ABC News’ Amy Robach and Natasha Singh report:
Remember your senior portraits? The ones you probably now look at with dread, and hope you parents won’t drag out at family reunions?
High school seniors now have many more options, because the age-old tradition has evolved into elaborate, highly personalized upscale photo shoots that produce perfect photos that wouldn’t be out of place in glossy magazines.
Brittni Schroeder, an El Paso, Texas, photographer who specializes in the modernized take on senior year photography, said she pulls out all the stops for her clients in order to create a wonderful experience for them. The star treatment includes two hours of hair and makeup in preparation for the shoot.
“We really try … hard to make them feel like they’re America’s next top model,” she said. “We doll them up, they get cute clothes, they look cute and sassy.”
When Laura Garcia heard about the kicked-up photo op, she knew it was what she wanted.
“It’s going to capture who I am as a senior, and who I’ve become over these last four years, and they’re memories that I’m going to be able to hold for the rest of my life,” she said. “It’ll capture my outer and inner beauty.”
Schools are even revolutionizing their take on in-school portraits.
Susan Varro of Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch in Hayward Calif., said things have changed quite a bit since the days of those pensive senior poses shot in front of a standard blue background.
Now, it’s about “giving the students the change to express themselves personally … expressing a side of them that maybe in the past they wouldn’t have been able to do,” she said.
Prestige Portraits does school shoots around the country, during which they encourage outfit changes, changing backdrops and props such as skateboards, guitars and even motorcycles.
Jessica Shreck, who attends Long Beach High School in Lido Beach, N.Y., said she felt like a “superstar” when she shot her portrait.
“Well, my passion is soccer and I want to play it in college, so I got a soccer ball, and took some action shots and it was really fun,” she said.
Her photos won’t be hidden.
“Mine are definitely going to be out forever, and I’ll show my kids them,” she said. “They really represent me with my soccer and the soccer ball.”
Dana Berman, another Long Beach High School student, said her prop was her violin.
“It’s your senior picture, you want something that defines. And, to me, my violin does define me, so I thought, why not?” she said.
The special shoots aren’t restricted to girls.
The special senior photos might be popular, but they come at a price. Some students pay up to $2,000 for theirs.
Texas photographer Schroeder said it represents a valuable experience for the students.
“This builds their confidence,” she said. “They get to experience something where they feel beautiful, they feel like they’re on top of the world … but I don’t think you can put a price on self-confidence, I don’t think you can put a price on making somebody feel good about themselves.”