What won’t a high school senior do?

I ask myself this question as I photograph one swimming among the lily pads at Ward Lake, another posing by jellyfish in the Puget Sound and another crawling under a chain link fence by the waterfront. I love this age group. These young adults are creative, opinionated, sassy and fun. I strive to capture that energy during these senior photo sessions.

Photographing seniors is my favorite part of this job.

A senior portrait session is an opportunity to honor your child and document a time period in their life when they are on the brink of adulthood. The motivation for senior photos may be getting a photo for the yearbook, but I hope you will cherish these photos for years to come. Regardless of your plans for using the images, I will approach each photo shoot as a time to focus entirely on making beautiful pictures of your senior. My goal is to tune in to each subject and 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.

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, I recommend you and your students look through past yearbooks to get an idea of the wide variety of senior photo options. There are also lots and lots of creative ideas and examples online. Simply search for “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 because photos are displayed much larger and don’t have the same limitations on orientation or creativity. Families pay the school for senior ads and rates vary depending on the size of the ad.

Yearbook Deadlines

Yearbook headshots are generally due around October 31 each year. After you choose which “headshot” photo you’d like used, I will be responsible for re-sizing the image and sending it to the yearbook staff.

Senior Ads are generally due by the end of December and are the responsibility of the family. Contact your student’s school for more information.

Locations for portraits

My preference is to work outdoors because of all the unique settings we have right here in Thurston County. This may be a location in nature or something more urban; you choose. During the summer in the Northwest, the sun can be unflattering in the middle of the day. I prefer to schedule most sessions in the late afternoon or early evening. Early morning light is also lovely but it’s usually hard to get teenagers out of bed at that time!

Some locations I’ve used in the past include:

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

These locations are just suggestions.

These photos are for you, so any ideas you have are welcomed. The sky’s the limit. We can do indoor studio photos if you prefer or underwater photos in the Sound (well, maybe.) Props are encouraged! It’s fine to think of incorporating favorite hobbies or activities into the photos as well. In fact, I recommend that. Musical instruments, a lacrosse stick, theater costumes etc. I also recommend bringing a friend or family member to help you get in the mood, fix your hair or just make you laugh.

After the photo session

I will hand edit and process each image for high quality color, and clarity and will retouch minor blemishes and stray hair.  I will then upload the images to an online password-protected gallery. You will be able to download full resolution images directly from this gallery and do whatever you like with them. I can recommend printers or you can choose to order prints through me.

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


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 will not pay me additional fees for printing or posting any of the images. 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, framing or wallpaper!

You may purchase prints through me but that is not required.

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, though I suggest not trying to do too much. 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 also includes all of the editing, posting on a gallery and delivery of a headshot to your high school yearbook.

You will receive a private gallery of 50 high-resolution, hand 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 all of the editing, posting on a gallery and delivery of a headshot to your high school yearbook.

You will receive a private gallery of 25 high-resolution, hand edited images.