Frequently Asked Questions
About Senior Portraits at Focus Photography
No, but we recommend it wholeheartedly! It’s kind of fun to plan a shoot, and we’ll get even better images if we do it. It only takes about 30 minutes – come on in, bring your mom, she’s curious to see our place anyway.
And hey, if that didn’t convince you, or you live too far away, or can’t make it work with your schedule, you can always text us pictures of the outfits you’re thinking of so we can plan accordingly.
Moms, feel free to shoot Lucia images of what you want your son to wear if he’s not a clothes hound himself. Totally sexist, right? I’m assuming that women are more concerned about their clothing and appearance than guys, but I’m not sure who that assumption is offensive to. Discuss among your friends and get back to me.
That’s up to you! We have a studio in downtown Westbrook where we do our sports posters, fashion shoots, and multi-image blends and strips. But we’re also located on the scenic coast of Maine, and a lot of our clients want something outdoors.
Best scenario – you do both. Perfect hair in the studio, and casual and relaxed images somewhere else.
Take a look at our Locations page, and you’ll see that we offer five outdoor spots that we shoot at a lot, or you can select your own location and we’ll come to Your Place!
Okay, here’s the deal. Some people know how to present themselves in the most flattering way, and to those people I don’t need to give a lot of direction.
Other clients I work have no idea that turning their body at certain angles could make them more slender, more curvy, more masculine, or more feminine. For those people, I’ll stand the way I’d like them to stand, and tell them that they can just mirror what I’m doing.
I look ridiculous doing it, but you’ll know just what to do.
Easy, right? Nothing complicated, and you won’t be left to figure it out on your own, either.
We have our “Your Place” location for just such a possibility – you can choose it with the Signature Session or the Senior Book Session.
We’ve created senior portraits at family houses, special beaches, horse stables, ballparks, school athletic fields, libraries, lake houses, over waterfalls,under family trees, with airplanes, on sailboats and in churches.
If you can get us access to a place that’s special to you, we’ll go. Travel fees may apply.
If you want to pick a location in a spot we don’t usually work (outside the Portland area), then there’s a travel fee to cover the extra time to get there.
If the location you want is in or right around Portland (excluding the islands), there’s no charge to pick your own location.
But if we’ve going to have to sit in a car (or on a boat) forever to get there, its $50 for each hour or part thereof that google maps says we’ll sit in the car, each way.
So we can totally go to Boston with you for your photoshoot, and the travel fee to cover the 2 hours there and 2 hours back will be just $200 which you’ll pay along with your session fee.
Yes, unless you tell us not to, all your printed images will be flawless but natural. You’ll see the pores of your skin, but not the blemish you got from worrying about your photoshoot.
Some people don’t want that. Lorde threw a fit because a concert photographer removed her pockmarks and pimples from an image he posted, and if you’re that confident, we won’t touch your images. Just tell us.
When I was a senior (this is Will writing this answer) I wouldn’t let my mother send my pictures out because I was so embarrassed at the state of affairs of my skin, and I won’t let that be your experience.
Bring a cute umbrella? I’m joking.
If you’re scheduled to have a senior photo shoot outdoors and it looks like it’s going to rain, call us before you leave and we’ll decide if we need to reschedule. Regardless, we’ll still have the indoor portion of your session (if you have one). Keep in mind summer and autumn showers come and go quickly; it might be raining where you are, but sunny here.
However, this is New England, so we do get some rescheduled sessions in the course of the summer. Don’t worry, we’ll reschedule your session when it’s convenient, and you won’t miss out on anything!
We usually schedule your shopping appointment about a week after your session. Your images will be projected larger-than-life, and you’l be able to see everything clearly.
If your folks love you and want to remember you when you’re not around, they’ll probably want to hang a portrait or two of you on the wall. At Focus Photography, you’re able to virtually see the finished product before ordering – size, color, and even framing – exactly like it will look in your house.
During your shopping appointment, Lucia will help you sort out your favorites, listen to your wants, steer you clear of unnecessaries, and squeeze you into a portrait package that saves you money. This helpful process allows you to see the pros and cons of each image, and find the best possible price for the images you want.
Bring anyone that you want to be part of the decision process with you, because you’ll be placing your order at this time. We’re sorry, but because of our very full appointment schedule, we can not always accommodate a second shopping appointment, and must include a $50 second appointment fee.
Of course, and we kind of require it.
Most seniors find it helpful to bring Mom, Dad, a brother/sister or a friend along, both to keep you company on the drive in, and to help carry your gear!
We always say – ‘It’s easier to be a RockStar if you’ve got really good roadies.’
We do all our sports and digital posters at our studio, so that’s another good reason to have that as one of your locations. And if you’re coming in to the studio, it would be awesome if you could bring as much as you can of your activities.
If you play hoops on the team, a ball and a uniform would make sense. Dance – outfits and shoes (and maybe the music you like to dance to!). Some sports are off-season, so if you can’t get a uniform, go with under-armor and bring what you can.
We’ve had students show up with amplifiers and a half-dozen guitars. Amazing shoot.
We had one guy bring his hat collection. An artist brought her portfolio of work, paintbrushes and paint. Really fun.
We even photographed a snowboarder jumping in mid-air during a snowstorm in our studio in July. If it’s crossed your mind, put it in the car.
We don’t do it ourselves. We’re photographers, and we prefer to let professional MUAs handle beautification.
We can arrange to have a hair and makeup artist meet you at our studio before your session for the cost of the makeup artist. We have several we recommend.
A lot of our clients choose to go to their own salon for their pre-session glamming – we can recommend some places to you if you’d like.
Fix it. Chipped nails are instantly visible in most images, and your senior pictures will be around forever.
We always recommend manicures and pedicures before a photo shoot.
At a minimum, remove all your flaking polish and come in with bare nails. You won’t feel as glamorous as with color, but you won’t look as disheveled as with chips.
Call a friend. Get your nails done.
Hair – It’s best to have your hair cut and/or styled at least a week or two before your session. This will give it a chance to fill in or relax. Please don’t try a radically different haircut or style too close to your session – we’ve seen too many people hate a new hairstyle.
Makeup – Powder and lip gloss are the essentials! A little light powder in your skin tone will stop shine on your nose and forehead, and women’s lips always photography better shiny!
Glasses – If you wear glasses most of the time, you’ll want them in your portraits. But the reflective lens can cause a bright spot on your eyes – you probably already knew that, or you wouldn’t have read this far.
To eliminate glare and reflection, call your optometrist and arrange to borrow a pair of empty frames similar to yours, or have the lenses removed from your own frames. Most opticians will help at no charge.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you have a schedule conflict.
During senior season, our schedule fills up completely, so we ask that you let us know at least one week before your session if you have a conflict. If you cancel on the morning of your session to play golf or go to the beach, you’ll forfeit your session fee.
No, your photoshoot will be your own, and not shared with several other students you don’t know.
We know that a lot of photographers do that to save themselves time and to photograph more clients, but we try to offer a more personalized approach. It can be really hard to relax with other people watching you, and a photo shoot with Focus Photography is an experience you’ll never forget.
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That kind of depends on how fast you can change and which session you choose!
Our Simple Session is 1 or 2 outfits. Our Signature Selection could be up to six, but you’ll have to be a quick-change artist 🙂
If we’re doing multiple locations, we’ll work at each location for about an hour, so the quicker you move and change, the more variety there will be in your images.
We bring a changing tent!
You’re going to love this. We pop open an upright tent, you zip yourself in, and no one on the beach knows what’s going on. And then you emerge transformed, and if they had any common sense the beach crowd would applaud you, but since there was really nothing for them to see, their attention drifted.
Oh well, let’s keep shooting, right?
You should bring at least three completely different changes with you per location (three different colored Abecrombie tees doesn’t count!), and one outfit should be jeans and a long-sleeved, solid-colored shirt. More is better, and we’re happy to help you select between choices.
Lucia advises both women and men to have one thing that looks like fall, one thing you’d wear to a dance, one thing you’d wear with your friends, and one thing your grandmother would love.
You know what we don’t see enough of anymore? Prom dresses. I know, you were photographed by your mom when you wore it, but Will definitely doesn’t shoot like your mom. Bring it, you’ll be glad you did.
Even if it’s the middle of summer, try to remember that these images will be viewed year round, and an awesome sweater looks way better over the course of the year than a cute tank top.
I know, that last answer sounded like I was really ATT (I’m trying to start anti tank-top as an acronym. Go use it in a post on a social site. Oh my gosh Amanda, I love that sweater – it makes me totally ATT!)
I’m not. I’m also not anti-shorts, but you need to have at least one pair of long pants and one pair of jeans to go with your solid long sleeved shirt and sweater.
There’s a reason.
The human eye is drawn to flesh. We’re built that way. Look at any picture, and if there’s bare skin, your eye goes right to it.
And sometimes that’s the effect we want in images, but not all the time. My goal as a photographer is to give you images where viewers are captivated by your eyes, and they can’t break away from your stare. That’s the definition of mesmerizing, by the way, and it makes for some powerful images.
But that spell can’t be cast when there’s a lot of skin showing. If a viewer’s eye travels from your shoulders down your bare arms, or from your shoes up your legs while you’re wearing shorts, it never reconnects to your eyes.
In the last answer I talked about the eyes competing for a viewer’s attention with bare skin.
Patterns are similarly distracting. And while we recommend solids, small prints (smaller than the human iris) won’t be as distracting from your eyes as larger ones will. That’s why.
I used to study with a photographer who said ‘there are no plaids in nature, and so plaid clothing will never look natural in a portrait.’ That might apply to a lot of things.
Definitely. If you just wanted a yearbook headshot, you probably wouldn’t have chosen Focus Photography.
So if we’re shooting for awesome images, that means you need to be dressed head to toe.
For girls, that includes accessories such as jewelry, hats, scarves, stems, and jackets.
For guys that includes belts, socks (appropriate socks, not white gym socks – ask your mom), and a blazer and tie if you rock that look.
No, you only need to bring a jacket (they used to be called sports jackets, but no one played sports in them – discuss) if you want to be good-looking, handsome, and attractive to the opposite sex.
If you’re good with never dating women, just bring your favorite plaid shirts.
That was harsh, right? I know, but I don’t think guys will ever read this, so, if you’re a dude, prove me wrong. I’m pretty sure any boy that makes it to this page is just looking at the pictures, and if I’m being honest, that’s the reason I became a photographer myself. So no judgement from me.
But bring some sort of a blazer.
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At the time you book your photoshoot you’ll pay your session fee, and this is non-refundable if you don’t show up – so don’t go golfing on the day we’re going to work together:)
Your session fee covers the personal consultation, planning and prep for the session, time and talent of the photographer, image-work, and the sales appointment with Lucia who will help you narrow down your images and select the products that will fit with your home decor.
Some locations or specials have order deposits. Most people pay this when scheduling, but you can wait as long as you take care of this before your session. When you come in to shop with Lucia, that money is yours to spend as you like.
Glad you asked. According to a recent industry study, the average family in Maine that hired a professional photographer spent $1,240 in total on their senior’s pictures. This includes session fees, prints, files, holiday presents, and graduation announcements ordered in the spring. We know a few photographers nearby that claim their senior average is twice that!
Listen, you might order every image we take as a framed wall portrait (you’ll need a very big wall!), but that is totally up to you and your family. Our Simple and Signature sessions have minimum orders ($300 for the Simple Session, $600 for the Signature Session), and for some families, they’ll get everything they need with that purchase.
We’ve got a great product guide we can send you if you’d like to start selecting your must have products now! Just email us.
Absolutely. We carry a variety of frames for you in all sizes. To determine the size and shape of your framed portrait, consider the wall space where it will be displayed. Interior decorators recommend that a portrait occupy at least 50% of the wall space. If not, the viewer’s attention will be drawn to the wall, and not to the image.
8x10s are not good for wall display because they need to be held close for comfortable viewing. That’s why they make such good desk displays.
If you’d like the best assistance we can give you, photograph the wall and surrounding furniture where you’d like to hang a portrait, and tape a piece of letter-sized paper on the wall (for size). Even a camera phone image will work for this, and if you e-mail the image to us before your shopping appointment, we’ll be able to suggest frames for you and show you how they would look hanging on your walls!
We do, but once you see the senior products we offer at our showroom, you probably won’t want them.
Our goal as photographers is to help you showcase your images in a lasting and heirloom-quality way, but if that’s not for you, then by all means buy the digital files.
Who are you, Elon Musk? No, we don’t take Bitcoin, DogeCoin, or any other crypto currency.
We process cards with Square, which means we accept any US-issued and most internationally-issued magnetic stripe or chip cards bearing a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, or UnionPay logo, and all the flavors: Debit, Credit, Prepaid, Corporate, and Rewards.
We also take checks (though we don’t see many of them) and cash (please let us know if you’re paying in cash so we can be sure to have correct change available for you).
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