by Megan Stewart, PAW Writer
Every year, picture day is the dreaded, awkward, photo op: Sit. Smile, tilt your chin, move your head a smidge down, click, next. You get it back a couple months later and are horrified at the thought that this is what you look like. But it’s clearly not the case. Those images are all the same old photo and are not capturing the real you. They don’t show your true happiness when you’re doing what you love, or your smile when you just had a really good laugh. But as seniors, we want that in our pictures. We want something that will capture the best us, the real us. Senior pictures are so meaningful because they are meant to capture teenage freshness as it’s poised on the brink of adulthood, waiting to begin a new chapter in their life as college students.
Now the struggle to find a good photographer can be hard. You want someone who is passionate about getting to know you to learn how to best capture you in a photo and what makes you, you.
“I think the keys to capturing someone’s true self are first, to get to know who they are. I send all my seniors a questionnaire that helps them start to think about what they love, what they’re proud of, how they see themselves. And then I spend time with those questionnaires figuring out how to best represent and capture who they are, what locations will fit them best, what parts of them we should try to incorporate in” says Jacki Vaughan. Jacki is my senior photographer and has already done sessions with me that show how serious she is about this “real you” idea.
She is constantly complimenting you, making you smile genuinely, and she encourages you to just be yourself in your sessions like you want to be. She started her senior picture sessions and had this idea of “get real” as her business name. She wants us to be real, ourselves, and show everyone who we have become before we go off to college.
Jacki’s business focuses exclusively on senior pictures and she loves it! She takes away the stress and panic of not having a good picture for everyone to see. Jacki really grasps what it is you’re after and how you want everyone to see you as. She told me a story about her best moment from doing these sessions for seniors. One of the girls she had was a bundle of nerves and had many self-esteem issues, “About halfway through the session I showed her a couple of the images from the back of my camera, and she started crying. She said she had never seen a picture of herself that she hadn’t hated, but she loved these, and that I had captured her the way she thought she looked but never came across in photos. Those are the moments when I realize how blessed I am to get to do this job!” says Jacki.
Senior pictures should be fun. They should make you excited about being a senior and thinking of all the future has to offer. It’s milestone that should leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle this new part of your life. Don’t settle for just any old photographer who will tell you to pose hear, smile there, be serious in this one, okay move there. You want to wait until you find the right match who will work hard to get the perfect picture of who you really are.