Archives for Seniors

The Ring Light Portrait Revisited with HDR

I’ve been a big fan of photographing with a ring light, since I picked one up at a convention a couple of years ago.  It gives a very distinctive catchlight in the eyes and can really have striking results. I decided to try something slightly different last week. I had seen some folks online doing HDR-type images with their ring lights.  Basically, they would bracket exposures and combine them – just like people do with landscape HDR images.  I figured I would give it a whirl and tried out a few look. Take One This first image was done on white seamless paper.  I placed the model right in front of the paper and had the ring light a couple of feet in front of her.  It was essentially lighting the subject and background the same. The blue eyes really jumped out against the plain background. I took the image into Topaz and filtered it with Adjust and ReStyle, getting this cool retro look.  It reminded me of a 70s album cover. Definitely a unique look. Against The Wall For the next image, we moved against a white wall, resulting in a little bit of texture in the background.  We
Read More

The Great Cover Up!

BIG NEWS! This month, I was thrilled to have one of my images grace the cover of Professional Photographer Magazine.   The lucky image was “School Spirit” – a senior portrait I created a few years ago that made it all the way to the PPA Loan Collection.   As if the cover wasn’t exciting enough, they also did a great story on how I approach senior photography – and all portraits for that matter.  It was a seven page article with a bunch of my favorite senior portraits featured.  I’ve been fortunate enough to win my fair share of awards over the years, but having a cover story was definitely a new high! THE INTERVIEW I never realized just how stressful it is to be interviewed for an article like this – especially one that you know will be read by all your peers.  You worry that you will say something wrong or come off sounding like a knucklehead.   Fortunately, the story was done by the incredibly talented Stephanie Boozer.  We had a great talk and I felt like she really understood what I was trying to say.  It was a huge relief.  We spoke for a few
Read More

Senior Portrait: Claire

This weekend, I ventured up to McKinney for a senior portrait session with Claire.  It was about 40 degrees out – and the building had no heat- but we pressed on.  Honestly, I don’t know how she survived the cold in her spring outfits, but she did it. We ended up with some fabulous images, so I thought I’d share a few here. The thing I love about senior photography is that you are capturing a very pivotal time in their life.  High school seniors are beyond the kid phase and racing toward adulthood.  They have their whole life ahead of them and the possibilities are endless.  A good senior portrait should go beyond what someone looks like and express part of their personality.  My goal was to try and get a wide variety of looks – from fun to serious. For this shot, I opened the camera up to really get a shallow depth of field.  It really made the eyes project out of the image.  We left just enough detail in the background to give it some depth.  It was definitely one of my favorite images of the session.   This image was at the other end of
Read More

The Essential Guide To Senior Portraits

SUMMER IS HERE The senior portrait is one of the great rites of passage for most high school students.  The summer before your senior year is the time to start thinking about senior portraits.  Its a time to document who you are and how far you have come.   But how do you know if you even need this type of portrait and- if so- how do you go about planning for the perfect session? WHY DO IT? High school graduation is a turning point for people.  You are right at the transition between childhood and being an adult.  It is a moment you want to document.  In fact, it ranks right up there with “First Birthday” and “Wedding” in the Important Photograph hierarchy.   You will also want to include an image in graduation announcements or thank you notes.  If there is going to be a graduation party, then the portrait will almost certainly be displayed there as well.  Let’s face it – its a pretty big deal, so you need to document it. WHAT YOU DON’T WANT I still remember my senior portraits very clearly.  I was in a stiff, uncomfortable pose with giant block numbers of my
Read More

Taking Senior Portraits To The Next Level

One of my favorite subjects to photograph is high school seniors.  In many ways, they are the perfect age.  They are still young enough to have a little of that childhood spirit left- but old enough that they can offer creative input.  By working with teens to plan the session, you can push the standards of senior portraits to the next level. Now every senior session still needs to include the traditional stuff – like smiling head and shoulder shots.  The parents are still going to want these, so you can’t skip them.  However, once you get the traditional stuff out of the way, you are free to get a little more creative and artsy.  Push the limits of lighting and try things out.  The great thing about seniors is that they are generally up for whatever you want to try.  I’ll often tell them, “This is either going to be the best shot of the session or you will never see it again.” For Dayton’s session, we played around with some very dramatic lighting, until we came up with this shot. It created a striking silhouette that added a punch of drama to the portfolio.  Is mom going to
Read More

Senior Portrait: Lara

Last month, I did a senior portrait session with Lara – who has been one of my favorite models since she was little! We did a lot of traditional senior portraits, then decided to work on something a little more artistic.   We went with much more dramatic lighting and played around with some more unconventional cropping. We ended up with this incredible image. I loved the timeless look of the shot- especially the lighting.  It reminded me of Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring.  Truly a beautiful image.
Read More

Spring Break Session

I posted this on Facebook a while back, but realized I never actually put it on the blog. For those of you who don’t do Facebook, I thought you might enjoy these images! **** Over spring break, I had a chance to photograph three of my favorite models: Sami, Gusi and Addie. We ran through a bunch of different looks, but these were my favorites: I loved the retro look of this outfit, so we we went with an antique-looking portrait. The soft grain really gives it a timeless look. For Addie, we went the opposite direction. This super-high contrast image really brought out her eyes. I played with a few different colors, then settled on a blue tint. I was thrilled with how it turned out. Sami’s portrait was somewhere in between. It has a little bit of an old-school look to it, but it is also very contrasty and processed. I loved the dark, moody feel we ended up with. Who could ask for three better models!!???
Read More

Leslie

Last week, I photographed Leslie for her senior portraits.   We ran through several outfits and got plenty of traditional “senior” shots.  However, there were a few images that really stood out – at least in my mind. One of my favorites was this profile shot.  Although it is a very uncomplicated shot, it conveys a lot emotion.  Its elegant simplicity gives it a timeless feel.   Dad chose this one to hang on the wall in his office- and that is good enough for me. For the second image, we went the entire other direction… Leslie plays clarinet and I was trying to find a way to capture that – without just having her standing there holding the instrument.  We toyed around with a few unusual shots and came up with this: My apologies to Apple! 
Read More

Picture Perfect

It is always a lot of fun when we can incorporate hobbies or interests into a portrait session.   I photographed Bri last week and she just happened to be into photography!  At the end of the session, we decided to try something different.   We put her camera on a tripod next to her and I set up my camera with a cable release- allowing Bri to actually trigger the camera.   She took a series of self-portraits, which I incorporated into this series. It made for some fun images that really help to show her personality and go beyond just a recording of what she looks like.
Read More