So you blinked and have a high school junior at home. Or perhaps you are a junior yourself - congratulations! Prepare for the next year to go by in a flash. You might not have even started thinking about senior pictures, but believe me - now is the best time to start looking around if you want to have your best pick of both photographers and dates.
If you are reading this post chances are, you live in Maine. That means that unless your senior wants to be surrounded by snow and/or mud in their photos, January through April are generally off limits for outdoor sessions. You can still schedule an indoor session (most of my portrait clients have their photos taken in my studio so feel free to browse this website for ideas) but if you want green grass or golden fields, the earliest dates are in May or June. That is not to say that you should wait until May to book your session because if you want your pick of dates, you should be scouting out photographers as early in the Spring as you can.
May and June are some of the best times of the year for senior portraits. Students are generally done with school for the Summer but not as busy as they are in their senior year, the weather is nice, and there are a lot of different options for beautiful settings. A lot of parents do not think to schedule a senior session so early in the year so this is a great way to beat the crowds, both in photography studios and in those coveted local photography hot spots.
July and August are also great months for senior photoshoots as far as weather and settings go. However, if your chosen photographer also shoots weddings, you might have a hard time scheduling your session with them. Many families also go on vacations so the opportunities and dates can be somewhat limited. Most schools in Maine start their school year at the end August, and many yearbooks have a September or October deadline, so keep that in mind.
September and October can be great month for photos, unless you have an athlete at home who is busy with practices. Wedding photographers, whose busiest days of the week are Saturdays, might have a hard time accommodating your athlete on the weekends. Photoshoots also have to take place earlier in the day which can further complicate scheduling, and the weather can begin to be tricky, particularly as October approaches. If you have waited this long and are not dealing with a yearbook deadline, however, you might be rewarded by backdrops of beautiful foliage.
From November to February, outdoor sessions are much more difficult to schedule and have to be done quickly so as not to give your senior frostbite. Indoor sessions can still take place without problems, although if your photographer uses natural light (like I do), they have to happen at a specific time of day, such as in the morning or early afternoon. Your range of outdoor backdrops is very limited.
If you have waited until now (March through May of senior year), you are cutting it very close to the line! If you want to wait for outdoor photos without snow and mud, you might not be able to order graduation announcements in time. Your senior will be busy with school assignments and activities, and sessions will be difficult to schedule. However, if you have procrastinated until now, you might be able to ditch the traditional senior portrait and instead plan a family photoshoot! This is a great way to capture your family together before your child heads off to college.