Wayne Reich
Photography, Video, Music, Creative

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Senior Portrait Session: Info and Style Guide

Published: September 5th, 2017

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It's hard to believe that summer is over. I feel like it was only a short time ago that we were celebrating graduation! This new school-year is already rolling and activities are piling up on top of homework, college applications, and the social calendar. If you're reading this post, you might be checking off another box on your list of things that have to get done this season: the high-school senior portrait.

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There's nothing wrong with having your picture made by the photographer contracted to provide images to the school's yearbook. There's something to be said about that process and how uniform all of the images appear next to each other in one place. But that's not the kind of portrait that I like to make, and that's not what we're talking about in this post.

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The senior portrait is a commemoration of the transition between adolescence and adulthood. All of the years spent in grade-school and all of those experiences make young people into who they are, but how they use their skills to become who they will be is still ahead of them. My goal is to bring all of those things together in a portrait that tells that story.

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The key to creating a meaningful portrait is to find the things that make young people come alive and then use that as a catalyst for generating a connection with the viewer. Whether that's a connection to a car or truck that someone has restored or maintained, or a skill like photography and contemporary art, the senior portrait session says something about the subject and how they view the world around them.

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Sometimes, the portrait can be an homage to a student's connection with their family and the place that reminds them of home. The portrait can take place on a family farm or in the urban center that they've called home for years.

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I encourage the seniors to wear clothes that really identify who they are and who they would like to be. Jeans or khaki pants, shirts with ties, blazers, dresses or skirts, fancy shoes or casual sandals, formal tops or a sports uniform. It's all acceptable and perfectly okay if what you're wearing helps tell your story.

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I'm committed to the idea that all people are beautiful exactly the way they are. It's like an ethical line in the sand for me. I just will not change people in photoshop the way some magazines have been doing for years. My general feeling about this is that if you have a blemish or a scratch or a bruise that is not normally a part of you, I will take it out. But I don't usually fuss with things like moles and birthmarks, and I will never ever change your shape.

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What I will do is offer complimentary hair and make-up for everyone, including the guys. There's just no reason to say no to this offer. For the ladies, it's an easy choice. My hair and make-up specialists work with all kinds of people to achieve fantastic results without going to any extremes that would make you feel self-conscious. They work with photographers all the time and they're used to all kinds of skin-types and they know how to apply makeup for photographs.

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For guys, the stylist just keeps the shine down and makes sure that the hair looks good from start to finish.

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Let's talk about what you can expect to receive from me after the session. First, I will create a viewing gallery on my website that you can use to share with friends and family. You may also use this gallery to purchase professionally printed images on canvas, paper, and a whole host of other awesome materials. I can even get you a coffee mug with your student's mug on it if you want.

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You don't have to feel obligated to purchase prints from me, though, because I also give you two sizes of JPEG that you can have processed anywhere. The first size is of smaller resolution, so it takes up less space and memory. The web-sized images are perfect for facebook or instagram or wherever else you want to put them on social media. The larger image size is ready for printing and it's almost always the original full-resolution size. These are really large files. An un-cropped image can be over seven-thousand pixels on the long side, which is large enough to display on a billboard if that's what you'd like to do!

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All of your images are backed up securely in the cloud, on my website, and on my hard-drives, so if you ever lose your computer, I'll have a way of restoring your images. Delivery of the digital files is handled through a dropbox folder for which I will give you a private link. If you'd really prefer a thumb-drive, I can dust those off, too.

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The fee for senior portraits is $390, and comes with a promise to deliver your images within thirty days, though it often takes less time than that. Please let me know if you have questions that I can answer. I'm already looking forward to working with you and your senior!

- Wayne