July 20, 2016  •  7 Comments

Choosing a location to have your Senior Portrait taken is a bit of a team effort most of the time.  Who is on the team?  Well, we start with the senior, add in a photographer, and of course bring along a parent or two.  Those three parties usually have a discussion about the when and where.  Once in awhile the Senior does it all on their own - oh do I love that because it usually means the Senior will be comfortable and happy in that location.  Plus I love it when the Photographer's role is really to advise about when the best light will hit the location chosen by the rest of the team - that way I don't seem too bossy.

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That is what happened with Codey's photos (above).  He elected to do his photo on his home turf - his family's cattle ranch on Churchill (west of Bozeman).  It was perfect - and I think influenced both by his love of the family's business and home and the ease of making it work.  And his mom was fully on board.  As it turned out, by the end of the session, his whole family was on board - there to watch him, make him laugh and poke a little family friendly fun at the poor guy.  Made for some great smiles!

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Beautiful Miss Julia (above) made her decision of where to have her photos taken in consultation with her photographer (that would be me).  She described what she wanted and I threw out some suggestions for her.  She wanted to be outside, very Montana, but also very private.  So, we chose a dirt road up into the hills with fantastic views and almost no traffic.  Still a public place in that access is available to anyone, but not at all intimidating.  This allowed Julia to be comfortable and relaxed and still get that Montana flavor to her photos.

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Grace, an accomplished actress, (above), was less concerned about privacy and really wanted to reflect her home town of Bozeman.  So we wondered around some fun neighborhoods, and back behind the library at the sculpture garden.  It perfectly reflected her up-scale Montana Urban style (I just made that term up, I think).  We had an audience some of the time, but it really did exactly what Grace wanted and she rocked it!

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Cari (above) also wanted to be at home (another cattle ranch property), but she also wanted to be sure to incorporate some of her favorite parts of her life.  She's an aspiring photographer who stands at the top of the hill where her home is and takes photos of sunsets.  So, she wanted to be sure to incorporate that view as much as possible.  But she also wanted to demonstrate her connection with her farming community by including her volunteer fire department shirt.  Plus, by being home she was able to spur of the moment run into the house and add her prom dress into the mix - she wore it in the bathtub at sunset.  How many girls get to do that?  For her, being home allowed some amazing spontaneity, which paid off nicely!

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Speaking of wearing a prom dress, Ellie (above) did a session with a vintage prom dress in the hills at her home south of Big Sky.  It wasn't her senior session, but it sure is inspiring for a unique and fun session!

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Ben (above) did a couple of locations - at a bridge/by the river, and on a private property.  That meant we hopped into my old truck (which he did call ghetto, but I'm certain he meant it as a complement), and traveled a bit.  Moving around like that gave him a perfect variety of photos to allow his quiet, peaceful and happy personality to shine.

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Hannah also used multiple locations (as well as both the evening of one day and the early morning of the next) around her Wyoming home - yes, I do Seniors in other states, particularly Wyoming, North Dakota and California, but open to any states, no bias here.  She wanted to incorporate a full picture of who she is, so we went from the river bottom for hunting to the soccer field, to the horse corral to the hill top behind her home.  It perfectly reflects this very special 2017 Senior.  It helped the fun factor that her family breeds Diabetic Alert Dogs and they just so happened to have a littler of 7 week old pups when we did this.  Also of note here, Hannah honored her father, who used to cowboy, by wearing his chaps for a couple of her photos.  Loved that!

So, that was a long winded way of saying that selecting the location for your photos is important.  These days most students elected to be outdoors rather than in the studio, but I'm here to tell you, both options are amazing if they are what allows you to show off a true picture of who you are!

If you know a 2017 Senior, remember, it is time to get those photo sessions scheduled!  You won't regret planning ahead with these things, I promise!


amber robinson(non-registered)
great advice!! You seem to have your system down pat!
I love how the location helps to showcase their personalities! Great work!
Oh how I love this post. Seriously so helpful to me. I am a senior portrait photographer and my son is going to be a senior this year. I'm excited and nervous. I loved how you detailed each session to each seniors location. Great job! So inspiring
This is so great!!
I love when Seniors pick a location that reflects them as a person. Those are always the best sessions.
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