FAQs
Frequently asked questions about senior portraits in Maine

Guys look good at the beach for their senior pictures

General Questions

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!

You can do one location for your senior photoshoot, two, or as many as we can fit in 4 hours. That choice will be determined by which photo shoot or session style you pick. They have different prices, from $99 to $389.

Sometimes. Often?

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, but you won’t be left to figure it out on your own, either.

We can’t wait to hear all about it! We have our “Your Place” location for just such a possibility – it has it’s own session on our photo shoots page.

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, then there’s a travel fee to cover the extra time we’re sitting in a car (or on a boat) and not photographing other seniors.

We determine this based on how long it takes us to get to you from our studio. The first 15 minutes are on us, and then it’s just $15 for each 15 minutes of travel.

So we can totally go to Boston with you for your photoshoot, and the travel fee if it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get there will be just $120, which you’ll pay when you come in for your shopping appointment.

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.

We use a human digital artist to do our retouching, not a computer program, ai software, or blurry filter. Basic retouching is included with your order. More complicated projects (like removing braces) are possible, but there is a retouching fee to cover the artist’s time.

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!

One last thing – Downtown sessions look better just after the rain! We don’t want your clothes getting wet, but we do want the cobblestones slick and reflective. If you have a way of controlling the weather, a little shower an hour before your shoot would be perfect!

We usually schedule your shopping appointment about a week after your session, though we can adjust that if needed. When seniors come to us from out of state we try to show them their images the next morning.

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!).

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.

Some sports are off-season, so if you can’t get a uniform, go with under-armor and bring what you can. Alternatively, we can do a Senior-Year Chapter Shoot in the spring when you first get your uniforms!

Most schools in Maine have yearbook deadlines at the beginning of September, so most people have their senior pictures in the summer before the year even starts.

We have a way to have your senior album reflect your whole year, and not just one day at the start of it. We offer mini sessions for each chapter of your senior year!

Available exclusively to our senior clients, our Chapter Shoots are just $49 for a 30-minute session, and then you only pay for the images you want to add to your book!

Want pictures in the snow? Chapter Shoot. Got a new hair style? Chapter shoot. Prom Dress? College aceeptance? Cap and Gown? Chapter, chapter, chapter!

We don’t do it ourselves. We’re photographers, and we prefer to let professional MUAs handle beautification for the clients that want it.

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. If you get your toes done we’ll definitely get pictures of you with bare feet!

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!

Sorry for the confusion, those tips were only for people who do wear makeup. Probably half of our female seniors don’t wear makeup in their pictures because they just never wear anything. Cool, you gotta be you.

Lip gloss or Chapstick is still a good idea, as dry lips don’t photograph well.

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.

And if you have glasses that darken in the sunshine, your eyes won’t make it into any of your pictures 🙁

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 work in groups 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.

Clothing Questions

That kind of depends on how fast you can change and which session you choose!

Our Studio Express is 2 or 3 changes.  Our 4 hour Experience Shoot could be up to 12, but that all depends on how quickly you can change.

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.

Answer

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 differently 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.

Guys that bring coats and ties always look solid, especially in a downtown shoot or at the beach.

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.

Click Here for our Senior Girls’ Clothing Guide!  

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.

I know you look really cute in shorts and sleeveless, especially with a tan, and we’re not saying don’t bring that. That outfit will look amazing in your senior album. But for the pictures that go to your grandmother, she’ll love them most in a sweater.

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.’ 

But…. these are just general recommendations. If you look fabulous in stripes and spots, then that’s what you should wear.

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 other people.

If you’re good with never dating, 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 if you own one.

Money Questions

At the time you book your photoshoot you’ll pay your session fee, and this is non-refundable if you don’t show up for your shoot – 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.

When you come in to shop with Lucia, she’ll help you choose a collection that perfectly fits your family.

Glad you asked. Most of our sessions have minimum orders that you can use as a ballpark (listed on the photoshoot page), but families usually spend a lot more than that because they love the images we create and so want to do a lot with them.

But that’s up to you. You build your own collection, with just the items you need.

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.

What’s been really popular for senior families are clusters of medium-sized prints, canvases, and acrylics. We can frame the prints and canvases, but the acrylics we recommend be left unframed.

After your photo shoot we’ll send you a video on how to photograph the rooms where you might display the senior portraits. You can do this with your cell phone, and when you come in for your shopping order, we can show you products right on the wall, so you won’t have to imagine how they’ll look.

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).

Owen's senior portraits were in downtown Portland throughout the old port and on the waterfront. Owen's senior portraits were in downtown Portland throughout the old port and on the waterfront.

Here’s How You Can Get Senior Pictures You’ll Love!

Step 1

Pick Your Session!

Check out our Photo Shoots page to see the options for your photoshoot. Do you want an epic, half-day fashion shoot; our basic one hour studio shoot, or something in between?

Photo Shoot Page

Step 2

Choose Your Locations!

Maine is the most picturesque and photogenic state, and we work at some beautiful spots.

Look at our Locations page for ideas.

Locations Page

Step 3

Schedule Your Appointments!

Call the studio (207 772-4274) to set your photoshoot and your shopping appointment.

Have your calendar and a credit card ready, or better yet, give your mom your schedule and have her call us!

Step 4

Choose Your Clothing!

Go shopping in your closet, online, or at the mall.

We’ve got a guide about what to wear to help, or you can text us photos of outfits you’re thinking about.

Photo of piano player sitting on top of keyboard for unique senior portrait in maine

portrait caption Ryan was a piano player who wanted unique senior pictures

in my pictures, they made me look dope.

“My senior photo shoot with Focus was humorous, quirky, fun, and I really liked Will’s sense of humor.  And in my pictures, they made me look dope.”

“They created a poster of me sitting on a piano keyboard (I play piano), and I’ll always want to have that hanging in my room.”


Ryan Nichols

Sacopee Valley HS


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