Make a Splash with Water Pictures: Showcase What They Love
It’s summertime in the desert, and the heat is on! What better time to showcase your love of all things water?!
Meet Alyse, 2021 graduate from Gilbert Classical Academy in Gilbert, Arizona. A valued member of the GCA swim team, Alyse also works as a lifeguard, plays a bit of basketball, loves to paint and take pictures with her Polaroid, and of course, she’s always up for a hangout with friends. After working with her, I’m convinced there’s nothing this girl can’t do!
With so much of her time spent around the water, it only made sense to begin our planning by incorporating water ideas into her photo shoot! So of course, we talked swimming and swim team, and we worked on ways to pull her team uniform into her pictures. She even went bold and decided for a shot of her team suit under her graduation gown. Talk about a fun and creative idea!
When Alyse and her family reached out to me about her graduation photos, I was excited to plan locations, outfits, and ideas to really highlight her high school years. It was all the more fun because of the excitement she brought to the planning process. Described as determined and funny by those who know her, this girl absolutely blew me away with her creativity and willingness to kick back and share a laugh.
Ready, Set, Shoot
Alyse was ALL IN from day one, and her energy and ideas added a ton of valuable insight that helped me find the perfect venues and backgrounds to suit her personality.
It’s great when clients have ideas about themes and locations they really love, because that helps me guide them in overall planning. When I know what you love, what inspires you, and what reflects YOUR personality, I can get us going in the right direction even faster!
Top Secret Uber-Confidential Water Photo Information
Yes, there is water in the desert, and we CAN find it for your senior pictures if you want a similar look. Before hitting water venues, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:
It gets slick out there—especially if you choose a natural location like a lake or river. I can fix a lot of things, but I can’t fix that. Water pics are beautiful but be prepared to tread cautiously and lightly to avoid a slip.
Bring some old shoes or a cheap pair of flip-flops. Don’t plan on wearing your super-chic and trendy booties for your water pictures. They’ll get muddy and mucky before you can say “Cheese!” Guaranteed. (Also, I will never ask you to say “Cheese.”)
Choose the right clothing for water. You’ll want something flowy that makes it look like you live among mermaids, BUT be careful to select outfits that aren’t too finicky about care—especially about getting wet. PRO TIP: Do not borrow your mom’s vintage silk scarf for this shot.
Bring a beach towel (or two). If you decide a flirty splash or a toe dip would make the perfect photo, you’ll definitely want a towel so you can dry off and move on to the next shot.
Go with the flow. If you end up making a bigger splash than you planned, just roll with it and have fun! Free-spirited Alyse took a bit more of a dip than she expected when she hit a slick spot—and let’s just say, she gracefully took a seat in a watery venue. What happened next? She made a splash, of course! And we captured unexpected, fantastic images. Sometimes, the unexpected turns into the awesome!
A Wardrobe That Wows
From team uniform to trendy casual to glam, Alyse had it together when she gathered her photo shoot wardrobe! The whole idea is to have fun with it and let the outfits you choose reflect YOU and your style. When you feel good about what you’re wearing, it will show in your movements and expressions—and that will carry over to your photos.
Every now and then, the camera decides it simply doesn’t like a certain style or outfit. Maybe it’s because of lighting or background or any number of other factors. This happened with an adorable dress that looked GREAT on Alyse in person—but in front of the camera, the angles were lost, leaving her fun and flowy dress looking shapeless and limp.
Funny enough, after trying on an outfit she was on the fence about—a rust-colored ensemble that suited her perfectly—Alyse looked like a supermodel in front of the camera! (Note from your professional photog: I’ll NEVER let anything make you look unflattering! You will look glam & gorgeous… guaranteed.)
As Alyse heads off to college in the fall, her mom will have a variety of photos to keep her company and remind her of her daughter’s high school days. With everything from keepsake photo boxes filled with double-sided images to a multi-image storyboard to a premier slideshow, Mom can keep Alyse close even when she’s off adulting and following her dreams.
I asked her what she would say to incoming freshmen if given the chance. Alyse said she would tell them to focus on grades because those are important—but not to lose sight of making memories, because that’s what you’ll really look back on after graduation.
Alyse is headed to college, and while she’s undecided on her specific major (weren’t we all!), her dream job is to be a cardiac surgeon. Whatever she chooses, with her determination, smarts, and drive to succeed, this girl will rule in her field!
I love to watch my clients grow into their future selves, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next, Alyse. Keep smiling and working hard…I know you’ll make a splash wherever you go!
Makeup Trends for Teens: The Perfect Face for Senior Pictures
Makeup trends constantly change to make way for new ideas and new products. Cosmetics play an important role in your overall look and style, and with everything that’s on the market, it can feel overwhelming, but not to worry. There’s no reason to stress, because, just like every other step of your senior picture process, I’ll walk you through what looks and concepts will work well for you in front of the camera.
Ready to learn what’s new and trendy AND combine that with styles that will photograph well and show your very best features? Here’s what to pay attention to this season.
The Eyes Have It
They are the way you show expression, connect with people, and even communicate silently. So of course, when I’m behind the camera, I try to capture every nuance of your personality—and it shines through your eyes! This year’s biggest makeup trend is all about the eyes, and is it any wonder? With all the mask-wearing we’ve had to do, we’ve only been able to focus on half our faces for most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021!
And if you only get to show off half your face, it should look good, right? Here’s how pros and celebs are adding mega glam to their gazes:
Bring on the drama. Don’t be afraid to go a little darker or bolder than normal for your photos. Whatever you see in real life will look lighter via the camera lens, so that little extra boost of color will end up looking perfectly natural in your pics. Especially if you plan on wearing your glasses, give your eye makeup a little extra pop, so it will show up nicely in your photographs.
Get a little catty. The cat-eye is quick and easy to create, and it adds drama to your look, pulling attention to your face. You can create this look with just eyeshadow or with shadow and liner. This year, even the cat-eye gets a makeover, however, with the trend turning toward brighter, bolder colors and more creative shapes that often extend below the eye.
Ombré all the way. A fun trend is the ombré eyeshadow look, blending various shades artfully together from light to dark as you work from the inner portion of your eyelid outward. For an updated dramatic look, add a light liner and mascara after you’ve applied your shadow.
Sun-kissed and glowing. If you’re a sunshine lover, check out the super-fun sunset eyeshadow look that will make you look like you’re beach bound and surf ready. For a golden-toned glow, build from a nude eyelid into a cat-eye shape, incrementally adding and darkening with a sunset palette that can include your choice of any colors under the sun!
They call it the blues. Or the purples. Or even the teals. Vibrant color is making a comeback, and if you’re bold, you’ll probably give this trend a test run. Try it out first on your own at home to see if it’s your style. It’s not a great idea to show up for your photo shoot in bright yellow eye makeup for the very first time! Done correctly, bright pops of color can make your eyes stand out and help you steal the show. Just be sure to nail the look before your big day!
For the first time in a long time, we’re waving goodbye to traditional smoky eyes and heralding the return of color. Emerald greens, striking blues, hot pinks, and neon yellows are making appearances, and the boldest fashion influencers are applying eyeshadow full circle—to both the upper and lower lids.
But don’t worry if you’re not ready to brave the under-eye color trend just yet. Fashion icons are straddling trends and opting for a smoky color fusion and sticking to just the upper lid.
PRO TIP: Sephora is a hot spot for all the popular eyeshadow palettes! You can get coordinating colors that are designed to go together, so it’s easy to blend and find your perfect look.
Beyond the Eyes
Now that we’ve got your eyes covered, it’s time to move on to the rest of your gorgeous face. Here’s what to look out for this season as you prep for your senior picture photo shoot.
Natural Skin & Light Coverage
Embracing your natural beauty is so in! Foundation that perfectly matches your skin color? Hello! We’re welcoming self-confidence, good vibes, and acceptance into our lives, and that means your makeup should make you look good AND feel good!
No paint spackling for you! A light, single layer of coverage is perfect. In fact, with all the mask-wearing we’ve had to do, many have opted to shift from traditional, heavier foundations to products that offer a more natural glow—like tinted skin conditioners and moisturizers. Not only can you avoid that annoying feeling of your foundation running down your face in the summertime heat, but you’ll also get that dewy, glamorous look everyone loves right now.
Sparkling Cheeks & Lids
When the sun hits your skin, there’s nothing like a beautiful sparkle to catch the eye! A quick brush of shimmer over your cheeks and lids will have you looking ephemeral, angelic, and gorgeous in every picture!
Freckles…If You’ve Got ‘Em, Don’t Hide ‘Em
Freckles are THE natural accessory of 2021. Their incredible character and depth-adding abilities draw attention to your face without being overwhelming. So forget all the potions and creams you purchased in the past to try to cover them up. Go natural and let those freckles show!
Feathered, Full & Groomed Brows
Brows are this years’s power piece. Full, striking, and well-defined brows not only sculpt your eyes, but also your entire face. There was a short interlude where we all feared the skinny, over-plucked brow might be making a comeback, but we all stuck together and vetoed that really fast! Your brows frame your face and give depth to your look, so be sure to have them well-groomed and shaped for your photo shoot, but don’t overwork them.
Why is lip gloss amazing? It’s a quick-apply, ready-anytime makeup lifesaver, and it’s absolutely perfect for photography sessions. It can go over your lipstick color to freshen it up, or it can stand alone as a light tint to highlight your look. Keep it handy during your photo shoot and swipe it on fast to match the dewy, glistening glow you’ve created. Then slip it into your purse or pocket for convenient grab-and-apply access the entire day.
The Artistic Touch
If you thought colored mascara went out with the 60s, 70s, or even the 80s, think again. It’s back, and this time, it’s better than ever. The past couple decades missed out with their monochromatic mascaras, but color has finally made its comeback, and in 2021, eyelashes are going to pop!
The boldest and bravest will go for electric blue and vibrant violet lashes, but if you’re not quite ready for that, remember that long and luscious is still the goal. Achieve this look by gently using an eyelash curler to prep the lashes before applying a quick layer of mascara.
PRO TIP: Clumpy spider-leg mascara took the last train to NopeVille, so ditch this look by avoiding excessive layers of mascara. Less is definitely more!
Believe it or not, Kendall Jenner didn’t start this trend. In fact, the popular lip treatment owes its roots to Korea’s beloved and bustling makeup scene (the one that gave us BB cream!) It made its way to the U.S. in 2020 when lipstick was being smeared ruthlessly behind masks. (I don’t need to tell you what a mess that was!) Lip stain entered the scene and became the next best (even better!) thing.
PRO TIP: A little lip gloss on top of lip stain will give your lips a refreshed glow for pics throughout your photo shoot.
Senior photography makeup is all about enhancing your natural beauty. Here’s what you can do to make your photo shoot the very best it can be for YOU:
Start looking at photos of styles, outfits, and makeup you love.
Get ideas from others and figure out what works with YOUR style.
Plan photos and looks that feel natural to you.
Most of all, relax, know you are amazing, and expect to have fun!
There are tons of ideas out there for your senior pictures, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t have the photo shoot of your dreams to wrap up your high school career! From fun and funny to serious and traditional, we can put together a portrait package that encompasses everything you love, all you’ve accomplished, AND add a little bit of flair and personality at the same time.
Hot Trends, Cool Looks
Summertime calls for serious shades, and when you live in Arizona sunnies not only add to your look, they are a necessity. One of the things everyone is having tons of fun with in this year’s senior picture photo shoots is finding new and creative ways to show off their sunglass-wearing style.
Guys, this goes for you too! That super cool vibe just oozes from these handsome senior guys when you choose the right sunglasses for your photo shoot!
Aviators, wayfarers, retro, d-frame…take your pick! They all look great! Check out the list and see what’s hot for the summer of 2021!
Thinking about sporting shades in your senior pictures? Here are some fun ideas to get you started…but the best part is that creativity is never-ending, so go ahead and shoot for the moon (or the sun!) with your very own concepts. I love hearing thoughts and ideas from clients because that helps me plan the perfect photo shoot for you! Here’s what you can have fun incorporating sunglasses into your photographs:
The Standard – Older generations may have thought the traditional, on-the-face way of wearing sunglasses was the ONLY way to do things. And sure, that’s absolutely acceptable! Just look at these fab photos of seniors rocking their shades and looking cool and chic under the Arizona sun. These cute daisy classes are from my exclusive Style Closet along with many other styles.
The Flirty Peek – Choose your favorite pair of shades…then slide them sassily down your nose until you can just peek over the top to give the camera a flirty look. You’ll get the full effect of sunglasses, AND everyone will get to see your gorgeous eyes, too! Yep, both the heart shaped and “hello boys” sunnies are from my exclusive Style Closet along with many other styles.
The Head Prop – Hey, it might be sunny, but you’re too cool and your peepers are too gorgeous to keep those things on your face! Do the top-of-the-head prop for a casual, relaxed look, especially when we move to a shady area or have your eyes turned away from the sun.
The Whimsical Twist – Look pensive or daydreamy when you gaze at the scenery while twirling a stylish pair of shades. Or prop them on your knee, beside a cup of coffee, or on a stack of books for a super studious look.
The Intentional Reflection – Sunnies with a great reflection are awesome for intentionally picking up images you want to show. Want to reflect on your grad cap or the track you run on? A professional photographer can angle the lenses so they pick up exactly the images you want to capture on the lenses–a super artistic way of “reflecting” and looking back on your high school career.
The Writing on the Lenses – Hey, grad, 2022 looks great on you! Keep it simple and write your grad year on the lenses of your sunglasses in window paint. Then use them as a prop on a table or hold them to show off your major accomplishment.
Ok, now it’s your turn! What kind of creative ideas can you come up with to show off your casual style using sunglasses as a prop?
Things to Remember
Sunglasses are super fun and fashionable–and they’re a stylish accessory to add to your graduation pictures, but there are a few things to remember when we’re taking your senior pictures:
Fingerprints are not friends. Whatever sunglasses (or glasses) you wear for your professional photo shoot, make sure the lenses are clean and free of debris and fingerprints. Sunnies will instantly draw attention to your eyes, so you want your glasses to be gleaming and spotless. (Of course, I can remove and correct things we don’t want in the image, but you’ll be much happier and feel more confident if you start off with squeaky-clean lenses.)
Reflections are fun, but a little bit of a good thing goes a long way. If your sunglasses are SUPER-reflective, you might want to reconsider the style so we don’t end up with overly distracting images that appear as glare in your lenses. This can also be corrected by muting those reflections after the fact, but it’s something to keep in mind as you plan.
Try a few different pairs. Find a style and shape that looks great on your face! You might even want to consider lighter color lenses that allow your eyes to show through for your senior pictures. These types of sunglasses can add color, dimension, and style without blocking your eyes entirely.
You Do You
Your senior picture photo shoot is all about what makes you feel amazing about accomplishing something you’ve been working on for a long time! It’s all about feeling confident and showing off the things you love, your personality, your dreams, and what you’re planning to do next.
This is your moment, so wear the shades, rock that jacket you love, choose your favorite hangout as a photo venue. It’s your time, and these are your memories.
The future’s bright, grad…and you definitely need to wear shades!
If your senior portrait session will be your first professional shoot, you’re probably wondering what you should be doing in front of the camera. Of course I’ll be there to guide you through your photo session, but sometimes a few tips before your shoot will help calm your nerves and be sure that you’re 100% camera ready!
Here are some simple tips to help get you started.
Consider Your Best Features.
If you had to choose, what are your best features? What features would you like to accentuate in your senior photos? This could be your jawline, your chest, or your shoulders. Whatever features you would like to accentuate should be closest to the camera. Guys, if you’re looking for a nice, strong pose, always keep your shoulders square to the camera.
Natural is Better.
When it comes to posing for your senior photos, it’s best to stick to poses that look natural. Poses that have you sitting down or leaning on one knee are just some examples of what looks good and not forced in front of the camera. Another great tip (and you’ll hear me say this over and over) just laugh! Give me a funny laugh, a fake laugh, an evil laugh…they all work!
Don’t Worry about Your Hands.
A common complaint among senior guys who get in front of a camera for the first time is that they don’t know what to do with their hands. Don’t worry about hand placement too much. Once you get into it, your hands will naturally find a place in your pockets, at your sides, or folded in your arms. Do what feels comfortable to you. Still stuck? Try rubbing your hands together, checking your watch, holding sunglasses, or fixing your cuffs!
Don’t Be Afraid to Move.
I actually prefer it when you move around and it doesn’t have to be big movements either. Simply moving your head around can add some variety to your senior shots. Again, I’ll guide you but if you feel nervous and find yourself stiffening your head or jaw, just take a deep breath and try again. Move your shoulders, take a few steps, change your face or look away from the camera.
You will always get the best shots when you approach your senior portrait session with a relaxed mindset. You are here to celebrate an important milestone, so have some fun! These photos are meant to highlight your personality after all so just be yourself! Don’t hold back, be goofy, tell jokes, rev that engine, and show your stuff!
If you want to be extra prepared, head over to a site such as Pinterest to see how my senior guys pose. You can also browse you my website for inspiration too.
Dear Mom & Dad: A Guide to Senior Portraits for Parents
For most parents, senior portraits are a distant memory. Two or three decades ago, we may have had the chance to change into a second outfit or even throw on our school jacket to change things up for senior pictures, but things have changed a lot since then.
Now vs. Then
The sky’s the limit for today’s seniors, and creativity is the name of the game when it comes to planning a senior photo shoot. Professional photographers are in tune with client needs, and they encourage individuality more than ever before. This gives graduates more opportunities to stand out and and make sure their personality really shines in their photographs. From traditional sessions in a studio to trendy urban photo shoots, the opportunities are endless.
Your kiddo has been working their entire school career at whatever drives them and inspires them. Whether it’s academics, sports, music, art, theater, or all of the above, their senior pictures are the perfect chance for them to showcase their unique talents, passions, and personality. Plus, you’ll have keepsake memories of their senior year that will last forever! (The right photographer will also make sure you have plenty of images to display around the house to comfort you when they leave for college!)
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
It’s easy to look at the available options and become overwhelmed with the choices for senior pictures, but if you focus on these 5 Super-Simple Tips, you’ll be cool and collected—and you’ll end up with senior pictures that highlight the very best of your soon-to-be graduate!
Can you believe we’re already talking about 2022 graduation? Let’s get this photo party started! Don’t get overwhelmed; stay on track with these 5 tips to ensure you get the fabulous senior pictures you and your teen are looking for:
Make a Note of the Yearbook Deadline
Knowing the yearbook deadline encourages you to schedule a senior session in advance instead of putting it off until the last minute. Depending on your requirements, a senior photo session will start with a yearbook portrait followed by creative shots that are unique to your child. In most instances, it takes at least two weeks to receive the final images, so be sure to plan accordingly. Oh, and before you schedule your yearbook photo shoot, read this! The school requires a pic of your teen for the yearbook, but did you know that you don’t have to use their photographer?
Keep Your Senior’s Schedule in Mind
You already know how frantic your kiddo’s schedule can be. Before you schedule a session, sit down with your senior to discuss a good time. When they are just as involved as you are in their photo shoot, your teen will be even more eager to make sure everything turns out perfectly! Even the specific time of day matters when scheduling a senior session. Ideally, for outdoor portrait sessions, you’ll want to take photos just after sunrise or just before sunset, as this is when we can catch that beautiful golden sunlight. The specific time varies throughout the year based on the sunset time. As a general rule, we’ll start your session about two hours prior to sunset, which means in January or February we start around 3:30-4:00, but in April we’ll start around 5:00. In the Arizona summer, most sessions take place at sunrise, which helps us beat the heat and provides some gorgeous images!
Sports, Concerts, and other Events
Keeping schedules in mind, you and your teen are the best people to assess your schedule. If they play baseball, do your best to schedule a fall session instead of waiting until spring when there will be daily practices and games. Football players, swimmers, and divers typically compete in the fall, so a spring session could work better. If your teen participates in band, orchestra, or theater, think about when those performances will be and schedule far enough in advance so it won’t be stressful.
Compromise with Your Teen
You may have a specific idea about the photos you would like to see, but this is about your teenager and what makes them feel confident and comfortable. Most senior sessions allow for several outfit changes, so use this as an opportunity to find a happy balance between what you want and what your senior wants. Be patient and hear them out before you dismiss their ideas. Their portraits should represent who they are and what they love. I make it a point to shoot images that both parents and teens love! I don’t expect you to to always prefer the same image, so I shoot a variety to make everyone happy.
Encourage Sharing and Ask Questions
Prior to a senior session, get your child to open up about their passions, hopes, and dreams. This information will help guide the shoot and ensure the most authentic photos. Knowing what your senior wants these photos to represent will also guide their outfit and location choices. Don’t forget to include your senior in the search for a photographer. After all, a photographer’s style needs to be one of the first things you look for when choosing a senior portrait photographer.
If you follow these easy tips, you’ll get started in plenty of time and ensure you have a stress-free senior portrait session for your teen. It’s all about planning and preparation.
The Good News
Once you’re booked and on the calendar, at Magical Memories by Michelle, you’ll never miss a deadline or a step you need to complete. I’ll keep you on track and make sure you and your teen are prepared for the big day! From How-To guides to What to Wear and Style Guides, you’ll get plenty of expert advice and insights. And don’t forget about the exclusive Style Closet! (Worried about what to wear or how to accessorize? Not with the Style Closet at your disposal!)
When you select your professional photographer, be sure you’re getting the clarity and guidance you need from the very beginning, and you’ll have a fun and stress-free experience with your teen!