senior photos + 4-legged friends


‘Tis the season to start thinking about 2015 senior pictures

As a stock show kid, we know you’re proud of your projects and also all the accomplishments that you’ve had throughout your showing career. What better way to showcase those than in your senior photo? Below are tips and insight from two photographers who have mastered the art of incorporating the livestock lifestyle into one-of-a-kind senior photos.

Heidi Anderson, Legacy Livestock Images gives some quick reminders on the big picture of senior photography.

1 –  Be yourself! Make sure that your pictures reflect who you are at this time in your life.  The purpose of these pictures should be to remember what was important during this season of your life.  This can take many forms.  Farming, livestock, sports, and the arts are all things you should consider when planning your session.

2 –  Remember Mom, Dad, and Grandma.  I usually let the senior drive what is important to them, but always try to remember that grandma is going to want one of you smiling and sweet hanging in her house.

3 – Clothing.  Depending on your photographer, most session can have a number of clothing changes.  Try to stay neutral as much as possible using accessories to add color. Always stay away from trends.  Your children will mock you in later life.  I promise.

4 – Be Creative.  Use your imagination when it comes to ideas for pictures.  Prom dress in the barn?  Yes.  Old house with your banners?  Why not!

5 – Timing.  If you want greens and you are in the midwest and east – late may and june is the time.  Fall colors?  Check the weather channel for approximate times for changing leaves in your area.

6 – Posing with livestock. The animals you use represent past projects and future goals.  The images should represent the animal well, but the focus should still be on you!



Since we’re on the subject of posing with livestock, Joelynn Rathmann, Joelynn Rathmann Photography is breaking down the nitty-gritty details of how to incorporate your livestock.

1 – Always think of your animal before anything else. You need to make sure they look their best as well as you! I always like to ask my seniors what livestock they want to use (steers, heifers, lambs) and when they were last shown/will be shown next. Here’s a “list” of what I always ask/have my seniors consider :

a)       Your location and show season? For example, in Texas, scheduling is super important, as well as challenging with the packed spring majors. I always want to schedule either right before or right after show season, depending on what kind of stock they’re wanting to use. Also, like Heidi said, time of the year is huge! If you take pictures too early in the year, like in January, the grass will most likely still be dead. However, this can actually work to most animal’s benefit. It sounds crazy, but picturing a black fluffy Fort Worth bound fat steer in dead grass really makes him pop! The picture will look rustic and edgy. Even Charolais colored cattle look neat in this type of environment.

b)       What type of animal are you going to use? With heifer people, I like to picture them either right after show season – since most show heifers will still have the show feed “swell” in their bellies and manageable fluffy hair – or about a month before they calve, or during calving season. I mean, who doesn’t love baby calves? This holds true for breeding sheep/club lamb people and hog operations.

2 – If you want your junior market projects in your senior pictures, it is best to schedule the pictures before show season. I know that can be difficult since it’s such a crazy time, but most livestock photographers who do portrait work will understand, work with you, and even help feed at the end of the session! (At least I do)

3 – If you receive your photos prior to entering the show ring, I would suggest holding off on posting any photos of you and that animal until after it’s shown. This is straight superstition. Call me crazy, but any little bit of luck can help.

4 – Work towards shots that aren’t posed. For example, walking through a group of baby calves or a group of yearling ewes. Not a specific animal is in the picture, but the senior’s passion for livestock and that specie is still extremely present. I also love snapping a few pictures of the senior in their show barn. They spend so much time here, why not try to capture all those memories?

5 – Make sure you are hiring a photographer that really knows livestock. Someone who isn’t afraid of, knows how they’re supposed to look, and has a great eye for both stock and photography is going to take your senior session to the next level! There are plenty of livestock photographers who have ventured into portrait work. These are the type of people I would suggest. Anyone can take a picture of a person in a sparkly dress. But not everyone can take that same picture and make the subject’s steer look like it’s about to get a champion slap.


Want to see more work or contact the photographers?

Legacy Livestock Imaging, Heidi Anderson



Joelynn Rathmann Photography



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