What’s in your camera bag?

My Canon 5d Mark III, 85L, 50L, 28mm, and silver/white reflector. I like to keep it simple! 😉

Favorite type of location to shoot

I love shooting on the beach at sunset… but give me a plain old grass field at golden hour, and that’s my ideal spot!

What is one tip you can share regarding senior photography?

Education is everything! One of the best things you can do, especially early on in your business, is invest in high-quality classes and workshops that will give you the tools and resources you need to really succeed.