Many students don’t know this, but when it comes to senior portraits they really do have a choice. Contracted photographers are usually large companies that contract with schools for the yearbook portraits and offer senior portraits as well because that’s where the money is. They don’t make their money off the contracts because those are always in favor of the schools. Due to high volumes and multiple photographers-for-hire these companies often produce underclass photography. You will usually find them set up in a strip mall with no outdoor locations unless you want to travel and pay dearly for it. They also use giant light boxes and umbrellas which are very forgiving as you move around (great for kids), but tend to make the images look flat and one dimensional. With them it’s all about volume and moving the clients through at a fast pace. They use giant umbrellas outdoors too instead of reflectors because they’re easier, but trust me, the quality is not the same. See my blog post on How To Improve Your Outdoor Portraits. A true photographer is a creative with a passion for the art. He’s like any artist who’s always striving to perfect his work. This is the reason I chose to be a direct-market photographer. The fulfillment my clients and I both get from creating beautiful images is priceless to me. If you’re looking for lasting value from your senior portraits I urge to think about this. Wouldn’t you want to feel like your photographer has a personal investment in you and willing to go the extra mile to prove it. Not to be tooting my own horn here, but that’s a no-brainer.