New High School Senior Portrait Trend Is Alarming

Notice my white-out nails. For my high school senior year portrait, I remember blow drying my hair for the occasion (which was unusual) and painting my fingernails with white-out. What! I didn't have any white nail polish on hand, what was I supposed to do? Anyway, it probably took me an extra 20 minutes to prep the morning of said portrait, and in the end, I walked away with an 8x10 and some wallet-sized photos of my 17-year-old self looking happy, despite of course feeling totally uncomfortable -- it was high school after all.

But some teens in Texas don't seem to realize that. They think high school, and the requisite senior portrait, is something a professional photographer, stylist, and hair and makeup artist can make perfect, can make pretty, can make memorable. Kids these days are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars to have their senior photos make them look like something they're not: Air-brushed models.


I wish someone would stop these youngsters from trying so hard to get that perfect senior photo. Having three outfit changes and a bevy of stylish professionals make them look like they just stepped off the set of Gossip Girl is not what they'll want to look back and see. They'll want to find their senior portrait in 20 years and see how young they were, how zitty they were, how awkward they were, or, on the other hand, how naturally beautiful they were, and how happy they were.

A professional photo shoot strips the realness and the personality. And the fact that the price of one 45-minute session is near $500 is also a little nutty. I think my whole picture package cost about $20, and even though the photos aren't that great, they're me, and they're meaningful.

And I can't believe retouching is included in the price. What about a 17- or 18-year-old needs to be retouched? Normal high school photos are wonderfully flawed. That's half the fun.

I didn't graduate from high school thaaaaaaat long ago, so I kinda remember seeing my senior year portrait for the first time and thinking, "Eh, whatever. Not bad." But now when I look back on them, a decade later, I'm all, "Hell yes! I remember that white-out!" And I laugh at my goofy, gummy grin, frizzy hair, Sun-In blonde streak, and terrible nails. Now that's a senior portrait.

What do you think about this new high school portrait trend?

Photo via me

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