How a Hobbyist Can Get Hired for Senior Portraits

Hobbyist photographers can shoot for the love of shooting most of the time, but here is one way they can get some paid shoots as well – doing senior portraits.

At some point, almost every hobbyist photographer has improved their skills enough that they may want to start booking some paid photography shoots. Some are looking to see how good they are and if they can do it and some are testing the market to see if this is a good fit for them and some just want to take on a few shoots once in a while to keep their skills sharp. One of the best ways to do this is to take senior portraits. Here are a few tips to find those seniors looking for a photographer.


Ask relatives. Almost everyone knows someone in their family who will be graduating or who has friends whose kids will be graduating. Networking is easy when it’s in your own family and you may have a much better chance of booking your first senior shoot. It’s also easier to practice and shoot with someone you know. It helps you to determine what you can do better and what works really well.

Ask other moms. My first senior shoot was from my friend who insisted I take her sons graduation pictures because she loved my landscape photos. Although I hesitated, it was a great experience for me to get my feet wet and through word of mouth that summer, I ended up taking pictures for him and two of his friends which was perfect for me having had just started thinking about whether or not I wanted to start taking portraits of individuals and families.

Talk to the school secretary. There are always kids who are not able to afford to get senior pictures done and this would be a great way to serve two purposes: You would get some practice to see where you are in your skill set and decide if this is something you want to continue doing and someone who is really in need would have a great set of senior pictures for little or no cost. The school secretary is a great resource and sadly, I’ve seen several kids who haven’t had their senior pictures taken because of what is going to cost their family.

Check with co-workers. Since you are still a hobbyist, talk to your coworkers and let them know you are interested in taking senior pictures this year and ask if they would be willing to pass your name and number on to friends or any seniors that may be interested. Also, ask around at church or other organizations you are involved with in your community.

Be flexible!

Plan to be available as much as possible. This includes weekends, daytime and evening. With a lot of kids holding jobs or participating in sports, they are going to have a hard time working around your schedule. You need to do the best you can to work around theirs. Know what equipment you need for daytime or evening shots and don’t keep them waiting.

Be Different!

Look at what other photographers in the area are offering and offer something different. Maybe you have a fantastic piece of property to shoot on or know someone who does. Maybe you have more flexibility. Whatever your strength is, use it to help get your name out there and book shoots. No matter where you are on your photography journey, there is a place for everyone. It’s fun to explore your options and see what else you like and what you are good at.

2 thoughts on “How a Hobbyist Can Get Hired for Senior Portraits”

  1. I have been thinking about doing senior portraits. I agree that asking around could help get a job. I will need to try that. Thank you for the ideas.

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