WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? HOW SHOULD I LOOK?
You don’t necessarily need to “dress up” for your portrait session. The best images are usually captured when you wear clothing that you are comfortable in and outfits that match your unique style. We recommend trying to keep things simple by picking solid or semi-solid colors and coordinating your wardrobe as much as possible.
Steer clear of busy patterns, bright colors, or logos and consider bringing along several different clothing changes. Adding or removing a jacket, changing into different shoes, or putting on a different shirt can change your outfit just enough to make it appear that you are wearing an entirely different wardrobe. Also be sure that your clothing is clean and free of wrinkles.
Note: don’t let our clothing suggestions keep you from bringing a favorite shirt or outfit. We are happy to work it into the session!
Dress for the Season: We strongly encourage our clients to dress for the season. If you’ve scheduled a portrait session during the fall or winter, bring a dressy jacket, hats, scarves and gloves. Coordinate your clothing ensemble to match the fall colors and cooler weather. During the spring and summer months, ladies should consider warm weather tops (to wear with pants or skirts), summer blouses, sun dresses, skirts and shorts. Men’s wardrobes are usually much simpler; however we recommend bringing several t-shirts, button down shirts and jeans/pants.
Best Seasons To Schedule a Portrait Session: Spring, summer and fall are the best seasons to schedule portrait sessions. The seasonal colors and drier weather help ensure the best images possible. Our busiest months are late summer and fall. If you’re reading this prior to the beginning of your senior year, consider scheduling your portrait session in June, July or August rather than waiting until after school starts. Senior portrait sessions are much more enjoyable during the warmer weather months.
How Many Outfits to Bring: Most of our clients bring two to four different ensembles to change into. We recommend bringing at least two different changes of clothes. There’s usually not enough time to change more than three times. Remember that you can completely change your look by throwing on a button down shirt or adding a jacket and scarf. With that in mind, consider bringing one casual and one dressy outfit.
Reflective Glasses and Transition Lenses: We schedule portraits session outside at dynamic locations. Transition lenses and reflective glasses (i.e. those without anti-glare treatment) can completely conceal the eyes and generally diminish the overall quality of the final images. There may not be a lot you can do about that, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. If you show up with transition lenses, we may suggest taking pictures with and without your glasses on.
Ladies: Start by getting plenty of sleep the night before. Tired and baggy eyes will show up in the final images. On the day of your portrait session, be sure to apply your makeup the same way you would on any other day. It’s usually not a good idea to try out something new right before having your pictures taken. We want your images to be a true reflection of you!
Consider bringing a brush, lipstick, powder, hair clips and a pocket mirror with you to have on hand during the portrait session. Applying lipstick (even if you don’t typically wear lipstick) will help your lips standout. Dry, chapped lips never look good in high resolution photographs! Your hands will probably be in a few of the images so consider doing your nails right before your portrait session. Along with that, kicking off your shoes can be a fun way to shake up the look of the images so you may want to get a pedicure too. Don’t be caught by surprise with chipped or worn out nail polish!
We recommend bringing at least two outfits. Most senior girls change into three or four outfits during their session. Select a wardrobe that can be coordinated together (for example, pants that look good with two or three different shirts, etc.). Watch out for bra straps that might be hanging out. And of course, be careful not to wear a dark colored bra under light colored shirts or you might be surprised what shows up in the final photographs.
Guys: Consider getting a haircut a few days before the session. On the day of the session, take a shower, shave and comb your hair. Get ready for the portrait session like you’re planning to meet someone important or special. It’s tough to capture great senior pictures if you show up with “bed head” (yes, it happens!) or if you haven’t changed your clothes in a few days. Bring at least one extra change of clothes. We totally understand that most guys don’t want to change multiple times, but you should have at least one extra shirt and pants on hand. While we want you to wear clothes you feel comfortable in, keep in mind that your mom, grandmother and the rest of your family may want to display a few of the photographs from your session. Bring a comb and at least one reasonably conservative set of clothes so that everyone is happy!
CAN I BRING A PET, PROPS OR ACCESSORIES?
Yes, yes and yes! Bring along anything that represents you – this includes musical instruments, athletic gear, sports jerseys, dancing shoes, purses and pets. Be sure to bring someone along to help if you bring a pet.
CAN I BRING FRIENDS TO MY SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSION?
Of course! In fact, we will reduce the cost of the session for each person who tags along for senior portraits. Bring a friend and the session fee is reduced to $274 for each of you! We’re actually surprised that more of our clients don’t take advantage of this offer. Not only do you save $25 each, bringing your best friend along is a fun and memorable way to make your senior year special.
Two person sessions last about two hours. We alternate between photographing each person individually while occasionally capturing pictures together. When we’re finished, both seniors get same all-inclusive folio and print package. Take a look at an example here.
CAN I HAVE MY SENIOR PORTRAITS TAKEN OUTSIDE
Of course! Senior portrait sessions take place in grungy alleys, around old buildings, and in beautiful outdoor locations! We specialize in creating stunning images that match your personality and style. Tell us about your favorite spot or pick one of ours. A recommend list of locations can be found here.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCATION?
We regularly update our preferred location list. Our favorite locations are based on their accessibility, versatility and background options. If you’re not sure about which location to pick, we recommend Jennings Park (in Marysville) or the Evergreen Arboretum (in Everett). Both locations offer tons of background choices and are perfect for both men or women.
CAN YOU COME TO MY HOME?
We would be glad to come to your home if you wish! We just need a moderate amount of space to work.
ARE THERE ANY PLACES YOU WON’T GO?
We won’t work on railroad tracks (for obvious safety reasons) or private property without permission.
DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO?
We recently stopped doing in-studio portraits and now work almost entirely outside, on location. Our style is designed around capturing amazing senior portraits in unique environmental locations.
We have all of the customary studio equipment and can bring it with us if you have a special request or need. For example, businesses regularly contact us to capture profession images of their employees. This usually includes a mixture of environmental photos (doing the work) and studio pictures. In that case, we work with the business to setup an appropriate backdrop that blends well with their marketing style. We also work one-on-one with individuals who need background specific photos for business.
CAN YOU HELP WITH A YEARBOOK PHOTO?
You bet! Several area high schools require students to provide a yearbook photo. We would be glad to retouch your favorite photograph from your portrait session and send it to your high school for the yearbook.
CAN I HAVE MY YEARBOOK PHOTO TAKEN AND COME BACK FOR THE REST OF THE SESSION LATER IN THE SCHOOL YEAR?
Occasionally we are asked to split a senior portrait session between two dates. The most common reason for this is to capture a yearbook photo in the fall (to meet the school’s deadline) while completing the rest of the session the following spring. We are happy to schedule your senior portrait session for two different mini sessions (on two different days) – just let us know if this is something you are interested in. A split session is an additional $100.
WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO SEE MY PROOFS?
We make your images available for viewing and sharing with friends and family online within 7-10 day of the session. Printed proofs are usually ready within 2 weeks of your order being placed – oftentimes sooner.
HOW MANY PROOFS DO YOU PROVIDE?
Every portrait session is different; however you can expect at least 100 proofs. All of the proofs will be reviewed and lightly retouched.
DO YOU RETOUCH ANY OF THE IMAGES?
Yes and there’s no additional charge for retouching! We review and hand process all of the final proofs. We specially retouch all of the images you pick to have printed. Standard retouching includes removing blemishes, teeth whitening and eliminating some fly-away hairs. We won’t remove birthmarks, freckles or scars unless you specifically requested it. We also don’t remove braces.
HOW DOES ONLINE PROOFING WORK?
Our images are made available to you for viewing through a secure, easy-to-use proofing gallery. After the portrait session you will receive a passcode to access your images. You are free to share the passcode or keep it restricted to close friends and family. Images can be purchased securely through the online proofing gallery. This means that out-of-town friends and family can view your images and purchase prints if they wish. We will ship their order directly to them so you don’t have to worry about mailing out additional prints.
Check out our online proofing gallery showcasing several of our senior portrait sessions. Click over to the proofing page and enter “senior girls” or “senior guys” into the passcode box.
CAN I PURCHASE THE DIGITAL PROOFS?
Email friendly versions of the images are provided to all of our clients at no additional cost; however these images can’t be printed. They are provided to you to share online and via email with friends and family. Most of our clients end up purchasing the high resolution digital photos after the session. High resolution images (along with a copyright release to print them anywhere) can be purchased for an additional $100. You can purchase the high resolution photos anytime after the session (and you’ve had a chance to review your proofs).
HOW DO I ORDER GRADUATION ANNOUNCEMENTS?
One of the benefits of purchasing the high resolution images is that you can order personalized graduation announcements and invitations online for a fraction of what many schools charge. We recommend ordering your graduation announcements through Mpix, Shutterfly or Herff Jones. It’s as simple as picking your favorite template, uploading your favorite images, personalizing the announcement and submitting your order!
WHAT’S YOUR PREFERRED METHOD OF PAYMENT?
We will send you an invoice shortly after you schedule your portrait session. Payment is due at the time of the session. We prefer payment by cash or check; however you’re also welcome pay securely online (here).
WHAT KIND OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
We use high resolution Canon digital SLR cameras and professional grade lenses to ensure the highest quality photographs possible. We also bring backup equipment to every session.
CAN I GET BLACK & WHITE VERSIONS OF THE IMAGES I LIKE?
Yes! We carefully (and creatively) hand process all of our images. We are more than happy to process your images in color, black & white, sepia, or split tone. We want your images to match your personality! Just let us know what you are looking for.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE?
Off-camera lighting is the secret to producing high quality portraits. Unfortunately many portrait photographers don’t understand this and rely on an on-camera flash or no lighting at all. This usually produces flat, one-dimensional images.
We light our images using up to four off-camera lights. Our lighting techniques produce vibrant, three-dimensional portraits and ensures that the final images look amazing. Carefully setting up and controlling the placement of the lighting also allows us to work in virtually any weather situation: direct sun, shade, cloudy and overcast and even wet and drizzly conditions.
We share off-camera lighting and posing techniques with other portrait photographers to help them learn how to use lighting on our companion website: The F/Stop Spot. We’ve even created an app for portrait photographers called Pocket Poser.
Take a look behind-the-scenes at some of our lighting and posing techniques below.
HOW FAR WILL YOU DRIVE FOR A PORTRAIT SESSION?
We are happy to drive within 20-miles of Everett for no additional charge. Most of our clients pick a location in the Snohomish County area. Contact us if you are interested in scheduling a portrait session further away. We definitely want to work with you if we can.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT’S RAINING OR WET THE DAY OF MY SESSION?
The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for soggy, wet weather for good reason! On average we have to re-schedule portrait sessions just a few times a year. It does happen, but it’s rare!
Oftentimes pouring down rain in the morning turns to dry and sunny conditions in the late morning or afternoon. With that in mind, we will watch the weather and contact you (approximately 2 hours before the session) if we need to reschedule. This might mean pushing the session out just a few hours (to another time slot) or rescheduling it for another day. We will reschedule the session on the first available day and time slot that works for you.
WILL THERE BE A DIFFERENCE IN THE QUALITY OF THE FINAL IMAGES IF IT’S WET?
No – with a friendly “but”. Wet, cold or even sprinkling/misty conditions ordinarily do not affect the quality of the final images. With that in mind, it’s also important to consider the season.
We schedule portrait sessions throughout the year, but winter colors and textures don’t look the same as colors and textures found in spring, summer or fall. Each season is unique. Winter is the least popular time for outdoor pics because of the cold, wet weather. Winter also affords the fewest colors to work with for backgrounds. We share this to inform rather than discourage you from scheduling a portrait session during winter months.
We can almost always work through moderately wet conditions and still capture beautiful images. If the weather is a little chilly, consider bringing a jacket so that you can warm up between photo takes. If you want to guarantee you’re warm and toasty during your portrait session, we recommend scheduling it during the summertime months. If weather becomes a factor during the session, we will schedule a re-take session.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CROPPING
Nearly all of the images in your proofing gallery can be cropped tighter. We deliberately leave extra room around most of the images so that you have some flexibility with cropping images tighter (or close up). For example, a full length image can be cropped to a head and shoulder portrait. Be sure to let us know if you’re interested in having a specific image cropped.
ARE YOU ACCEPTING SENIOR REPS?
We occasionally accept senior reps. There are all kinds of perks for promoting our studio as a senior rep. Check out how you might be able to rep for us here.
ARE YOU ON FACEBOOK?
Become a fan of Paxton Portraits on Facebook here!
RESERVE YOUR SESSION
We can schedule your senior portrait session at a location of your choice or you are welcome pick one of our favorite places. Portrait sessions are scheduled on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – morning and afternoon time slots available. Send us a couple possible dates that work best for you and we will schedule it! Fill out the form below to get started.