Honoring your high school senior

A senior portrait session is an opportunity to honor your child and document a time when they are on the brink of adulthood. The motivation for senior photos may be simply to get a photo for the yearbook, but you will cherish these photos for years to come. Each photo session is a time to focus entirely on making beautiful pictures of your senior and to bring out some of who they genuinely are at this point in time. Young people take a lot of photos of themselves these days, this is an opportunity for them to take center stage and let me do the work. My goal is to make every photo session fun and to put my subjects at ease. Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed!

Please Read On for suggestions on how to prepare for and what to expect in your Senior Photo Session.

Do a little research

In preparation, encourage your senior to look through past yearbooks to get an idea of the wide variety of senior photo options. There are also tons of creative ideas and examples online. Simply search for “High School Senior Portraits.”

Notes on yearbook photos:

In most high school yearbooks, the first section of senior photos are similar to that of other classes — small headshots. These photos need to be in vertical format. They tend to be head and shoulder shots, not full body. Photos are simple with uncluttered backgrounds.

Following the headshots in the yearbook are the Senior Ads which are more interesting. These photos are displayed larger and don’t have the same limitations on creativity.

Yearbook Deadlines

Yearbook headshots are generally due around October 31 each year.

Senior Ads are generally due by the end of December and are the responsibility of the family. Rates vary depending on the size of the ad.

Contact your student’s school for more information.

Locations for portraits

There’s no shortage of unique outdoor settings right here in Thurston County. A natural setting or something more urban? Let your senior decide. During Northwest summers the sun can be unflattering in the middle of the day so most sessions are scheduled in the late afternoon or early evening.

Location ideas near Olympia:

Priest Point Park — on the beach, in the woods, the rose garden, on the trails

Capital Lake –the wooded side and switchback trail

Mission Creek Park – meadows, Birch trees

West Bay Park on the waterfront

Tumwater Falls – Fall colors, waterfall, playground

Downtown railroad tracks

Downtown murals and alleys

Swantown Marina area by boats

The State Capitol – steps, pillars, inside and out, Fall colors

At home in your backyard.

These locations are just suggestions.

These photos are for you, so any location you choose is fine. The sky is the limit. It’s fine to think of incorporating pets, favorite hobbies or activities into the photos as well. Props are encouraged!  Musical instruments, a lacrosse stick, theater costumes etc. Many seniors like to bring along a friend or family member to help them relax, fix their hair or just to make them laugh.

High School senior portrait, jellyfish, blue hair, harbor, dock, ocean, Puget Sound


I work differently than many photographers because my price includes full rights to your digital images on an online gallery. This means that once you pay for the photography session you will have unlimited access to a curated set of images. You won’t pay Kathy Strauss Media any additional fees for printing or posting images online. All of the photos on the gallery are high resolution and hand edited for you to use in whatever way you want. You can easily email or post the images to social media sites or you can download and print the images for senior ads, graduation announcements, a frame above your mantel or wallpaper! I am happy to recommend print shops.

Choose from two packages:

Package A — $500

This is a photo session lasting up to 90 minutes in as many locations as you like in that time. For example, a photo shoot at Olympia’s Priest Point Park could include the rose garden, the trails and the beach. You may bring as many wardrobe changes as you’d like.

This fee includes an edited private gallery of 50 high-resolution edited images.

Package B — $300

This session is a photo session lasting up to 45 minutes in one location. You may change outfits but that needs to happen within the given time frame.

This fee includes an edited private gallery of 25 high-resolution edited images.