Best Senior Photographer Mesa Arizona
Beautiful Senior Photos | Gilbert High School | East Valley Photographer

Beautiful Senior Photos | Gilbert High School | East Valley Photographer

Gilbert High School Senior Photos

As a portrait photographer for Gilbert High School, I want your senior photos to exceed your expectations! One of the biggest compliments I get is receiving a message from a mom who you haven’t seen in years! I hadn’t seen Alynna since she was probably 10 years old. She was on the same gymnastics team as our daughter, Alex. Back then, I’m not even sure how many senior photo shoots I had done, but what a great surprise to see them again. Now that I specialize in high school seniors, I was able to take her out for an afternoon and make sure she had the best senior portrait experience she could imagine!

Waterfalls: Choosing the Right Outfit

I think this is one of my favorite outdoor locations. I love having the girls sit on the rocks and splash! However, this is one of those settings where wardrobe can make or break the photo. In order to have these lovely images in the water, I prefer to have my seniors wear a white or light colored flowing dress. If you don’t have one, we have them in our Style Closet. In fact, Alynna was planning on using one of ours, but found this one in the back of her closet. Really?!?! You FOUND this just hanging there, unused, with the tags attached? But it’s perfect!!! The sheer skirt and sleeves are so feminine and the white really shows off her beautiful skin!

Beautiful Gilbert Senior Photos

      

Birthday Photos for Teens

Wait, who says balloons are for kids? Certainly not me! Bring those balloons and let’s celebrate! Celebrate your birthday or graduation by including some huge oversized balloons! It was just our luck that Alynna’s birthday was the same week as her senior photo shoot.

Cap & Gown Graduation Photos

Planning ahead can make all the difference for your senior photos. Most local schools don’t give you your cap & gown until just a few weeks before graduation, but Alynna already had her tassle (yay!!!) and was able to use her older sister’s cap & gown for the afternoon! They both had the same honors from Gilbert High School, so we were all set! Keep in mind, you don’t have to wear the cap & gown for every shoot, we mix and match! Sometimes we leave the gown open to show off another outfit. Sometimes we focus on just the tassel and those gorgeous eyelashes!

Both the had and the dress are from our Style Closet. Did you know we have dozens of outfits that are available for your senior photos? We even do have a cap & gown!

Graduation!

This was one of Alynna’s top requests for senior photos. It’s not easy, and it took quite a few shots, but the result is fabulous! One of Gilbert High School’s graduation traditions is for the seniors to toss all their homework in the hallways. So Alynna had saved up allllllll her homework, notes, and papers just for this! The final image is actually a composite of 9 images and is definitely our favorite! We used it on her custom graduation announcements so all of her friends and family will have this as a 5×7 print!

Gilbert Family Photographer | Gorgeous East Valley Family Pictures

Gilbert Family Photographer | Gorgeous East Valley Family Pictures

Gilbert Family Photographer

As a Gilbert family photographer, I’ve chosen to be low volume so that I can really focus on each family, each client, and get to know them. When that happens, these “clients” become more like friends, which is definitely the case with Kim and her family. Kim was a referral from another client and originally she wanted to schedule an engagement session. Let’s just say that was one of my favorite sessions ever!! Knowing that I don’t take many families, Kim asked anyway. She stressed the importance of this since she is a self-proclaimed picture person and has put it off for long enough. Too long unfortunately, and in that time her mother-in-law had passed away. I don’t want to guilt anyone into doing this, but think about how many good pictures you have of your family. I mean really beautiful pictures. Of your family. Together. Enjoying each other. It doesn’t happen much so I wanted to be sure we get it right and make the process as easy as possible.

In Person Consultation

When I first started out as a professional photographer, I made some mistakes. Don’t we all? Part of the problem was just taking as many sessions as possible, doing the photo shoot, and handing over the images. That meant that I often talked with people only via phone or email, and met them for the first time right before their family pictures. People are already uncomfortable in front of the camera, so I want to do everything possible to ease your stress. By meeting in person, we get to know each other. In fact, I don’t ever book a session without meeting in person. I want you to be 100% comfortable with me, the process, the ideas, and the investment.

So the goal for the session was to get all the extended family and grandparents together for a photo shoot. While I do get all of the basic “perfect” poses, I also use various lenses and mix in candid shots to be sure to tell the complete story.

Family Pictures with Grandparents

Please, please, please…if the grandparents live close by, bring them to your family portrait session! If they’re visiting, try to squeeze in a photo shoot while they’re here. These are the images that will be passed down through generations, cherished by the whole family. Do it now, while everyone is alive and healthy. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so schedule it. Figure it out, find the money, bribe dad. It will be worth it, I promise!

“It’s OK, I have plenty of pictures of the parents and grandparents.” – No One Ever

A Quick Reminder

Yes mom, the pictures are your dream so please enjoy this time. Your children don’t care what you look like, if you’ve gained a few pounds or a few wrinkles. They love you and will be so glad to have these pictures as the years go by. It’s important for them to see the love and be reminded of it with beautiful family pictures in your home.

Amazing Gilbert Family Photographer Parents

Bring The Dog

Meet Bindy. She’s the important one and she knows it. Much like parents and grandparents, our dogs do not live nearly long enough. So bring them along! Everyone always warns me about their dog not listening. Seriously? Got this shot in less than 5 seconds. I have my ways…and she’s even smiling!

The Perfect Family Portrait

It may not be what you think. When clients come to me, many think they want that “perfect” picture of everyone smiling at the camera. But is that really your family? We have fun together when we’re out shooting, so you can bet there will be some goofiness, perhaps including dad trying to hind behind a branch. Nice try, Mark! This was about 5 minutes into their session and he was already giving me a hard time! From then on, I knew these were my type of people! I don’t want a whole bunch of “sit and stare at me with a fake smile” pictures. I want the kind real smiles, authentic emotion, and the kind of laughs you can hear in the picture! The expressions that mom looks at and says “yep, those are my girls!”

    Gilbert Family Photographer Laughing

Sisters

This is Kaylynne and Ally, two of the sweetest young ladies you’ll ever meet. A sister is worth a thousand friends, and that is certainly true with them! They played along with all my goofy requests and probably thought I was a little crazy. And for my Big Bang Theory fans out there, I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested!

 

 

 

Perry High School | Ocotillo Golf Club | Chandler Senior Pictures

Perry High School | Ocotillo Golf Club | Chandler Senior Pictures

Perry High School Senior Pictures

Connor is a recent graduate from Perry High School in Chandler, AZ. You may have seen his baseball photos in a recent post and I wanted to share more from his session!

Ocotillo Golf Club

We started the afternoon at Ocotillo Golf Club, which offered us this gorgeous indoor location. It’s a great spot for guys when they choose to include a suit and tie for their senior pictures. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite looks! I used to tell the guys to just be casual because I wanted them to be comfortable. But seriously, when you dress up you just look and feel more confident! Plus, mom will love these!

 

Outdoor Senior Pictures

Next, we headed outside to use some of the beautiful scenery. Take note, Connor is dressed from head to toe in every image. Always remember to bring the right shoes and socks for every look! Oh yes, the socks. Please make sure you don’t have white socks that show under your jeans! Connor completed this look with his Vans.

I like my seniors to look natural, and what is more authentic than a teenager with his phone? Ocotillo Golf Course has been very generous allowing us to use the location as long as we plan ahead and ask first. And of course, we don’t interfere with the golfers. Please do not just assume you can use this location, or any location, without asking. Part of being a professional photographer is knowing how to handle photo shoots in public locations.

With eyes like these, you bet I’m gonna get some close up pictures to show them off! How can you resist those amazing blue eyes?!

Perry High School Senior Pictures Chandler

Published!

Senior Year Magazine Top Photographer AZ

Certain times of the year I enter images to be published in various magazines. That is why it is so important to have your model release signed prior to your senior photo shoot. This is the perfect example of a simple senior portrait. No special outfit or location, just a simple image of Connor looking out the window. But with the perfect lighting, it takes an image from average to amazing!

This spring I entered this image of Connor for publication in Senior Year Magazine. They had an issue just for guys, and if you know my business, you know I shoot just as many senior portraits for guys as I do for girls. Sometimes even more! This image was published in Senior Year Magazine’s Spring Edition: Guys. So if you want your image in a magazine, let’s get you scheduled and maybe your image will be selected for publication!

Please be sure to check out Connor’s baseball senior pictures here! Just for fun, if you want to see some pictures of Connor when he was younger, check out this session. We can’t forget his sister, Kelci! I did her senior pictures as a 2015 Perry High School graduate. I love working with families through the years and watching their children grow!

Senior Photos | The Surprising Side of Senior Pictures | Mesa, AZ

Senior Photos | The Surprising Side of Senior Pictures | Mesa, AZ

From the day these little ones were born, they’ve tested us. It’s been a constant learning curve filled with every emotion imaginable. Well, hold on to your hats and glasses, but with graduation coming you’re in for a whole new roller coaster of emotions! Did you catch my Disneyland reference there? I had to do it! Anyway, you’ve spent years trying to prepare your kids for the world after high school and I know you’ve always researched what you think is best for them. You tested every toy, visited all the top schools, and managed to find a car that would meet your critical safety standards. You’ve helped with projects, packed lunches, and managed to get them to practice all these years. And now, that little piece of your life is changing. Forever. I understand that it can be overwhelming, I’ve recently been through it myself and have a second one graduating next year, so I want to tell you parents a secret about the best part of senior year–the memories. Most East Valley high schools require you to use their contracted photographer for the yearbook photo, but senior photos are so much more than they used to be!

A boost in self-confidence? Who knew?

As a senior photographer for over 10 years, I was shocked when I heard girls say how pretty they felt. And then be embarrassed for feeling like that!  Um, so I’m over here scratching my head. It was that moment, mostly in that 2016-2017 school year, that I really decided that this just one reason senior photos are so important!  I can capture teenagers through my eyes, what I see. The beauty, the joy, the talent, the personality and so much more. All the things you already know are there, but they just don’t believe you. I get it, I have a now-16-year-old and her confidence has come a long way in 3 years. By showing them what I see, it can make a huge difference in how they see themselves. It is so awesome to hear a girl say “wow, I really am pretty!” Have the guys give you that look, and just cannot contain the smile no matter how much they try to hide it. Because they’re proud, they’re excited, and they really truly didn’t believe they could look this good! It works for both guys and girls, and it is a game changer for a lot of kids. Of course they’re still gonna have those moments, but my hope is that inside they know. Deep down, they remember these pictures. They see them around your home. They see the joy on your face when you proudly display these photos. It’s my goal as a photographer to make every single one of my teenagers feel this way. I promise, all of my teens are just regular, normal, kids…until I work my magic!

Senior Photos Urban Denim Fashion Mesa AZ

Just yearbook photos or is there more?

You know the ones. The awkward smile, the uncomfortable pose. Many schools still send the seniors to a contracted photographer where they will take a few nice pictures, but it’s just that. A few nice pictures. Some schools don’t even do that anymore. It’s the same whether you’re a freshman or a senior. Line up, click, click, you’re done. Then you have this embarrassing photo to display…for the rest of your life. I cringe just thinking about it. But these days, senior photos are filled with fun and creativity! Our senior sessions will have your teen laughing, spinning, running, and tossing their hair all resulting in gorgeous, authentic reactions!  Your teen will no long cringe at the thought of having their photos displayed in your home! How do I know? Nearly every single one of our Class of 2019 seniors had something created for their room! Yep, storyboards and metals including their favorite quotes are a huge hit!

Senior Photos Wrestling Sports Mesa AZ

More than just good pictures

You think adulting is hard? Try being a teenager! We’ve all been there, we KNOW how hard it was for us and I believe it’s even harder now. These kids are subjected to the perfection of social media all day, every day. And of course they believe all this perfection is a normal, everyday occurrence for other teens. So I love giving my teens that picture perfect experience, and for just one day, the world revolves around them! And YOU get to be a part of it! Moms love hanging out with us during the photo shoot! It gives you both a break from the never-ending to-do list that seems to multiply daily during senior year! You know how I mentioned how my heart just explodes when these teens get that boost of self-esteem? Imagine being able to watch it happen. And it does! Don’t be surprised when you’re son suddenly is really into senior photos or your daughter starts pulling out her hidden modeling skills! They come out of their shell really quick when they’re the center of attention! Now, imagine having these stunning photos displayed in your home for you to see every day…multiple images to show off, not just two or three. While they’re away growing up, creating new adventures in college or building a career, you’ll still have their smiling face to comfort you. Remember when we were kids, how much fun it was to flip through the family photo album? Yep, we can do that too. Just imaging having a beautiful, high quality album filled with all your teen’s stunning images for you to look through together, to gush over, and when the time comes, share with their children. Now stop imagining, and know that we can make it a reality. 

Senior Photos Girls Sunglasses Mesa AZ

Leave them to the pros

Did you find yourself nodding your head as you read through this post? Are you thinking to yourself, dang, this is definitely something I need to do for my kid? If so, make sure that you choose a professional. Remember at the beginning where we talked about educating yourself and giving your child the best? It applies here as well. As with most things, you get what you pay for and professionals can provide all of the above and more. You might find someone who is pretty good at taking pictures and can do one or two of the things above, but when it all comes together, it creates an experience for your senior and photos you can cherish for years to come. It should be a special event designed by a photographer who specializes in these sessions, not an afterthought left to someone who knows how to press a button. I guide my seniors throughout the process so they know exactly what to expect, what to wear, and how to pose. You should have a variety of images that create a complete story of your teenager at this age, not just a few mediocre pictures.

Senior Photos Lake Mesa AZ

Did you find this post helpful? Here is some more information about our senior portrait experience.

Baseball Senior Pictures | Varsity Sports at Perry High School in Chandler, AZ

Baseball Senior Pictures | Varsity Sports at Perry High School in Chandler, AZ

Baseball Senior Pictures

Many of our clients are high school seniors who participate in varsity sports, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever had baseball senior pictures quite like these! Amy and I talked quite a bit about including baseball for Connor’s senior pictures.  While Connor has played baseball for as long as I can remember, this would be his last season in a Perry baseball uniform. These pictures hold a special place in my heart, knowing that over the years they will become even more priceless to him and his family.

Side note: If you recognize Connor, it’s because he’s been around for awhile. I’ve had multiple sessions with the Abernethy kids, including Connor’s sister Kelci, who graduated in 2015. It’s just thrilling when you get to watch your clients go from kids to teens to high school graduates to adults!

Scheduling Your Senior Pictures

I know, athletes are tough! Between games, practice, school, studying, they’re often lucky to even remember to eat and sleep! If you play both club and high school sports, squeezing in senior pictures can definitely be a challenge! Here’s a tip. Do your best to schedule your senior pictures in the off season! If you play football or other fall sports, plan for a spring portrait session. If you run cross country, play baseball, or other spring sports, aim for having your pictures taken in the fall. Luckily, even with Connor’s schedule, we managed to have his pictures done in the spring…and then we just found an open baseball field!

Our first stop was straight to the dugout. With equipment ready, I got this fun shot showing off his graduating year. I rarely show both a color and a black & white image in my blog posts, but in this case I really do love both! When you come for your Reveal & Design, you’ll see that not all images are edited in black & white, but there will definitely be a few.

With eyes like these, you bet I’m gonna get some close up pictures to show them off!

Since this was our third and final location, it was started to get dark, so we pulled out the lights for some gorgeous action shots. That one of Connor reaching over the fence? That one definitely warrants a huge shout-out to Glen, Connor’s dad. As a photographer himself, he knew the best location for the softbox would be on the other side of the fence, so he climbed over and somehow managed to hold it in just the right spot while we had Connor run full speed at the fence to catch a ball.

Baseball Senior Pictures Action Shots Chandler AZ

 

Composite Sports Artwork

This composite is a little different. We stopped in Chandler to get some images of Connor in his regular clothes, knowing that I’d use the brick wall for a composite. Love how it turned out!
Baseball Senior Pictures Sports Perry Chandler AZ

Instagram Features in Senior Guys Style and Senior Year Magazine

I posted this shot of Connor tossing the baseball to my Instagram, and almost immediately it was featured by both Senior Year Magazine and Senior Guys Style! How cool is that? Both of these accounts feature high school senior pictures from some of the industry’s best photographers. There is nothing better than showing off your seniors on national Instagram accounts!

Senior Guys Style Featured Photographer

I just couldn’t fit it all into one post, so this is only part of Connor’s senior portrait session. Don’t miss the rest of his senior pictures!

Would you like to see more senior sessions featured sports? You might like these!
Matthew, Hamilton High School
Briana, Hamilton High School
Aaron, Mesquite High School

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