Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Senior Portraits in Gilbert, AZ: Devon
This is my daughter Devon's Senior year of high school, which means that it is finally (yay!!) our turn to do Senior Portraits! This is beyond exciting for me. I've thought a lot about the significance of the images and I want them to be perfect, but I am also hoping that I can focus on just "being in the moment" and enjoying these last few occasions that we can spend together before she heads off to college.
Another thing I'm excited about is being able to share the session experience as a mom with my clients. I usually give a lot of advice to my clients during the planning stages about clothing, locations and what to expect, but that has always been from a photographer's view. After this, I'll hopefully be better able to see things from "the other side."
For Devon's portraits, one of the first things that we did was grab a few shots of her on the same day that she had her school yearbook pictures taken. She was already dressed and had her hair and makeup done, so it was really easy to do the two sessions back-to-back. For most schools in the Gilbert/Chandler school districts, yearbook photos are done at a photography studio during the summer before their senior year. I loved several of the images, so after we selected her yearbook image we ordered a few different poses for our home as well as for our family. I don't do studio photography with backdrops and lights, so I made sure to select the ultra formal ones that look the least like what I would normally take.
The recommendation for the yearbook photo was to wear a long sleeved, dark colored blouse. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find that in the middle of the summer? We finally found one at White House/Black Market. We ended up getting black, but a jewel tone would have been nice as well. If you have a student that will be a senior next year, I suggest looking for a blouse or shirt now, otherwise you will spend all day combing the malls in frustration like we did.
We ended up with about 20 shots that I loved. Most of them will go into an album, but two of them are framed and hanging in our house:
Originally, we planned to do Devon's portraits earlier in the year. That plan went out the window, however, when she ended up getting her braces put back on soon after school started. We have tons of pictures of her over the last three years wearing the darn things, and it was important to her to get some pictures of her with a perfect smile. So, we had to wait a few months.
Finally, last week, they came off. :) Time to get to business! We had a lot of decisions to make, including clothing, locations, hair style and props.
One of the things I always tell my clients is to first decide how you want the images to look. All of the decisions will fall into place once you begin to narrow it down, and the easiest way to do that is to think about who you are and what you like to do. Are you someone who typically dresses up or goes more casual? Where do you spend your time? Do you want to incorporate your school activities or a favorite hangout?
In Devon's case, we knew that we wanted her portraits to show that she's a Texas girl. That's where she was born, where she has spent most of her life, and it's where she's heading for college. Now that we had a basic look nailed down, the details fell into place.
Clothing: Jeans, boots, natural fabrics, layers, cowboy hat.
Makeup: minimal. We debated whether she should wear eyeshadow or not, and finally decided it wouldn't hurt as long as the colors were natural.
Hair: Straight or curly? We were undecided on her hair up until the last minute, when she ran out of time to do anything at all. So it is completly natural, she didn't do a thing except wash and air dry. I'm so jealous.
Location: Because I'm also photographing several of her friend's portraits this year, I want to use a different location for each Senior and I'm running out of ideas! As luck would have it, a few minutes before we left the house my friend Suzi suggested a place to try and it turned out to be the perfect spot.
Although I can make location suggestions, it always works best if my clients make the final decision on where do do the session. The thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't have to be perfect. The focus literally is not on the background, it is on you, and we can work within just about any location and still get great shots that you will love.
So here they are! I love every image, and now I have the difficult task of deciding what to print big and what goes into her album.
It is actually illegal to walk on or take pictures on railroad tracks, so after we got this shot we left. The light was too harsh, anyway.
We took advantage of an open building with a broken window:
I love using interesting details like the words on the building:
We didn't write this on the wall... it was a very happy coincidence:
The moss-covered wall made a great background:
At this point the sun was setting and it was getting cold in the shade, so we loaded up the car to head home. Devon pulled her hair out of her face into a quick braid, and immediately I knew we needed to get back out for a few more shots. These turned out to be some of my favorites of the day:
And this one seems to be the favorite of everyone that knows Dev really well:
We actually still have one more session planned before we are completely finished. We are planning a special shoot in April in her Prom dress, with professional hair and makeup and an urban, city-lights location.
She's a Texas girl, but that doesn't mean that she's a country bumpkin. :)
Ever After Photography
- ▼ February (3)
- ► 2010 (47)
- ► 2009 (49)
- ► 2008 (74)
- ► 2007 (88)