Filed in Portraits — April 30, 2024

Alaska Senior Photos // The Boys

Senior photos are one of our favorite sessions. Sessions are less about getting a yearbook pic (Although we’ll get that too!) and more about celebrating this person who is standing on a precipice, toes curled around the edge, ready to jump into the rest of their lives. Senior photos are about memorializing that level up: the pivot into adulthood. These young women and men have accomplished so much and deserve their moment in the spotlight.

But this post isn’t really about seniors in general, it’s about the boys. We have been entertained so many times over the years at the contrast between the ladies and gentlemen in these sessions. And while we know there are exceptions to every rule, in general, the girls tend to appear way more vested in this process. They come to us with Pinterest boards they’ve had since middle school, lists of posing ideas, professional hair and makeup and bags full of outfit changes. Once a girl opened the hatchback of her car to show us her THIRTEEN pairs of shoe options. You get the idea. It’s an epic event.

Boys on the other hand usually roll into their session as nonchalant and cool as can be. Most have 1-2 outfits, are up for whatever, and just want to get the dang thing done. Early on in our photography career we might have chalked that contrast up to boys not caring about their images, but now understand that couldn’t have been further from the truth. These picture ARE important, whether they explain that in 8,000 descriptive words or simply just show up and out. Here’s 5 things we’ve learned are really important when it comes to photographing senior BOYS.

  1. DIRECTION // No one wants to feel awkward taking photos. The number one resistance boys seem to have about taking photos is fearing that the session will feel forced and that they won’t know what to do. And in general, most young men DON’T know what to do and really value our leadership in sessions. They didn’t arrive with 85 outfit ideas and practice posing in the mirror like their female counterparts, but they still want to look badass in their photos. The good news is directing sessions is OUR job. We’re good at it and consistently get feedback that the process wasn’t awkward at all…it was actually, dare we say it…FUN.
  2. INTERESTS // Boys really don’t care about cheesy, traditional portraiture. Senior photos are supposed to represent the passion and power of the person being photographed. We want to showcase WHO they are, not just what they look like. Whatever makes them strong, whatever captures them, whatever makes them stand out: we need to celebrate THAT. It will look different for every boy. For some it will be hockey or dirt biking or hunting. For others it might mean photographing in their late uncle’s old pickup truck or the family airplane. Boys want their photos to MEAN something, not just look pretty.
  3. COMFORTABLE CLOTHING // Maybe this should be #1 on the list because after 13+ years of photographing, we have learned that if a senior boy hates what he is wearing, he will hate the photos. So all you moms out there: just set him free. If he wants to ditch the suit and go for xtra tuffs and his fav pair of jeans, let him. It’s not about the perfect photo, it’s about HIM in the photo, the truest him, with the spark in his eye. If he doesn’t feel like himself, he won’t look like himself.
  4. LOCATION // One thing we have noticed is pretty consistent about the men we photograph, both young or old, is that composition matters. Maybe they don’t voice it in photographer nerd lingo, but they will most often comment on the architecture, backdrop or scene of a photo. Choosing a location that complements the interests and story we are trying to tell and also just looks RAD is so important! So, most boys will ditch the flower field and go for landscapes that are rugged, hardcore, adventurous, or really personal to them.


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