Prices for Senior Pictures: The Complete Reference Guide

Short Answer: Senior pictures may cost anywhere between $100 and $1,000. The exact fees will vary depending on your photographer’s experience level, how many poses or sessions you would like, and whether you want the photos delivered as physical prints, a photo book, or digital files. Below, we have the complete guide to senior pictures — including pricing and how to find a good photographer.

Prices for Senior Pictures

Senior picture prices vary by the number of locations you use and the number of poses or outfits. Your costs will also vary based on the number of photos you want and how they’re presented to you — as prints of assorted sizes, in a book, as a collage, digitally, etc.

For more information about senior portrait prices, we consulted professional photographers in California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Oregon. While pricing will vary greatly depending on the factors noted above, you can generally expect your senior portrait costs to fall within the following ranges:

  • Sessions: Around $175 to $300 per studio or on-location session
  • Printed portrait package: $100 to $700
  • Personalized photo book/album package: $150 to $1,000
  • Digital download or CD package: $150 to $400
  • Retouching: Basic retouching (blemish removal, teeth whitening, etc.) is usually included at no charge.

Note that some photographers will include the session cost with your print or digital photo package. Using a mix of value and high-end packages from photographers from around the country, we calculate that the median cost of a senior portrait package is around $400 for digital-only delivery and $600 to receive printed photos or an album.

Where to Find Good Photographers

You can find local photographers using a directory, word of mouth, or advertisements. Online directories like the following allow you to narrow your search to your particular location:

If you have family or friends who’ve recently had senior pictures done, ask them for details of their photographer’s services and whether they’d recommend that photographer. You can find local photographers through social media, local newspapers, or community noticeboards, too.

Before booking a photographer, contact them with information about what you’re looking for, your contact details, and when you’d like to conduct your sessions. You may want to ask for some samples (especially if you plan to order physical prints or photo books) and view the photographer’s portfolio before making your final decision.

Things to Keep In Mind When Buying Senior Pictures

Get an Early Start

When choosing a photographer, it’s best to begin your search early so you can research your options, collect quotes from several photographers, and leave plenty of time to coordinate your photo sessions. Senior picture season generally starts the summer after your junior year. The best photographers get booked early, so you may want to start your search near the end of your junior year.

Tips for Successful Portrait Sessions

Keep the following tips in mind after booking your senior pictures to ensure a successful session:

  • Bring your own ideas — photographers will do everything they can to accommodate your wishes. Your senior pictures should reflect your personality and interests; sharing these with your photographer can help personalize your photos.
  • Bring a selection of clothing and (if you wear it) makeup. Remember that things may look different on camera than they look in the mirror; it’s always a good idea to have back-up options.
  • Check the weather if you’re planning an outdoor shoot. Keep in contact with your photographer if the session needs to be rescheduled or moved indoors.

Do-It-Yourself Portraits

If you’re unable to find a good photographer that fits your budget, DIY senior portraits can work just as well. If you choose to have a friend or family member take your portraits (or use a self-timer), keep the following factors in mind:

  • Locations: Think of a few places that would provide a nice background for your shots. You don’t need access to a studio — a local park, city street, or your own home could provide a fine backdrop for your portraits.
  • Styling: Choose a few favorite outfits you already have in your closet, and you can find tutorials for hairstyles or camera-ready makeup on YouTube and Pinterest. Avoid light pastel colors or super-bright neon colors; colors like black, deep blue, dark red, forest green, and mustard yellow tend to photograph best.
  • Equipment: If you know someone keen on photography, you could ask to borrow their camera — or ask them to take the photos for you. You can also rent a camera from a company like BorrowLenses. Camera rental prices start at about $60 to $150 per week. If it’s cloudy or you’re taking photos indoors, you may also need to rent some lighting equipment.

6 comments

  • I am confused about prices as well. I am a photographer from Ohio, and the average cost of prints, rights to print, and collections, you will be paying a total cost of around $600-$1500. Very confusing list. Seems to be a lot of information, but really just a bunch of numbers thrown together. $300 range will NOT get you what you want out of portraits. For $300, I give 3 hours, 3 locations, unlimited outfits, rights to print, and flash drive with complimentary 8×10 collage.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Abby,

      We gathered prices from photographers across the country to come up with our price list. We found that everything from sitting fees to photo packages can vary widely.

  • Laura Miller says:

    As a photographer I am a little confused by the price lists here. Some do not seem to include *final* cost, just the session (sitting) fee. I don’t know a single photographer who would only charge $25 – $55 (Lifetouch) unless that is only the session fee, not including prints and packages which typically range in the $100s. So I visited the Lifetouch site and they are currently offering a 10% discount, with a minimum purchase of $299… so clearly the prices you have listed are not a final cost. Or for instance, a local studio here in town charges an $85 session fee, but packages can run the customer upwards of $1500. It would be helpful if those extra costs would be included in your figures here. Unless, of course, someone is really out there doing photography for $25… ??

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Laura,

      You’re right! After looking into this, the prices for Lifetouch were clearly sitting fees and not package fees. We have removed this company from our list due to the inaccurate information. Thank you!

  • Jeremy C. says:

    I’m looking to start a small business where I take all of my friends’ senior pictures and have them tell their friends about me. Is this a good thing to invest time into? Could I turn a profit without ripping off my friends? To whom it may concern, I already have a high quality camera, photography gear, and skills.

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Jeremy,

      Starting a photography business is definitely a viable way to earn some extra income. Particularly if you already own a professional-grade camera and know how to use it, there’s nothing stopping you from at least trying it out (that’s the great thing about digital cameras — if you have a computer, a memory card, and a computer, it won’t cost you anything but time). You may need to do a few jobs for free or at a very low rate to start out, so you can build up your portfolio and connections — but if you do a great job and your friends can recommend you to all their friends, you can certainly build up a steady stream of business, especially if you’re smart about using social media to spread the word about your services. Competition in the photography world is fierce, so I wouldn’t necessarily quit your day job right away, but you can start photography as a side gig and try to build it into a full-time job if you have really strong photography skills and a good business sense. Best of luck!