Overview of the Senior Portrait Process - Sheila Mattson Fine Art & Photography


A Few Thoughts...

Welcome to Senior Year!    Have you pulled your hair out yet?  Or maybe your still working on Junior Year.  Either way, welcome!

From my own experience raising seniors, I know that the final year of high school is filled with final college visits and decisions, financial aid and scholarships, exams, the last homecoming, the last prom, and more...  

You feel pulled in every direction.  You feel stressed.  You want every moment of Senior Year to be memorable because it's the "last" time you'll do something as a highschooler.  

The dissonance follows you home.  Your house may be a total disaster  because every home improvement project that's been put off all of the sudden needs to get done before the open house!  UGHHH...   So the carpeting is getting replaced.  The hardwood floors are being redone.  That basement remodel is underway and the kitchen cabinets are finally getting an overhaul...

Family and friends will inevitably want to know the date of your open house... (even though it's not for another 6 months!)  By the holidays you may feel like an emotional train-wreck from trying to make your "last normal" holiday season as a family...special.  

If you haven't started already by the first of the year, you'll want to take the time and pull out the family photo albums and all of those projects and papers from Kindergarten through 12th grade that have been saved for all these years.   (Anyone else save a giant volcano from the 6th grade science fair?  If so, now's the time to get it out of the attic and dust it off for one last hurrah).  For me, going through all of the kids' photos and keepsakes was a fun stroll down memory lane  Give yourself the time to enjoy that process.  It took longer than I expected because I (we) spent time reminiscing.   We laughed; we cried... (Okay, I cried mostly.)   There's still a few songs that I used for each of their slideshows that I cannot to this day listen to without getting a little choked up. 

And oh my goodness Senior Year goes by quickly!  Sometimes you'll want it to just be over with and at other times you may wish you could turn back the hand of time.  But it will all work out in the end.  While things will inevitably change, many things will be better than you imagined.  If I can pass on some wisdom, my advice would be to enjoy family dinners as often as you can, hug and kiss the people you love every day and treat each day as a gift and a blessing (even the crazy ones) because that is what will be remembered most.   Sheila


I.       Determine Who You Want to Hire as the Photographer

Most seniors will get their pictures taken sometime during the summer leading up to their senior year or early fall once school starts.   School yearbook deadlines vary, but you could have a deadline in late November or early December!

If you're not sure who to hire, check out a few photographers.  Meet with them, if possible.   Check out their studios or locations.  Ask them lots of questions.  

Be wary of "too good to be true" pricing.  Everyone is a photographer these days, and if they are practically giving away their time and products, there is a reason. 

No two photographers are created equal.  They may each produce great pictures but you may feel more comfortable with one of them over the other, so it's a good idea to check out more than just their website.

If you have any questions, please feel to call or email me.  You can also check out my calendar page for appointment availability.

II.     Portrait Session

Before the Portrait Session, I will send you a contract and some information to help me get to know you and to help you prepare for the session.  There is also a wealth of information available on my website with FAQ, tips on clothing, props, and so much more so you can feel more comfortable and prepared for your session.

There is a $50 fee payable at the time of reservation to hold your session date and time.  This fee will be credited towards the session fee.  In the event of a "no-show", your session fee will be forfeited.  However, if you need to reschedule. we can do so without penalty as long as it's more than 24-hours advance notice.

 In the event of rain, we will keep the appointment and reassess throughout the day.  There is no penalty for rescheduling due to rain or other bad weather; however, do not assume an appointment has been cancelled without double checking.   I've had perfectly great photo sessions after what started out as a pretty rainy day.

There are three Portrait Sessions available to choose from.   You can view them here or click on the  PORTRAIT SESSION button on the navigation bar on the left hand side of your screen.

III.    Order Your Prints

I will be in contact with you over the next two weeks to set up a time to view your proofs.  During this appointment, at least one parent but preferably both parents, if possible, attend.  We will meet at my studio on Cedar Lake (in New Prague) and go through the proofs, which will be displayed on a big screen for ease of viewing.   During this process, I can help you narrow down your choices based on what your print needs are.  At this time, you will also have a copy of the Packages and Ala Carte Price List. Plan on meeting about 1-1/2 hours.

By the end of the appointment, you should have everything you need from me to place an order, and I should have an idea from you which proofs need to be retouched.  

At the time an order is placed, a 50% deposit is required.  I accept checks and all major credit cards, however, a 3% fee is added to any credit card charges.  Any applicable MN sales tax will also be added.

You may know which photo you'd like to have submitted to your yearbook.  I will need to get the details from you regarding the Yearbook deadline and submission requirements and email. If any retouching or cropping is required, I will have you review the photo before I submit it.

Once an order is placed, you should expect to receive your prints in about 4 weeks.

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