Yes, we are still in the middle of a sweltering Texas summer, but the school year is right around the corner and for the Class of 2019, it’s going to begin and fly by. You seniors will be graduating before you know it! It’s just insane how quickly it passes. And with that in mind, here’s a handy guide to help all you seniors and your families make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials that will make your senior year unforgettable!
Of course I’m going to mention those first! But I do so not only because I’m a photographer but because of years of experience of working with high school students and yearbooks. Honestly the best time to get your Senior Portraits done is in the fall, between August and October. So many things depend on and require these pictures, getting them done early takes care of a lot of potential problems up front! Your senior year has a tendency to crazy as things move on. Demands from family, friends, school activities pile up and every year we have a flood of students who put off getting their pictures made that end up trying to get them done at the last second, only to discover that all of the photographers in the area are booked up. Make it easy on yourself and get your session booked and on the schedule while things are still manageable.
Your last homecoming as a student has to be special! Mums and garters that reflect who you are and all that school spirit you have bottled up inside are the way to go! And if your school hosts a homecoming dance afterwards, don't forget about planning what you are going to wear and who you will be going with!
Cap and Gown
Pretty early on in the school year, your school’s slected vendor will come by and take orders for caps, gowns, and other items. This is your one chance to order your graduation gear. Most vendors (balfour, josten’s, etc) will allow you to place your order and pay in installments. Just be aware that you cannot get your cap and gown until your order is paid in full and you cannot walk with your class unless you’re wearing a cap and gown. Most of the time, you can expect to pay in the range of $80 for your graduation outfit.
Even if you’ve never ordered a yearbook in your life, trust me, you do not want to miss out in getting a copy of your senior yearbook. It is something that you will appreciate having in a few years. If you can order your yearbook early, you can save a ton of money! Most yearbooks sell at a 30% to 50% discount at the beginning of the school year. It just makes sense to get your book ordered early and get it done! Once yearbook orders close, there may or may not be any copies available after everyone picks up their orders. So seriously don't delay. I missed out on buying some of my high school yearbooks and I have regretted it a lot!
From picking out the perfect outfit to taking those awkward photos with your parents, prom is a special part of the year and can be a lot of fun. Since proms usually involve more than just going to a school dance, you will want to be on top of planning for your event. What are you going to drive? Or maybe we should get a limo? What about the dress or the tux? Are we going somewhere before the prom to eat or hang out? Its a lot to consider and plan and it happens to come up really fast, especially since several schools have moved their proms pretty far forward in the year.
No, you aren't expecting everyone that you send an invitation to to come to your graduation. Most schools limit the amount of guests that you can have attend anyways. Fortunately there's a lot of flexibility here. The idea of an invitation is fading pretty quickly and now most people prefer to create a graduation announcement or choose to invite everyone to a graduation party that is set at a convenient time for the graduate and their family rather than inviting everyone to the actually ceremony. Regardless of what you call it, you're going to need to make sure people know you are graduating so that you can get some of those sweet graduation gifts! There are a lot of great websites out there to order lower-cost but still really high quality announcements/invites. Most of these will let you customize your announcement with custom photos and text and many provide you with a variety of templates to make your invite stand out from the crowd. It is definitely best to get your senior photos done early so that you will have these in time to get your invitations ordered. Generally, you would want to get these out at least six weeks ahead of your graduation date, so your rich family members can make sure and get you the perfect expensive gift to celebrate the big day.
Graduation is a perfect time for parents and grandparents to be sentimental and most schools oblige this by having a really cheesy slideshow featuring you and all of your classmates as goofy looking babies and super mature looking semi-adults. You and your parents are going to have to sort through all 28,752 photos that they have of you and pick out the absolute cutest or most embarrassing photos or whatever photos of you. It takes time so plan a day when you don't have a lot going on to bust out those old photo albums, or hard drive or whatever they're stored on and get to work finding the perfect photos for the occasion.
Senior ads for the Yearbook
Speaking of goofy baby pictures, if you're looking to buy up some real estate in your yearbook you're going to need those baby photos, some of your senior photos (they keep coming up, see how important they are!), and some sweet and sentimental words from your parents and/or other family members. If you want to save your poor yearbook teacher/sponsor a lot of heartache and grief - go ahead and get all of your photos together, get your messages from your parents ready, and get everything converted to digital and put on a flash drive. Scan your photos to a decent resolution and save them as a .jpg or JPEG. Do not take a picture of the picture with your phone. Do not scan your photos to a .pdf file. Put all of the content for your senior pages on a flash drive and deliver it to your yearbook teacher well before the deadline. It helps them to have your stuff early and it ensures that you get a decent spot in the book.
One last fun even with your friends
Its crazy how quickly after graduation that everyone begins to go their own way. Take time and plan a day with your friends to go do something fun. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, just a day together reflect and enjoy one another's company. Take lots of pictures and make the day meaningful! You will appreciate the day and the photos for years to come, I promise!
It will be over before you Know it
It really does go by so very fast. So stop reading and make a to do list now! Stay on top of everything you have to get done and it will make your year less stressful and much more enjoyable! An easy way to start is to go ahead and get your senior photo session scheduled now. Before the year gets too wild you can just get that major component checked off! We love taking senior portraits and we would be happy to get you scheduled so just contact us and we will get you taken care of!
Good luck, Class of 2019! The fun is just beginning!