If you can capture Prom Images why not High School Senior Portraits in the UK as well

May 11, 2017

When it comes to the world of Photography, Britain normally mirrors many of the photography styles that is current around the world and in some case can be said have some world leaders when it comes to weddings and portraiture.

However, there are two areas of Photography that is still new to Britain or as yet to take off, namely School Proms that have been part of the American school culture since about 1930 but there is evidence that as far back as 1894 certain schools or colleges would have an end of year dance.

In the UK around the year, 2000 school proms were started to be introduced into many schools, which became a welcome bonus for many event photographers since they know had the opportunity to make more money from School Proms as well as Graduation University Balls Dances

The culture of parents getting involved in the excitement and planning for their son or daughter school prom has become a very big thing when it comes to what will they wear, makeup, hairstyles and transport for the one day.

I can remember documenting the school prom for my school that I attend, Northicote High School in Wolverhampton, I was so surprised and impressed, because all we had was, an end of year school disco with soft drinks and a few sandwiches, and the highlight for me was watching my school friends dancing to heavy rock or metal  music, with their long hair, whiles they jumped up and down playing their invisible guitar, crazy but true.

Many of us who have done School Proms as well as University Graduation Balls would have found it easy to do with our mobile studio and onsite printing kit, or a photo booth, so that everyone attending a school prom or university graduation ball could go home with a photograph of their memory of their prom night, and even more so if you were Prom Queen or Prom King.

But when it comes to High School Senior Portraits, I cannot think of many photographers in the UK,  who have made this American school portrait culture a part of their yearly marketing strategy plans.

Looking at how High School Senior Portraits has evolved in America, I am not sure why it has not taken off in the UK since I truly believe it is a lost opportunity for many Portrait Photographers including Event Photographers.

For many kids from year groups 11 to 13, or from ages of 15 to 19 in school and those older attending university graduation balls, many parents are already spending some silly amount of money for a one night experience in their child's life, which has become an official rights of passage from a school life to further education or having a job.

For images that may not be a very good representation of their son or daughter, depending who the Photographer was.

For that reason, many parents have booked photo shoots for their son or daughter that represent a period of their life, that for them just needs to be documented by a Professional Photographer.

Either in a studio setting or out on location and when you look at some of the examples from American Senior Portrait Photographs online, you can see how creative and well thought out many of the images that were captured for senior portraits were.

Again you can see how some parents will go to a lot of expenses in making sure their son or daughter  looks their best, with images captured based on a theme, or of what their interest may be like, such as sports, with a change of clothes from sports, casual to formal wear or in harmony with a theme.

In the Uk, since many Photographers would be starting from a point of zero, it would mean trying to educate a potential market, that are not use to spending money on their kids in this manner. 

However, this may be an easy thing to do if you have regular schools doing school proms already as part of your income stream, or it may mean contacting suppliers of school proms and making a pitch that way in your marketing.

Either way High School Senior Portraits session will sooner or later be part of many young people's legacy story in the UK, so why not make an effort to seek out those Senior Portrait Photographs wherever they may be in the world, and learn how they do it, so that you can apply what you have learnt into your own style and workflow.

At the end of the day, you are talking about an untapped market or a potential market that can be done all year round, that would be a nice addition to your bank account.

Good luck…

Please note some supporting links below, that you may want to consider as a start to your research in finding out how you can make Senior Portraits part of your business in the UK.


Walter James Photography School Proms Slideshow Presentation 

Two Young Ladies,Two Cousins,Two Friends, Family


CreativeLive 3 days of Business of Senior Photography with Sal Cincotta





Salvatore Cincotta - Behind The Shutter 

8 simple Lighting Tips for Dynamic Senior Portraits


COLORVALE by Stacie Jenson - Prom day is here for my little girl


Tiffinbox Inspiring Photographers - How to Specialise in Photographing High School Seniors


Lynda.com - 5 tips for shooting High School Senior Portraits

Walter James Photography

Walter James Photography Walter James Photography





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