How to take your senior pictures: Case Study-Part 1

It was another great day of shooting senior pictures.  I went along with a family that wanted to try DIY Senior pictures.  On this adventure we had the dad, Scott, mom Mamie. and Senior Cassie.

DIY Senior Pictures Case Study Family #1

DIY Senior Pictures Case Study Family #1

Scott and Mamie borrowed a camera from relatives.  They  borrowed a Canon T3 with a kit lens.  I also lent them my old Olympus Pen EP-1 with a Nikon 50mm Series E manual lens.  They had access to a foldable portable reflector that I always talk so much about on this website.


We had a very, very  hot and sunny day to shoot in tons of hard light.  We started to shoot around 1:15 P.M.  The sun was bright and harsh.  The temperature was 90+ degrees.  It was a very uncomfortable hot day, so the weather was working against us.  Did I mention how hot it was? 🙂 Things did not go perfect, but we did end up rolling with it and got some great shots.  We will go over everything that went really good and what went really bad in detail in this case study.  Our goal is to make your shoot go better.  There is so much information to go into this case study it will be a multi-part post.


We had some locations in mind before we started.  This ended up being one of the best things we could have done due to the heat we encountered that day. If we spent all day walking around aimlessly, we would have worn ourselves down before we captured any real good shots.  We also quickly planned a route and planned Cassie’s outfit changes according to location. This worked out well.  Take note, have at least a rough plan!  You don’t want to wear your senior out walking around.  A grumpy senior does not make good portraits!


Our first location was between two tall brick buildings.  This is one of the more common spots because it is shaded during the high sun hours, so it provides some soft light.  You can tell it is a common spot due to the chalk markings on the wall.  We found one marked 2016 already, so we are not the first ones using this spot for senior pictures.
Below are two shots from the first location.

Case Study--1st Location







Wow!  Can you believe that a family with very minimal photography experience created these beautiful shots?  Not only did they do it, you can do it too with a little time and patience.  Don’t worry, we are going to show you many more shots that we took that day.


We went around to a few more locations and got some more shots.  The heat was awful, but we kept pushing on. The family was doing a great job pushing through the adversity of the heat.  And our senior did a great job.  She had a fantastic personality and did not let the heat bother her.  The pictures speak for themselves.  She looked great despite the heat and pushed through.


Next we went for an outfit change and to cool off a bit in the air conditioning. Trust me, we needed this for a few. Then we headed back out in the heat to the next location.  Many of our locations were in the hot sun.  We needed shade.  It is a good thing we brought along our portable reflector, we were able to use our reflector to shade our senior.  This shows the diversity of the reflector, we can use it to add light, or we can use it to take it away.


Here is an accidental capture of us using the reflector.  You can really see the light it adds to her face in this shot.  I can’t tell you enough how good these reflectors are and will improve your pictures many times over!

reflector effects

In the picture above, you can only see the back or black side of the reflector barely sticking up out of the bottom left of the frame.  The shiny side is pointed toward the subject and the sun is bouncing off the reflector onto our subject’s face lighting it up.


Here is a picture of the shiny side of the reflector.  You can see that it is very shiny and bounces light easily.

The Shiny Side!

The Shiny Side!

If you are going to be taking your senior pictures, be sure to get a portable reflector.  It provides a lot of gain for very little cost.  Here is the one I have that I purchased off of Amazon for about $17.

So we have a lot more to cover in our case study.  That is enough for now, part two is on the way in about a week.  I will put a link below. To finish out the case study, we will cover more of the shoot, more of the pictures, editing and a brief interview with the family.  Don’t want to miss any of these updates?  Sign up for our email newsletter over on the right of this page and keep updated.

On to Part 2…..

What is your biggest barrier to taking DIY senior pictures?  Put it in the comments below and let’s discuss it.  Be sure to go over and join our Facebook group and connect with other DIY senior picture people!  Please help us get the word out about DIY Senior Pictures, share it on your favorite social media platform or just tell a friend!






Thanks for being a part of DIY Senior Pictures.  Need more immediate help?  Need a step by step process?  Check out our latest Kindle books.  Why not check out our bonus video section too?  Leave a comment and let's discuss your photo concerns.  Talk to you soon.

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  1. […] you stumbled here without reading part one of this case study, you can read that here.   Onward to part […]

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