Top 10 Things Every Mom Needs to Know about Senior Pictures
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Sunday, July 01, 2018
By Hannah Joy Photography
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This picture was taken by my dear friend Wendy Updegraff of my daughter and me 3 years ago during her Senior session.  We had so much fun that day from hair and makeup with my makeup artist Mandy, to quick changes in the car as we arrived at our next location, it was a great experience for both of us. Senior pictures can be a fun, exciting event! But as a mom of two high schoolers and a college Junior (eeek!), I know there are so many questions swirling in your head. When? Where? How? Maybe even WHY?!

I hope this list answers all your question, but if I forgot something, PLEASE ask. I guarantee you’re not the only one wondering ;)

1. In Duval and St Johns counties, all public schools are contracted with a large, corporate studio for yearbook cap and gown photos. These are about $25 and that is for the session only- no images or prints are included. If you haven’t received a postcard or call from a studio yet, give your school a call and they’ll direct you to the right place.


2. It’s not unusual to take cap and gown photos at these studios then go to the local professional photographer for the personalized, on-location photos. Surprisingly, that is often less expensive than having everything done at the larger studios.

3. I know it’s still summer and it probably seems too early to even be discussing this, but I promise, this year will only get busier! The summer before senior year is the perfect time to start planning for a senior portrait session.

4. Pinterest is a great way to start that planning! This will give you a visual idea of the different styles, location types, and wardrobe options. You can create a board by pinning your favorites and then share that with your photographer to give them an idea of what you and your Senior are looking for.

5. The summer before senior year is also when you’ll want to choose a photographer and schedule your session. This is true even if you’re not planning to do it during the summer and especially if you prefer a Saturday. Because it’s not uncommon for a senior portrait photographer to also shoot weddings or family portraits, Saturday’s fill up quickly.

6. Location options will depend on the photographer you choose and how long your session is. My senior sessions are typically 2-3 hours, so we have plenty of time to go from one side of Jacksonville to the other. It’s not unusual to start a session in an urban area like downtown or San Marco, move to a park, then end our time together at the beach or river at sunset. The pictures below are a great example of what a session like that looks like. I have LOTS of great suggestions for fun, different locations but if you’ve got something in mind I’m also always excited to try something new.

7. Wardrobe changes will also be dependent on your photographer and how many they allow. I don't put a limit on the number of changes- if you’re quick, you can change 10 times if you want! Outfits will also be somewhat dependent on the locations you choose. I can help with specific suggestions once you choose locations, but I do always suggest a casual, “First Day of School” type outfit, a “church/job interview” outfit and then either a more casual “day at the beach” outfit or, my personal favorite, something formal. I LOVE when my Senior girls wear their prom dresses or my guys wear a suit and tie! Those end up being favorites every time. The pictures below are a great example of well-chosen outfits and how they work with different locations. 

8. I HIGHLY suggest professional make-up for all of my Senior girls, even if you’re not the “make-up” type. I use an amazing professional make-up artist and that’s included in the price of my session. I have chosen her because she specializes in natural looking makeup and I think that’s really important for Senior portraits. This is NOT prom makeup! Your daughter will absolutely still look like herself! The Senior in the pictures below used Mandy, my make-up artist. See how gorgeous and natural she looks?! 

9. It’s nice to include personal “props” in these portraits. If your Senior plays an instrument, please bring it! My daughter plays the viola and her Senior pics with it are the ones I framed immediately. If she plays a sport, bring part of the gear and wear a t-shirt from your team. Maybe he loves to read- bring a few of his favorite books.

10. And lastly, the “why?”- The reason these are so important is that it’s likely the last time you will have professional pictures done until there’s a wedding. With this in mind, I am happy to include your whole family in a few pictures! This is a precious, fleeting moment and certainly a family celebration. I also love it when my Seniors bring their BFF with them. Friends made in school are quite often life-long friends, so I love to capture that special bond. 


If you have any other questions please send me an email ( or a message on Facebook if you prefer.

If you would like info on how to book a Senior session, please click the link at the top of this post that says "Website". This will take you to my website where you'll find a button that says "Book Now".  

Happy Senior year!!! Enjoy every minute- graduation will be here faster than you can imagine.

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