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Seniors take portraits, foster interests in hobbies

[media-credit name=”courtesy Ilana Ruban” align=”alignright” width=”199″] Senior Ilana Ruben will use this photograph as her senior portrait for the Newtonian. Seniors Audrey Derobert and Jacob Fisher take many senior portrait photos, including this one.
by Gloria Li
For senior Audrey Derobert, a photo major, snapping senior portraits is a lot of fun because it takes her the interest in photography to the next level.

Derobert works with senior Jacob Fischer to take senior portraits. The two use his camera, and Derobert takes home the memory card to edit the photographs using Photoshop.

At $40 a sitting, students receive a CD with the best edited shots of themselves, according to Derobert. “There’s no set number of pictures that we take. Most people tell us if they want any particular shots, but if not, then we go through our usual routine and make sure that the customer leaves with at least 10 photographs to choose from,” Derobert said.

Fischer said, “The entire experience of starting up this business was a lot more fun and much less work than I had anticipated.”

Senior Ilana Ruben, who had her photos taken by Derobert and Fischer, noted that she thought “they were both into photography and really good at it.”

Ruben enjoyed the experience of walking around Bullough’s Pond and taking shots along the way. “They were fun to take, and it’s nice to get an actual professional portrait that would differ from the standardized kind normally in the yearbook,” she said.

Taking senior portraits for others is just a hobby, Derobert said. However, she said she wants to study at an institution that will allow her to pursue her interest in photography “as a minor or just for fun.”

Similarly, senior Isabella Rao, who also takes senior portraits for students, “would love to pursue photography in college.”

Rao, who took portraits last year for several seniors, was eager to take more this year because “if done properly, the portraits can be very indicative of who each senior is as a person, and I love playing a role in communicating that,” she said.

Working alone, Rao charges $30 per shoot and typically takes between 25 and 150 shots per shoot.

Senior Katie Cohen said she chose to have Rao take her pictures because “the times were more convenient than the ones that Prestige offered, and it was fun to be able to take pictures with my friends,” she said.

Although initially Cohen said she thought senior portraits seemed like a hassle, especially because she currently has a lot of school work, she discovered that “despite the lengthy process, which made it tiring, it was enjoyable. It was a nice day and a good excuse to spend a couple of hours outside,” Cohen said.

[media-credit name=”courtesy Shelly Altman” align=”alignright” width=”199″] Senior Bella Rao takes senior portraits for her peers. This photograph of senior Shelly Altman will appear in the Newtonian.

Senior Shelly Altman, a friend of Rao’s, also wanted Rao to take her senior portrait because she wanted “to help her out and to take pictures outside,” she said.

Altman also cited other benefits of having Rao take her senior portrait, including the capability to take them well and the time to take on as many as the customer wanted.

“I didn’t like that it was hard to find a place to take pictures, but she took so many that I had a lot to choose from, which was great,” Altman said.

Although some students take senior portraits for their friends, Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch is a company that collaborates with this school to take senior portraits. If a senior chooses not to use Prestige then they can submit a digital portrait to the Newtonian via email by Saturday, Dec. 1.

Prestige works with housemaster Michelle Stauss and the vice principal Midge Connelly, and comes to campus three times to take senior portraits, according to television production aide Amanda Mazzola, who advises the Newtonian.

“Prestige handles scheduling and notifying seniors of their appointment, and all seniors are scheduled alphabetically into into a ten-minute time slot and it becomes the students responsible to confirm, change or cancel the established appointment,” Mazzola said.

Mazzola further emphasized that the Newtonian’s only responsibility involving senior portraits is to remind seniors what dates Prestige will be on campus and to give out confirmation numbers for students. After the portrait session the seniors receive printed proofs. They can then go online to choose their yearbook portrait. The Newtonian goes online to request the yearbook portraits on CD, and it takes about three weeks for the Newtonian to receive the requested disc.

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