Awesome Senior Pictures in Old Town Scottsdale | Arizona Professional Senior Photographer

Awesome Senior Pictures in Old Town Scottsdale | Arizona Professional Senior Photographer

Old Town Scottsdale Senior Pictures

Scottsdale is an absolute utopia for photographers. What are we meant to do with all of that sun, scenery, and beauty? Well, capture it, of course! So, when Erica came to me asking for backgrounds filled with desert, waterfalls, vintage scenes, and rustic betweens, I knew I could do it – easily … wholeheartedly, maybe even a little bit too eager! But there’s no such thing in photography, really. Especially not when your photo shoot companion is full of fun and ready for anything!

A Wonderful Day With Erica

But first, let’s get down to business. Erica wants to receive her CNA license and work part-time while attending university to major in biomedical sciences before breaking into medical school. What a mouthful! And we’re not done yet, hold on – Erica’s extremely noble end goal is to be a pediatric neurologist. You just know we had to get a few pictures of Erica in her scrubs with her stethoscope draped effortlessly around her neck – looking like she’s been doing this for thirty years now. That confidence, that’s what I like to see!!!

Scottsdale High School Senior Pictures Scrubs

A Budding Fashionista

But of course, there’s more to life than saving lives! So, we delved into another of Erica’s passions – clothes. Drum roll, please, for the first mention of the Style Closet! Surprisingly, our trusty stylist took a backseat in this photoshoot. The hat you’re about to see that Erica looks like she was born to wear? She took it along herself as part of her shoot wardrobe! Talk about bucking the trend! I might have to get one of these!

Senior Pictures Headshots Scottsdale Arizona

Adding That Something Special – Personality!

If anyone could distract you from the fact that we were wandering through the Scottsdale civic center and parking lots for the perfect background – it’s Erica. While the locations weren’t lacking in beauty, Erica added that gorgeous touch that only a good heart can. Seriously, she just oozed fun, confidence, and radiance. Her long blonde curls had me drooling!

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Prom Dress + Ice Cream = Perfection

Listen, I love a good Instagram snoop as much as anyone else. I’ve seen the prom dress-ice cream vibe multiple times, but I just can’t bring myself to recreate it pixel for pixel. I’d rather use other photographer’s ideas as inspiration, sort of the light that sets my creative fire ablaze (excuse the cheese.) With Erica’s fun personality, it was a breeze to add our own touch to every photo. Seriously, she took like a very-stylish duck to water with any idea we put out there! 

Scottsdale Senior Pictures Sugar Bowl Ice Cream

Western Style in Old Town Scottsdale

This town is only big enough for one shoot! And it’s Erica’s… Seriously, who knew she had an inner cowgirl? We took the wild west directly into the 21st century with Erica’s trendy style backed by the rich woods of old saloon-like buildings. I’m pretty sure that giant wagon wheel sealed the deal on this being an authentic rustic, fiery shoot (thankfully without any duels!)

Scottsdale Senior Pictures 1

Downtown Scottsdale Senior Pictures Western

Putting Her Own Twist On Things

If you’re keeping track, you know that Erica is an extremely passionate person by now! So, moving swiftly onto Erica’s third passion – Art (alongside writing!) Erica painted the sign beautiful purple and black “SENIOR” sign that starred in many of her photos. Can I just say now that it was the perfect addition?

Scottsdale Senior Pictures Boots

Senior Pictures Scottsdale Az

More Cowgirl Antics In Old Town Scottsdale

Queue the obligatory brooding cowgirl looking down while holding her hat shoot. I’m pretty sure you can see that Erica is just about ready to burst out laughing – it was so much fun! I was inspired by a few photos I saw on Instagram and knew we just had to put our own twist on it!

Scottsdale Senior Pictures Cowboy Hat

And then there’s this beauty…the one that got Erica published in Senior Year Magazine! Yep, you read that right…another published image for Magical Memories by Michelle! 

Best Scottsdale Senior Pictures Girls

Always get the “Mom Shot”

Moms and seniors tend to have very different ideas of what makes the “perfect” shot. And that’s completely fine! However, to avoid any disappointment, I always make sure to get a few photos that make the parents well up with pride and adoration – one that spends sometime framed above the fireplace.

For Erica, that meant catching her striking natural beauty up close with a more “serious” photo.

Scottsdale Senior Portraits Model Headshots

After Dark

Once the sunset and the Scottsdale lights started to shine, we hopped at the chance to use them as a background. As you can see, Erica looks like an angelic model! Totally out of this world. It was just one of those timeless photos and moments that was calling out for a black and white filter.

Dowtown Scottsdale Senior Pictures Night Life

What an enjoyable shoot! I really appreciate Erica letting me snap pictures of such happy moments. I just know she’ll achieve all of her lofty goals with flying colors!

Oh, and one keepsake piece of advice from this kindhearted gal to all you freshman out there – “Do your homework and turn it in.” That’s one worth taking to heart!

Best Spray Tans in the East Valley | Prep For Your Senior Photo Shoot

Best Spray Tans in the East Valley | Prep For Your Senior Photo Shoot

Preparing for Senior Pictures: Spray Tans

If you’ve looked through any of my photo shoot prep materials, you’ll know that self-tanners are a big no-no! Christina’s beautiful spray tans though, wow!!! They blend beautifully with your natural skin tones and give you a healthy glow for your senior photo shoot.

Nizhoni Spa

Today I’ve asked Christina Hayes from Nizhoni Spa to help us out with some information about spray tans. You can visit her at her lovely spa in Apache Junction. It’s beautiful and quiet, perfect for some self-love!

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She’s here to answer all your questions!

  • What should I wear in the tan?
    You may go nude, in swimsuits, bras, underwear, shorts, anything you wish. HOWEVER, you will have faux tan lines from what you choose to leave on…so that needs to be considered for photos of bare shoulders, etc.
  • When should I book tan for photo shoot?
    I recommend the day before. No more than 2 days before. Because of athletes, shaving, and any other things that may degrade the tan in areas where clothing and sweat rub together. (just to avoid any issues). Tanning is not recommended same-day as photos.
  • What clothes and shoes should I wear?
    Plan to wear loose clothing home and open sandals or flip flops.
  • What should I do if I have leather seats in my car?
    Please bring a towel to place on your seat vinyl or leather. Your legs shouldn’t sweat or rub on these surfaces. Its not that the tan will rub off on them, but it will avoid any stickiness on your skin.
  • What color tans do you offer?
    My tans are custom to each individual and will always look natural! Less is more & your skin tone and time of day for photos will be considered in each personalized session. Showering times can range anywhere from 3 to 8 hours or even overnight depending on what we decide is best for you!
  • Do you use a booth?
    No! My tans are personally airbrushed, no booths!!
  • I’m a little nervous about my body. What should I do? 
    Nothing! I see all shapes & sizes of people and pass zero judgement. No body shaming allowed!!!
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If you want to learn more about Christina Hayes, check out her small business showcase where she talks about all her services.

Queen Creek High School Senior Published in Magazine | East Valley Professional Photographer

Queen Creek High School Senior Published in Magazine | East Valley Professional Photographer

Senior Picture Published in Senior Year Magazine

It’s not every day you take a picture that you feel could fight off 464,000 images. That’s exactly how many pictures that Senior Year Magazine had to choose from for their recent publication. So to say competition is tough would be a massive understatement! Not to mention that all of those submitted photos are taken professionally and are the pride & joy of whichever photographer created them. But time and time again, I fall a little bit in love with one of my senior photos, and I find myself submitting it – how could I help it!? It’s an honor to be published in Senior Year Magazine’s Best of 2020 Edition!

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Erica’s Winning Image

Well, sometimes the world turns in my direction, stars align, and I am blessed with an image worthy of publication. In truth, I think my photos deserve a magazine of their own! But we can’t have it all – yet.

For now, I’ll settle for my picture of the lovely Erica Marie Hart being published. An exceptionally smart attendee of Queen Creek High School, Class of 2021, Erica was more than fun to spend an evening with. It was one of those sessions that you lose yourself in. Your creative flow is flowing, your finger is at the ready to capture almost any moment, and creative sparks are flying!

Anyhow, Erica knew exactly what she wanted her shoot to look like. On that sunny day in Scottsdale, Arizona, Erica wanted waterfalls, deserts, vintage vibes, rustic scenes, and some hobby-related images sprinkled on top. Are you thinking what we were thinking? The Wild West! What else could it be? Arizona IS the perfect place for it, after all. So, while not all of Erica’s images revolved around the rootin’-tootin’ theme, it certainly encapsulated everything her shoot was about – fun, passion, and doing what she so pleased.

We wandered around and found some rich wood backgrounds that mimicked old-school saloons. We came across even more miracle opportunities, such as an adorable wagon wheel bench. And that was the moment! There was Erica, blue jeans, white top, trusty cowgirl boots, and an obligatory cowboy hat. It was almost too good to be true!

Best Scottsdale Senior Pictures Girls

Erica’s shoot wardrobe surpassed all of my expectations. She looked comfortable, at home, and all-together gorgeous even as she lounged lengthways across the bench. Can I just take this moment to mention how natural and effortlessly cool she looks? While it might seem like these times would be the easiest for photographers – they’re often what sets out pulses racing and minds fuddling. But my years of experience prepare me for moments like these when everything comes together. So, I readied myself and just let Erica be her beautiful self! 

Perhaps it’s the three-tone beauty of the image, the uniqueness of the setting, or Erica’s winning smile – maybe it’s all of those things. Either way, Erica’s photo made it into Senior Year Magazine’s Best of 2020 issue. Really there couldn’t be anyone more deserving. Erica’s fashion sense, intuition, and keen-eye for a good scene all made this photo possible.

There she sits in the magazine among numerous other seniors. Is it one of my favorites? 100%!! Am I biased to say I think Erica’s photo is the best? 100% not!

Award Winning Senior Pictures Scottsdale Photographer

This definitely isn’t the first image I’ve had published, and it hopefully won’t be the last!!! I enter images at least twice a year to various publications. So if you’re ready to have your own magazine-worthy senior pictures, let’s make it happen!

Graduation Pictures at Sunrise by the Superstition Mountains | East Mesa Senior Photographer

Graduation Pictures at Sunrise by the Superstition Mountains | East Mesa Senior Photographer

East Mesa Senior Photographer

Getting a photo shoot off to an early start is daunting, but not for Maria! After having the wonderful idea of rising with the sun so that we could use it creeping over the horizon as a background – I couldn’t say no! Doing anything for the perfect shot – even getting up at 6am.

Sunrise Graduation Pictures by the Superstition Mountains

So, I dragged myself out of bed, piled all of my gear into my car, and off I went to meet Maria at the beautiful Superstition mountains. There, Maria’s sunrise vision became a reality and boy did it look fantastic on camera! The shot was so perfect and Maria’s energy was so catchy that I somehow forgot it was the crack of dawn.

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Looking Gorgeous in Yellow!

Recently graduated from East Valley Academy, Maria plans on becoming an elementary school teacher someday, and I can see it! Her infectious warmth, enthusiasm, with a side of fun, would be magnetic to kids. Plus, yellow just seems like such a “my favorite teacher” color, and it just so happens to look sublime on Maria. Coincidence? I think not!

East Mesa Professional Photos Sunrise

Mixing & Matching with Another Favorite Hat

With just a quick dip into the style closet we found the perfect summer hat to accompany Maria’s gorgeous yellow dress. Maria here is playing with her wonderful deep brown hair which adds life and ‘oomph’ to the image. Speaking of hair, I’ve dealt with all types. You name it – I’ve snapped it. My hair editing skills know no bounds and if anyone ever thinks their mane might be the exception, they’re never right! Stray hairs are basic retouching with all my senior sessions.

East Mesa Senior Photos Hats

Finding inspiration in the seemingly ordinary

But if there’s one outfit that I just adored, it was Maria’s playful pink & white overalls. Aren’t they just adorable!? But really, everything she put on she wore with unshakeable confidence. She owned every single one of her outfits including these cute daisy sunglasses from the style closet.

East Mesa Senior Photos Sunglasses

Of course, we had to match Maria’s happy-go-lucky attitude with a few laid-back yet fun photos. We found a darling little farm store that was just too cute. It’s the little things like this that you might miss in day-to-day life but make all the difference in photos.

East Mesa Senior Photos Outdoor

A shout-out to the moms!

Every photoshoot has some blips; that’s just how it is in photography. All that posing, bending, lighting, clicking, something’s bound to give at least once. This time around, it was Maria’s lovely mother who took the wrap!

Like any doting mom, she was doing her best to use a reflector to block out the pesky light, and she was doing a good job! The only issue is that we were next to a stream, and one step too many led to a bit of an accidental splash. But Maria’s mom wasn’t bothered in the slightest; in fact, she even hopped into a few photos afterward! I always encourage moms to take part in the photoshoot and maybe jump into a few shots every now and then.

East Mesa Senior Photos Water

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!

East Mesa High School Graduation Photos

If there’s one thing I could mention really quick, it’s that I LOVE the moms! It’s great having them around, and I hope to make them comfortable at every step. Maria’s mom wasn’t quite yet comfortable with English and let’s face it, the English used during a photoshoot can be all over the place. Most clients can’t keep track of the jargon at the best of times! I’d just like to let her know and the other moms that if you need me to slow down or speak a bit more clearly PLEASE ask. I’m more than happy to help and I don’t bite, not even in the slightest. Well, maybe sometimes. Ok, nope, never. I might throw a grapefruit, but I never bite! LOL!

I can’t thank Maria and her wonderful mom enough for the great morning we spent together! I had so much fun and can’t wait to have Maria’s little brother in front of my camera when he graduates in a few short years!

The Rewards

Maria and her mother were ecstatic at their image preview, but receiving their gorgeous image box and storyboard was even better!

East Mesa Graduation Pictures Gifts Prints

Dressing Right for Your Photo Shoot

East Mesa Senior Photos Fun

Being comfortable during a photoshoot is incredibly important. Heck! We can barely sleep if we’re uncomfortable; what makes us think we’ll be able to pose!? I guess Maria got the memo because she just knew how to dress. She radiated confidence in every single one of her outfits!

Want to find out how you can too? Let’s take a look:

  • Dressing for your size: If you feel like your outfit is wearing you or that you can’t move around comfortably in it – it might be time to rethink. Clothing that fits properly is a necessity!
  • Your day-to-day: While it’s nice to want to look your best and dress up for a photoshoot, it’s best not to go overboard and launch yourself into unfamiliar territory. Wear what you know and makes you feel confident!
  • Outfits Galore! If you’re not sure what outfit will feel like “you” on the day – bring them all along! There’s no limit and plenty of try-on time!
Small Business Showcase | Nizhoni Spa | Serving the East Valley, Mesa, Apache Junction, Gilbert, and Gold Canyon

Small Business Showcase | Nizhoni Spa | Serving the East Valley, Mesa, Apache Junction, Gilbert, and Gold Canyon

Small Business Showcase: Nizhoni Spa

Best Spray Tan Gold Canyon

Hello, my name is Christina Hayes and I am the owner operator of Nizhoni Spa, located near the base of the majestic Superstition Mountains! Talk about working with a view! The Arizona desert has always been my home and I love living here. There is nowhere else in the world like it!

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Throughout the years, I’ve been enchanted with areas in the northern part of our state and the Navajo culture. I think Lake Powell is a magical place on earth and in part, inspired my business name. The word Nizhoni is a Navajo term for beautiful or to walk with beauty. The colors and theme of my spa are inspired by Navajo culture including their origins, jewelry, weaving and connection with the earth.

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Spray Tans

Here at Nizhoni Spa, I strive to create my own culture of truly feeling beauty from the inside out. My desire is to help all of my clients look and FEEL their best and that starts with confidence. One of my favorite services that I offer is spray tanning. This is a safe & natural way of getting that sun-kissed glow which can boost anyone’s self-image. The truth is, when we have a little color it can change our mood and add confidence to any outfit!

I exclusively use professional spray tanning products made by South Seas Skincare. I have trained in California with the amazingly talented owner, Julie Nostrand herself! She has been sponsoring the TV show Dancing with the Stars for many years.  Most of the cast and dancers are tanned with her product line and I’m thrilled to bring those same products here to my clients!

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I think the key things that set my tans apart from other studios or booths is simply attention to detail and quality products! Spray tanning can be a wonderful service if done correctly. My personal promise to each client is that I will always give you my best tan possible and guide you through the process for a successful glow! I look forward to tanning with you!

Waxing, Facials, and Massages Too!

While Christina has mostly talked about spray tans, let me assure you she is awesome at everything she does!!! Waxing, facials, massages…she does it all! Speaking from experience, it’s not easy to find someone who does amazing, painless, brows. Yep, you heard me! Pain free! My brows are always red after waxing, often used to bleed too, until I met Christina. She only uses hard wax and my skin has never been more thankful! My daughter Alex is also very fussy about her brows and Christina is her go-to after a bad experience at a salon. A little too stressed out? Ha, aren’t we all? Christina’s massages are wonderful and so relaxing! She’s has her own space that just feels calm. I love it! Let me tell you, Christina has clients for life!

Nizhoni Spa
1075 S Idaho Rd Unit 102, Apache Junction, AZ 85119
http://www.nizhonispa.com/
Book Online

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