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 – {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.


Senior Inspiration – {Heather Buckley Photography}

We love sharing sessions that are special to the photographer who submitted them.  We all take photos of clients but when the client is family that session is extra special.

“This session is very special to me because these two girls are my ‘littles’,” said Heather of Heather Buckley Photography in Dallas, Texas.  “They are family to me and I was so excited when they called me and asked if I would do their senior portraits.”

Check out this beautiful session below which took place in Chico, California.  Thank you Heather for sharing this session with Seniorologie.




hbphoto1hbphoto6What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
My inspiration was the girls in the photos, I really wanted to capture not only their outer beauty but their beauty within. They are just gorgeous people inside and out.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
Chico, Ca

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
My Canon 5D MarkIII with a 50mm 1.4lens

hbphoto2hbphoto3What time of day were these taken?
2 hours before sunset, the golden hour

What is your favorite thing about this session?
I got to work with these two girls, who are so full of life. The session was full of laughter! Such a fun day

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
My style is very clean and simple with a light flowy feel. I want the main point to be the girl in the photos.

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Connect with your clients. Make it a fun and memorable experience! Seniors are at such a fun age!


Guest Judge – {Lux Seniors}


We are so excited to introduce to you our guest judge this week….Erin Neace of Lux Seniors!

Erin is a senior photographer in Ohio who specializes in beautiful light-filled senior photos.  I have admired her work for a long time and I am thrilled she is on the blog today!  Let’s get to know Erin….




Senior girl portraits in the city

Senior girl portraits in the city

Tell us a little about yourself…I am a natural light only photographer for senior girls. I shoot both digital and film, but my heart lies with film! I live in Centerville, Ohio with my husband and three kids, but I am originally from Mt. Vernon, Washington. My style is classic, natural, romantic, bright and airy. I do my best to capture my senior clients in an organic way – never styling them to look the way I want them to, but letting them be themselves. I now offer mentoring for senior photographers, and I am working on future workshops with a fellow senior photographer! I can’t live without coffee, Netflix, or Apple products!

How long have you been in business?  4 years

What do you love most about photographing seniors?  Surprising them with how gorgeous and natural they look after they tell me “I’m so awkward in front of a camera”! It’s the best moment when you show them how they look to you!


Senior girl portraits in the city

Senior girl portraits in the city

What’s in your camera bag?  Digital: Nikon D750, 85 1.4, 35 1.8
Film: Pentax 645N, Pentax 105 2.4, Pentax 75 2.8, Nikon F5
Fuji 400h, Kodak Portra 400 + 800, Kodak TriX

Favorite type of location to shoot?  City streets with lots of light & reflective surfaces

What is one tip you can share regarding senior photography?  Meeting your senior client ahead of time to get to know her and see her clothing choices and talk about locations is a great way to make her more comfortable with you when it comes time for her session!

Senior girl portraits in the city

Senior girl portraits in the city