Senior Photographer Interview | Christine Hamrick

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I recently chatted with my friend, Christine Hamrick, about her work as a Senior Photographer.  We both do senior portraits, but this is her specialty!  Christine and I know each other through the photography community in Charleston and through the state PPA Affiliate, PPSC.  Please enjoy this interview about how she got started photographing seniors and her approach to senior portraits!

Sarah:  How did you get into photography?

Christine:  I’ll never forget that first Fisher-Price 110 camera that I got for Christmas back in the early 80’s! We had to be so frugal with the film and flash bulbs (that you had to purchase separately). Technology surely has come a long way, but storytelling has remained very much the same. I have always been drawn to the incredible documentary photography in LIFE and National Geographic Magazines, and in middle school I really became interested in learning about photography to document my own life and put together scrapbook albums from school and family vacations. In 2004, just before the birth of my first child, I got my first DSLR and dabbled a bit with taking photos of our new family. I thought those photos taken with that fancy new camera were AMAZING . . . and they were because I captured genuine moments that I’d never get back. But they were lacking the technical aspects of lighting and composition and artistry. I signed up for my first photography class at the Charleston Center for Photography shortly thereafter and the rest is history - I LOVE learning everything that I can about photography. I have photographed pretty much every genre from weddings to real estate to pets, but Senior portraits are my true love.

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Sarah: Tell me about your approach to Senior pictures.

Christine: Senior photography didn’t exist as a genre when I was in high school, but I did do a little modeling when I was a teenager. I was shy and introverted, but I will never forget the confidence that I gained from the way certain photographers made me feel in front of the camera. Every Senior deserves to feel celebrated and special and beautiful (or handsome!) - they have worked so hard to get to their Senior year and this is just the beginning of such an exciting time for them! I’m also a mom with two teenage daughters. And I know that the day will come when it’s time for my two kids to leave the nest and start their own adult lives. I’m already very conflicted about it haha! They are my treasures and I love them to the moon and back. I want to soak up every moment with them until that time comes; I want to have fun and make memories and celebrate all of their accomplishments. So many mixed emotions come with having a Senior, and I know how it feels. The goal for my Senior sessions is to create an amazing and memorable experience, one where the Senior has a BLAST and the parents have these moments frozen in time to enjoy for years to come. It’s important for me to deliver to BOTH Senior and parents. 

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Sarah: What types of locations are popular for Senior sessions?

Christine: While I occasionally photograph Seniors in the studio or in some urban spots, most clients really want their locations to reflect the quintessential Charleston landscapes: pastel downtown architecture and wrought iron gates, crumbling brick walls, Spanish moss-draped oak trees, riotous blooming shrubs and trees in our many parks, serene grassy dunes and beach sunsets . . . It’s truly a beautiful city and Seniors generally want their images to scream “Charleston!"

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Sarah: How do you help clients choose outfits for their Senior pictures?

Christine:  It’s so important for my Seniors to feel comfortable in front of the camera, and selecting the right wardrobe is critical to making that happen. Before we meet for the session, I send a lengthy questionnaire that asks about their style, their favorite clothing brands or stores, trends they like (and don’t like!), their dream outfit, where they might like to be photographed, what images of mine they have seen and loved, fashion bloggers that inspire them. We chat about the parts of themselves that they LOVE and want to be highlighted. I create a Pinterest mood board based on those responses as a kind of jumping-off point for outfit selections. Since we photograph multiple looks during a session, I always recommend that they aim for the “Three P’s”:

1. Polished - the most showstopping look. We will start the session with this attire when hair and makeup is the freshest. A sparkling maxi gown or bold cocktail dress (think Prom!) would be a fantastic choice.

2. Popular - this look highlights current trends. Styles, colors, patterns, and details that appeal to and influence the look. This is the time for funky sneakers and fabulous accessories.

3. Personal - this look reflects their own style and the thing that makes them unique. Perfect time to break out a college tee or sports uniform. I ask them to lay out outfit options, complete with accessories and shoes, and text them to me in advance so that I can help them make decisions. If in doubt, I tell them to pack everything and we make selections at the session.

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Sarah: What kinds of products do you recommend people purchase from their senior session?

Christine:   There is no doubt that Seniors want digital images to share on social media and to use for grad announcements - that is simply the day and age we are living in. However, parents want something tangible that they can enjoy once their kids are off at college. Albums and image boxes are very popular for this genre because they are easily replicated for siblings without taking up lots of real estate on the wall.

Sarah: Where can people find you online?

Christine: My Senior site can be found here:

I have some fun Senior style inspo on my Pinterest board here:

And I share some fun behind-the-scenes moments in my IG stories here: