When I am on the other side of the camera and having to plan a session for myself I get so overwhelmed. I get it guys! I have been in your shoes! The planning is the hardest part of your session but it is also the most important. Having a well thought out session is crucial to having a beautiful final product. You will be giving yourself a pat on the back when you view your photos the more time you put in before hand! To help with this process I have put together three things you can do to get started.
1. Your Style
Your style is extension of who you are. These photos are representing you at this age, make sure you are creating outfits that scream you! Putting together outfits that are nicely stylized can really up the WOW factor in your portraits. Why you ask? You are paying for professional portraits which means you want yourself to look put together as well. Our senior sessions include Hair and Makeup so do not cut corners on your clothing choices. This does not mean you have to spend a small fortune on new clothes but it does mean that you cannot throw together a few outfits hours before the shoot. Plan out your outfits and think about your style and the type of setting you want when deciding on what to wear. Check our what to wear guide for more tips and tricks.
2. Your Location
A photographer can take a great photo anywhere so don’t be shy in suggesting locations, even if you aren’t sure of the setting. You can leave it up to your photographer to choose but let me tell you a secret, we love hearing your suggestions!!! It gives us a chance to try out new places and experiment. Creative locations are always fun to play around with. Sit down and think about any places you have been that hold a special place in your heart or any hobbies or interest that have a location that would add to the photo. I had a client that loved reading so we found an old book store and shot in there. Or one that loved music so we found a record store. Maybe your dad used to take you to an old 50’s ice cream shop when you were a kid and going there would bring back such fond memories. Or maybe you love horseback riding and you know of a gorgeous riding stable! The possibilities are endless if you try and incorporate part of yourself when deciding your location.
3. Your Story
Think about what you want to convey with your senior photos. Are just wanting pretty pictures or are you wanting to look back in 10 or 50 years and remember who you were when you took these. Think of your senior session as a time capsule of your time on this earth up until now. What will you tell your grandkids someday about who grammy was when she was just 18. Did she have a certain book that she read a million times or a hat she always wore. Did she play an instrument or was she the star pitcher for her high school softball team. Think really hard what you could add to your portraits to really signify who you were at 18! This is your story to tell, let you photographer tell it passionately and accurately!
AHHHHH my shoot is in two days and I have no idea what I am going to wear!!!! Your wardrobe plays a huge part in how your senior portraits turn out. It makes your photos go from great to fabulous! I know this can be the most challenging part to your session. Getting your wardrobe together takes time and you should never wait until the last minute to find everything. This is why I recommend booking your session a few months in advance so you have time to look for the perfect pieces.
1. Plan Ahead
Book your session a month or so out to give yourself enough time to put outfits together and shop for new items. This allows for you to shop sales or play around with different ideas. Sometimes you need a few shopping trips to find the right items.
2. Create an Inspiration Board
2. Create inspiration board
What did we do before Pinterest? If you do not have Pinterest then your a lost cause. JK JK but seriously you need to create yourself an account!! Check out my Pinterest board to get started and then create your own board of pins that match your style. Whenever I am planning a new haircut or redecorating a room in my house I always begin on Pinterest.
3. Pull Pieces from Your Closet
Once you have created an inspiration board on Pinterest and before you go out and buy a whole new wardrobe look through your closet with fresh eyes and see if you already have any of the items. Pull out that funky outfit you have in the back of you closet you never wear but would look epic in a picture, or set aside that prom dress that would look so cool next to your uncles old classic car.
4. Think Outside of the Box
You want variety in your looks. It is nice to play it safe with one or two looks because those are images Gramma Donna or Aunt Lynette might want on their fireplace but we also want these portraits to be an expression of you. Look on your Pinterest board and see if there are any looks that are out of the box for you and try it out!
This is very important piece of the puzzle. Adding a statement necklace or an awesome hat can make your images go from pretty to extraordinary. Accessories can pull the whole look together so do not leave them out. Try looking at Charming Charlie or Forever 21 for some inexpensive statement pieces. Accessories can also mean adding props when the scene calls for it. This can be instrumental in telling your story and adding a personal touch to your images.
6. Stay Away From…
Try to find clothes that fit you and are not too flowy It might make you feel slimmer but it can also cause you not to have much shape. The eye wants to see shape in an image. Try googling your body type to see what type of cuts look best on you!
Avoid any logos on clothing and crazy loud prints. If you are going to have a loud print make sure we find a location that is more plain in order not to clash with our background.
MOST OF ALL YOU WANT TO FEEL COMFORTABLE AND YOURSELF. Have fun with the process and get a little creative and remember I am always hear to advice and my wardrobe closet is always here to rescue you!
Where to Shop:
Ambiance (in Placerville or Folsom)
Crossroads Trading Post
When the girls first joined the team we got together at Coffee Republic to get to know each other and brainstorm ideas for our editorial shoot. We came up with some great ideas but the Roller Rink was by far the best! As soon as the theme was set in stone I knew exactly where we would be doing the shoot, the Sunrise Rollerland of course. This place held so many memories of my childhood from birthday parties to couple skating with my then crush. I was so happy to bring all those memories back.
There is quite a bit that goes into planning a stylized shoot like this. Me and the girls created a Pinterest board to keep it all organized. We had a group text where we sent our ideas back and forth to make sure our outfits all matched. Once the girls found what they could, I went out and did some shopping at a thrift store. I also sent our hair and makeup lady different hair and makeup ideas for each girl.
The day of the shoot we had our hair and makeup done with Lea Beauler and then headed to the rink. We ended up being super later and thankfully the staff stayed open longer for us! Which meant we had the rink to ourselves but I was also limited on my shots! I’m so glad we were able to get such amazing portraits of these seniors.
With all the planning and research the girls did beforehand they knew exactly what look I was going for and absolutely rocked the attitude and 70’s vibe.
Skating around the carpet was easy for them but once they had to get on the rink it took some time to catch their balance. I guess skating isn’t as popular as it used to be! These girls where wobbling all over! Thankfully nobody wiped out!
As we got toward the end of the shoot it was time for the classic- ICEES!! I don’t think anybody has ever looked better drinking an Icee!
I’m so proud of these seniors and am excited to do more themed shoots throughout the year. They have started to create a beautiful bond!
I used two off cameras flashes and edited in post to create this 70’s style feel.
Tops, vests and skirt- Crossroads Trading Post
Pants and shirts- Forever 21
I try to get to know my seniors before their senior session. First I have a initial consultation with them and then we will chat off and on on the phone about what they want for their session. It is important to me to understand their vibe. I also will fiercely stalk their Instagram feed in order to get to know them better and know their style. When I searched through Negeen’s feed I could tell she was a free spirit. Someone who could hangout on a hammock listening to old rock music or go sit on the beach and meditate for hours. She also is a jack of all trades. She is amazing at yoga, rides horses, plays the ukulele and loves music plus much more. I loved getting a chance to feature many of these talents in her session.
We started our session out in Dimple Records, which brought me back to when I was a kid in the 90’s! The 90’s were the best! I am so glad I grew up in that decade.
This girl, doing this yoga pose on a rock in the middle of the water- thank god she didn’t fall in!!!
Negeen your eyebrows are so on point I cant even handle this. I seriously have to draw in my eyebrows and still you can barely see them.
How cute are Ukuleles? They are tiny little guitars and i just love them! I want to learn to play.
Girl I want to be when you grow up! Can you teach me how to be this talented!!
Growing up I always loved sunflowers. So much so that when I grew out of my Minnie mouse stage and the pink walls and decals came down I opted for a border of sunflower wallpaper. My grandmother made me a sunflower quilt and I always chomped on sunflower seeds during softball games. I LOVED SUNFLOWERS and still do to this day. With it being sunflower season in California I decided I needed to do a passion shoot. A shoot just for me and my creativity. Something to feed my soul and to spend sometime with some awesome seniors.
We piled in the car and started driving down highway 50 until we saw sunflowers on the side of the road. Which brought us to Davis by the soccer fields. We pulled up and of course we weren’t the only ones their. Every photographer within a 50 mile radius is eager to photograph these beautiful flowers, they are only at their best for a few weeks out of the year! We waited our turn and then shot a way. By this point the delta breeze was hitting and the sun was starting to dip. Perfect setting for what I wanted to convey in these portraits. The girls were such good sports with the wind and the temperature dropping pretty fast. When I was photographing one girl the other would be holding my big oval reflector and that thing could catch some air. At one point I thought it was going to take us out!
These fields made these girls radiate happiness!
At the end of the shoot we pulled out the American flag and got a little patriotic. What isn’t more American than an American flag, sunflowers and some colorful bandannas. We were all freezing at this point but we got some beautiful shots.
After I treated these girls to some yummy Pizza. Thank you ladies for being the perfect models!
DISCLAIMER: WE made sure to stay on the outside of the fields and were cautious not to damage any flowers. we all need to remember that this is someones property and their livelihood and to be very respectful of it! Asking permission is always good also!