I already offer one of the most artistic portrait photography sessions in Mesa, Arizona. I’m always looking for ways to create an exceptional experience for my clients, so I asked myself, “what could possibly make this experience any better?” The answer? Night time photography! Now I’m able to offer two types of photo sessions. One session begins approximately 2-3 hours before sunset, and ends as we run out of daylight. The other session, well, we just keep shooting even after dark! It allows me to create unique portraits with a different feel. We can shoot in urban areas and pull in some of the city lights, or shoot at sunset and capture that glorious Arizona glow. You’ll get a combination of daytime and nighttime photos. But for now, let’s focus on some gorgeous portraits taken in the East Valley after the sun went down.
Eastmark After Dark
You’ve probably seen this location before, and yet at night it has a completely different feel! With the white fences now dark and the string lights from a nearby restaurant lit up, we got some stunning portraits for Skylar and her family! That plaid top is just too cute, and the navy blue hat from our style closet gave her outfit just the right finishing touch.
All About Plaid
For 2019, plaid is definitely still a trendy addition to your wardrobe this fall, plus the texture makes it perfect for your photo shoot. Plaid never seems to go out of style whether it’s a cute crop top or your favorite flannel!
Think you can’t full off the perfect pouty pose? Try this.
1. Close your eyes. 2. Take a couple of breaths with your lips slightly parted. 3. If you have a severe case of RBF, practice turning up just the corners or your mouth. 4. Finally, say the words “blue” or “prune” to help part your lips ever so slightly. 5. Once you’re ready, open your eyes and we’ll start shooting!
My Favorite Thing About Shooting at Night
I love the lighting we can achieve after dark! And the best part is the both the color and black & white versions are both beautiful! Which is your favorite?
Studio Portraits Without the Studio
Because of the harsh sun in Arizona, it can be hard to block out all the light during the day. However, once the sun starts to fade it’s easy to get the perfect black background. Believe it or not, this image was taken next to a lake, but Skylar definitely wasn’t in the water. Instead, I had a vision of exactly what I wanted to accomplish for this talented MAC swimmer. I simply adjusted my exposure to darken the background, added in some off-camera flash to achieve a starting point. Then used Photoshop to create the illusion of splashing water.
Every trade has its tricks, its magic ways—and photography is no different. If I were a magician, I would be banned from the business for divulging the magic behind my tricks, but lucky for you, I’m merely a wizard…a wizard who wields a camera like it’s a magic wand. My point is, there are secrets, and before your big day gets here, I want you to be in the know. Why? So you’ll have the most perfect pictures ever, of course!
You’ve already heard a lot of talk about your big day, the spotlight, the hair, the outfits, and all the glam that goes along with senior pictures. It’s a lot of pressure—for you AND for me. After all, we’re tasked with wrapping up an entire academic career into one amazing photo shoot that will showcase exactly who you are. No problem, right? Exactly. No problem.
The insider information I’m about to expose is meant solely to make your day even more awesome and (hopefully) put your mind at ease about all the fun that’s about to happen.
Secret #1: It really IS all about you.
That means you don’t have to be someone you don’t want to be. Don’t like dresses? Cool. Don’t wear dresses. Not a fan of high heels? (I mean, who is? They’re pointy and pinchy.) Wear your kicks. Or go barefoot. Or wear those funky toe-shoe things. The point is, no one wants you to be uncomfortable. Just be yourself, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time and end up with some awesome pics. We’ll help you style every single outfit to match the location for magazine-worthy senior pics!
Secret #2: Fashion isn’t complicated.
You know that one outfit? The one that makes you feel like you have a little bit of sass, a little bit of edge, and a whole lot of “Look. At. Me.” Yep, that’s the outfit. That’s the one that defines your style and your personality. That, my dear, is fashion. Sure, it could be fancy. Or it could be casual. Or it could be a mixture of sequins and denim—with a little bit of leather thrown in the mix. However you define fashion and style, whatever floats your boat and makes YOU shine, that’s fashion. Besides, with our exclusive Style Closet, you’ll have even more options for outfits and accessories!
If you’re ever in doubt, just reflect on the words of Coco Chanel,
“Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
When in doubt, keep it simple and wear what makes you feel good.
Secret #3: Weather doesn’t always cooperate.
Fashion, we can control. Weather, we cannot. Things we try to avoid include monsoons, haboobs, temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, flash flooding, and pretty much any natural disaster. They don’t tend to be conducive to helping us produce the best photographs, plus, it can be a bit difficult to get the dust and bits of debris out of your hair if we get caught in a dust storm.
The good news is that YOU don’t have to worry about mundane things like watching the Weather Channel—because that’s what I do! I’ll be on top of every weather forecast leading up to your photo shoot, and if we need to move things around, we’ll do exactly that. I literally have an app that tracks wind for me, and that is my #1 photography session killer! Never fear, we’re flexible! Being low volume allows you to be more than just a number and our schedule is designed to allow for last-minute changes if Mother Nature has other plans for your photo shoot! Find out what we do if you have bad weather for your senior pics.
Secret #4: Zits are OK, but fix your fingernails.
Let’s get serious for a minute. No one plans for the last-minute zit, and sometimes they’re so big they merit being given a name. My last BIG ONE was named Martha, and she didn’t go away for a week. Martha was a monster, and she staked a claim right in the middle of my nose (not cool). So, if you get a surprise “Martha” on the day of your photo shoot, don’t panic! We can work through it. Remember, I have my magical ways, and Martha will NOT make an appearance in your pictures.
However, let’s chat about your nails. These are fixable. Ahead of time. Picture talons, long talons swooping out of the sky, maybe attached to a dragon or a hawk or whatever bird of prey suits your fancy. It takes a little more work and creativity to edit these down so that they are not the single biggest focal point of your photographs. Yes, they are pretty and long and lovely. But let me give you a tidbit of advice (you can take it or leave it)…those long and lovely clickers are going to seriously stick out when you are running your fingers through your hair or putting your hands by your face in your pictures. It might be a good time to consider a file.
Secret #5: Beauty shines…inside and out.
There’s magic behind that lens, and together, we’ll land on exactly the look you’re going for. Wake up with a bulging zit? I can fix that! Have a few stray hairs? No problem! I want you to look fabulous, not photoshopped! Yep, that’s right, you can look as natural as YOU want, and I professionally retouch each image by hand. Nobody needs to know except you, me, and the camera lens.
Your photos can be fun, flirty, or serious. And we can add some nice effects to some already-awesome images, so let’s work together to come up with some fun options. The best part is that it’s up to you, and we can be as creative as you want to be!
Now you know what the professional photographers know!
Cat’s Out of the Bag! Now that you know several trade secrets, I hope you’re feeling ready to tackle your upcoming photo shoot with all the style and confidence that makes you the amazing person you are. The best part about my job is that everyone I work with is unique—which means that every single photo shoot is an opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind collection of memories!
Tips for Including your Dog in Your Senior Pictures
On the scale of zero to adorable, there’s not much that can top cute pictures of your pet—unless, of course, it’s cute pictures of you WITH your pet. Your senior picture photo shoot is the perfect time to bring along Fido or Phoebe or Boomer (or all of your furry companions), because it’s a pretty sure bet that they’ve been a big part of the memories you’ve made throughout your school years.
If you’re planning on bringing your pup along for your big day (which I highly recommend!), I have a few tips and tricks that will help things go smoothly. After all, your photo shoot is a lot like a vacation. It takes some planning, we’re going to be tired when it’s all said and done, and if the pooches come along, we need to plan ahead for that.
I’ve done a LOT of photo shoots, and I’ve captured a lot of tail wags and slobbery canine kisses along the way. So trust me when I say the cute factor of the pictures we get will more than outweigh the little bit of planning we do to make sure things work out how we want them to. Here’s what you need to know:
Operation Cooperation – Getting Your Pooch to Cooperate
Yeah, this isn’t going to happen. You know every dog commercial where the obedient and well-groomed pup leaps into the air with perfect timing to catch the frisbee that’s thrown to them? That’s likely take #412 of that shot, and at that point, the guy behind the camera is probably considering giving up his career to live a solitary existence somewhere in a forest. So, instead of putting pressure on your furry best friend and expecting him or her to behave in a certain way, we’ll just capture the moments organically. Trust me…we’ll get better pictures that way anyway!
The Less Complicated, The Better
If you’d like your pooch to wear a velvet capelet while prancing through a field with a flower crown balanced on her head and spontaneously nudge a butterfly with her nose, that’s not going to happen either. However, if you plan on finding beauty in the simple moments, you’re guaranteed some great images of you and your best fur-buddy that you’ll cherish forever. And please don’t forget to clean up after your pup. We’re typically in public places, so always bring paper towel and a bag for those potty breaks. Nobody wants to step in that!
Seconds before this picture was taken, Marissa’s dog nearly knocked her over. “Quick, grab him and give him a hug!” Let’s just say that a 10-month-old pit bull might just have a few other ideas about how the session should go. But seriously…this face!!!
Capturing Their Character
Goofy? Serious? Playful? Gruff? Whatever your pup’s personality—and however your pet acts with you—I want to capture that in pictures. Does your best pal get the zoomies whenever you play with him? Let’s see that whir and blur of tail and ears! Does your best gal flop of her back for belly rubs whenever you’re around? Whatever their silly quirks, whatever makes them your unique best friend, THAT’s what will make pictures with your pup the very best pictures ever. Don’t worry about all the sitting and shaking and behaving. This whole photo shoot will be out of the norm, so don’t count on your pooch to take that lying down!
Not Opposed to Bribery
Got Snausages? By all means, go ahead and fill your pockets with whatever treats will calm the savage beast (or drooling fluffball). Seriously, if you need some snacks for yourself, too, go right ahead. Just try to steer clear of Cheetos or anything broccoli-ish that might get stuck in your teeth. My point is, go ahead and bribe your pup with a Beggin’ Strip or two. I’m all about everyone having a little bit of fun!
The first picture is what every client thinks they want. Literally all of you, right? Until we get the 2nd picture. Which one do you think is printed BIG for their wall? It isn’t the first image of Brandon and his new pup staring sweetly at the camera. It’s the one where you can smell that puppy breath and feel the slobbery kisses! Maybe we used a little peanut butter, maybe we didn’t! Nobody will ever know.
A Little Goes a LONG Way
Here’s where we throw in a little strategy. You may have noticed that your doggo doesn’t have the longest attention span—and that’s ok. But we need to plan for that. The best way for us to get amazing shots of you with your pup is to limit the time he or she spends in front of the camera. While you’ll be going to several locations for your pictures, your pup will likely only go to one. We’ll work together to pick the perfect spot. I try to pick a time either at the very beginning or end of your shoot, and have someone (mom, dad, friend) swing by with your pup at the perfect time. We will be at a safe location—not near busy streets or train tracks—just in case there’s a slip of the collar or escape attempt. I also try to pick wide open places like parks or even back yards so there’s less noise and confusion for your pup. I’ll get several shots of you interacting with your best fur-buddy, and then he or she can go home and relax after their short photo session experience. It’s super stress-free for you…and for your pet!
My dog is crazy!
Um, aren’t they all? Isn’t that why we love them so much! I can’t tell you how many clients have come in for their in-person consultation and never considered including their dog because they “don’t listen” or they’re “too wild and crazy.” Lucky for you, wild and crazy is my specialty! Trust me, ALL dogs are like that! Well, except Mocha, this sweet pup below. But I’m telling you, she is the exception not the rule. Also, when we got our first dog (years and years ago, before we were married) we had our dog trained by professionals. Really, they trained us not the dog, so my husband and I both know techniques that work with many dogs. I’ve worked with rescues, small dogs, big dogs, you name it. And of course it doesn’t have to be a dog either! I’d love to meet your cat, horse, or other beloved pet!
Goldie is a gorgeous rescue and it took some time to get her to adjust to her surroundings. She wasn’t outside much as a pup, so an outdoor photo shoot sent her senses into overdrive! That’s OK! We let her roam and sniff and just enjoy being outside. Then in between, still captured gorgeous images for her mama.
Some of the cutest and most fun senior pictures I’ve taken have included family pets. When it’s time to sit down and talk about your session, ask me to show you some of my favorites. Once you see all the slobbery faces and wagging tails, you’ll definitely want to include your pup in your senior picture photo shoot. After all, they’ve been your study buddy, your slumber party pal, your midnight snack sidekick, and your secret confidant for all these years. It just takes a little bit of planning to include them in your photo memories.