Saving Money on Senior Pictures

My daughter is on the cusp of beginning her senior high of high school. Traditionally, many parents have senior pictures taken to commemorate this milestone of their child’s life. We did exactly that for our son a few years ago, paying a significant amount of money for a professional photography session and pictures. We decided to go a different route with our daughter.

Friend Photographer

We gathered a list of recommended photographers, but I suggested a friend of ours. Photography was her hobby, but she had taken pictures of our family a few times in the past and her work was very good. We negotiated a price for her to shoot the pictures, and to give all the photos to us on a USB drive. The price was less than 20% of what we had paid for our son’s pictures.

Setting the Scene

Before the day pictures were to be taken, we came up with a few location ideas for pictures:

  • School Stadium : Our daughter is a cheerleader, so we wanted pictures in her cheer uniform on the field and in the bleachers of her school’s football field.
  • Nature Center : Our city has a nature center that has a rock wall, bridges, and countless varieties of plant life that make for excellent picture back drops.
  • Historical Center : The former home of someone important to the history of our city is a landmark, and the home’s grounds have water falls and beautiful architecture.
  • Car : Many seniors have pictures taken with their car, as a student’s vehicle can be an important part of their social lives. This option was dropped for our daughter, but could be a great choice for someone else.

Propping the Pictures

Scouring the internet, my wife found several inexpensive ideas she wanted to use to enhance the pictures:

  • Graduation Numbers : We purchased three dimensional cardboard numbers of our daughter’s graduation year and spray panted them white. These were used in some of her cheer pictures.
  • School Letters : We also purchased three dimensional cardboard letters of the initials of her high school. We spray painted these sparkly silver (the school’s colors are silver and blue) and used them also in her cheer pictures.
  • Senior Shot : We purchased smaller letters (about three inches tall) and used a hot glue gun to attach them to a string. Then, we had our daughter hold the string in various poses (in front of her, over her head, as well as over her head facing into the sun to create a shadow effect).

While an experienced professional photographer can capture moments in ways well worth their price, a hobbyist photographer along with some great locations and prop ideas can give you a great balance with quality and price.

How about you, EOD nation, have you ever used a hobbyist photographer and had a good experience? Bad experience? What are your thoughts on what professional photographers charge?

About Travis

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