Senior Picture Essentials

Grand Rapids Photographer offers advice on the essentials for great looking senior pictures.

Grand Rapids Photographer Steven Cloud offers some advice on your senior pictures. Unfortunately many people believe that a camera does it all. That’s like thinking that great cookware prepares great meals. We want to dispel that misconception. So here are some things to consider for your once in a lifetime moment before a camera.

First of all, how important is your senior portrait? Consider this. People have only four occasions in their life that call for a professional portrait. When they’re a baby, their senior portraits, on the day of their wedding, and when they have a family.

So yes. Your senior portrait is very important. It’s the last time someone is photographed, by themselves, by a professional photographer.

Grand Rapids photographer Steven Cloud, of Cloud Photography offers some thoughts.


How you are presented before a camera is so very important. First, you should never be posed square shouldered to the camera. It adds additional ‘size’ if you will. Sometimes we can get away with it for the guys, but never the girls.

We all have a way of carrying ourselves. Some with hands on hips or in pockets etc. It feels right to you and it’s something that Grand Rapids photographer Steven Cloud looks for. It’s you.

Of course we don’t always follow that rule as there are some cool ‘fashion oriented looks’ we can use for the girls.

Not a professional model? Few are. That’s why we demonstrate each pose for you first, then have you try it. No anxiety. No worries.

When you have senior pictures made at Grand Rapids photographer, Cloud Photography, you’ll never here us say, “hey, go stand by that wall.”

Tell a story with your senior pictures.

Grand Rapids Photographer Senior Picture Studio

Include your thing. Whatever it may be. Instrument, sports or dance outfit, football gear, hats, cool umbrellas, prom dress, bats, balls, poms, skateboard, or more. We love it when our seniors do this and can create some really cool one of a kind image with your ‘stuff’.


It’s something Grand Rapids photographer Steven Cloud is known for.

Grand Rapids Photographer Senior Picture Studio

This is where the rubber meets the road. Photographs are a two dimensional medium. With the proper lighting your senior portraits can look 3D and make them come alive. We’ve been known to use up to three additional lights outdoors to get the most realistic look you can get.

More importantly, everyone has a different facial shape. Which lighting will make you look your best? Short?, Broad?, Split?, Rembrandt?, Butterfly? Getting the right lighting is something that Grand Rapids photographer Steven Cloud is known for.

Above all, you’ll want to have the proper lighting in your eyes. That is where all your expression comes from. Doesn’t matter what the rest of your face is doing, it’s your eyes that tell the story.

We’re sure you’ve seen senior pictures where there are two dark spots where the persons eyes are. Maybe you’ve seen where someone tried to ‘fix’ it and the eyes look so unrealistic you wonder if the person is an off world alien or something.

We never let that happen to you. When we set up our lighting, we make sure that everyone’s eyes will sparkle, shine., and look natural.

Be real.

There seems to be a ‘photographer trend’ lately of over retouching-editing-of skin. Thus leaving you with a fake looking plastic face. We are asked frequently, “You don’t do that fake looking skin look do you?” “We want a real look.”  Of course any blemishes are removed as well as any little imperfections.

You can get the best portrait look without going to the extreme and that’s just what we do for you. Your natural real you look.

Getting Ready.

I can’t imagine meeting up with stranger at a Park, meeting for the first time, and then having them photograph you.

Have a consultation at least a week before your ‘shoot’ with the person who will be photographing you. Don’t have them simply send you some literature in the mail.

This way they can get to know you and you can get to know them. Discuss any concerns you may have with them at this time. Share idea’s you may have about what you are looking for and they may have some for you as well. You can discuss outfits and what colors photograph best. This will help take any anxiety you may have about what to wear.

We have a consultation with each and every senior we photograph. Every senior and their Mom or Dad has mentioned to us how helpful this little 30 minute meeting was. The more you know, the better you are prepared, the easier and more fun your ‘shoot’ will be.

Makeup for the Ladies

Make the experience even more fun. Get pampered with professionally done makeup. It can make a lot of difference in the final results. Photographers can enhance your senior pictures just so far before it starts to look ‘photoshopy’. Make sure the person doing your makeup doesn’t over do it. You still want to look like you.

Grand Rapids Photographer Senior Picture Studio

Did you know that some makeup, generally the over the counter variety, can leave you with an orange, ashy, greenish skin tone? You won’t see it in person but that’s how a camera will see it with the professional portrait lighting used.

We offer makeup service, at a special price to our clients, by a professional makeup artist. She uses theater/photography specific makeup. She is also in tune with exactly with what I as a photographer want as well as our client.


What would happen if they don’t turn out? Senior pictures you aren’t happy with our worthless. Senior pictures you absolutely love are priceless. We offer the best guarantee in the profession.

Though it rarely ever happens, if you aren’t happy with your poses when you first see them, we’ll make more of those poses at absolutely no charge. We want you to have senior portraits that are priceless.

To learn more about what Cloud Photography offers, click here.

Steven Cloud is a Grand Rapids Photographer who has earned the Master of Photography degree.

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