A high school senior portrait is something you’ll look upon for the rest of your life.
It will be framed and put on the wall, carried around in wallets, mailed to friends and relatives. It’s one of the most important photographs you’ll ever have taken, and for that reason, it’s important to us.
So many photo studios offer a cookie-cutter approach to senior portraits. It’s the same two or three settings time and time again. But we think you deserve more. Among our promises to you is that we’ll do everything we can to make your high school senior portrait experience enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons.
You won’t be penalized for wanting to change your outfit; we can go anywhere you’d like within a 15- or 20-mile radius of the studio for an outdoor portrait. If you have a quirky, off beat or different idea for your senior portrait, just ask. One of our mantras is that we’ll do our best not to say no.
We urge you to do research, be a good consumer and check out the other photo studios. Ask about pricing and find out what it will cost not just for a sitting fee, but for the prints as well. Find out what your final cost will be. Many studios in the industry offer low- or no-cost prices for a sitting, but then raise the price of prints sky high or ding you for picking different poses or outfits.
The aim at Gregory Shamus Photography is to ensure not only that you have a wonderful experience, but that you love the images as well. We’ll always be upfront about pricing, and if, for any reason you don’t love your photographs, we will reshoot them, reprint them or refund your money.
See what different can be.
Frequently asked questions
Question: Why should I choose you for my photos?
Answer: If you want something unique, we’re your best option. Whether it’s bringing your car into the studio, or going into your locker room, on the field, on the court or in the pool, we’ll take photographs that make a statement.
Our style changes with each customer, and we offer more than just a portrait of a student standing against a column with flat cross-lighting. We offer a combination of creative lighting with creative backgrounds and try to bring personality into every picture.
If you’ve seen an image in a magazine that you love – whether it’s a photo in Sports Illustrated or Cosmo – bring a tear sheet and we can try to mirror that pose.
Our mission is to have happy customers, now and in 20 years from now, when you look back on your senior picture and it sparks a fond memory.
Question: My school says I should use another studio. Do I have to go there?
Answer: Some schools have contracts with certain studios, and those studios come to the school and photograph underclassmen. But as a senior, you have the choice to pick any photographer you’d like for your senior portraits.
Question: My school says we have to have a yearbook or composite picture taken at Studio X and it’s going to cost me $30. Why shouldn’t I just do my senior portraits there as well?
Answer: Some schools have contracts with certain studios, and that is one of the ways they try to push business toward a particular studio. Most schools will allow you to use one of our images for your yearbook photo. If so we will take care of submitting it for you. If you want to be included in the composite in most cases you need to go to the contract photographer and have that photo taken.
Question: Your packages don’t mention how many outfit changes I can have. How come?
Answer: We don’t believe you should have to pay extra to change your shirt. Our shooting sessions are based on time and creativity, not whether you take 5 minutes to put on a different outfit. For instance, our deluxe portrait session includes over two hours of photography time, and we work to create unique and fun images that say something about you.
It might take a couple of outfits to find the right one for the image we’re trying to capture. We’re not going to penalize you if one doesn’t say as much about you as another. So bring as much clothing as you’d like along with you, and let’s have some fun without worrying about added fees.
Question: I’d like some outdoor portraits. Are there limits on where we can go to take pictures?
Answer: There are no limits; however time and lighting conditions are always a consideration. For our basic outdoor session, we try to stay within a 10- to 15-minute drive of the studio. Fabulous outdoor locations within that range include Elizabeth Park, Bishop Park, downtown Wyandotte or on your school grounds. If you have something really unique in mind – let’s say outside Michigan Stadium, for example – we certainly can do that, but there may be extra costs involved. It’s decided on a case-by-case basis. Rarely would we object to shooting anyplace that a student really wants to try.
Question: I can’t seem to get a straight answer when I ask about prices at a lot of other studios. What’s it going to cost me to work with you?
Answer: Many studios don’t like to talk about costs until after you’ve already been photographed. They charge a small sitting fee, and then after the images have been taken, charge an exorbitant amount for prints of those images. This is a practice that we don’t agree with. Our pricing is very clear, all of our sessions include the sitting fee and a nice selection of prints (see point system) and you will know going into your senior portrait project what your end costs will be.
If you ever have any questions about pricing, we will be happy to answer all of them up front – whether by phone, in person or by e-mail. Our No. 1 goal is not only to make sure you’re really happy with the experience of being photographed and the pictures, but also with the way pricing is handled.
We recommend that you take the time to check out different studios, ask about their pricing and be a good consumer. Don’t be fooled by low sitting fees, but also be sure to check out print costs and to ask what your total will be when your package is finished and your prints are in your hands.
We also suggest meeting the photographer you’re planning to work with to ensure you have a good connection and that your personalities click. Whether we’re the right studio for you or not, do your due diligence to be sure you’re happy with your pictures.
Question: I’m interested. Can you take me through the process from start to finish?
Answer: First, we like to meet with any potential client so you can see the studio and the environment where we’ll work, but also so we can meet you and see what sorts of things you’re looking for in a portrait experience.
Once you’ve decided to have your photos done with us, we will discuss the packages available, and schedule an appointment for a portrait session.
During our shooting time at the studio, you will be able to view all photos taken on a computer, while we shoot. This allows you to learn how your poses and facial expressions are coming across and so we can get feedback as we work to ensure you’re happy through the session.
If you schedule an on-location shoot outdoors or at your school, that session usually will take place on a separate day. Those images will be available for viewing as we’re shooting on the back of the camera for the same learning process.
Once your photos have been completed, you will be able to view them online or, if you feel more comfortable, we can provide you with a CD. From there, you’ll pick your favorites. We’ll then provide you with printed proofs, and work with you to choose what images you would like to use for your package prints.
Question: How do I decide what to bring to my shoot?
Answer: We’ll go over all that in more in detail when we schedule your studio appointment, but as a general rule, it’s smart to bring a few outfits. You might want to include something casual, something dressy and something in between. Sports uniforms, varsity jackets, jerseys, baseball bats, musical instruments, or whatever items that will help show what you love or what’s special about you are always a good choice.
Remember that your pictures should say something about you and show your personality. What you choose to have in your photographs should be a reflection of that.
If you’re always playing with your iPhone, let’s try a photo with it. If your favorite thing in the world is hockey, bring your stick, a puck and your jersey. If you live for your car, our studio is unique in that you can actually bring your vehicle right into the shooting area. We know many students scrape together nickels and quarters to buy their first cars, so it’s important to us to be able to photograph you with the vehicle that means so much to you. Even if it’s raining outside, we have a controlled indoor environment to shoot you with your wheels. This option can be included as part of the standard or deluxe package.
Question: You photograph professional athletes. Why are you now shooting high school seniors?
Answer: Downriver has always been my home, and I love the people of this community. I started out shooting high school sports for the News-Herald over 25 years ago, and enjoyed that best of all. Why? Because the photographs I take of students matter to them. It’s a big deal for local kids to see themselves on the pages of the newspaper and to have really great senior portraits that they’ll look upon for decades to come. Doing work like that is incredibly rewarding. Though my studio work will be my No. 1 priority, I will continue to shoot professional athletes and cover many pro games. But being on the road for hockey, football, basketball, baseball and golf all year long doesn’t allow me to be in town all that often with my family. I don’t want to give up the chance to watch my daughters grow up.
Question: Do you do anything besides senior portraits? My older sister is getting married and is looking for a photographer for her wedding.
Answer: Sure. For more information about our wedding photography please send us an email or call, we also do family-style portraits that include our own unique style.