For most parents, choosing a senior photographer can be a nerve-wracking experience. Perhaps your senior wants a style you don’t love, or maybe all their friends have chosen a photographer who is out of your budget. Maybe it feels overwhelming to choose the kinds of products you might use afterward, or maybe you feel unsure about how to dress or style your senior who wants the “perfect shoot”. Maybe you’re a parent who has a senior who doesn’t even want senior photos, and you desperately want a beautiful portrait for your wall! Wherever you fall on the spectrum, here’s our top tips for finding a senior photographer who is perfect for YOU.

-Consider the style you want and need: Take a peek at your senior high school yearbook from last year, and view the other senior portraits. If they’re all in a similar style, you may seek out a photographer who can accomplish a portrait that will be similar. Ask your senior the style they might be wanting, and find a good compromise between what you both are looking for. Maybe you can ask for one conservative, classic outfit or pose and let your senior choose the rest.

-Think of the personality of your senior, and search for a photographer who matches well. If your teen is very quiet and reserved, you'll need a photographer who is very friendly and able to draw out a more fun, relaxed side. If your senior wants to include something like a varsity jacket, or even a pet or their best friend, make sure your photographer can accommodate those wishes.

-Ask tons of questions: Be sure to write a list of questions you may want answers to before you even meet with a potential match. Ask what is included in your package or collection, and know what fees are due, and when. If your senior would like professional hair and makeup, be sure you know what is included in that portion of the session, and what types of hairstyles are available. Ask how many outfits or poses are included, and how long your session will last.

-If budget is an issue: No one wants to confront the “money” issue, but a good photographer will address any concerns you may have. Ask if they have a payment plan, and what is included in the fees you are paying. Many parents of seniors are confused when products are not included in a photographer’s main fee, but this is fairly common practice. Be sure to ask how much products typically run, and what a customer’s average investment is so that you can budget that, too.

-Make shopping for outfits or props a fun experience with your teen: Don't forget that this can be a bonding experience for your and your senior, instead of a stressful time! Turn shopping for outfits and props into a girl’s day or a mini-vacation so that you can both remember the fun time. Set a budget and search cost-friendly stores like Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe.

-Make a list before your ordering session: It really helps to make a list of the family member’s who need or want photos. A 8x10” for grandma, and wallets for every aunt and uncle can add up monetarily, and you want to make sure that you don’t leave anyone out. Measuring large walls where you may hang gallery portraits is also helpful so you know what size to order. Be sure to ask your teen if they want to hand out photos at school too, and what size the yearbook needs. Some photographers offer to submit your digital file or portrait for you, so ask if that’s a possibility.

If you do your research, you will have all the information you need and you can head into senior portraits with a clear head and a relaxed attitude. Best of all, you will be giving your senior the experience and memory they have dreamed of!