Senior Portrait FAQ

There’s a lot to know about your senior year.

One of the decisions you’ll need to make is where to have your senior portraits taken. These “Once in a Lifetime” portraits will remain in your family for a very long time.  It is important to understand your options, so you can choose wisely.

You have many choices! That’s good, but it can also be very confusing.

Want to know about all the different options for your Senior Portraits?

Check out the Senior Session Guide.

Here are the straight answers to the most common questions we get about Senior Portrait Photography.

#1 Don’t you have to get your pictures from the school picture company?


New Jersey public schools are required by law to accept outside photographs, as long as they meet yearbook standards. You do not have to go to the school picture company, even for your yearbook picture. We have been providing area schools with compliant yearbook photos for more than 30 years.

Private schools, and schools in other states, may require that your yearbook shot be from a designated studio, but they cannot require you to purchase anything. You are always free to choose any studio you want for your own senior portraits.

When selecting a studio, check that they can meet your schools requirements for yearbook submissions. Keep in mind that a photographer who does not have a studio and only shoots outdoors in public parks in all likelihood will NOT be able to provide what is needed.

#2 How much does it cost? 

Every photographer is different and charges differently.

You’ve probably already heard a lot about Dennis Kelly Photography. Some things are true, like we do amazing work. Some are not, like you must spend a lot to come here!

The truth is, what you decide to spend is completely up to you.

Although many of our clients love their portraits so much, they do invest a lot, we also have other clients that spend much less.

We are not the cheapest, but ask yourself, “Is the cheapest photographer really who I want for my senior portraits?

Remember, things of value always cost a little more, because they are worth more! Before considering a photographer who offers a seemingly very low price, ask yourself why they think their work isn’t worth very much!

#3 What should I look for when comparing photographers?

Here are some things you should consider when deciding on your photographer:

Do you see them using the exact same poses and backgrounds over and over and over and everyone gets the same pictures as everyone else, only the faces change?

Do their pictures look off-color…  like a bad spray tan, or washed out and muddy?

Does the retouching look natural, like an actual human, or does the face have that plastic photoshop look?

Here’s a hint… real people have pores!

Are the sessions limited to what THEY want to shoot, or will they go to your dance studio, hockey rink, basketball court or gym?

Do their sports pictures look incredibly awesome, like Dennis Kelly’s, or kind of lame, like a dude hugging a football?

Do their cap and gowns look like somebody slept in them, all wrinkled and sloppy, or crisp and neat like Dennis Kelly’s?

Do their pictures look like Dennis Kelly’s, or just like someone trying to copy Dennis Kelly?  You can tell the difference.

If you compare the images… which is what you are really paying for, you will find that nobody compares to Dennis Kelly when it comes to creativity, originality, and quality!

At Dennis Kelly, every session here is individualized so that we capture not just your face, but your  personality.  This is crucial to understanding why portraits here require more time, and cost a bit more, than shots from a high volume school picture company. It’s like the difference between a nice restaurant and a fast food place.

#4 When should these portraits be taken? I haven’t even begun senior year yet. 

Senior portraits are typically taken during the spring and summer BEFORE the start of your senior year.

This is because the deadline for your school to submit the senior portrait section of the yearbook to the printing company is typically in the early Fall, right after you return to school.

That is why it is important to have your  portraits completed BEFORE school starts up again after Labor Day. 

#5 Everyone who goes to Dennis Kelly looks great, but what if I don’t look like a supermodel?

We make everyone look their best, its what we do.

And, we do it better than anyone.

Dennis is a PPA Master Photographer and Photographic Craftsman, degrees earned by less than 6% of photographers worldwide.

He has over 30 years of  EXPERIENCE, so he knows how to use posing, lighting, and all the other skills to bring out your very best features! That’s something you simply won’t get at other places.

PLUS, our style is always interesting, fresh, and exciting.  Year after year after year, WE are the TRENDSETTER that the other studios try to copy, because Dennis is really good at what he does!

#6 My friend/neighbor… has a good digital camera. Why shouldn’t I just let them take the pictures?

Because a good camera doesn’t take a good portrait, a talented, trained, and experienced photographer does.

Would you let someone cut your hair because they had a nice pair of scissors?

A camera is only as good as it’s operator.

Do you think Hemmingway was a great author because he had a good typewriter?

Think before you trust your once in a lifetime memories to an inexperienced photographer.

#7 What if they don’t turn out, or I don’t like them?

At Dennis Kelly your satisfaction is guaranteed!

With the school picture company, you’ll usually have to pay for a retake.

Other studios may have similar policies, but you’d need to check what their policies are.

At Dennis Kelly, if you’re not happy with your portraits when you see your previews, (which almost never happens!) if the problem can’t be fixed, we’ll do more poses at no charge or refund your money.

When you receive your finished portraits, if something isn’t right, let us know within 3 business days and we will get it fixed, even if we have to completely remake the order, or refund your money. You are never at risk of being dissatisfied.

There are so MANY reasons you should choose Dennis Kelly!

And, making an appointment couldn’t be easier.

Just give us a call at 856-228-4399 and we will take it from there!

We Do Extraordinary

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