Maureen O'Shay Photography » Katy's Family Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

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senior photos, senior portraits, katy, houston, texas

The Senior Portrait Experience with Maureen O’Shay Photography, Katy, Texas

Hey! Hey! Look at you! You are almost a SENIOR! (Or Senior Parent! Either way – woohoo!!). Around this time of year, I often get asked this question: When is the best time to take your senior photos? Here are my top two times of year…which might surprise you.

First, it’s important to understand the Senior Portrait Experience with me consists of 4 parts (not all photographers are created equal, but this is how we roll):

  • The Consultation – planning meeting where we talk wardrobe, location, etc
  • The actual session – including professional hair and make up before the session
  • Proofing and Purchasing Session – an in-studio meeting where you see your portraits and place your order
  • and then the delivery of your order – where I bring them to you and install your portraits (FULL SERVICE, BABY!)

There are a few weeks in between each time we see each other. For example, if your session is in mid July, you are viewing your portraits proofs in mid-August and your portraits and albums are delivered in September. This is super important to know!

So, when deciding when is the best time for YOUR senior portraits (which might not be the best time for your friends) you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I need portraits for the school yearbook? And not just the actual senior headshot, but will your mom want to do an ad in the back with your portraits? If you do, you need to schedule your session for the summer BEFORE your senior year. Most deadlines for school yearbooks are early October.
  • Will I be heavily involved in activities in the fall? Are you a cheerleader? Dancer? On volleyball team? If you are in the band, on the football team, affiliated in ANY WAY with football, you need to go with my first choice. Keep in mind, this is Texas, y’all and football season has been known to stretch into Christmas time.

If the answer is YES to any of the questions above, you need to go with: The summer before your senior year. If you answered no, you can still choose summer scroll down to my second choice, if you’d like.

FIRST CHOICE: The summer before your senior year.

Additionally, summertime is so much easier on you, the student, to make time for fun things like preparing for your session (read: shopping! Coordinating outfits, etc). Simply put: you are not as busy and have less commitments. Even if you have a job, it’s not as demanding at school (usually). Have you ever heard of the song lyrics by the lovely Ella Fitzgerald “Summertime, when the living is easy” ? (If you haven’t clicked here -its a soulful classic, but I digress…)…the song’s lyrics ring true.

So I know what you might be thinking and, I know, yes, summertime is hot, but your session would be near the end of the day. Plus, you get your hair and makeup done by a professional so it won’t wipe off like regular make up can in the heat. We got you covered!

SECOND CHOICE: The fall of your Senior Year

Why: This is great for those of you who are involved in activities that get really busy in the spring – spring sports, competitions, etc. The fall in Texas is basically the summer everywhere else, so we still have bright, gorgeous sun, pretty green grass, flowers come back out after the hot summer and it’s just an overall lovely time of year. In the later fall (November), my seniors have even been known to wear a SCARF! Or a SWEATER! Craziness, right? But it is a little easier to layer up during this time of year so if that fits your style, book a fall session.

OFFICAL WARNING: Fall is a super busy time for family photography, too. So, my advice to you would be to schedule your session ASAP, grab the date you want, even if it is months in advance. Then you will know that I am all yours and won’t book another session on that day.

THIRD CHOICE: March of your senior year. 

That is the latest spring session I’d suggest would be in March, given the timeline for the Senior Portrait Experience. We need time on our end to create heirloom albums and wall art the you will treasure for a lifetime. You don’t want to rush this process.

General advice

On behalf of all photographers in the world, please, don’t wait til April of your senior year to schedule your photos. PLEASE! (Can I call out my sister here? Haha! I am going to – she totally waited till April – and she was stressed about the whole process). While spring flowers are lovely, there is just too much going on the last 2 months of high school and waiting till the last minute isn’t the best idea. (You know that by now, you are a senior!) You can procrastinate about somethings, but not your senior portraits. You gotta allow time for the process – your photographer needs time to edit your photos, prepare your proofs and then place your order. You want that all done by May 1st so you can enjoy the process and not making it something you HAVE to do. At Maureen O’Shay Photography, we want you to WANT to do this.

So, that’s all for now. I hope this helps – we are here for you if you have any questions or comments. Email us and make sure you click click here to subscribe to be an insider and learn more tips and tricks about photography, session prep, what you really need in a dorm room and more!




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Sessions with little kids are SO MUCH FUN for me. We play games, blow bubbles, and do all kinds of silly things! Putting children at ease is the best way to capture who they really are. Plus, usually I get a friend for life!

I met the Forbes family one morning at a local park. We had a great time getting to know each other. We started out playing with bubbles and then hide and go seek. I was on J’s team and we hid from mom and dad and her baby sister. I love how these photos turned out. Enjoy the rest of this session – Cinco Spirit’s October Family of the Month!

“We love our autograph book and plan to use it at Mackenzie’s graduation party. Maureen was a delight to work with and was always accommodating and used our time together well!” – Jennifer B., Mackenzie’s mom 

“I loved the personal connection I had with Maureen and her pictures turned out beautiful! I would highly recommend her to any of my friends or classmates who are looking for someone to take their senior pictures.” – Mackenzie B, Class of 2018


Mackenzie rocked her senior session – braving Houston’s heat and humidity! We started out with hair and make up then off to photograph her under the glorious oak trees in historic Houston. We wanted a mixture of natural and urban portraits when all was said and done so we headed over to some fun spots all around The Heights and Midtown. The only thing that stopped us was the sun setting – we had a great time! And these portraits, I mean….stunning! And will soon be getting her very own custom designed Senior Signature Book to display all these amazing portraits! So, here are a few (dozen) of my favorites from her session! Here’s to a wonderful senior year, Mackenzie! 

The Cinco Spirit cover families often tell us the reason they moved to Cinco Ranch is the sense of community. And our wonderful community was truly put to the test just 2 weeks ago when Hurricane Harvey’s rain devastated and flooded many of our neighborhoods (along with several in Houston and surrounding communities). This disaster truly hit home and our community members, along with first responders and kind strangers, rescued fellow neighbors in boats from their homes; housed, clothed and fed them; donated clothes, blankets, pillows, shoes, food and more; and helped demo houses to begin to start again. Personally, I have never seen or experienced anything like it. But with tragedy comes triumph (I heard that sometime in the past few weeks – not quite sure who said it – it’s all been a blur) and that could not be more true.

The community of Cinco Ranch has rallied together to help those impacted by these devastating floods all around the greater Houston area. For those of us who did not have property loss, we share an emotional toll with our friends and neighbors that won’t soon be forgotten. But what brought us here, what convinced many of us to move here, has been on display for all to see. The Cinco Spirit Cover family of the month, the Prazaks feel just like the rest of us. They moved here because of the sense of community, and I know they couldn’t be more grateful or proud.

Back in the late spring, long before Harvey came around, I met the Prazak family for their early morning photoshoot at Southlake – one of their favorite spots in our community. Only a few photos from the session make it into the magazine, so I always like to share more here. I hope the smiling face info this sweet boy puts a smile on your face. And thank you to everyone who makes this community so great – we are #KatyStrong!