I Took My Son's Senior Pictures

So, Jake, my oldest is a senior this year.  Moment of silence...

I have been struggling with the prospect of him leaving for college, pretty much since he was born.  I'm a mom and have to work to find my own thing every school year.

I have seen lots of beautiful senior pictures over the years. Lots of beautiful backgrounds and great lighting. I've seen photographers coax smiles, coach poses, tell jokes. And the pictures are beautiful, really they are.

But, I'm selfish. I wanted to take Jake to his favorite places, I wanted to make him smile, I wanted to be in that memory when he looks at the pictures years later.

So, I asked him...I was a little nervous... "CanItakeyourseniorpicturesIpromisewecanhireaprofessionalifyouhatethem?!?"

He said yes! He was relieved! He was dreading going to a studio!

So, we spent the summer scouting out all the special places in the city he loves...

The alley where his dad parks, the painted streets he walks on to get to Penguin games, the roof of his dad's work, middle of the street he crosses to go to Pirate games, she shiny buildings he hopes to work in someday, the ivy covered wall across the street from our city theater he loves.

It was an amazing day! He loved walking down memory lane and we spent the whole morning together laughing, posing, joking, talking...

The pictures aren't the perfect, photo-shopped studio pictures I've seen, but they are perfectly Jake.

 They look like him.  He is happy and relaxed, and now we have the memories of that day every time we look at the pictures instead of struggling to recall a random train track or fence in a photographer's backyard.

Have you considered trying this yourself?  Here are some tips:

1)  Rent a good lens (or camera).

I have a Nikon d3200 and I found a spot to rent an 80 mm portrait lens ( www.borrowlenses.com ).  It was only $75 for the week and it shipped to me in 2 days then I shipped it back 7 days later.  I'm not getting any compensation for this post at all, but it was a revelation to me that you can do this!  The customer support was very knowledgeable and helpful and I just think they deserve some props.

If you don't have a good camera, you can rent a whole set with different lenses for what you need.

 2) Collect pose ideas.

I used Pinterest and made a board (Senior Pictures Board).  When I found a pose I liked, I took a screenshot and saved it in an album on my phone so it was easily accessible.

3) Decide what to wear.

I let Jake pick from a bunch of options I pulled out:
A nice t-shirt
A golf shirt
2 button up shirts
A pair of jeans
A pair of khakis
A blazer

He chose his favorite plaid button up and jeans for most of the pictures and changed into khakis and threw on a jacket for some.  He like the way the bold print showed up and the color looked great on him.

4) Have an option for changing clothes.

If you are changing outfits, park nearby and drape a sheet over the window for changing.

***Or, make a "Portable Changing Room".  I'll teach you how on Friday!

5) Choose spots with significance to your senior, and make a plan.

drive around, reminisce, laugh, have fun!

6) Edit the photos

I use www.PicMonkey.com because I don't have PhotoShop, but use whatever you have.

If you decide to try it, I want to see!! Post about it and link in my comments so we can share!


  1. Love your pics!! What a handsome guy, too!!

  2. Beautiful job! I am getting one of my older boys (who is a photographer) to take his younger brothers' senior pics this year. He did his sister's college senior pics and they turned out beautifully. I will send him the link to this post for helpful hints. (:

    1. I love it! I think it makes a special memory, don't you Gina?

  3. Love these pictures! I just might do this- thanks for the tip about renting the right lens!


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