Most photo sessions don’t really have specific timing attached, but when you’re celebrating a milestone, that logic doesn’t apply! There’s a lot to think about when it comes to when you should schedule your senior pictures, and when will work best for you depends on a ton of factors.
I should start out by saying that normally, if you want to be able to use your senior pictures for ALL THE THINGS, you’re going to want to schedule your senior pictures sometime in the late spring or summer leading up to your senior year. This will mean you can use them for everything from your yearbook (if your school takes personally submitted photos!) to your graduation announcements. Scheduling them ahead of your senior year prevents any timing limitations from the yearbook committee (or whoever manages the yearbook at your school) on when they need to receive your photos to use.
But… this isn’t a hard and fast rule!! Sometimes it makes more sense to schedule them in the winter of your senior year, or even the spring! And we’re going to talk about ALL of the things you should keep in mind when you’re picking a time to schedule.
What do you want to use your senior pictures for?
The first (and arguably the most important) thing to think about when you’re choosing when to schedule your professional senior picture session, is what you want to use the pictures for. Do you want them in the yearbook? Are you going to print them to give to family? What about your graduation announcements?
If you’re using them for the yearbook…
Like I said, if you’re using your senior photos for the yearbook, then you’ll want to check in on when the school needs to receive them! It’s usually early in your senior year, but every school follows a different schedule. If this is one of the things on your “Senior Pictures” list, then another thing to keep in mind is the turn-around schedule of the photographer you’re working with! If you schedule your session for late summer right before your senior year, for example, but your photographer takes four weeks to send back your gallery for viewing, then you might not meet the deadline you need to.
If you’re working with Jessica Strobel Photography however (yours truly), then you won’t have to factor turn-around time in quite so much. I get your images back to you 24 hours after the session to choose your favorites, and then you receive your final edited images within a week of choosing the ones you want!
If you’re using your senior pictures for sharing with family…
No matter whether you’re using your senior pictures for the yearbook, you can (and should!) share them with family! You can get prints to gift to your family for Christmas your senior year, or send them around digitally. Sharing with family only factors into timeline if you want to have your images ahead of the holiday season, in which case… you’ll want to have your session before the holiday season. And if you’re printing, you’ll want enough lead-time to print. So think September/October of your senior year as the latest you’ll want to go!
If you’re using your senior photos for your graduation announcements…
I feel like graduation announcements are the final remnants of passing around printed senior pictures like trading cards when you graduate. And of course, you don’t need to get those ready until you’re getting closer to graduation itself! So if you plan on using your senior session for your grad announcements, whether physically printed or digital, you’ll want to make sure you get them done sometime before March/April of your senior year. If this is the only use you plan for them, then you’ve got TONS of time to schedule your senior pictures!
How do you feel about the COLD?
Here in Minneapolis I feel like the elephant in the room in EVERY conversation about when sessions are to be scheduled, is the weather. Because ya know… it gets cold.
If you’re wanting to get pictures outdoors for your senior pictures, and snow isn’t the vibe that you’re going for, you’re definitely going to want to aim for the late spring, summer, or early fall before your senior year. This should line up with being able to use your senior pictures for everything I’ve listed above, and anything else you can think of, too!
Now, this being said… if you aren’t worried about having your photos done indoors, we can definitely schedule a nice and warm winter senior picture session in the studio! With Jessica Strobel Photography we have both indoor AND outdoor options. So if you were aiming for an indoor, in-studio session, and you don’t want to use your photos in the yearbook, then you can schedule in November, December, January, or February of your senior year with no problems!
Are you planning on including any seasonal hobbies or passions in your senior photos?
The first few things I’ve walked through here are more obvious questions to ask. But how about the actual CONTENTS of your photo package? If you’re wanting to include certain hobbies or passions in your session, it might contribute to when you should book your senior photos.
I think you know the kind of things I’m talking about. If you’re super athletic, and you want to have a few photos taken at the home field for your sport… you’re probably going to have an easier time with that if it’s not under a foot of snow. The same goes for if you’re a swimmer, and you want to include some pool-related photography in your package!
There are tons of other hobbies that are seasonal, and you should definitely think about those when you’re picking when to schedule your senior picture session. The same goes for things like walks around the city, or using any of the murals in downtown Minneapolis that we have access to within the few blocks around my studio.
Still not sure when to schedule your senior pictures?
I know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to scheduling a senior photo shoot, but don’t worry!! I’m here to help. If you have any questions about what season would work best for you (or your soon-to-be-graduate, I see you reading this, moms!!) don’t hesitate to reach out. We can talk about what timing works best for the things you want to use the photos for, or whether there needs to be a timeline at all!