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Photographers snap affordable senior portraits

"Pay What You Can" gives Colorado families a snapshot of their senior students' memories that won't put a dent in the family budget.

DENVER — A local photography group called “Pay What You Can,” makes school portraits more affordable for high school seniors and their families. It’s a concept that was created after the group’s organizer and professional photographer Kristi Harvey heard parents asking around about photo sessions that fit their budgets.

“We wanted to come up with a way to allow those kids to still participate in the traditions like all of the other kids in their classes and have these memories that they’ll be able to look back on for a lifetime,” Harvey said.

Harvey is one of about 10 professional photographers in the group. She said each photographer sets their own photo event on the group’s Facebook page.

Families who need senior photos select a photographer and a location around the metro area and decide what price will fit their budget.  

Credit: Byron Reed
'Pay What You Can' founder Kristi Harvey said "I want them to walk away feeling special knowing that they are getting the same benefits and traditions as the rest of the kids in their class."

“I’ve had people pay $50, I’ve had people pay $300 and everything in between and it's really just whatever you can afford,” Harvey said. “I saw a package last year from a studio that was upwards of a $1,000 to $2,000, so that’s not in a lot of people’s budgets, so we thought that this was a really important way for people to get these things that can’t afford thousands of dollars.”

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Jennifer Cunha is getting her daughter’s senior portraits done by the group. She said it's nice to have programs like this available for families in need.

“Right now, with everything so expensive,” Cunha said. “To have a group of photographers give back is really pleasant for families that can’t necessarily afford to get their senior photos done.”

Credit: Byron Reed
High school senior Katelyn Cunha has her picture taken by photographer Linnell Keeling.

Her daughter Katelyn Cunha is entering her senior year of high school. She said her senior year is a milestone that she will always look back on.

“It’s very important…very special,” Katelyn said. “The ability to know what it’s like and just the experience and how I’m going to grow throughout senior year and beyond that.”

The hope is that seniors across the metro area will be able to carry on a tradition of making their parents proud by giving them a snapshot of memories they’ll never forget.

Credit: Byron Reed

“It makes the kids feel like they’re having all the traditions of a normal senior year,” Harvey said. “I want them to walk away feeling special knowing that they are getting the same benefits and traditions as the rest of the kids in their class.”

Find more information about “Pay What You Can."



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