The time in a young person’s life when they move from late teens to young adults is an exciting period. There’s a lot of stuff going on, such as graduations, proms, formals, and the inevitable moving out, which all deserve to be captured forever in photographs.
However, seniors present many different challenges when compared with the average adult photography session. Here are our best tips to help you create stunning senior pictures with your micro
1. Get Input
You may be an experienced photographer, but what teen won’t have their ideas about a photoshoot? Asking the seniors and parents a few questions before setting up the session will get everyone on the same page.
Rather than grill them on the day with many questions, have them fill out a questionnaire (preferably a few days before the event). A survey will stop the session from feeling more like an interrogation rather than a friendly brainstorming session.
You can use the questionnaire to learn about the senior’s likes, interests, hobbies, and favorite music. Knowing a little about the subject will help spark a few ideas about setting up the photo shoot. Plus, when you finally meet them, you will already have a little insight into their personality.
The parents will also want some input as they will have plans on where they will be displaying the images. They may like a large portrait for the wall or an image for a frame on their desk at work.
2. Set the Scene
Knowing what the teen is into beforehand should give you some great ideas about where and when to do the shoot. A sports fan will love the idea of having a few shots of them on their favorite field, and you can use their sporting equipment as props.
Horse enthusiasts will love senior pictures capturing their last days as teens sitting atop their favorite steed. Motorheads will feel right at home if you can set up some shots of them in and around their dream set of wheels.
It’s all about making the teen comfortable in front of the lens and getting them engaged with the session.
3. Group Sessions
Senior images of the teens with their friends will create lasting memories that will bring a smile to their faces when they cast their minds back to their senior years.
Set the session up at a favorite location where the group likes to hang out. It could be a location at the high school, a park, or maybe a parent’s house where they regularly congregate.
Get the teens to perform some of the activities they regularly do together, such as frisbee throwing, a ball game, or even enjoying a meal.
When they get involved in the activity, they may even forget why they are there, which creates an excellent opportunity for a few candid shots. Group photos are great, but be sure to get each of them on their own as well.
Photography sessions can feel awkward for a teen. As the photographer, it’s your job to get them to relax and loosen up while they are in front of the lens. Here are a few tips on posing your senior images so your shots don’t look forced and unnatural.
1. Start with Sitting
Jumping straight into the session with standing poses can feel a little intimidating, but everyone feels more relaxed when they are sitting. Ease them into the session by posing them on steps or relaxing comfortably on the grass. Tree stumps, fallen trees, doorsteps, and park benches are great locations for setting up a relaxed pose and adding texture and contrast to the image.
2. Get Them Laughing
One of the most significant challenges photographers face is to get people laughing and having it come across as entirely natural. However, it’s surprisingly easy to bring out the real laughter when you know-how.
First, ask your seniors to laugh. It doesn’t matter if it’s fake and feels awkward. The act of fake laughing soon brings out genuine mirth when they realize how ridiculous they sound and look.
Fake laughter can work well with group shots when you’re photographing teens who know each other well. Get them to look at each other and laugh. Pretty soon, you’ll have genuine laughs and smiles, which will light up their faces.
3. Add Some Movement
Even small movements can help senior pictures come alive. Leaning in and leaning out adds just a hint of action and removes any stiffness in the pose. Casually leaning in with thumbs in pockets creates a casual but confident vibe, and casually leaning against a brick wall can add a touch of urban sophistication and interesting lines.
Walking, twirling, and running shots can work wonders in the right setting. Shoot images of Barefoot paddling in the shallow waves, throwing a frisbee, jumping to catch a ball, or the quick sway or twirl of a long skirt to bring life and fun to the image.
Best Micro Four Thirds Lens for Senior Pictures
For studio portraits, a focal length of 42mm-45mm will provide all the versatility you need. However, when your shooting in more natural surroundings, you may want to carry a few more options with you.
If you were shooting with full-frame, you would go for a 24-70mm f/2.8. Micro four-thirds have a close approximation in the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro. It’s an excellent lens that will suit most walking-around situations when you consider that it has a focal length equivalent of 24-80mm.
For head and portrait shots featuring beautiful bokeh effects, you can’t go past the Panasonic 25mm f/1.7. At less than $200.00, it’s affordable as well.
If you wanted to replace almost every lens in your kit with a single piece of equipment, then the Olympus 12-100mm f/4 Pro is a solid performer. This lens remains sharp throughout its zoom range, keeps distortion levels low, and isn’t too shabby in low light.
The price might be a little high for some, but the value is there when you consider how many lenses this solid performer replaces.