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Senior Portraits: You can use any photographer you want!!!

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Last year I was out with friends one Saturday evening, and one of them was discussing just how much it cost at the local studio that her daughter’s high school had contracted with for a Senior Lifestyle Portrait session. I nearly spit out my drink.


You DO NOT, I repeat, you DO NOT, have to have your teen’s senior photos taken by the studio that was selected by their school. The Yearbook photo? Yes, that has to be taken by contracted company. However, did you know that most of the contracted studios have a day where they come to campus and take the Senior Yearbook photo, at no cost to you? Or you can go to the studio and have the photo taken, and retouched, for only $20? It’s true! In fact, many of the “photographers” who work in these studios are actually employees hired and trained to press the right button on the camera, rather than an artist who will use their skills and talents to perfectly capture your teen.

senior portraits taken in fullerton california of rosary academy student by developments of life photography

I sat there, thinking about my rates for the same session she was describing and thought to myself that either one of two things was occurring – either I was underpriced, or that studio was making a killing. I went home that night, really thinking about what I had been told, and decided to do a price comparison, using my two most popular packages, and comparing one of them to each of the 2 most commonly used studios in our area, who I will simply refer to as Studio A and Studio B.

After doing my comparison, my first thought was damn, girl, you need to raise those prices. But then I thought about it more, and was like why? My rates are fair and reasonable – and I owe it to my clients to take good care of them. I don’t think anyone should have to spend a small fortune in order to have these quality photos. Unfortunately, most of the larger studios have such a grip on the market (the two I looked at have contracts with 10+ high schools each) that they can get away with charging enormous amounts because they know how priceless these memories are.

I thought back to when I was a Senior. The school gave my parents the name of a photographer, the one contracted to take our yearbook photos. When we scheduled the appointment, they pretty much made it seem like they were our only option for Senior photos, and if I wanted anything other than the “drape and pearls” photo for the yearbook (you parents from the 70s, 80s, and 90s know what I’m talking about), I had to have it taken there, at the same time. AND WE BELIEVED THEM. I took my photos indoors, with a cheesy background, and my parents paid quite the pretty penny for them.

We had no idea there were options. I want you to know there are. Let’s be real here. Senior Year of high school is freaking expensive. You’ve got Homecoming, Winter Formal, Prom, Grad Night, all in addition to Senior Pictures. Lifestyle Senior Portraits should be just that – they should capture the essence of what makes your teen who they are. And you shouldn’t have to take out a loan to have them. Book your session with me by October 1, 2019 and receive 10% off any Senior Portrait package.

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