When do I need to schedule senior portraits?  I get this question a lot.

When IS the BEST time to schedule your senior portraits to be taken?

There is no one right answer.  It depends on so many things.

1.  What is your schools yearbook policy?

Does your school have a required photographer for your senior yearbook picture or are you allowed to submit your own?  This varies by school.  When we lived in Washington several of our area high schools let student submit their own image for their yearbook photo, but here in Texas it seems that most of the area high schools require you to get your official yearbook photo from their official photographer.  If you are in an area where you are lucky enough to submit your own photo, then you need to know when all of the deadlines are and make sure you make your appointment early enough that you can submit an image.  Usually these sessions need to take place the summer before your senior year.

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2. Do your parents want to place a senior ad in your yearbook…  or football program…?

Many times, even if you are limited to the boring formal yearbook photos, there is an opportunity to purchase a senior ad for the back of the yearbook.  Parents always love to purchase these to congratulate their graduate… to say how proud they are…  to put in the embarrassing picture of you…  If you want to make sure there is a fabulous photo to prove that you have in fact grown out of your awkward stage, make sure to schedule senior portraits in time to get a great image in for your ad.  These yearbook deadlines can vary from early September to late November.   These sessions need to take place either during the summer or the very early fall.

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3. Is there another program in which your parents are going to want to place a senior ad or recognition?

Once spring of your senior year comes around there are all sorts of spring shows, concerts, and banquets.  There are many times that the programs of these have opportunities to submit pictures or to purchase ads.  If you want to make sure that you have a fabulous image available for these opportunities, make sure to keep these deadlines in mind when scheduling your session.

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4.  Is your main goal for your senior portrait session to have images for either a custom graduation announcement or to put in as an insert into your traditional graduation announcement?

If this is what you are looking for you have the most flexibility in scheduling your senior session.  Some people push it back into mid spring because they want to capture who they are as close to graduation as they are.  Some people start thinking about their favorite time of year or their favorite type of clothing.  If you love lots of layers, jackets, boots and scarves, you are going to want to schedule your senior session in the winter so that you can show off those favorite parts of your wardrobe.  If the changing of the leaves is one of your favorite times of year, then schedule your session when you can have that as a background to your images.    These sessions can be scheduled any time from the summer before your senior year to early spring before graduation.

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