One of the things I love about senior portrait photography is the array of diverse looks and moods I get to capture. There are all kinds of kids out there with very different tastes, interests and personalities. Sometimes such wide diversity is wrapped up in a single person. Jess, my fiery little friend you see below, is a perfect example of this. Jess came to me with very distinct ideas of what she wanted to incorporate in her senior session. With her amazing collection of formal dresses, Jess definitely wanted to capture them in a series of glam senior pictures both in studio and on-location. She also wanted to capture the book loving side of her personality with a set at the local library, which called for an entirely different look. And as a dedicated horse woman and pet lover, we HAD to include her horse (named Brittney, no less!) and her dog Max in her final set.
Because of the wide variety of images we wanted to capture, and the geographic challenges they presented, we opted to split Jess’s session into two separate days.
Senior Pictures at the Findlay Public Library
The first day, we were on-location in Findlay, beginning at the library. The lighting in this set was challenging, but between the window light and a large reflector, we managed to pull it off without disturbing the other patrons.
After a quick change of clothing, we spent a few minutes in the library entrance way, taking advantage of a wonderful wall of windows that provided a nice clean backdrop and beautiful light.
On the Streets in Downtown Findlay
Leaving the library, we spent a few minutes in a wide alleyway across the street to capture more of Jess’s amazing blue and black dress, with the addition of her prized Kentucky Derby hat for dramatic effect. These images with the hat are just spectacular, wouldn’t you agree?
After another quick change, we headed across the street in a fluttery blue formal for more glam senior pictures. This set has a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feel to it, with the garden atmosphere and the big red lollipop Jess was sporting.
Yet another wardrobe update, and we dashed down the street to one of my favorite vintage stairways. The colors here just blow my socks off. The perfect complement to Jess’s red hair and fair complexion. It’s important to consider these things; aligning wardrobe choice, location and your subject’s personal appearance can make all the difference in an image.
Incorporating a Horse into Senior Portraits
Our last stop of the day was at Jess’s horse barn. We were really hoping for a glorious sunset, but the weather that day didn’t accommodate us. In fact, I think we were fortunate not to get wet. There were some pretty heavy skies out there. However, we persevered and, with a little coaxing of an unwilling Brittney the Horse (not to be confused with Brittney the Photographer), ended up with a really great set! The carrots were a nice touch, and Britt (the horse) perked up at the sight of them.
The light at this point was fading fast, but we rallied for a quick experiment with a leaky bubble machine and snapped a few of Jess in the field sans horse. I just love the relaxed feel of these images. And, again, Jess’s wardrobe perfectly complements both the environment and her fair complexion.
Glam Studio Portraits
On Day 2, we met up at the studio for a more controlled environment in which to capture Jess in several more of her fab formal gowns. Jess and her mom, Jenny, showed up with a mountain of dress, and a box of Tim Hortons donut holes – a gesture that completely put the cherry on my sundae of a day! Jess’s family are entrepreneurs who own several Tim Hortons franchises in the area.
After I handily disposed of the chocolate donut holes (YUM!!), Jess suited up in the first of her gowns – my personal favorite, the purple Quinceanera dress. A few dramatic shots on the ivory couch, and then we made a nice little prom dress nest for Jess to roll around in for some fun shots!
I love the contrast here of the black dress against the cream sofa. I wasn’t allowed to show this image for a while, as the dress hadn’t been worn yet, but I think it’s safe now. LOL
To play up the drama of this red number, I put Jess against my black backdrop and used studio lighting to emphasize the contrast of her fair skin against the vibrant color. Va-voom!
Incorporating the Family Dog into Senior Photos
This final studio set is just adorable. Jess’s dad, Roberto, brought their family dog, Max, up to the studio to be photographed with Jess. Jess put a lot of thought into coordinating their ensembles, and his white fur against the black couch and background just pops.
I have had such fun working with Jess and her family! Another thing I love about senior portrait photography is the opportunity to form relationships with my clients. Since Jess’s senior portrait session, I have been honored to capture her extended family in a family portrait session. In addition to this, Jess has graciously accepted the role of instructor in giving my daughter horse riding lessons. And most recently, I invited Jess to come model for a workshop I was participating in. She did such an amazing job there that she was invited back a few weeks later to model for a followup workshop.
Thanks again, Jess, Jenny, Roberto, Brittney and Max for a wonderful experience!
In parting, a quick glimpse of some of my workshop images of Jess:
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