Thursday, September 14, 2000

Seniors strike personal poses

Class pictures graduate to less-formal affairs

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        All those years of almost painful class pictures, with missing tooth grins, half-closed eyes and lopsided outfits disheveled by recess play, are finally over.

        After enduring the sometimes too candid snapshots only a mother could love (or recognize), it's time for that senior class picture. But take a peek in photography studios today and you'll quickly see these aren't your father's senior class sittings.

[photo] Photographer Alan Fuson poses Sycamore High School senior Korin Prince.
(Stephen M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
        Traditional senior pictures are a thing of the past. No more caps and gowns. No more stiff suits and prim dresses. Seniors now pose with their favorite things, wearing just about anything, and in a wide variety of settings, including outside.

        “I saw the pictures of other kids from my school from previous years and thought they were cool,” says Emily Krieger, a senior at Turpin High in Anderson Township. “I've been dreaming about taking my senior class pictures for over a year. When I took them, the photographer was wonderful and very easy to work with.”

        Emily's mom, Katy Krieger,went along for her daughter's photo shoot at Robert Glutz Photography in Mount Carmel.

        “Emily wanted to take pictures that fit her hobby,” Mrs. Krieger says. “She brought some of her own things. She wants to go into musical theater, so she brought show cards, sheet music and playbills from some of the productions she was involved in.”

        Mrs. Krieger was proud of the way her daughter took charge during this passage in both their lives.

        “I was watching her set up for these poses and it seemed like she was a different person. She looked like a grown-up, telling them what she wanted and working with the photographer.”

        Although Emily's experience was in and around the photography studio, some seniors opt for more remote locations.

        “We've taken pictures at Blue Ash Airport and at the (long-closed) gunpowder factory near Kings Island,” says Alan Fuson, general manager at Ron Carroll Photography in Madeira.

        Mr. Fuson was tapped by his boss back in 1984 to handle the senior sittings.

        “He said, "you're closer to their age and work better with them, so I want you to handle them all.'”

        According to Mr. Fuson, a photographer in Seattle started breaking with tradition in the late 1970s, using props and multiple outfit changes to create a different kind of picture that reveals the student's personality. and likes.

        Mr. Fuson enjoys the more elaborate sittings.

        “We photographers all have a bit of fashion photographer in us. Girls like these multiple settings more than the guys do, so we always have more female subjects. We have to do the standard ones to appeal to mom and dad, and the guys just want their pictures taken so they can get it over.”

        For the traditionalists, take heart. There are still photographers who take the in-studio snapshots. Mike Gurren is one. Owner of Mike Gurren Photography in Fort Thomas, he earns his keep the old-fashioned way.

        “I don't charge sitting fees, for one thing,” Mr. Gurren says. “It doesn't make sense to charge someone for walking through your door. I figure if the pictures are good, they'll buy them. ... I do some shots where people bring in their favorite things. One guy brought his whole drum set, saying that none of the other studios would let him do it. We had a great time.”

The price of memories

        Here's a sampling of senior photo companies in Greater Cincinnati and what they offer. While the sitting fees are separate from the package fees, the proofs are included with some packages.

        The packages average about $300, with some as low as $80 or as high as $1,400.

        • Ron Carroll's packages run $100-$600. Sitting fees vary according to the number of outfits worn and the number of poses. For example, $25 gets you a yearbook picture alone. “The Ultimate,” Ron Carroll's high-end sitting, includes 20-24 images with four dress changes, plus 20-24 images at a chosen location, and 10-12 black and white images. Although they have a “portrait park” of outside settings on-site, the photographer will go to locations within a 30-mile radius of the studio (for an additional fee).

        • Precious Moments Photography in Reading varies its fees from $15 for a four- to six-proof sitting to $50 for a 24-proof sitting with various poses and up to five outfit changes. Package prices range $95-$395. The top-priced “Master” package contains one 16-by-20, four 8-by-10s, six 5-by-7s, 80 wallet-size and one display folio.

        • Dimension Three Photography in Fairfield charges a basic $20 sitting fee, but adds $15 per friend, outfit change, locale change or pet, with four additional poses costing $15. Packages range $79.95-$695. The top-priced “Extravaganza” package contains one 20-by-24 or 16-by-20 portrait, five 8-by-10s, 10 5-by-7s and 120 wallets. Also included are five poses, a folio, previews and personalization of the photos with the student's name or graduation year.

        • Sitting fees at McLaughlin Studio in West Chester range from $50 with two outfits and a five-proof selection to $130 for five outfits and a 22-proof preview selection. Special backdrops are also on the property for on-site photos in settings such as an Italian villa, rock waterfall, 1948 Ford truck, bridge over a water garden and Greek pillars. Packages range $278-$1,400. The high-end package contains one 20-by-24 and three 8-by-10s, all framed; eight 5-by-7s, 96 wallets, a montage collage with one 8-by-10 and four 4-by-5 originals, 25 senior announcements, 48 digital wallets and an 8-by-10 school-year calendar.


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