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The Senior Photography Experience Welcome Guide


Thank you for your interest in my photography. 


Back in 1998, my passion for natural light portrait photography began when I first became a mother.  By 2002, we were blessed with three children under the age of five.  Challenging myself to capture the essence of their personalities in a photograph, especially using black & white film, eventually evolved into doing the same for other families.  My motivation to capture the moments that really matter, whether they are joyful, serene, thoughtful, intense, complex, or quiet, became stronger with every passing year.  

As children get older, finding time (and sometimes their willingness!) to photograph them becomes more complex - they are busy people with their own opinions!  So scheduling and designing a session needs to be more intentional.  Parents typically think that their children change A LOT in those first 5 years of life, but WOW, those precious years between 9th and 12th grade and their college years ---- it goes by in a heartbeat and they become young adults in the blink of an eye. 

Celebrating who they are during their senior year is a milestone worthy of slowing down to mindfully document with a special Senior Photography Experience in which they are the 'art' in front of the lens!  Honestly, it's so much more than a session with an end goal of getting beautiful's designed to be a personalized experience they will fondly remember; a celebration of their Senior Year! 


They will be the star of a very relaxed and stress-free session. No two senior sessions are ever alike: I want your senior's images to authentically capture them - a process which involves getting to know them and gentle guidance to create a safe space for them to be themselves so that together we can create beautiful, authentic, and artistic images.   


~ Donna


The Process:




  • Call, text, or email and tell me what type of photography session you are interested in booking

  • Mutually agree on the session date & timeframe (choices: morning, afternoon, or early evening in summer months) to pencil in on the calendar to temporarily reserve your session

  • Schedule and have a pre-session phone call with the Senior and at least one person who will take financial responsibility for the session to discuss details and customize your session (location options, exact starting time, what to wear, how to prepare, what to expect, etc)




  • Electronically sign my Photography Agreement to officially hold your session date & time on my calendar. The Photography Agreement details the process, prices, timelines, copyrights, model releases, and rescheduling options.

  • No advanced deposit is required - only your e-signature on my Photography Agreement



  • Review this Senior Photography Experience Welcome Guide for ideas and details about your upcoming session

  • Finalize your session location 

  • Plan what you will wear for the session (option: text pictures if you would like feedback for what will photograph well)

  • Touch base the day before the session to double-confirm our exact meeting location

  • Discuss a contingency plan if the weather forecast looks questionable





  • Relax and trust's going to be fun!




  • Expect a request to pay a $250 non-refundable deposit approximately two weeks after your session

  • Receive access to your online, private, sharable previewing gallery once your non-refundable payment is received

  • Every client’s online gallery is unique, but most 60-90 minute sessions yield 200+ custom-edited images

  • Spend the next two weeks deciding which images are your favorites! 




  • Schedule your post-session consultation to discuss placing your Collection order

  • Finalize your order before your Previewing Gallery expires: four weeks from the date your link is sent (a two-week extensions can be purchased for a $25 reposting fee) 

  • Pay the remaining balance of your Collection through your gallery’s online payment portal

  • Your gallery's payment portal accepts all major credit cards, Google Pay, or Apple Pay, or as an alternative, you can always mail a check




  • For Senior Photography Experiences, approximately two weeks after your remaining balance is paid, your digital images will be mailed to your street address on a flash drive 

  • Any optional reprints ordered will be arranged for pick-up in Arlington, VA

  • Upon request, if you need your digital images before the flash drive will arrive in the mail, I can send an advanced copy electronically through a Dropbox Folder to your email address for downloading


Location Decisions: 

Urban, Iconic DC, Parks & Nature, Rustic, Botanical Gardens…..the Washington DC Metro area has so MANY great location options for portrait photography session.  


Please keep in mind that the primary focus of your session will be YOU!  


Locations certainly play a role in the overall experience, but wherever we decide to have your session, my priority will be on capturing your Senior, their unique expressions in a creative and authentic way.  The location and background scenery will be our secondary focus to enhance the images and your session experience.  


Do you already have a special place in mind for the session?  Do you need suggestions?  I’d be happy to discuss the places that I frequented for portrait sessions or we can brainstorm together about a new place for your session.   

Things to consider when making a location decision:








  • Time of year, time of day and lighting

  • Parking/ease of accessibility 

  • Other people in the background of public spaces 

  • Variety of scenery in walking distance 

  • Entertainment factors/distractions 

  • Commercial photograph restrictions and/or additional fees

  • Pet restrictions if applicable 

  • Safety


What to Wear: 

While the focus of your images will be your face and expressions, I want you to feel relaxed so it’s important to wear things that help you feel that way.  If it’s uncomfortable, doesn’t stay tucked-in, only looks good from one angle, keeps coming unbuttoned, or makes you feel self-conscious, it’s probably not the right outfit.  It’s hard to overcome those feelings and restrictions when you are in front of the lens, so making good decisions ahead of time will help get the session started on a good note.   


Most Senior Photography Experiences include two or three 'outfit' changes to include a more formal look and a casual look, but if you'd like to consider other options, let's discuss a plan which may be dependent on the location that you choose for your session and may need to have additional time incorporated into your session.


Here are some ideas to consider when choosing what to wear: 


  • Coordinate: start with one clothing piece that you love - a solid or subtle pattern.  Coordinate the rest of your outfit from that anchor point.  Add neutrals to create balance and textures to create interest.  

  • Colors: jewel tones in the fall and winter, pastels and light colors in the spring and summer, and neutrals anytime tend to be softer and more complimentary for most skin tones versus stark white, black, and bright red.  Neon colors can be very overwhelming. Navy blues also often look 'black' in photos and sometimes blacks look washed out and/or show every piece of lint.    

  • Layers and textures: layers add interest and can provide extra warmth in cold temperatures and softer fabrics tend to look less stiff or wrinkled. 

  • What to avoid: Clothing with large brand names, graphics, and bold patterns can be distracting.  Skirts or dresses that are very short also can limit poses to standing only (it's nice to be able to sit, kneel, bend, and even lay down - longer skirts/dresses are much more flexible)

  • Tucking: it’s really hard to keep shirts tucked in!  A sweater or shirt that looks good when it’s not tucked usually works better and feels more natural for most people.     

  • Comfortability: in most portrait sessions, it's great to be able to highlight your face, expressions, and body language by sitting, squatting, and leaning - think about how this impacts what you choose to wear.  Most sessions are pretty active and incorporate lots of movement.  Think about whether it’s hard to sit, lean, lay, or kneel on the ground, a bench, wall or rock in what you will be wearing. You should be able to comfortably move, sit or stand without worrying about what you are wearing for fear of exposing something you don't want exposed in the images. PRO TIP: Try on what you are thinking about wearing and do a slow 360 degrees spin in front of the mirror (or have someone help you) and look for things that you don't want to be seen in the images (undergarments, garment tags showing, etc.) and make any necessary adjustments in advance of the session date.     

  • Pulling it all together: Once you think you have good plan, lay out your choice and have plan for what you want to wear first and how you will change from one outfit to the next, especially if the photo session will be in a big public location without easy access to bathrooms or your vehicle. Have an advance plan for any jewelry and your hair and make-up.     

  • Ironing, Lint and Stains: Does anything need to be ironed in advance?  It helps to minimize session day stress when the ironing or dry-cleaning are done ahead of time. If it wrinkles easily, such as a jacket, bring it to the location verses wearing it to the location.  Do you need a lint roller?  Black/dark colors have a tendency to show hairs and lint.  Look for stains and adjust as necessary.    

  • Unload your pockets: Cell phones, keys, wallets, sunglasses, hair band on wrists...leave as much in your car as possible. 

  • Glasses: If you wear glasses, make sure they have clean lenses.  Blue light glasses will look discolored in the images, and progressive lenses that darken into sunglasses are hard to 'see' your eyes.  If you have plain lenses, they will photograph better.  

  • Check your hands....if your hands show in some of the images, are you OK with your nails polish and/or jewelry? 

  • Remember that these photographs are going to be images that are treasured for generations so it’s worth it to take the time to find something that you love and that captures your personal style. 


You can also text me photos of your outfits considerations if you are looking for feedback.  

Tips for Winter Sessions: Use layers, especially a base layers, toe warmers for inside shoes, blankets instead of coats for bundling quickly as we walk around (a consideration if you won’t be wearing a coat in the images). 

Session Day Checklist and Tips:

A Senior Photography Experience is actually a beautiful time to stop and appreciate this milestone and celebrate your successes! 

  • Let your senior know that it’s going to be fun. No one needs to act a certain way or even smile at the camera.  Just relax and be yourself.  That's when your true personality will shine.    

  • I certainly appreciate that having your picture taken can be awkward and uncomfortable, but the best images will come more naturally when you are just being you. 

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Remember that there are no hard and fast rules, no rights or wrongs - just have fun, lean in, and leave the rest to me.      


Session, Prints, and Additional Digital Image Pricing: 

Prices are subject to change at any time and are locked upon signing the photography agreement. 

Virgina Sales Tax of 6% will be added to all sessions and print orders. 

The Senior Photography Experience

an all-inclusive experience custom-designed with and for seniors



- pre & post-session consultations 

- location scouting & travel time (within 30 min of Arlington, VA)

- creative/sitting fee of $200 for up to a 1.5 hour photography session 

- two/three outfit changes

- custom-editing and hosting fees for an online previewing image gallery of color and black & white images

(most 90 minute session result in 200+ images)

- Your choice of 5 different Collections to be determined AFTER viewing your gallery

Collection A: 20 digital images + 10% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $600

Collection B: 25 digital images + 10% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $700

Collection C: 30 digital images + 15% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $800

Collection D: 35 digital images + 15% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $900

Collection E: 40 digital images + 20% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $1000

Option to add additional digital images to Collection E as follows: 

45 images ($1,100), 50 images ($1,200), 55 images ($1,300), 60 images ($1,400)

(digital images include a print release and are appropriate for unlimited personal printing up to size 8x12)


Professionally printed on Fine Art paper and mounted for extra stability/thickness

Print delivery will be coordinated for client pick up in Arlington, VA 

Tabletop Prints: 




Medium Wall Art:





Large Wall Art:





5x7 print examples on Fine Art Paper, mounted for extra stability 



What if it rains on our day of our session? 


I shoot outdoor session in any kind of weather except for the rain, so if the weather forecast is predicting rain, we can chat on the day before your session to reconfirm the session or discuss a contingency plan.  I book a limited number of appointments per day to provide for some last minute tweaking of session start times based on unexpected weather changes.  If it’s a total wash out, we can usually find another session time that works.    

Can you edit out blemishes? 


For every session, I spend hours in the postproduction stage editing your images to my creative and artistic standards.  I remove temporary blemishes, such as pimples, scratches or prominent bruises but I do not offer heavy photoshopping or image manipulation.  After viewing your images, please ask if you have additional editing concerns.      

Will I have both color and black & white images in my gallery? 


I’ve always loved Andri Cauldwell’s quote, “To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”  I now offer two types of portrait sessions: The Authentic Portrait Session has a combination of color and B&W images and there's a 100% B&W images session option. 

How do I choose which images from my gallery to purchase? 


In our post-session consultation, we can discuss your images in more detail.  I’m always available to help you decide which images you want to obtain digitally, in print, and display in your home.   

Can I purchase more images (digitals or printed products) at a later date? 


Your online gallery will be accessible to you for 4 weeks and is sharable with anyone you choose to provide the link.  It’s important to make all of your ordering decision during the time that your gallery is active. We can schedule your post-session consultation within the 4 weeks so that you are prepared to make your final decisions and I can efficiently process your complete order at one time.  I do have a digital storage system in place but I don’t guarantee that I will digitally store your images indefinitely.  If you discover that you would like to make any additional purchases after your gallery’s expiration, please inquire and hopefully I can help.     


Questions?  Please text, call, or email me anytime:

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