With the arrival of spring, high school senior portrait season is just around the corner! I get lots of questions every year about when the best time to book a session is, so here I am going to list the best things about each month of senior season, along with some examples, to help you make the best decision to fit your needs and personality!
Feel free to reach out to me if you have a question about when to book that isn’t addressed here!
Senior season here in the Midwest kicks off in June! Early June is the time to book if you loooove spring blooms like lilacs, apple blossoms, crab apple blossoms, and other flowering trees. These flowers don’t stick around for long, so you typically only have the first week or two of June to take advantage of them! (psst: this is my FAVORITE time of year, with the only exception being that I wish it were hotter outside, ha.) June is also just a good time to take advantage of everything being green and alive outside, but not very hot yet.
Want to include Lake Michigan or Lake Superior in your senior session? August might be infamous for being hot, but July is actually typically the hottest month around here! I am down for beach photos and photos in the water basically ANY time during senior season, but if you’re a bit more sensitive to temperature and really want those water shots, July is probably your best time to book. Everything will be super green and alive. Lots of flowers will be blooming, including wildflowers like daisies. If you love everything about summer and want to wear really summer-y outfits for your session, July is your friend.
Still typically pretty hot outside, August is still a great time to include the best parts of summer in your senior session, from the beach, to ice cream, iced coffee, summer outfits like cute sun dresses, and the flowers that will be blooming. Late summer wildflowers like fields of Queen Anne’s lace typically pop up during August. If your tan is important to you, August might be the best month for you, since you will have had time to work on that, and it won’t have started to fade yet. (Just please do not ever get a spray tan for your pictures! I PROMISE you will look more beautiful without one!)
September is a beautiful month for teens who love the look of summer but don’t want it to be as hot outside. Weather starts start cooling down, especially in the late afternoon/evenings. Prairie types of fields are very tall by this point. September is sunflower season!
Ahh, October. This is the month for you if you’re all about those chilly sweater vibes, vibrant fall colors, pumpkins and other fall decor. We usually reach PEAK colors around the second week of October, but the first week and third week are still wonderful as well, or even as early as the last week of September, depending on the weather. The last week of October typically will start to be fairly brown and more bare, but with the right weather, can still look golden and lovely. Or, if you are the type of person who really loves Halloween and creepy/moody vibes, waiting until the trees are bare lends itself to those types of sessions beautifully. Keep in mind though, that the sun is setting much earlier in the day the later into October we get. Depending on the date and length of your portrait session, it may be necessary to leave school a bit early the day of your session.
See the notes about the very end of October! November can be tricky to plan for because there MIGHT be snow, but there very well might not be. It’s typically getting pretty cold, and nothing is growing anymore. It can still be a good time for urban pictures where it doesn’t matter if plants are still alive or not, but keep in mind that the weather is more unpredictable at this point.
Honestly, most students don’t want winter photos, but there are a few here and there who just really love the snow and/or Christmas! For later in the winter, there are also ice shoves! There are some stunning places to take pictures in the winter up here, but there are a few things to be prepared for. We have to be more open to possibly rescheduling. If we get a bunch of snow or ice the day before or of your session, we’re going to have to postpone, especially if we are planning to go out to a county park or somewhere like that that will take longer to get plowed. Be prepared for the cold, and maybe choose just one location that is indoors or in an urban area so there is one option that isn’t quite as wintery. You will also want to double check what your yearbook deadline is for submitting your senior picture. Some schools have this in the fall, and others don’t have it until later, so just make sure we will be able to meet that deadline.
If you have any sports that you want to include in your session, make sure to take the season for that into consideration. You want to make sure you will have access to your uniform or any gear that you would have to get from the school, which could be more difficult if, say, you’re in a spring sport but want to book a fall session. If you’re wanting to shoot in a private field that you have access to, make sure to check when it’s going to be mowed/harvested. If you want to see more examples of shots taken during certain seasons, check the categories list for blog posts from specific seasons!
If you’d like to join my VIP list to get first access to senior portrait dates, sign up for my email list! Each year, I open dates to my email list first after my spokesmodels have picked their dates, and then the dates get opened up to everyone else. Sign up in the right hand column, or below on mobile. I hope this helps you pick the perfect timing for your senior session!