Be sure to go ahead and bookmark this page now, because it's going to be your BEST friend as you plan and prepare for your Senior Portraits with #PAP!
I am SO excited you're here! Being a senior is SUCH a special time in your lives and I'm so excited for what's to come. This guide will be your BEST FRIEND as you plan and prepare for your big day, and will allow you to know exactly what to expect during your senior photography experience! I'm so EXCITED to pour into you and to help ease the stress of planning. As always, feel free to reach out at any time if you have any questions along the way!
Before we jump right in, here are three things you NEED to know about me:
I love photographing seniors because it gives me the opportunity to serve and love a completely different type of client than I normally service-which is senior clients. It’s such a joyful and EXCITING time in your life, but I totally understand how overwhelming the entire process can be! I’m here to walk you through every step of your photography experience from making you feel confident in front of my camera with constant direction to helping you craft the perfect experience. At the end of the day, planning is so incredibly fun, but the really awesome part is that you’re graduating soon! I love celebrating that with you because being a senior has been one of the biggest blessings in your life, but also your parents as well! I’m here to encourage you as you make your journey towards this major transitions in life the easiest and prettiest it can be!
Nails by Hannah
Michelle @ Salon 28:6
Danielle's Bridal and Prom
Paxton's Custom Lab
@ShopSDesigns on Instagram
Kayley Garner @ Meraki Salon
Nikki Phillips @ Salon 28:6
This is your FIRST step of your experience with me which also makes it SUPER exciting! There are two main goals of our time together (besides getting gorgeous photos, of course):
1. Spend more time together and get to know each other better!
2. For me to create images for you that will make your #seniorsunday look amazing.
Our most popular session will last at least 1.5 hours, includes two locations, and two outfits. Senior collections with #PAP includes professional Hair and Makeup and a fashion consult via zoom before your session. I guarantee 100 images in your gallery from your senior session!
I recommend wearing two outfits: One dressy and one casual. Feel free to go all out for your dressy outfit, and think "date night" for your casual outfit! My biggest piece of advice is to wear outfits that are VERSATILE. Meaning you can sit, twirl, and bend down easily. Keep reading for more style tips and outfit ideas!
Because my weekends are dedicated to weddings, I only schedule seniors sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings. Our start time is completely based on sunset time for the time of year you're considering! See below to view available session dates! We will choose a time closer to your session date!
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you're like every other senior, you're probably a little nervous thinking about being in front of the camera... I mean, you're not used to having a big black box pointed at you, am I right?! Even *I* get nervous when I'm having photos done!!
It's COMPLETELY normal to feel this way, but I want to encourage you to just relax and have a good time. I'm going to be giving you allllll the direction so you never feel like you know what your doing. We're going to capture those timeless photos that everyone loves, while getting a little goofy and having fun (don't be surprised if I pull out my speaker and turn on some music!!). Some prompts I give you both might seem a little silly at first, but TRUST ME, they create some legit magic.
All you have to do is show up and be yourself... easy, right?! I'll take care of the rest and we're going to have a lot of FUN!
TIPS & TRICKS FOR SUCCESS
BE ON TIME: We typically plan your start time based on sunset time. If you are late, it cuts into the sunlight we have available! No one wants dark photos, so arriving on time will ensure we have gorgeous light to work with for your whole shoot! :)
BRINGING THE DOG: I adore ALL the cute pups, so naturally, I LOVE it when you bring them along! The best way to include them is to have someone else bring your dog during the last 15 minutes of your session, or choose a session location that is less than 5 minutes away from your home. Contact me so we can work out the details!
CLEAN THE RING: If you bring your class ring, make sure it is clean! I'd love to grab a few up close shots of just your ring while you change outfits! Cleaning it will ensure it's nice and sparkly for photos!
EMPTY YOUR POCKETS: Especially for guys, make sure you don't have anything in your pockets! I am more than happy to store phones and keys in my bag, or ladies, you can bring along a little purse to keep everything in.
RELAX! You don’t have to be a pro at this! I’m going to help you along the way and it’s going to be a blast! I don't expect anything from you. Enjoy this time and make a date out of it! Plan something fun or go to dinner afterwards and celebrate!!
GET YOUR NAILS DONE: Make sure your nails are freshly painted, or spoil yourself with a trip to the salon! Chipped nails will be noticeable in your photos. Neutral colors and pastels photograph beautifully and will match any outfit!
BRING COMFY SHOES: If you're wearing heels, bring a pair of flip flops or comfortable shoes to walk from spot to spot. Your feet will thank me later!
HOW MANY OUTFITS? Most often, my seniors like to have one casual, everyday outfit (think: date night) and then one outfit that is dressier! This will give your shoot two totally different “looks.” I recommend beginning with the dressy outfit first!
PROFESSIONAL HAIR & MAKEUP: Your senior session will come with Professional Hair and Makeup done by our favorite stylist, Kayley at Meraki Salon. Once we schedule your session, I will get with Kayley to schedule your hair and makeup. All you have to do is show up with some ideas of how you want your hair and makeup to be done. If you are unsure, that is totally fine! We will discuss this at your fashion consult and Kayley will help you decide during your appointment.
CHOOSING COLORS: When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. Soft pinks, muted blues, and light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white all work wonderfully.
SKIP CASUAL CLOTHES: I know flip flops are *perfect* for everyday wear, but Instead...
DRESS IT UP: Have you ever wanted to rock a sequin dress, or a long flowy maxi dress? Maybe you've dreamed of wearing a floral crown, or wearing a tulle skirt. THIS is your chance! Ladies, especially for your dressy outfit, I typically recommend a long, flowy A line dress that cinches at the waist. This is typically most flattering on most body types! For the guys, opt for a suit or nice pants and a suit jacket with a button down for your fancy outfit.
FLATTER YOUR FEATURES: Ladies, keep in mind which features you want to flatter and which features you want to hide when picking outfits! For example, if you want to hide your arms, choose a top with sleeves and skip the spaghetti straps. If you want to minimize your bust, choose a dress with a higher neckline and skip the strapless dress. If you opt for a low cut dress, it will minimize the amount of angles I can shoot!
SKIP THE SPRAY TAN: Even though it seems counter intuitive, I highly recommend skipping a spray tan altogether, even if it's a few days out from your session. Spray tans tend to photograph more orange than they appear and will make you appear more orange than tan!
First off, I want to say that I ALWAYS encourage my seniors to think of session locations that have MEANING to them. This will allow us to capture more genuine images that reflect your personality. Think: Favorite date spot, family farm, your fave coffee spot, your future college, your home, etc. However, if you're totally stumped for locations, have no fear!! We'll work together to pick a location that fits you two best!
Here is a list I've compiled of some of my favorite locations for photo sessions! I love these spots in particular because I'm able to provide photos that are super consistent with what you see on my website and blog, and also provide a huge variety in backgrounds for you! If a location you're considering is not on this list, feel free to reach out to ask about it - chances are I've never photographed there, or if I have, it's one I can't provide a good variety of spots at! Of course, I always encourage you to pick locations that have meaning to you as well. If there's a spot that is especially meaningful and would love to incorporate it, let's chat!!
This location has the warmest light in the afternoon. With a low hanging tree, old rock building, and located centrally in the middle of town, you will feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, but the location makes it so easy to get to other areas very quickly.
*Images in this album are within 5 minutes of Downtown Russellville.
MEET AT: Walmart Marketplace on West Main in Russellville, Ar 72801
Little Rock State Capitol Building
With gold doors and a long staircase, this building is a very classy and upscale location.
Downtown Rivermarket Rooftop Parking Deck
Sweeping views of the city and stunning light!
This location has beautiful views and trails and during Spring, Summer, and Fall it offers amazing greenery. This is one of my go-to locations all year around. It is a treasure!
MEET AT: 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Rd, Morrilton, AR 72110
This spot is an adorable park right in the heart of the River Valley! This spot is a little further out of town and requires more time to get to. However, if you're looking for some creek photos in the summer, this spot is it! It has some really pretty sunlight that comes through in the evenings and lots of variety for trees, grass, and the creek is the prettiest teal color.
ADDRESS: 9655 Market St, Dover, AR 72837
he Bakery District, located on the West-End of Fort Smith, provides a unique experience as a top social destination. The 1920’s baking facility still has its’ original brick and mortar walls but has been retrofitted with updated sound, lighting, and HVAC systems. The interior has been redesigned to host a coffee lounge/roastery, a catering kitchen, a beer garden with a bocce-ball court as well as indoor/outdoor event space to be the setting of your next event.
ADDRESS: 70 S 7th St, Fort Smith, AR 72901
Your Dog/Animal - bringing your puppers along can be so much fun, just make sure you have someone with you to help with him/her when they are not in photos.
Extra Lip Stick/Powder -you are going to want to touch up along the way especially if your skin is prone to being on the oilier side.
Your Shade of Makeup - Our hair and makeup artist likes for you to being the foundation you normally use on your skin so that she can ensure a perfect match. Normally she mixes what you bring with other shades to ensure the makeup is perfection!
Extra Accessories - We will have time to change up your look by adding a fun hat, a floral crown, or a good pair of statement earrings. Bring options!
One of the most COMMON questions I get asked is, what happens if it RAINS on my portrait day? While this isn't always ideal and doesn't match the sunny day you imagine while planning, I want to encourage you that you can still have GORGEOUS photos, even if it's rainy! Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
1. Overcast skies = perfect lighting. Sunlight, especially mid-day, is actually very harsh. Rainy days give that perfect, soft, natural lighting, no matter where you take your photos! This gives you perfect lighting + the ability to use a lot more locations. It also tends to make colors look more vibrant. :) Don’t get me wrong, I love golden, sunlit photos… but overcast has its advantages as well.
2. Let me worry about the photos. On your portrait day, the only thing you should have to worry about is being the STAR! :)
If the weather is totally un-shootable, I will be in contact with you 24 hours prior to your session to chat with you about cancelling and rescheduling your session. If we have to reschedule, I will give your session first priority on my calendar.
DOWNLOADING YOUR PHOTOS
When downloading your photos, I recommend downloading the ENTIRE gallery all at once, so you immediately have a copy of all your images! After downloading your gallery, be sure to save it to multiple places. You can also download individual images as you want them!
ACCESSING YOUR PHOTOS ON YOUR PHONE
The online gallery system that I use is extremely mobile friendly! To access, just go to your phone’s web browser and navigate to your gallery’s webpage link. It work seamlessly and just like it would on a computer! You can download individual photos onto your phone for crisp and clear Instagrams and having access to your memories at all times.
You can actually order professional and affordable prints from within your online gallery and have them shipped directly to your house! Prints are printed in a professional lab to ensure color and contrast accuracy. You are more than welcome to print images on your own. However, I would warn you to avoid Walmart, Target and Costco. I cannot promise that your colors will print true-to-life if you choose to print at those stores!
Your gallery is guaranteed to remain open for one year after your session date. Therefore, I highly recommend backing up your images in more than one place, on multiple devices, flash drives, hard drives, and even in online cloud storage systems like Dropbox or iCloud. You can't have enough copies!
SHARING YOUR IMAGES
You are completely free to share your images wherever you would like! Whether it's on social media, printing them for your home, or sending to your friends, share away! I want you to treat your images like they're yours. Just keep in mind not to add filters or re-edit them in any way (cropping is totally okay!) Watermarking is not necessary, but a photo credit is always appreciated! Feel free to share your gallery link with your friends and family! I will already be passing the gallery on to your vendors for you, so you don't have to worry about that!
Two weeks after you receive your full gallery, I'll send you a link to your initial album design. I am typically including images that most seniors and mommas LOVE to see in their album, including many of your blog post images!
You get two revisions with your album design. It's all set up online so it's really easy to make changes! You have an unlimited amount of design changes + image swaps within each revision. The revisions are due within 3 weeks after receiving them.
Within 6 weeks of approving your album design, you'll receive your album at your doorstep!
ALEADY HAVE AN ALBUM? HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT...
Thank you for allowing me to photograph your big day! I don't take it lightly and am SO excited for you. I want you to know that I am HERE for you throughout the planning! If you have ANY questions at all along the way, feel free to reach out to me via email at any point. I hope this guide serves as an amazing resource for you as you plan and prepare for your big day! I'm not only here to help but I want to encourage you that your senior year is WORTH IT. It is a blast and always keep that in mind! At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you'll be graduated and that's all that matters. Thank you again for choosing me as your photographer, and happy planning!
With love, Paxton