Why I Photograph High School Seniors.

So, today I’m stepping out of the nutrition realm for a little bit because with August quickly approaching, it means school will be back in session soon, and that means the thick of my portrait season starts!

I am going on 5 years of photographing high school senior portraits (you can see my work here) and I wanted to share with you all the reasons behind why I’m so passionate about it, and why I specifically ONLY photograph seniors!

Sometimes I photograph other people for other reasons…but it’s only if I really like you… 😉 Jk. But really.

I’m sure not much has changed since I graduated almost TEN–holy guacamole!–years ago. But choosing to photograph high school seniors started with a few personal reasons, really.

helen byrd photography, 2013

Let’s be real.

High school can be tough. Mean girls are mean. Body image is a constant battle. And the future can be a little frightening.

Being a senior is kind of a big deal.  And not just for you, but for everyone in your family.

You are preparing to leave the only thing you’ve known for 18 years: you are leaving behind the same school, the same house, the same group of friends, the same stinky hallways, the same late-night hangouts.


It’s exciting + scary all at the same time.

Your family is releasing you into the semi-unknown, trusting you can stand on your own two feet, hoping you will find your way, and maybe secretly wishing you’d stay just a little bit longer.


Your senior year is bittersweet. Anticipating all of the new adventures that lie ahead, while wanting to tightly hold on to all of the good memories you are about to leave behind.  Memories that often last a lifetime, in the pages of your high school yearbook…or your Facebook timeline. Are you seniors even on Facebook anymore? 


You are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery. You get to choose who you want to be, what you want to be about, and what you want to do in this world. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it.

But, don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. I’m 27 and still feeling like I am trying to get my ish together. #quarterlifecrisisisrealyall

Through portraiture, my goal is to uplift, encourage + empower each and every senior girl–I photograph dudes, too!–who visits my studio, to help her feel confident, beautiful + love themselves for who they are.


And I suppose you can also say that this same goal transfers across all areas of my life–whether it be through friend groups, coaching at the sweaty CrossFit gym, sharing inspiration on my Instagram page or recipes + thoughts here on this little blog.

I like working 1-1. I like making people laugh. I like bringing out their natural self–the one their mom has seen every second of the day since they were born–through portraiture. I like talking about the REAL stuff. The stuff that genuinely matters. I like wrestling with the questions, even if we don’t have all the answers.

To me, portraiture is so much more than just getting all of the settings right, the hair just perfect, or the gorgeous sunset in the background.


It’s about telling a story. Their story.

It’s about creating something together that is alive + free.

It’s about being vulnerable + real.

It’s about feeling something.

It’s about being human.

I just love connecting with people. I am so thankful to get to do what I do every day–thank you, hus-band!–and love on people through all the avenues that I love. So, with that being said, thanks for letting me love on ya. 😉

Interested in booking your 2017 senior portraits with us?

Visit madisoncary.com + shoot us an email via the contact page!