{how to choose the best} senior portrait photographer


When choosing your S-E-N-I-O-R portrait photographer, you should consider the Session, Equipment, Notebook and now the Items of Quality your photographer has to offer. This is a category that many professional photographers share in common, but it separates the professionals from the novices.

What Items of Quality are produced by your photographer? Do they sell you a CD or USB drive with edited digital images and a print release, allowing you to print your pictures when and where you want? Do they also offer high quality prints, canvases or custom designed albums? Or does your photographer only sell print and fine art products? There is no right and wrong answer, in my opinion, as to what a photographer decides to sell you. That’ s why I chose this category as Items of Quality instead of just “Items for Sale.” Whatever they agree to sell you, it should be of highest quality. I want you to think about your long term goal with the portraits you take during your session. Are you hoping to gift large beautiful prints to family and friends or to use in graduation announcements? Then I would suggest choosing a photographer who has done their own homework. They should have signed up with a professional quality print lab, color calibrated their monitor to that lab, and have ordered products from that lab. They should know the optimal image resolution to produce a big print or canvas. Printing your beautiful pictures at a drugstore or warehouse like Costco might be cheap, but that is what you will see. Cheap. If your goal with your pictures is only to update your social media accounts with a nice picture, then you don’t need a photographer to have access to a reputable print lab.

Your photographer should have examples for you to see and touch… prints, canvases, mini albums, cards/announcements, etc. The quality will be evident if they are ordering their items of quality from a professional lab. This also means that these items will cost more than the cheaper alternative, but when you are looking to display your portraits, you want the quality to be obvious. Every photographer who sells Items of Quality will have a price list for these items, and might even bundle them into packages, or offer certain Items of Quality as gifts to you if you refer a friend who books a session with them.

I order my Items of Quality from three different professional print labs. I trust their workmanship and use them for my own personal family prints and canvases, paying the premium for receiving a premium product. And I do sell a CD to my senior clients with all their edited digital images and a print release, which gives them permission to print their pictures but warns them that I cannot ensure the quality or correct color when they order prints outside of my print labs.  My philosophy is that I want my seniors to have all their edited pictures. They worked hard for them, and they entrusted me to to be their photographer. I do offer free prints in my referral program and I also place my print items of quality on sale about twice a year. I know that my seniors and their families are investing a lot of money in their session and CD package, so when the opportunity arises to order prints or canvases, I like to give them a variety of products to choose from, like gallery wraps (which are most expensive), floating wraps (my personal favorite and less expensive), and standouts (least expensive). Built into the price they pay for these items is the peace of mind knowing that I am sizing and positioning their portraits to correctly fit the size of what they are ordering, and that how I edited the picture is how the portrait will appear in larger scale when their print item is delivered.  You won’t get that type of guarantee from a public print lab.

Tomorrow I will share with you what criteria your photographer should have to fit the O in S-E-N-I-O-R.


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