How to Save Money on Senior Portraits: This High School Pastime Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

It’s the last year of high school, and there are tons of things required of most students. They’ve got to be looking at what college to apply to and finishing out their toughest classes. When word comes from the school that they’ve got to provide a yearbook photograph, it’s usually on top of an already growing list of tasks.

Senior portraits can be fun and create a record of the student during the last year of their high school experience. To make sure you’re getting a great deal, follow these tips that most photographers follow.

Think Off-Season

Most senior portrait photographers are slammed in the early fall – it’s when the schools notify parents of a deadline and everyone begins to call. By then, it’s too late to ask for an off-season discount, but if most parents (or students) think ahead, they can get a killer deal on their portrait session.

Try calling your local photographer in the spring at the end of junior year. Very few students are photographed at that time of year, and they’ll be happy to have the business.

Become a Rep

Most photographers run programs where they enlist student representatives to represent the photo studio at their school. It differs between photographers, but most offer some sort of extras if you recommend your friends, plus goodies like extra sessions or free makeup and hair on the day of the session. Be sure to ask extra-early about these programs, since they usually fill up fast.

Pick Your Favorite

One way to be sure you waste your money on senior portraits is if you pick a photographer whose style you don’t like or appreciate. Since you’ll most likely be paying a photographer, make sure there is some bang for your buck by choosing someone who captures the spirit of the senior and does fun, modern things that are likely to really represent the student. Most photographers offer packages in which products are discounted so that you can display some of those new favorite photos at home or in the wallet.

Don’t Go Amateur

Sometimes the cost of senior portraits pushes seniors to choose friends or family members with a camera to take their senior portraits. It’s an option, but one that’s often risky. Yearbooks have technical specifications that must be met in order for the photos to be accepted, and there’s no guarantee the photos will come out.

If there’s no choice but to go amateur, think about inquiring at the nearest photography college, where students should know about technical standards and have plenty of practice. Remember to give them lots of time to get it right and to ask for photos in a digital format so that you can be assured they’ll be archived.

Senior portraits often become treasures over the years, as they immortalize that last year of high school and full youth and vigor. Be sure to not only save money, but also get value, when making this purchase.

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