Critique the Community

High School Senior Portraits

With Peter Hurley
Submit your best senior portraits for a chance to win a free Fstoppers' tutorial.
  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 24 May 18 16:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

Our next Critique the Community is now open to submissions. Submit your best high school senior portraits by Thursday at 12PM EST for your chance to win a free Fstoppers' original tutorial and be critiqued by Lee Morris and Peter Hurley. 

This week we're planning on spending some time in New York City where we plan on filming with Peter Hurley. Though Peter is known for his headshots, we thought it would be fun to have him critique something a little outside the scope of his standard photo shoot. Due to the tight turn around time, we're only giving a few days to get your submissions in. To clear up any possible confusion, we announced this contest as "senior portraits." This genre is intended only to include high school senior portraits, not pictures of the elderly.

We will be selecting a total of 20 images to give feedback to. Of the selections, the highest rated image by the community will receive a free Fstoppers' original tutorial of their choice. In addition, we will be selecting one entrant at random and also give them a free tutorial. 

Once you've submitted your images, be sure to go through and rate your fellow community members. Rating everyone's images can be done quickly by using the arrow keys and numpad on your computer but feel free to take the time to leave critical but helpful and considerate written comments as well.

  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 24 May 18 16:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 172 people have cast a total of 8,448 votes on 151 submissions from 98 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

47 Comments

Aurélien Lacroix's picture

I know how to rate but how should I submit exactly ? I cannot find my way to submit

David Strauss's picture

You can submit by selecting the "ENTER CONTEST" button.

Doug Stringham's picture

Funny how already a bunch of people are completely mistaking this for photos of senior citizens.... not senior portraits of students graduating from high school. LOL

Jose Balta's picture

That would have been much more interesting in my humble opinion.

Paul Mison's picture

It's not at all surprising when you consider how US-centric this week's theme is- the UK doesn't even have graduations in what the US would call grade school, let alone proms and portraits, and neither does most of the rest of the world.

Andreas Ludwig's picture

Hahaha. So true. I was about to enter a portrait of my father :-) This is US specific. My first graduation picture was taken when I graduated from University in Canada - with a PhD, so very very senior ;-)

Jemerson Canaya's picture

I think "senior" seems to be a vague term right now. hahahaha

David Strauss's picture

To be clear to all entrants "Senior Portraits" refers to high school seniors. I have updated the post description to note the difference but please note that we are NOT looking for portraits of the elderly. =)

Vince R's picture

You should probably take out the pics you are referring too.

Stephen Vincent-Grace's picture

To be honest I was going to upload a photo of an elderly person when I saw the youtube video lol

I think outside of the USA when we think senior photos we think the elderly, thanks for clarifying and putting high school in the title.

Travis Cleveland's picture

Is college senior portraits acceptable?

Doug Stringham's picture

It says "High School Senior Portraits"

Cristian Perotti's picture

How many pictures can one submit? Is there a limit?

Cristian Perotti's picture

Good. I submitted 2 already. If I choose to remove one, can I upload another one?

Jose Balta's picture

It seems to me that those of us from other countries (other than USA) need some additional information/clarification. What makes a picture a "high school senior portrait"? Is it the kind/type of photography? Is the age of the person being photographed?

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

In Italy this is a non-existent thing. Nobody does a high school senior portraits, there's only a group portrait

Jose Balta's picture

Thank you very much. I ended up doing my own research in order to find out what a senior portrait is. Regretably, I will not be able to participate this time. It seems that this type of portrait is unique to the USA.

stir photos's picture

Right on man! I checked out your profile and your work is great (not just a bunch of shots of your shoes) haha... Interestingly, "senior portraits" have chnaged over the decades (mostly for the good), but it's still interesting to look back at them from decades past sometimes.

Jose Balta's picture

Thank you very much.

Angelo Duarte's picture

I'm not American so I could be wrong, but I'm not sure this statement applies to High Schoolers! :)

Pieter Batenburg's picture

This is a typical US custom. In our country, this doesn't happen.

Jose Balta's picture

Same in my country, Peru

Przemek Lodej's picture

We don't do these in Poland either...even though I live in the US :) It really is a US thing.

Stefano Chiarelli's picture

Very US related contest :) Any chance to participate for us outside your country?

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

Just cheat and put a portrait of a young model :D (we are Italians we know how to bend the rules)

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

It's raining brick walls...

Cristian Perotti's picture

I see a lot of mean people here. Out of all the submissions so far submitted, maybe 2 you can think they are snapshots (based on the fact that considering depth of field, location, pose, etc, the pictures could have been taken by a cellphone on the go ith no preparation). However, the VAST majority are definitely not Snapshots. Whether the composition, lighting, technique is good or not is a different issue, and sometimes those things could be subjective. However, based on the Fstoppers rating system, most of the pictures submitted are definitely not snapshots. People, please be honest with your ratings. I see a lot of pictures with very low ratings (and calculating these ratings, I find a lot of voters have given a 1 star to the aforementioned pictures).

Przemek Lodej's picture

You beat me to it. Totally agree with you. Either some people are extremely mean or extremely demanding. I am not a professional photographer, but having my photos is few other spots on the web this is the only place where people rated them so low. I don't really care about the whole rating system, but it does make you wonder.

Angelo Duarte's picture

I think the rating system here is good, have you read through it? I like that a 4 or 5 needs to be a really special photo. 3 here seems to be "very good" and they aren't saying a 2 is rubbish, just that with some changes it could have been better, I'm definitely looking for that sort of feedback. There's probably a few judged too low but I also think there's a few I hate that are judged far too high. My photos are taking a battering but I only submitted them for the chance of having some pro advice to help me take better ones in future, really not that fussed about the stars!

Cristian Perotti's picture

I completely agree with you. I would say most pictures here are somewhere between a 2 and a 3.5. I think the rating system is good. My problem is with all the 1s. Because let´s face it and be completely honest here. A 5 or a 1 are almost impossible to get (or should be). Even a 4 is extremely difficult (and I agree). But the number of people rating these pictures as Snapshots is ridiculous. Snapshot means not thought of, could have been taken with any cellphone, no rules, no composition, nothing. And I would say most of us are either professional working photographers or hobbyists with certain (even the minimum) knowledge. Otherwise, we would not be on this page.

Xavier Rodriguez's picture

I'm not sure if they're mean or if it's just the whole anonymity aspect of it that leaves us wondering about the raters' intentions. My photos are doing ok. The ego in me thinks they should be rated higher, but the realistic part of me knows I still have a lot of growing to do as a photographer. I'd love to know where to grow. I agree with what another person said in regards to points not being as valuable as comments. Maybe requiring a comment when you vote would be a good idea. It's too easy to just click a star and move on with no real thought. I know I've received 1's on both of my photos from some people (early on one of my photos had a 1.7 rating. It's gone into the 2 realm since) and I'm not sure why. I wonder if it's people hoping to bring down other scores to have a better chance of winning for them and their friends? There are a few submissions on here that have some scores much higher than they really deserve. There are also some really nice photos on here from some photographers. I've caught myself thinking a few times, "I'd hire this photographer" and those photos have way lower scores that the "lower quality" photos. This is my first time submitting to one of these competitions and it might be my last. Not sure what I got out of this other than confusion.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Yeah. Someone went on my profile and rated all my photos poorly because I think they disagreed with me in the comments on a post.

Xavier Rodriguez's picture

That is pretty petty, but oh well... Just took a look at your profile. Really nice photos. I really enjoy the lighting on your models. If I could offer one criticism though, maybe tone down the frequency separation (assuming that's what you used). The faces look "too perfect" and detail seems to be lost in the model's faces. Really good work though! I think you're definitely better than I am at retouching.

Przemek Lodej's picture

Interesting observation. As I'm looking at some of these photos, even though in my personal opinion they deserve a solid 3, a few even a solid 4...for whatever reason people are scoring them far below that. What gives? Are users overly critical? What drives peoples opinions? Just curious.

Stefano Chiarelli's picture

Rated lots of them with a solid 3, some 4 and some 2. No 5, just one or two real snapshot in my opinion (1).

Kaden Classen's picture

I feel like people are pretty critical when it comes to contests like these. I feel like my images are rated much lower here than they would be if I just posted them in my profile, and I would imagine others are the same. Maybe that's just the number of votes on the images though.

Mike Smith's picture

I noticed that, I tend to rate photos that I like with a four or five and ignore the others, just my way of doing it...

Kaden Classen's picture

I'm pretty much the same. If I rate a 2, I'm going to leave a comment on why.

Przemek Lodej's picture

My feelings exactly. I would much rather see comments instead of just blindly hitting the stars. It adds nothing, if you don't know why your photo is judged so low. Help me develop as a photographer, help me get better. It's like saying your photo sucks, here deal with it. I personally think there are many really good photos here deserving a sold 4 but all they managed was a mere 2.5 stars. I look at it that if you want to be mean fine, but at least have the courtesy to say why.

Kaden Classen's picture

Definitely. I get that people sometimes don't have the time to leave a comment, but even a little checkbox would be helpful. You could just mark the categories that need work on an image. Lighting, composition, whatever. Not as good as a comment, but still makes rating fast and easy and at least somewhat helpful.

blokelahoma's picture

A lot of the low ratings i believe are coming from the fact that others think it will help their cause, and help their pictures score higher. Down vote the others to increase your chances of winning mentality. Its such a shame that we cannot offer follow photographers good honest feedback.

I think a good system to implement here would be to make the user enter reasons why they voted so low if it is below a 3 and reasons shy it is so good if above a 3. If a user truly thinks that a picture needs work, then at least leave a comment and explain why.

Przemek Lodej's picture

I agree 100%. Writing even the shortest comment is better than giving someone a star. I don't really care about the rating. I am always looking for comments both the good and the bad. Unfortunately the same thing happens on 500px and Flicker. People rarely comment.

Nic Hilton's picture

Soooo when is the video going to come out?

David Strauss's picture

Probably by tomorrow.

Contest Submissions

Click on the thumbnails below to comment and vote on each image.

Click here to learn about the Fstoppers rating system and what each star value means.