The school year has started and the energy of the high school youth is almost tangible in the air. Sometimes I feel like the summer; even though it is considered their days of freedom, hide them from the public in endless hours of indoor video games and amusements. When the school year starts, I see more glimpses of students around town then when they are out for the summer, and that my friends is ironic.
When four white walls surround you for 180 days every year for 13 plus years, the outside world becomes an enigma. I remember wondering how the streets looked in the middle of the day while I was in school, and noticed how the changing of seasons snuck up on you when you realized you were waking up in pitch black again during daylight savings. For seniors in high school, this routine structure in their yearly schedule is a non-issue. They’re so used to it. But right about this time, certain milestones cause them to pick up momentum on the anticipation and excitement the idea of graduation poses.
The senior class portraits are taken for the yearbook, lettermen jackets are awaiting their final patches, football season is zooming by, and everything a senior does is slowly becoming their ‘last time’. It only take a few months for this realization to dawn on seniors, that after this school year, they will never experience anything like the last 13 years of their lives ever again. Which is great.
Now, the importance of senior portraits is understood. The reminder to research for the perfect photographer is scratched on the mothers to-do lists and is mentioned in passing by grandma, who has an empty place on her mantle for such a picture. Seniors don’t have much to think about, as their curriculums are sputtering to an end, and can only daydream about the style and look of the small wallet sized prints they will be passing out to their friends like candy. The idea of capturing the success and essence of not only their entire high school career, but also the last 18 years of their lives up until now, is an exciting and nearly stressful image.
The mistake commonly made is who exactly is chosen to harness what is building inside of an individual. It’s not about who can fit all of the track and football awards into an image, or who can come up with an entirely innovative way to photograph a letterman jacket. What the deciding factor should be is who can capture your child the way they are.
So many photographers have perfect images of high school seniors, and to me, that perfection is the flaw. Photographs are gussied up with cool backgrounds and colorful hues by adjusted saturation, and then smoothed over in a thick layer of Barbie doll skin retouch, to the point where all that is left is a cartoon drawing with the same color hair. What you will want to look back on is not how perfect the edited picture is, but the look in your child’s eyes and the one sided smile they’ve been wearing since they were born. What is important is their favorite pair of ripped jeans or that worn basketball jersey. Their disfigured teddy bear or their 4th place accomplishment. Their old dog or their collection of bottle caps. What you will want to see in 10 years are the raw, unaltered images that clearly represent who he or she was in their 18th year of living.
At Bello Romance Photography, not only does extreme time and effort go into making your pictures photographically excellent, but the real subject in front of the camera shines through. What makes a person different is the most important thing that could be displayed in a photograph, especially in senior photography.
So when you realize how much you might want to get a moment in time of this metamorphosis in your child’s life, decide well and don’t forget what’s really important. And that my friends is the secret.