Senior Portraits: 5 Things You Can Do To Save $1000-$1500!

I may make a few people mad with this one…

1. You do not have to purchase photos from the studio your school is contracted with for senior portraits.

Schools contract with studios for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that it is MUCH easier to get everyone to one portrait studio and then that one studio gets the yearbook staff all of the senior portraits for the yearbook, than it is to coax, remind, beg and plead hundreds of high school seniors to bring in a photograph for their senior portrait for the yearbook.  There are few more reasons like cohesiveness of the look of each senior for the headshot pages as well as the studio typically supplies group photos, party photos and graduation photos to the yearbook staff and all the while they make money off of the purchases from the students and their families. 

It is really a win-win situation over all.  I know all of this because I was on my high school yearbook staff all four years as well worked for Jenks High School's contracted studio for several years. I completely agree that it is the most sane decision for the yearbook as well as the studio, but most senior families are left uneducated on the fact that you can choose to not purchase from the contracted portrait studio and go somewhere else.  However, none of this is great for you as the client and doesn't help you save money on your senior portrait purchase.

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2. If you choose not to purchase from the studio your school is contracted with, DO NOT tell them you want a yearbook only session.

By telling the contracted studio  that you will not be purchasing senior portraits from them, you are putting a giant red flag on yourself. Chances are the studio will schedule you at the hottest and brightest time of the day with the least experienced photographer, neither of which are great for the out come of your yearbook photo.

However, I do think it is a good idea to do a full session with the contracted studio. First off, You will have an fairly good yearbook portrait. Secondly, It will give you a chance to wear your clothing choices and hairstyles for a “rehearsal” of sorts and then decide if you need to change something or love all of it. Last of all you may actually end up liking some of your images and choose to order a few.

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3. Philbrook and Woodward park are not the ONLY places in Tulsa to take your senior portraits.

Shocking, I know.  Thankfully Tulsa area people are coming out of the dark ages where we thought the only places to photograph portraits were in formal gardens.  I fully believe the location needs to reflect the style, interests and likes of the student.  So when I schedule with you, we will have some conversation around that topic and pick the photo location based off of those things and what the student wants. Some ideas are open fields, gravel roads, personal residents, railroad tracks, downtown Tulsa and much more. There are many creative places that I can use for FREE in the Tulsa, Jenks, Sapulpa, Bixby, Owasso, Broken Arrow and surrounding cities in Oklahoma.

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4. I will tell you the exact place to order your senior portraits prints and it is where all the big studios order their prints.

Yep, I know…can you believe it?!?!?! For years I sold portraits to customers and talked them up in sizes and such, but that is really not the part of photography that I love.  I love telling people’s story through images instead of breaking their bank or charging up their credit cards. is the place to order.  You simply upload your images to their website and choose sizes and whether you want backing on your enlargements, or rounded corners on your wallets and such.  This is the public site to a bigger company called Miller’s Professional Imaging.  Miller’s is a tried and true company whom has been around for a very LONG time and many professional photographers in the Tulsa Metroplex have been using them to print their portraits they have been selling you for you years.  

So when you schedule with me, I will deliver a digital download link to all of your images.  You will download them to your computer and order straight from yourself.  Now the 16x20 that you would typically spend $200-$400 on in a studio, will only cost you $35-$40! 

Another thing I love about Mpix is they typically deliver to your doorstep in 24-48 hours after ordering!

If someone does not want to order their own images and prefer I do that for them, I am happy to and charge a minimal fee for doing so. 

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5. Nobody says you HAVE to take senior portraits in the Summer!

For real…The ONLY reason we all started taking senior portraits in the summer was simply because the yearbook staff needed to make sure there was enough time to get them from the studio and submitted to the print company with enough time.  That’s it!

 So IF you have done your yearbook photo shoot with the contracted studio, then you can choose to schedule your senior portraits with any other photographer at any other time of the year.  In fact, I recommend my clients to do two sessions, one near the end of summer and one in the heart of fall.  Two different times of year allow for two different kinds of clothes as well as two different kinds of colors simply because of the weather.  

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How I save you $1500-$200

So most families spend approximately $1500-$2000 on senior portraits.  I charge $250 per location.  From there you will get a link to download your edited photographs. Then they are all yours for sharing, emailing, printing and more! 

Did I Make You Mad?

You may be thinking “Why would this make anyone mad!?!?!” I would think it would make them happy. I am guessing there are two different kinds of people I may have upset.

Person 1:

A parent of past or upcoming senior who has already spent the $2000 at the contracted studio. To which I am sorry, however please, please help educate your other friends and family members on choices they have when it comes to senior portraits.

Person 2:

My photographer friends who offer to sell prints to their clients. To whom I would say, there are client and photographers out there for everyone!  I trust there are plenty of photographer/client matches in the world and I don't need to spend my energy stressing and fussing about if I am one or not. If I am not your fit or style, there is someone out there for you.  In fact, if I am not your style, here are a list of my photographer friends and past students, turned professional who just might be.  Some of them give you just digital, some of them sell prints but I choose to believe there are enough people, styles, locations to go around for all of us!

    Angelyn Moura

    Alayna Benefield

    Carissa Miller

    Niki Erwin Niki Erwin Photography Page

    Erika Patterson

    Kent Olmstead

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If you are interested in booking senior portraits with me, click the button below or call 918-284-6008 and we will get to designing your perfect senior session.  I work with seniors in the Tulsa, Jenks, Owasso, Sapulpa, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Bixby and surrounding Oklahoma cities, as well as I am happy to travel to you in nearby states such as Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas!

Schedule  NOW!