Don’t let this photo be your Senior Portrait!
A friend of mine from college recently posted on Facebook a copy of his ID card for the Dining Hall at NIU and challenged me to post my own ID card. Upon looking for that card in my single plastic storage bin of memorabilia in the basement, I came across my High School ID card. Woah! How long ago was that?! (I found lot of other interesting things in that bin. Perhaps that's another blog post!)
High School Senior ID "Portrait"You don't want this to be the only memory of who you were as a High School Senior. I don't recall if I still had braces on and wouldn't smile, or if I thought I was getting a mug shot done. Perhaps it was just uncool to smile for your school ID.
It got me thinking of a conversation I had recently with a parent who was going to let her HS Senior decide whether or not she wanted to have a senior portrait taken. We discussed the notion that this is a special time in a young adult’s life that will be gone in a flash. It’s important to capture this milestone because you will never have an opportunity again to capture who they are at this moment in their life. The next “portrait” that they are likely to have taken is after college when their first employer wants a headshot for the company website. This photo will reflect an accomplished adult who has spent four years of sleepless nights studying (and partying) along with the stress and worry of keeping up grades, all while figuring out how to pay for everything with the hopes that they land the job for which they have worked so hard. Wow, is that what college life boils down to? Well, you get the point.
So back to that single plastic storage bin that holds all of my “Glory Days” mementos. Upon further digging into the bin, I also found my High School Senior portrait. I’m so glad that I found it. For a moment, with a big grin on my face, it took me back to that day I had that picture taken. How I remember that day is beyond me, but I remember that it was a hot summer day and I was at the community pool just relaxing, but keeping an eye on the time so I did not miss my assigned time slot. I dreaded going to get my picture taken. So I grabbed my blue button-down shirt, knit tie and corduroy jacket and headed over to the studio. It wasn’t an awful experience, but I do remember the photographer seemed a bit bored to be doing what he was doing. As a large contract photographer, he had probably been at it all day, and for several days.
My High School Senior Portrait (apparently taken with my twin).I'm glad I found this print in a plastic storage bin full of High School and college memories. I just wish I had more pictures than this studio shot. Evidently one of the popular styles back then was to look off camera and "smile" like one would for a portrait from the wild west days.
While I don’t dislike the picture, and I’m really glad that I have a print of it, I don’t think that it really captured who I was at that moment in my life. I was a wrestler, a runner and a member of the best marching band in Illinois that year, (true story!) and I have no other senior pictures to reflect those interests. Thank goodness times have changed and that style of photography is not the only option available. Studio photography in a formal setting still makes great images and keepsakes, but for Senior Portraits, it can, and should be, so much more. Even though on that hot summer day I dreaded going to get my portrait taken, I wished that, today, I would have found more pictures in that bin. My daughter, Mary Grace, really enjoyed seeing me as a high school student when I was just a bit older than she is now.
So to those students who just dread getting their pictures taken, and to those parents who will let their kids decide about having their portraits taken, PLEASE reconsider and have it done. Don’t let your son or daughter be that person searching in their plastic bin of memories of years gone by hoping that they will find just a few more pictures of themselves as that young, confident and carefree High School Senior.
I’m booking sessions right now, so if you have a current “Class of 2015” senior, or know of someone who is just waiting to have it done, call or email right away so that we can get them scheduled before graduation. If you have a current “Class of 2016” junior, it’s not too soon to start booking for summer sessions. I look forward to working with you and your daughter/son to make sure their plastic storage bin of memories is loaded with great images that reflect who they are today.
Oh, and by the way, I do not have an identical twin brother as the picture implies!!