Senior Pictures Online's Free Parents Survival Guide for Senior Pictures



There are many things to consider, so get on the phone and get started now! You should expect this section to be updated throughout the season. We get lots of new ideas every week.

Here are the basics to get you started:

1. Ask about Retouching. Professional High School Senior Photographers should offer retouching. It may be free or it may cost a few dollars. If you can't find a photographer who includes the cost of "basic" retouching in their packages - expect to spend around $10 per pose. That seems to be the industry average, and in the age of digital senior pictures, should not be time consuming enough for the photographer to charge more than $20 for the absolute basics. Retouching fees for senior pictures is a legitimate extra fee as the latest computer systems, software, and skilled operators do not come cheap.

2. Don't just blurt out "How much for an 8x10?" - ASK FOR A HARD COPY OF THEIR ENTIRE SENIOR PICTURE PRICE GUIDE. That way you can sit down at home with your high school Senior and discuss your individual senior picture needs. Decide on what sizes and quantities you intend to purchase before you sit down with the salesperson. Impulse buys and salespeople's "suggestions" will destroy your budget. Think about what to get for yourselves, friends, family, coworkers, godparents, babysitter/nanny, and most importantly - your Senior. Most High School Seniors need wallets, and more importantly, something to post on Facebook/MySpace, etc.. Watch out for packages that include wallets! Photographers usually have a premium markup on wallets that are "included" in a package.

Social Networking Images are more commonly used to "trade" photos lately, so you may want to go for packages that offer image(s) on DVD/CD. Even their "low resolution" images will do just fine for online photo sharing.

More in the "ORDERING SENIOR PORTRAITS" Section...

-- Also, if you get the cold shoulder on the phone when you ask about prices, don't be insulted. Most photography studios are very careful about their competition "fishing" for information about how their studio works and how much they charge. It's oddly common that "newbie" photographers call around and ask about a competitor's prices so they can either raise or lower their own to appear "in the ball park". I've seen it! Some of these newbies don't know enough to block their caller ID before they call!!!

3. "Can we stop by and see some of your work?" - I can't say this enough. VISIT THE STUDIO. That really is the best way to get a feel for who you're working with. Look at them as if you were choosing a doctor. Neat versus cluttered studios can say a lot about how the people working there may take care of you.


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More of Senior Pictures Online's Free Parents Survival Guide for Senior Pictures:

4. Do ask "Are you a full-time senior picture photographer?" - That's a good and fair question. If the person hesitates or gives you a convoluted answer, we suggest you keep looking. If you are not sending your high school senior to a professional you may be making a mistake you'll never live down.

Many important things "non-professional" photographers don't have include:

  • LIABILITY INSURANCE (hokey smokes! I bet you didn't think about that!)
  • Private changing rooms. (Imagine your daughter changing clothes in their car at the local park or public restroom -- or worse, the "photographers" van.)
  • Money-Back-Guarantees if you are not satisfied.

Believe it or not, many professional studio photographers still have plain old-fashioned pride in their work and don't charge any more than the amateur advertising in the coffee shop.

5. "Where do you print your pictures?" - Three answers to watch for.
One: We have our own custom lab. -- PROS: They can control the quality of the final images and should be no problem to get things looking the same when reordering. Most likely on true photographic paper and archival quality. CONS: They may have a high volume. It may take longer to get your final order if you're in a hurry. Ask about RUSH fees if you need faster delivery.
Two: We print them here. PROS: Orders can be ready in a few days, color is better managed (maybe). CONS: You may be getting "dye sublimation"or worse, "ink-jet" prints. Both claim to be archival, but is my opinion that you'll never know for sure until it's too late - so why bother?
Three: "I can do prints, but you can buy a CD of your images" - PROS (there is only one in my opinion): Get the images on CD's so you can print them yourself inexpensively. CONS (too many to mention all, but here are two big ones): You won't be able to control color reproduction at all (try asking the flunky at the One-Hour counter if he noticed that your skin tones are too "cyan" and watch his eyes go out of focus). Plus, you may not have the proper software to view the images on your computer without upgrading your system or purchasing additional software. Here's a good place we recommend to shop for software. They have both Windows and Mac stuff.


Find out how to get your Senior Pictures Online: Coupons and Special Offers at Kodak Gallery!