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Why Co-Creating With Clients Is Important in Senior Photography - 5 Takeaways

What is Co-Creating in Photography? And Why Is It Important?

Co-creating is exactly what it sounds like: creating with another person. In my case, I co-create (or design) with my high school senior clients during their photography sessions. Asking the client for feedback gives them a sense of ownership in the process. This, in turn, has helped me provide the best client experience with a personal touch.

young man with pink and brown hair posing for senior pictures

black and white series of images showing high school senior guy in studio portraits

Today’s Technology Gives Us an Advantage

Years ago, when I had my senior photos taken, they were taken with film. The photographer didn’t have the option to share images with me as we went along. I just had to trust that he knew what he was doing. In fact, I didn't even have much of a say in the setting or style. And in the end, I didn’t see the images until weeks after my session.

Today, we can use digital technology to share images as we move through a session, and I’ve found it helpful for co-creation with clients. By showing clients sneak peeks throughout the session, I can see their reactions and get feedback in real-time. This helps me gauge whether I’m capturing photos the client will be excited about. It also helps the client feel at ease, knowing their input and feedback matter.

collage of images showing guy in long sleeved pink shirt in various poses for senior photos in studio

images of young man in black shirt and pink frosted tipped hair in studio photos

Happy Accidents

When we first started Josh’s senior session, I could tell he was having a good time, but nothing overly exciting came about until a flash misfired. Talk about a happy accident!

When the flash misfired, I showed Josh the back of my camera, and he thought it was cool. He saw that it was dramatic and said, “Oh, I like that!” So I changed what I was doing, and we began co-creating photos that Josh was more excited about. That one bit of feedback from Josh changed the direction of his session completely.

As Josh saw poses he liked, I could guide him towards more like that. Working with him and inviting his active design participation helped move the session forward and keep things positive.

high school senior guy in pink long sleev shirt with pink hair looking directly at camera

School Outfits and Uniforms

Josh, like many seniors, brought along his school band field commander uniform for his photos. But when his mom asked if he wanted to put it on, he said he wasn't so sure he wanted to focus on it too much.

This isn’t the first time this has happened with senior photos. Wearing these uniforms for the last time can be very special, and I always encourage clients to bring them along to their sessions. Even if they think they won’t want photos in their school uniforms, the sentimental value can’t be matched by wearing regular clothes.

Josh did change into his field commander uniform, and when he did, he assumed a different posture. I could see the pride on his face while he wore his uniform. This is the exact reason I suggest my senior clients bring their school outfits or uniforms. They might think they’ll never want that photo, but years from now, it’ll be a treasured memory.

image of young man in high school band uniform with black jacket and red tie