Senior Portrait FAQs

As senior year approaches you will be getting a form from your school about getting your senior yearbook shot. We like to call that your “mug shot.” :-)

Schools often have a contracted photographer whom they’ve hired to do the senior portraits specifically for the yearbook. Many times the information you receive in the mail can be a little misleading. So, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers you should know before you book any senior portrait sessions.

Do I have to use the school’s contracted photographer to have my YEARBOOK PHOTO taken?

Yes. The school has a specific look they’ve chosen for the yearbook so the photos all look uniform. So if they have hired a contracted photography company to do this, you have to use them for your Yearbook photo (check with your school). They typically shoot your tux or drape shots or cap and gown shots depending on the school's preference. However, everyone is photographed exactly the same. It certainly is not a photo shoot that brings out your unique style. The photos typically look exactly like the shots your older brothers and sisters, parents, and even their parents had. Ugh... I know :-( 

Do I have to use the school’s contracted photographer to have my SENIOR PORTRAITS taken?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is your right to choose whomever you’d like to take your senior pictures for you!

Don’t be tricked by wording that might make you think that you don’t have a choice. The school may choose your shot for the yearbook, but you have full freedom to work with a photographer of your choice that can help you create your dream portraits. You are anything but ordinary and your Senior year is one of the most memorable years in your life.

Your photos should be as unique as you are! It is important to find a photographer that understands you and who can help you achieve the look(s) that you want.

What should I say if the school’s contracted photographer tries to pressure me in to order photos through them?

Simply say something like: “Thank you so much, but I’ll just be needing your services for my yearbook photo.”

What about Graduation Announcements?

The contracted photographer will offer their services for your graduation announcements. You do NOT have to go through them for this service. Many other photographers offer custom graduation announcements or photos that can be inserted into cards. Muddy Shoes Photography offers custom made graduation cards using multiple images from your session, or you may also purchase individual Wallet size or Mini Wallet size prints to insert into pre-made cards.


What is the sitting fee for Senior Portraits?

The base sitting fee is only $50 and includes a 1 hour session which may be indoor or outdoor, as many outfit changes that time allows and a printed proof book to keep. An additional hour can be added to the base shoot for $25.

When do I pay for the senior portrait session?

The sitting fee is due at the time of your shoot. The cost of any portrait packages or a la carte prints is due at the time of ordering.

What happens if it rains on the day of my photo shoot?

First, don’t panic. We can either reschedule or shoot indoors. It probably would be best to reschedule but if you are in a pinch and need your photos right away we can be spontaneous and figure out somewhere indoors. We can be pretty flexible. Sometimes the best pics come from a “Plan B”.

What if I have to cancel?

We’re frankly a little hurt that you would ask such a thing. Seriously though, you may be in a position where you need to cancel and that’s perfectly fine. It’s no problem to reschedule for another date but we ask that you let us know at least a week in advance.

What should I do before (or during) my shoot?

Check out your friends’ senior portraits or look in magazines or on Web sites and show us what you like. Bring examples if you can. Look through our Web site and see if there’s anything in particular you like or don’t like. The more ideas you have, the better. Don’t stress out though if you don’t have any.

Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Nobody wants dark circles under their eyes for portraits.

Drink lots of water for a few days before, or at least the day before. It’s amazing how much better your skin looks when you’re hydrated.

Try on all of your outfits.

Brush your teeth! This is something people often forget. Yes, it shows, and I know that’s kind of gross.

Have fun! Attitude goes a long way.

The Shoot

When should I arrive for my photo shoot?

Plan on arriving at least 10 minutes prior to your appointment.

How long is the photo shoot?

That is up to you. Typically people choose 1-4 hours. Don’t worry though, if we’re in the middle of a shoot and time has expired, we won’t stop right there. Our goal is to get good photos, so if that means staying a few extra minutes, no problem.

Where do you shoot the session?

Really, almost any place you’d like. If you need help deciding, we can make a few recommendations. We’ll work together to come up with a good game plan. This is all about you and what you want and need.

We prefer not to be cooped up in a studio with all the same old standard studio props. That is boring. We like a natural, modern and fresh feel. That usually comes from an outdoors location.

What is the best time of day to have my photo shoot?

We typically prefer to photograph outdoors either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

You might wonder why we make you get up early or wait till later in the day. Lighting is the answer. When you shoot mid-day, you get the sun bearing down from overhead, which can cause dark shadows under your eyes as well as harsh under exposed shadows and bright over exposed scenes.

How many pictures do you take?

Typically we shoot a lot of images, depending on your excitement (and caffeine) level. Of course we edit some out to make it easier to look through your images. The final cut usually ranges from 50 to 100 images, edited and “cleaned” to look like the most fabulous pictures ever taken of you.

Can I bring someone else along?

Absolutely! Most seniors find it helpful to bring Mom, Dad, a brother/sister or friend along. It helps ease the “camera jitters”, plus someone has to carry all your gear ;-). You know what they say: “It’s easier to be a Rock Star if you’ve got good roadies.”

After the shoot

What happens after the photo shoot?

We’ll go through the pictures, do some cropping and touch ups and work on your online proof gallery. When we get them uploaded, you and your family (and friends if you like) can view them online from our website. You can select your favorites and we’ll print a proof book to narrow down your final choices. The proof book is yours to keep.

What happens after we make our final picks from the proofs?

We’ll talk through your order to see what package or a la carte prints you want. We’ll spend a little more time with color correction, airbrushing, etc to make sure the photos are perfect and bring out the unique you. Then we’ll send them to print, which typically takes another week or so depending on the time of year.

What if I didn't like my portraits?

If YOU aren't satisfied with the portraits then WE are not satisfied. We’ll gladly meet with you and reshoot the session at no charge. Please let us know that you’re not satisfied after viewing the proofs online and before we print them. That way we’ll be able to reshoot right away and keep you on track.

Clothing, Hair and Makeup tips

What should I wear?

Well, what clothes best express your personality, the unique you? What do you like to wear? Wear that.

Be careful though. Outfits with loud prints or wide horizontal stripes aren’t the most flattering and detract attention away from your face. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re comfortable. Feel free to bring along a few extra outfits if you need help picking.

How many outfits can I bring?

You can bring as many as you want, but we may not use them all. We don’t limit your number of outfits, but the amount of time we have does limit you. We usually can fit in 3 to 4 inside outfits and up to 2 outside outfits, depending on how fast you can change. We encourage you to bring more than you will need — this will allow us to help you select outfits that will work best.

Can I bring along props?

If you play football or soccer, play the violin or are a cheerleader, we welcome you to bring clothing and props that represent your personality and passions. We love when someone brings along something that will make their photo shoot different from everybody else’s. So bring along your pets, musical instruments, sports stuff, your car or whatever.

What if I have a major acne breakout the day of my shoot?

All final prints will be retouched, so no need to reschedule because of a zit emergency (the proofs however will not be retouched). Our general rule for retouching is that if it is permanent (like a mole, freckles or similar marks) we leave it in. If it’s temporary (like a pimple or scratch) we’ll take it out as part of our included basic retouching . If you have any preferences, just let us know.

What colors photograph best?

Primary solid colors photograph best such as black, royal blue, red, forest green, mustard yellow, burgundy, navy, pink, purple and white.

What colors should I avoid?

Light pastel and neon colors. Avoid t-shirts with busy patterns that will distract from your face.

What if I have braces?

We’ll take a variety of pictures of you smiling and not smiling in order to give you a good selection to choose from. The removal of braces from your pictures is available for an additional charge if requested.

Do you have any hair and make-up tips?

Get a haircut at least a week in advance to give your hair a chance to adjust and look natural. Girls having their hair styled for a formal picture can, of course, wait until the photo session day to get your hair done, but you should practice with their hair stylist beforehand so there are no surprises on picture day.

Don’t use glitter makeup, lotion or hairspray — it will look like you have white dots all over you and will not look pretty like it is supposed to.

Don’t tan within a few days of your session – your tan lines will show and not look good, you also risk having a red face for your portraits. Artificial tanning can look weird for several days after getting it done, too. Give it a few days to “mellow out” before your shoot.

If you would like some help with hair and makeup, let us know. We can give you some referrals.

Final Questions

What's a Senior Spokesmodel?

We always have our eyes open for a couple of juniors during their second semester from area high schools to represent us. We’re looking for guys and girls who have personality and lots of ways of expressing that personality, including friends, being club members, activities and athletics and who want to earn a little extra spending money, get discounted senior portraits and show everyone you know your cool images. If that sounds like you, drop us an email and tell us how excited you are about having us take your pictures. If you want more information, check out our Senior Spokesmodel Program.

I’m ready to book my session. How do I make an appointment?

You can call us at (216) 798-8088 or email us at and let us know. Give us some idea of when you’re available and we can set up a time that works for you.

You can download a Senior Portrait Brochure for more information. If you would like one mailed to you, send us your name and address and we will drop one in the mail.

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