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 – {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.


Seniorologie Spotlight – {August 20, 2016}


To celebrate our Fifth Birthday we asked some of our favorite photographers to guest judge our weekly Seniorologie Spotlight Image of the Week Contest.  This week’s guest judge was the amazing True Moua.  True viewed all the images posted on our Facebook wall as well as the images posted on Instagram using the hashtag #seniorologie spotlight and the below three images are the ones she chose as this week’s Top Three!  Congratulations to Sandi Shipley Photography, Erin Kata Photography and Kara Petersen Photography!

If you would like to submit your images to the Seniorologie Spotlight of the Week Contest, simply post a photo from one of your recent senior sessions on our Facebook wall or post on Instagram, tag us @seniorologie and use the hashtag #seniorologiespotlight.  We will reveal our guest judge for next week on Monday so stay tuned to the blog to find out who it is!!

Big thanks to True for helping us this week!!  We love having you on the blog!!



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5 Things I’ve Learned from Hosting Shoot Outs (and other events!)

To celebrate our FIFTH birthday, I am taking a look back.  One of the things I have loved most about running a senior inspirational and educational blog is the ability to host events that help other senior photographers learn and grow in this industry.  One of my favorite events to host is a Shoot Out!

A Shoot Out is a fun way of learning and gaining images for your portfolio.  It is a chance to shoot without the pressure of a paying client which allows attendees to step outside of their comfort zone and try new things.  At a Seniorologie Shoot Out, everything is done for you…you just show up and shoot.  The beauty of that is that you don’t have to find the models, style the clothes, determine a location, hire hair and makeup and more…you just get to show up with your camera and make magic.

A Shoot Out is also a chance to learn.  Being around others, talking to photographers and learning from the hosts is a great way to not only network but learn more about your craft.  Sometimes just watching someone else do something gives you a new perspective and allows you to grow as a photographer.  I have been lucky to team up with some of this industry’s greatest for the past five years ever since Seniorologie’s very first Shoot Out in Vegas in 2012!

So what have I learned along the way…here are my Top Five!!

  1.  Shooting always makes me grow!  The more I shoot the more I grow!  Hosting Shoot Outs allow me to shoot more and shoot with a different creativity than I do with clients.  I feel like shooting just for myself helps me be a better photographer.  I feel that every single time I use my camera is a chance to learn and grow.  So even if you have a million photos in your portfolio, you can always have more!  And more equals better because the more you shoot the better you become.  Shoot Outs have given both myself and the attendees a chance to capture incredible images.
  2. Reigniting My Passion Makes Me Better!  I find that sometimes doing the same thing can be boring.  It becomes more of a job and I forget about the creative aspect to being a photographer.  So by planning and hosting a shoot out, coming up with a concept that allows me to be creative and getting to know other photographers I can break out of the rut and get excited to shoot again!
  3. Friendships are Golden!  At every single Shoot Out I meet new friends!  Some of my best friends in this industry attended my very first senior shoot out in Vegas five years ago!  And I still talk to them today!:)  In this business where we mostly work by ourselves, it is so important to have relationships.  Having friends that you can talk to and that get your fears, struggles, triumphs and more is so important to growing your business.  Knowing someone has been through something similar or knowing someone has your back is so helpful in running your own business.  By attending events such as shoot outs, you meet people, connect with them and bond immediately over your shared passion for senior photography.
  4. Exploration is the Key to Creativity!  Traveling is in my soul.  I love exploring new areas of this great country and being able to shoot in these amazing locations really allows me to be creative.  When planning shoot outs, I always look to the location as inspiration.  The location sets the tone of the shoot and helps me plan the perfect concept for that location.  Seeing the world and capturing it through my camera allows me to come back home and use that creativity in my client’s shoots.  I may not be able to offer a desert to my clients because I live in South Carolina but showing them what I can do always gets their attention!  And exploring new locations gives me new ideas to bring home to my clients to create their dream sessions.
  5. Collaboration Inspires Me!  At each Shoot Out, I have always collaborated with other industry greats.  Not because I couldn’t do it on my own, but because it is always better to work together with someone to create something amazing.  I feed off of collaboration.  I love it!  I think working together makes individuals even stronger than they are alone.  A Shoot Out is a great way to team up with someone and work together to give photographers a fun experience.  I have been lucky enough to team up with my friends in this industry and I have loved every minute of working together with some of the greatest!

Check out some of my images from past Shoot Outs as well as the most recent Shoot Out in California!  And be sure to follow Seniorologie for updates on our next Shoot Out which is coming to Marfa, Texas in 2017!  If you would like Seniorologie to come to your neck of the woods, comment below!  I am always looking for new places to host Shoot Outs!!!



VEGAS 2012

BKP2Atlanta 2013

Pink Fly Photography-5

DSC_0815 copy

Vegas 2013


leskerriganluxe16Indianapolis 2014

LHK_8459Atlanta 2016

20100522_8287San Francisco 2016




Senior Inspiration – {Kristi Pennington Photography}

A lot of times seniors love more than one type of location…urban and nature.  So why not incorporate both into a senior session?  That is exactly what Kristi of Kristi Pennington Photography did in this beautiful session below.

“I wanted to show the different facets of her personality and very feminine style!  We wanted a mix of green backgrounds along with a very natural urban feel so we went to two of my favorite spots,” said Kristi.

Check out what else Kristi had to say about this session below.  Thanks so much for sharing your work with Seniorologie Kristi!




What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?

She is a dancer, so she’s just naturally graceful and I wanted to show the different facets of her personality and very feminine style! We wanted a mix of green backgrounds along with a very natural urban feel so we went to 2 of my favorite spots!

Where did this photo shoot take place?

We actually used a combination of a field/pasture and a retail and dining area that has a Mediterranean look and feel to it.

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

I suggested the location and gave her some direction for her clothing, but she has a really great sense of style, so she basically styled herself!

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

Canon Mark II along with my 85mm and 70-200mm lenses.

What time of day were these taken?


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

I always begin in Lightroom and then add my personal style and finishing touches in Photoshop.

What is your favorite thing about this session?

It was just a perfect day! The weather, location and light were just right, and we met a surprise new friend in the sweet horse that came up to greet us and just loved the attention!

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

I want each girl that I photograph to feel beautiful and extra special during our time together! I aim to please and strive to create really happy memories of the day!

I know we achieved that goal that day!  Every girl is unique and brings her own special gifts! I want them to be captured and reflected in her smiles, her expressions…her look.

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

Do everything you can to make them feel relaxed, so they feel comfortable just being themselves and sharing with you, that little glimpse into who they really are… and who they have dreams of becoming!