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Senior Portraits on a Budget?

I'm looking for a dollar (or two or three) saving tip on having senior portraits done. I need to have my daughter's senior portraits done, but the costs at the studio the school recommends is outrageous! Help!

Get Creative!

Time to call on friends, family, and associates. I did our daughter's senior picture. She is wearing a sweater my brother-in-law had given me five years earlier and has her arm around her brother's dog. We took pictures of her in various places around the yard. Total cost for a rather large family was under $75. If you have access to a digital camera and a good quality printer, you have the opportunity to skip the middleman. And the wait.

Related: Saving on Class Rings

Happy with Olan Mills

I had my son's portraits taken at Olan Mills Studio and they were 100% better than the ones taken at the studio that the school recommended and a lot cheaper. It was hard deciding which photos that I wanted, as every pose was great.

Check Out Local Schools

If there is a college or university in your area, call the Art department and find if they have a Photography major. I had my college graduation portraits done by a grad student, and the cost was about $50.00. We did some serious studio poses, and then we walked around campus and did some "fun" shots. The photo of me on top of the sign for the Department of Communication even ended up in a brochure! When the shoot was done, the photographer asked to develop the photos, so she could put some images in her portfolio, but I could have as many made as I wanted.

Related: High School Graduation Party Ideas

Do Your Homework

I am a portrait photographer. There is a wide range of prices out there. A lot of times you pay for the name of an expensive photographer. I would suggest calling around to different photographers (look in the yellow pages) and ask their prices. Then go to the few that you have selected based upon price and actually look at their work. Another idea is to call up your local university and find a photography student to take some pictures. Some can be very good. Again, look at their portfolio before you hire them.

Department Store's Studio

You can have "portraits" done for almost nothing at places like Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target. They are always running specials, often with no or minimal sitting fees. With a plain background and your cap and gown or whatever you choose to wear, no one will know where you had your portrait taken. This does not work for yearbook photos. There is usually a requirement that the year book photo must be done by a particular studio. Those year book sittings are free but the cost of the suggested photo package, which you are not obligated to purchase, can be outrageous. You can simply have the portraits done twice, once for the yearbook and again at one of the department store studios.

Reviewed January 2018

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