Senior photos: Way to capture memories, or waste of money?

Opinion By HannahCusick

Throughout the years, the importance of senior photos has grown, along with its expenses. This senior tradition seems like a great way to remember your last year as mom’s “sweet little girl” before becoming an adult, but they’re not worth it.

Katie Trout @Katietroutphotography takes Marian senior’s pictures. Photo illutration by Elissa Eisele.

Depending on the quality of photos and the photographer’s experience, senior photos range from around $200 to over $1,000. A couple hundred dollars can get you two locations, an hour or two, and a few outfit changes with a photographer. For some reason the “importance” of senior photos makes parents more willing to swipe their credit card. I unsuccessfully beg my parents for gas money every week, but they would practically sell their house if I asked to get senior photos.

What really factors whether the photos are worth it or not, is what people do with the photos. Seniors use their overpriced photos as invitations to their grad party, but usually only two or three are featured on the cards. Every now and then they’ll have to send a relative a photo from their collection because their parents think it’s a nice thing to do. Nowadays, I’ve noticed that senior photos are used the most for Instagram. I’m convinced senior photos wouldn’t be as huge if it wasn’t for #Senior Sundays. Every Sunday my feed is flooded with photos at the Joslyn Museum, Aksarben parking garage, or a grassy field during “golden hour” showcasing a senior in a white sundress. Don’t get me wrong, they all look gorgeous looking off into the distance as they paint their face with a smile, but Instagram should not be the main reason for spending hundreds of dollars. I think the whole principle of senior photos is worthless because these photo shoots have become so unoriginal and show no personality. On Sundays when I tap from picture to picture I see the same thing over and over again, even if the model changes with each swipe.

The outfits, locations, accessories, and hairstyles are all the same while Katie Trout or Julianne Marie shoot some “main character” moments of seniors giggling while staring at a tree or playing with their hair as it somehow just perfectly blows through the wind.

Senior photos would be way more memorable if the photos showcased the person’s unique personality, instead of choosing whatever outfit or location will look the best for the infamous Senior Sundays. I don’t know who said that spending hundreds of dollars for some aesthetic and extremely posed photos was necessary for seniors, but I’m saying they’re definitely not.

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