Senior Photoshoot Basics: The Before, During & After

Senior Photoshoot Basics: The Before, During & After

Senior Photoshoot Basics: The Before, During & After

Rochester Michigan High School Senior Portraits

Your senior year deserves to be celebrated and commemorated, and there are so many fun ways to do this – a photo session is one of the best!

If you’ve never scheduled a professional photo session before or simply want to know what to expect from a senior session, this guide covers the basics

This is what you need to know…

The Before

  • Yearbook deadlines. If your school is creating a yearbook, find out when they need your digital photo file. This will help you plan ahead.  Currently I’m not allowed to submit yearbook photos for Stoney Creek or Adams, as they are requiring you to go to Prestige.  Rochester High School does not have that requirement.
  • The location. The location of your senior session should fit in with your personality and the story you want to tell. Picture yourself doing what you love – where would that usually be? There are always lots of great location ideas to choose from.  We’ll talk this over and customize a session just for you.
  • Sooner rather than later. You may need to schedule it a few months early to avoid missing out.
  • The outfit. You can decide on an outfit once you’ve chosen your location, or you can do both at the same time. Your outfit should also represent who you are and fit in with the location you’ve chosen. Just make sure your outfit isn’t too distracting or it will end up being the focus of your photos.
  • Hair and makeup arrangements. Don’t leave your hair and makeup arrangements for too late either. Decide on your final look and whether or not you want to do your own hair and makeup.  Having your hair done helps it hold up during your session so consider this treat!  The way most people do their own make up is usually just fine.

The During

  • Set aside 2 hours. The average senior photo session takes 1 to 2 hours, so take a few hours out of your day. This should include time to get ready.
  • Meeting up. On the day of your session, you will meet me at your location at a specific time. There’s no need to be nervous. I’m there to make sure you have a good time and get the photos you’ve envisioned.
  • Prepare to change outfits. Some seniors prefer to bring along an extra outfit to change into during their shoot. This is because one outfit might look better in a certain location than another. We’ll make a basic game plan ahead of time.
  • Bring some company. If having a friend or family member with you will make you feel more comfortable, bring someone along. Just don’t bring too many people or they could end up being a distraction more than anything else.

The After

  • Sign a model release. Consider signing a model release form if you would like to see sneak peek on social media.
  • The wait. It takes several weeks for your photographer to complete your images, so you will need to be patient.  I will hurry though, as I’m excited to share them with you!
  • Share and enjoy. Once you receive your photos, you can share the social media versions of your selections.

This is a basic idea of what you can expect from your senior photo session. Don’t be shy.  Just ask me questions if you have any.

Check out the pArt of Life Photography Senior Gallery for more session samples and ideas.  I’d love to create a senior portrait session just for you!


Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

A Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

For most parents, senior portraits are a distant memory. Senior Portrait sessions have changed a lot over the last two decades, incorporating more creativity and individuality than ever before.  This Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents is here to help you through the process.  You senior will appreciate the smooth process that we can create together.

Seniors have a lot more options available to them, ranging from traditional sessions in a studio to trendy urban shoots. This is the perfect opportunity for them to showcase their unique talents, passions, and personality, while also creating a lasting memory.

However, with all the available options, portrait sessions can quickly become overwhelming for both parents and seniors.

Here are a few quick tips to help you prepare for your child’s upcoming senior session.

Rochester MI Senior Portraits

Make a Note of the Yearbook Deadline

Knowing the yearbook deadline encourages you to schedule a senior session instead of putting it off until the last minute. Depending on your requirements, a senior photo session will start with a yearbook portrait followed by creative shots that are unique to your child. In most instances, it takes at least 2 weeks to receive the final images, so plan accordingly.

Keep Your Senior’s Schedule in Mind

As a parent of a senior, you already know how frantic their schedules can be. Before you go ahead and schedule a session, sit down with your senior to discuss a good time. They should be just as involved in the planning as you are. Even the specific time of day matters when scheduling a senior session. Ideally, you want to take photos just after sunrise and just before sunset, as this is when the lighting’s the best. However, the right photographer can make any time of the day work. Midday should be a last resort though as the lighting is far too harsh.

Compromise with Your Child

You may have a specific idea about the photos you would like to see, but this is about your child and what makes them feel confident and comfortable. Most senior sessions allow for several outfit changes, so use this as an opportunity to find a happy balance between what you want and what your senior wants. Be patient and hear them out before you brush off their ideas. Their portraits should represent who they are and what they love.

Encourage Sharing

Prior to a senior session, get your child to open up about their passions, hopes, and dreams. This information will help guide the shoot and ensure the most authentic photos. Knowing what your senior wants these photos to represent will also guide their outfit and location choices.

Don’t forget to include your senior in the search for a photographer – a photographer’s style needs to fit in with the images you hope to create.

Creative Ways to Display Senior Portraits in Your Home

Senior portraits can be displayed just about anywhere, but there are certain spots in a home where they really stand out.

To help you think outside the box, we have put together a few ideas you can use once you receive your child’s senior portrait prints.

Use Your Favorite Spots

Which spots in your home do you love spending time in? This could be anywhere from a dressing area, to the living or laundry room. Add one of the prints to a frame, so that you always have a special reminder of this important milestone.

Over the Fireplace

Have a fireplace in your home? This is the perfect place to hang a senior portrait, whether it is framed or printed on canvas. If you have more than one child, you can create a small photo wall above your fireplace, so that everyone gets a spot.

Change Up Your Bookshelf

Yes, your bookshelf is designed to house books, but this doesn’t mean you only need to use it for reading material. Get creative by combining your favorite books with one or two framed senior portraits and other knick knacks.

Move Away from Frames

If your décor has more of an artistic feel, you can always place small canvas prints on easels. These look great on side tables in either the bedroom or living room. Plus, they make for instant conversation starters about your senior.

Spruce Up Your Foyer

It’s always nice to be met with beautiful family photos and portraits when you enter a home. Change up the frame sizes and colors to create movement and to add a creative touch to your foyer.

Incorporate Them into Their Grad Party

Planning to host a grad party at home for your senior? Why not use some of their creative shots as décor? This is a party to celebrate them, after all, so make them the center of attention in every way possible. If you want to take it one step further, you can even use these professional photos to create Christmas decorations.

Whatever you do, make sure that you print your child’s senior photos. You are hiring a professional photographer for the occasion, so make it count.

We offer many fine art products, and more photos will be added soon.  I’m excited to share my new canvas company with beautiful canvas and museum backing.


When Is the Best Time to Book My Senior Photo Session?

There is no one answer to when you should book your senior photo session – there are several variables to take into consideration.


To ensure you find a time that works for you, start by looking at your availability. You never realize just how little time you have until you try and work a photoshoot into a busy senior year. Before you know it, it’s a month before you graduate, and you don’t have a date for your session yet.

For example, many extra-curricular activities take place in the fall, leaving very little time for a senior photo session. If you are more involved in sports such as softball, spring is a difficult season to plan around.

The main goal is to not be stressed before or on the day of your senior session – it will show in your photos. On the day of your shoot, you want to be relaxed and enjoy every second.

The Theme

Most likely you already have some idea of the types of photos you want to take to commemorate your senior year. Outfits play an integral role in the overall style of your shoot. If you want to wear a beautiful boho outfit for your senior session, shooting in winter isn’t quite going to work. Get a clear idea of the style you would prefer before you choose a date for your photo session.

The Location and Season

Your location will also fit in with the theme of your shoot. However, not all locations and settings look good at certain times of the year. Want an urban shoot? This works at almost any time of the year. Prefer to take photos at a local park?  Every season has its features, like spring and summer for lush green and flowers and fall or course has gorgeous colors and textures.  Winter photo session and a blanket of snow bring great focus to your senior.

Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

Senior Portraits in the City! Taking on the big city in style!


Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents

Winter Senior Portrait Sessions are beautiful and fun!

There really is no right or wrong time to schedule your shoot, you just need to plan for it. The minute you have an idea of what your senior schedule will look like, start selecting a few dates – you won’t be sorry.  I look forward to talking to you.  I strive to take the stress out of session planning, starting with this Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents, then with some conversations and session planning to creating a great experience for you and your senior!


Your Senior Portraits Can ‘Pop’ With a Prop

Your Senior Portraits Can ‘Pop’ With a Prop

Your Senior Portraits Can ‘Pop’ With a Prop

Senior Picture Props Help You Stand Out

Throughout their time in high school, Seniors can try out a variety of different sports, hobbies, and clubs. As they try these different extracurriculars out, they find a few that they love. Oftentimes, this hobby becomes a huge part of who they are and what they are known for. A unique way to commemorate your passions is to incorporate them in your senior portraits! Your Senior Portraits Can ‘Pop’ With a Prop.  Which one(s) will you bring along?

Your Senior Portraits Can 'Pop' With a Prop


The great thing about using props in your senior photos is that it allows you to capture what you love.

We have listed photography prop ideas for classic senior portrait photography as well as some original photography prop ideas so you can capture a unique senior portrait.

Sports Equipment

Are you a sports lover and play on your school’s team or just love playing a certain sport? Bring your sports equipment to the portrait. If you love baseball you could bring your glove and bat. If you are a cheerleader, you can bring your pom-poms. Play multiple sports? Bring a variety of equipment to create a sporty look for your senior portraits.

Sport Jersey

If you aren’t wanting to use your sports equipment, wearing your sports jersey can be a simple prop to use in your senior photos. 


Did you play in your school’s marching band, orchestra, or just love playing an instrument? Then incorporate it in your photos! Posing with your musical instrument will reflect your experiences and showcase your talents. If you have a particular marching band uniform or orchestra attire, you can even wear them in your photos to add something extra special. Plus, it will be fun to reflect on the uniforms you had to wear in high school!

Incorporate Your Car

Getting your first car is a huge part of your high school experience.  By posing with your cars, you are creating memories for years to come and will be able to look back and remember the car you drove while you were in high school. You can incorporate your car into your photos by leaning against your car, sit in the driver’s seat, or sit on the hood. 


If you love to read or have a favorite book you can incorporate them into your portraits! You can even pose with your senior yearbook. 

Four-legged Friends

Even your pets can be in your senior portraits! Your pets are a huge part of you and are a great way to add something unique to your pictures.


If you love to paint, you can bring a paint pallet or pictures you have created to incorporate into your senior photos.


If you don’t have a specific senior passion or hobby, but still want to incorporate a prop, then balloons will surely make your photos POP! Balloons are a fun way to add color. Whether you pose with them or have them in the background, they are a great way to add something special to your photos. 

Do you have many passions but aren’t sure which one to pick? Incorporate them all! Don’t be shy when it comes to adding your creative spin to your portraits and combine your props.

Your Photos Are Ready to Pop!

Now that you have a few prop ideas, you are ready for your passions to shine in your senior photos! A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you add props, you share your passion in images. Your senior photos should reflect your high school experience and capture your excitement for the next life stage. Allow me to tastefully incorporate your props and make your senior portraits pop!

Senior portraits are a big way to celebrate your senior year!

Come experience a fun-filled senior session with pArt of Life Photography! 

Need Inspiration?

Check out our Senior Portrait Gallery 


Senior Portraits: Why You Need a Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Senior Portraits: Why You Need a Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Senior Portraits: Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Senior Portraits are the perfect way to commemorate all that your senior has done so far in their life, and a wonderful way to celebrate all the things their future has in store.

When having senior portraits done, you want to look your best. Many people do not think about what makeup or hairstyle they are going to have for their photo shoot until the last minute. 

One way to prepare for your photo shoot is to hire a professional hair stylist and makeup artist to help you get ready for your pictures! Professional hair and makeup artists are skilled in preparing clients for photo shoots. 

You can reduce stress by hiring a professional hairstylist and makeup artist.

It also adds to the experience of getting portraits done. 

Getting your hair and makeup done for your senior session will add tons of confidence to your senior session!

Indulge yourself for your Senior Portraits and try a Professional Stylist and Makeup Artist!

Senior Portraits: Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Senior Portraits: Professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Hair Stylist

Hiring a professional hairstylist for your senior portraits is a great way to ensure you will love how your hair looks in your photos. 

Professional hair stylists aren’t just good at doing hair—they’re good at keeping it done. 

They have a lot of time-tested styling techniques and all the products imaginable to keep your style locked in place and looking perfect. 

If you aren’t sure at what exact look you are going for, a hairstylist can help you pick out the perfect hair style.

A great place to get your hairstyle done for your senior portraits is Ruby and Clover which is located just north of downtown Rochester, MI. 

Check out their website to see their services and portfolio: 


Makeup Artist 

One reason to hire a makeup artist is that makeup that looks amazing in person versus in photographs is very different.

These professionals have years of experience and use high-quality products to make you look your best in front of the lens!  

If you don’t usually wear a lot of makeup you can always have them apply an amount that creates a look that you’re comfortable with. Professional makeup can still be very natural looking. 

There are many great makeup artists to choose from. When looking for a makeup artist look at their reviews and ask to see photos of prior makeup they have done.

One place you can have your makeup professionally done is at Ulta Beauty. Check with your local Ulta to see if they are currently accepting appointments.

Another place located in Rochester, MI to get your makeup done is Rochester Beauty Bar. They are experienced in creating the perfect customized look that enhances your natural beauty. 

You can check out their services on their website: 

Now You Are Photo Ready!

Having your hair and makeup done for your senior portraits can help you feel special and more confident in front of the camera. It is also one less thing to worry about on the day of your senior portraits!

Senior portraits are a great way to celebrate your accomplishments, and you deserve to look and feel your best.

When you book a senior portrait session with me, I focus on customizing sessions and providing a great experience during the session which allows for lasting memories.

I pride myself in specializing as a full-service photographer through pre-session consultation to ending with fine art prints and products. I can help you turn your senior portraits into a beautiful and lasting album that you can reflect on for years to come.

If you are ready to book your senior portraits, connect with me today!

Senior portraits are an important aspect of the senior year experience!  Come experience a session with pArt of Life Photography! 

Check out our Senior Portrait Gallery


Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

Took a road trip this week-end for Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography!  And boy, Upper Peninsula Nature Photography did not disappoint!  The ice formations against the gorgeous and rugged rock is a site to behold.  So, in case you didn’t know I’m a huge fane of Michigan, the state and especially the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!  If you’re planning a trip and have any questions let me know.  Just today a friend asked if they could fill a week around Munising.  I quickly replied with an itinerary that should keep them all busy for a week, and then some.  What started out as a trip to see the Mackinac Bridge Blue Ice quickly transformed to extending our destination to Munising.  I can’t get that close to the UP and not go and stay for a bit.  Even though I went to Michigan Tech in Houghton there is still quite a bit that I have not explored.  We planned on going to the Eben Ice Caves in Eben Junction but doing a little more researched I switched out main destination the Ice Curtains in Munising.

So after a stop at the Mackinac Bridge and Tahquamenon Falls we spent the night in Munising.  In the morning we drove to H-58, the road towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and took the turn off for Sand Point Road.  We parked at the lot for Marsh Trail.  This is also a popular spot for ice fishing out on the bay so it fills up and the day we were there people parked along the road even though it is technically not allowed.  We walked back along the road until we saw the first sign (about 12″ square) noting the trail to No Boundaries.  The trails are well travelled so the snow is backed but it’s not the easiest trek.  This year there are fallen trees so we were climbing under and over them.  The packed snow gets slick when there is an incline so even before you make it to the ice, ice cleats are pretty much a must have.  People also slide down the trails where the decline is steep so so spots are really slick.  At No Boundaries we watched some ice climbers.  There were ice climbing lessons by Downwind Sports going which was cool to watch.  Downwind Sports is a great store and the perfect place to buy your ice cleats, or rent equipment.

We returned to the road and continued back to the next signs for Amphitheater, then Dryer Hose then Curtains.  Dryer Hose features a 35′ frozen waterfall, with more ice climbers.  Grand Island has amazing ice formations and ice climbing but requires more time and logistics to get there and the ice is not as thick this year, although people are still making the trek.  Next was Curtains Ice Formations.  This place was especially amazing as it was the widest expanse, with such a variety of frozen ice flows, they look like works of art.  It really shows off where and how much moisture seeps out of the rocks the rest of the year.  The walk back to the car is only about 3/4 of a mile.  I have links to my other Upper Peninsula Nature Photography at the bottom of this post.  I plan to come back and hike more of the Marsh Trail in the summer, that follows along the top of this rocky bluff.


Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

No Boundaries Ice Formation with ice climbers

No Boundaries, first ice formation south of Sand Point Marsh trail parking lot


Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

Dryer Hose Ice Formation

Dryer Hose, 35′ tall ice formation Munising Ice Curtains

Upper Peninsula Nature Photography


Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography Sand Point

Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains Sand Point

Munising Ice Curtains Sand Point

Munising Ice Curtains Sand Point

Munising Ice Curtains

Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography

Upper Peninsula Travel Photography


Thanks for checking out my Munising Ice Curtains Nature Photography. After lunch we took a tour with Lake Superior Ice Cave Tours to Miners Falls and Miners Castle in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Here are my summer Pictured Rocks photographs.

Upper Peninsula Travel Photography

Are you into hiking?  If so, the North Country Trail in Michigan travels along the top of this rocky bluff.  What a wonderful place to hike and take photographs.  It’s on my bucket list to plan a hiking and photography trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and other fabulous spots in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Comment below if you want to keep in touch about future hiking and photography opportunities!

Upper Peninsula Nature Photography

Here are some more nature photography posts from my latest Pure Michigan Upper Peninsula winter photography trip to the Mackinac Bridge, Tahquamenon Falls and Munising.  It was amazing!

Mackinac Bridge Blue Ice

MIners Castle Nature Photography

My nature photography is available in prints, metals and canvas, as well as custom creations.  I’ve added most of the images from this trip if you are interested in new art for your walls or as a gift.  Feel free to send me a message regarding custom orders or multiple purchases.  I’d love to hear your comments or questions below.  Thank you!