One of the most educative experiences from my high-school days was participating in plays. This may come as a surprise, because it was largely informal, extracurricular, activity. My peers and I would get together and choose a play. We’d stage it locally within a few weeks’ time. Sure, the level was amateur, and the audience restricted to parents, but we did learn Shakespeare inside and out, and looking back, I learned a lot about senior portrait photography.
Most high-schoolers, you see, aren’t natural actors. But you involve them in the play anyway, trying to bring out their best acting capacities. A senior portrait shoot is just the same: the teenager is placed in front of the lens, which is equivalent to placing her on stage. Photographer, like a director, instructs her how to dress and put makeup, poses her and tries to bring out her self as much as possible. That’s why I say, never approach a senior portrait as you would a passport photograph. Don’t seat the teenager on a chair in front of a screen and click. Play, act, get to know them, and shoot. Good or bad is another question, but what is for certain is that your photos will come out unique.