Rsz Best Senior Photographer Mesa Arizona
Red Mountain High School Senior Pictures | East Mesa Photographer

Red Mountain High School Senior Pictures | East Mesa Photographer

Senior Pictures in East Mesa

It’s nice to think of a photoshoot as an occasion. After all, it usually marks a milestone or celebration in our lives – something we’d like to remember.  And of course, we always want to look our best in these images that we’ll hopefully keep forever. Sometimes, that means going the extra mile with professional hair and makeup. Other times, it means just looking like your true authentic self.  Ashley chose the second option (one that many don’t know is an option!) and decided to let her natural beauty do the work. In fact, there was no choice to be made. As her mother put it, all that extra makeup, “that’s really just not Ashley!” And she was right; the camera never lies.

And being yourself is more than enough! Along with just a touch of natural makeup, Ashley opted for more simplistic outfits that seamlessly “fit” each background environment. Seriously, she couldn’t have chosen better. A white dress with a watery-green background always go hand in hand perfectly, and I’d be lying If I said it wasn’t one of my favorite combinations – I love it! There is a certain freshness and timeless elegance to it that matched Ashley’s personality, hands down!

East Mesa High School Senior Pictures

Ashley was simply radiant the whole shoot through, looking comfortable and at ease, even when I asked her to climb on this rock by the water!

East Mesa High School Senior Pictures Cap Gown

The Art of Fun Posing – Starring Ashley

There was really never a dull moment with Ashley! Posing just came naturally to her, and catching each new fun expression took a lot of clicking! She rocked every pose whether she was showing off her graduation gear, throwing peace signs, or perched upside-down smiling in a lawn chair – Ashley was just fabulous! 

Fun East Mesa Senior Pictures

When she’s not posing at school, she’s an around-the-clock cheerleader! Having taken part in both high school and competitive cheer, it was a wonder that Ashley had any energy left!

Ashley’s Favorite 

And is it any surprise? However, the vibrant photos make a lovely contrast to the more ‘chill” moments, which turned out to be Ashley’s favorites. With just the right lighting and a twinge of editing, all eyes are on Ashley. Naturally blessed with the highly-desired photogenic gift, her personality just pops out of the images. You could almost imagine exactly what type of lovely young girl she is and how much fun she was to shoot (and live with according to her mom!)

Red Mountain Senior Photos What To Wear East Mesa

Adding Some Cheer to the Shoot (Literally!)

Set to attend Texas Tech, Ashely wore their striking red top and “threw up her guns” to show them who’s coming! We even included a bit of cheer in some of the images with her tassel being a nice addition.

East Mesa Outdoor High School Senior Pictures

East Mesa High School Senior Pictures Cheer

Another Published Senior!

Of course, we had to dip into the ‘style closet’ just to take a look. Ashley decided she’s done the favorite black hat and black sunglasses, which she pulled off effortlessly. So, effortlessly in fact, that her image even made an appearance in the Senior Year Magazine’s Class of 2020 edition – isn’t that awesome?!?! Having a photo published is a treat unlike any other. Not only does Ashley get the recognition she so well deserves for all her hard-posing work, but we also get to share the joy together!

Red Mountain Senior Picture Outfits East Mesa

A Star Among Stars – And a Little Creative Editing

Perhaps even more lovely still is that the stars made an appearance for Ashley. While she steals the show center front in an elegant black dress, by pulling a few editing tricks, we managed to make the background come to life and light the stars! Ashley also had the chance to spin and twirl in this new addition, a cute navy polka dot dress! I couldn’t have asked for a better sky that night!

Red Mountain Senior Pictures East Mesa

A Clear Winner 

Let’s wrap it up with Ashley’s mom’s favorite photo. I think we can all see why it’s a favorite. A beaming smile, kind eyes, and all that’s sweet – it’s simply Ashley.

East Mesa High School Senior Pictures Girls

How to Get That Natural Look for Your Senior Photos

I get a lot of questions about what makeup to wear during shoots or what hair appeals to the camera. And I’d like to say once and for all: whatever makes you feel comfortable! There are no requirements for appearance in my photo shoots; I’m a big fan of letting my seniors be themselves! If you want to go all out and be pampered with professional hair and makeup, I love it! However, if you’d like to copy Ashley’s stunning simplistic look, here are a few tips:

  • Leave your hair untouched – of course, you can straighten or curl your hair, but it might be best to leave out any hairsprays or mousses if you’re looking for a fresh glow.
  • Bring a brush – even the most well-behaved hair can get out of control every now and then if left to its own devices. So, it’s best to bring along something that can be used for touch ups.
  • The 3 piece rule – if you’re going to wear makeup, try to limit it to three features. Mascara, foundation, and one extra are usually the go-to’s.
  • Drink lots of water – this may sound silly or like some type of health advice, but really, it helps your complexion in photos.
Creative Senior Pictures in Arizona | Photographer for the East Valley and Metro Phoenix Area

Creative Senior Pictures in Arizona | Photographer for the East Valley and Metro Phoenix Area

Creative Senior Pictures

While I always aim to capture personality, mood, and soul with my trusty camera, there’s no getting around that photography involves aesthetics. From proper lighting and the rule of thirds, to outfits, poses, symmetry, all the way to expression and styling – it all ties together to make the perfect photo. And the fabulous photo you see below, that’s it! And today, I’ll share the story of how it came to be. (Stick around to see the original at the end!)

Arizona Creative Senior Pictures

Spotlight style

But first, let’s start with Rylee, her fabulous fashion sense, and her natural photogenic nature. Seriously, I can’t write this without mentioning how gorgeous the outfits are that she chose! With all of their varied textures, fabrics, tones, and more, they simply pop! This photo shoot was the 2nd part of her session taken at San Tan Village in Gilbert, so we had a whole new world of locations to explore! Rylee stuck to simple yet fashionable statement outfits that always translate well on camera. Not only do they straight up look like art, they subtly bring attention to the face – something that just appeals to my photographer self as well as alllllll the moms!

Arizona Creative Senior Picture Photo Shoot

It wouldn’t be graduation photos without a tassel, so let’s make sure to showcase that for Rylee too!

Arizona Graduation Senior Pictures

Big Ideas and a Well-Deserved Publication

Ok, let’s get back to that first image. Every now and then, an epiphany takes place during a shoot, often in the strangest of places. I’m always hunting down cool backgrounds and thinking of new ways to use props, but sometimes perfection appears. This time, it was in the shape of a wild idea to use a black and white Sephora wall as a background. Amazingly, our vision came together better than we ever could’ve imagined! You might know that I don’t often recommend black outfits. But rules are made to be broken, right? True to her “always on trend” habit, Rylee was already wearing a gorgeous black outfit that worked magnificently with the wall! You always have to begin with the end in mind, and I could clearly envision what I wanted the final image to look like.

It felt like a momentous occasion when I was taking the photos, and clearly, others saw just what we saw! The stunning picture was published in Senior Year Magazine’s Class of 2020, highlighting amazing grads, and Rylee is for sure an amazing grad!

Arizona Senior Professional Senior Portrait Photographer

Fun, quirky, and ever the style queen!

When Rylee isn’t looking fabulous in photo shoots, she’s attending Grand Canyon University and spending most of her spare time cheerleading. But maybe you already guessed that from her unmistakable vibrancy and bubbly personality that leaps out of the photos! There was really no shortage of exciting backgrounds for us to choose from; it felt like the whole world became an ‘instagrammable’ playground when Rylee was around. And let me tell you we had so much fun! We even dipped into the style closet just to top off Rylee’s beautiful warm red dress with a classic favorite – that lovely black hat. It’s been around forever and makes it’s appearance with nearly every senior girl!

Arizona Senior Picture Photographer

Yes, but the SHOES!!!

I mean, just look at those shoes! How gorgeous! I honestly couldn’t get enough of them. And, of course, Rylee pulls them off with confidence, even managing to steal the show with her lovely smile.

Arizona Creative Senior Pictures Photography

Setting the Scene

We got very lucky with empty walkways that Rylee could easily turn into a catwalk to give a dynamic vibe to her photos. Better yet, you can tell that her movements are easy, natural, and altogether very comfortable (maybe we can thank the cheer training for that!) Usually, when I’m in the middle of a shoot, I don’t want to miss a single moment. Rylee, who looks fabulous no matter where or when – always has a beaming smile!

Everyone who’s ever been out on a photo shoot with me knows I’m not usually one to shoot in obvious locations. Fortunately, Rylee was comfortable in her skin no matter where we went and was always keeping an eye out for the perfect background, whatever that may be – even a simple bench at San Tan Village!

Az Creative Senior Picture Photographer

Rylee brought this shoot to life and brought me to life with her! I’m usually click-happy but I seriously couldn’t stop during this shoot. It was like my finger had a mind of its own! Putting our heads together to come up with creative, fun ideas was an experience like no other and it didn’t really surprise me when one of her images was selected for publication. Magic happens when you have this kind of a model! Going on, I wish Rylee luck and know that she’ll achieve whatever she sets her mind to!

Before and After

P.S. Here’s the side-by-side of the before and after. Really goes to show that having an open mind during a photoshoot can lead to fabulousness!

Az Creative Senior Photographer

Ideas for your unique statement piece

If you’re all about that color pop life and thought Riley’s statement shoes were to-die-for (guilty as charged!) Here’s some fun ways to add a splash of color to your photoshoot.

  • Bold sunglasses – bonus points if they make me laugh.
  • Colorful hair accessories – you can never go wrong with clips or hairbands. They keep your hair back during windy shoots and can be taken on or off easily!
  • Jewelry – whether it be earrings, a bracelet, or even just a ring, the camera will love it.
  • A statement hat – If you’re a cap gal or a throwback guy, hats really stand out in photos. You can even make it personal if it’s blazoned with a brand or sports team that you love.
  • And of course, … SHOES! The more colorful and textured, the better.

But at the end of the day, all you have to bring to the photoshoot is yourself – and that’s always, ALWAYS enough! 

If you love Rylee’s senior pictures, you might want to check out more from her session!

A Mustang, A Parking Garage, and a Senior Guy | Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures

A Mustang, A Parking Garage, and a Senior Guy | Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures

Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures

Downtown Mesa has long been a favorite spot for senior pictures! Historic downtown Mesa offers every look you can imaging – dramatic, edgy, artsy, simple, colorful – you’re bound to find some awesome outdoor locations for senior pictures here, just like we did with Nicholas.

A Cool Shoot for a Cool Dude

The camera is great at picking up little hints of people’s personalities. Whatever your mood, the camera will know before anyone else does – no words needed. However, now and then, someone just exudes a certain something. For Nicholas, that “thing” was coolness. Ever suave and engaged (with the suits to match!)  I felt like I was on Bond set from time to time during this shoot. I could be pretty sure Nicholas felt the same way. Pose after pose, with just a little guidance, the camera was going to love him, and that was that!

Mesa Senior Pictures Guys

He’s Got Range!

The feel of the images goes from a laid-back, fun-loving kid at the skatepark to a young entrepreneur getting his start in the world. They’re the photos of a young go-getter, one to look out for! In short, the shoot was incredibly dynamic. And with Nicholas studying at Gilbert Community College for finance, they might just reflect his ambitions and dreams.

Mesa Senior Pictures Skateboard

High School Wrestling

One thing’s for sure though, Nicholas loves wrestling. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to add his favorite wrestling quote to a suitable picture. Of course, it had to be the one with the triumphant look of a winning wrestler showing off his fighting gear!

Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures Sports

Ford Mustang – A Revolution in Muscle Cars

But what’s a cool dude without a cool car!? And not just any car – a Mustang!! The sun was my best friend and it beamed perfectly over the top of the sleek sports car to create the perfect artistic lens flair I envisioned. However, the man of the hour shines even brighter with his sophisticated suit and dark sunglasses to give that extra “edge.”

Mesa Senior Pictures Mustang

With clear skies, palm trees, and a suburban backdrop available from the parking garage, we couldn’t help but take some wistful photos of Nicholas glancing into the distance pensively – very mysterious!

Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures

A Heart-Warming Personal Addition

And don’t get me wrong, though there was a hip feel to most of the shoot, there was a quirky side to Nicholas. One that likes to watch anime and loves Jurassic Park. Now, maybe it’s a secret, but I just HAVE to mention it. Adorably, as a child, Nicholas was really into dinosaurs (if Jurassic Park didn’t give it away!) Well, he decided that as an homage to the dinosaur-loving kid that he once was, he’d wear a dinosaur print shirt. How sweet! Seriously, a personal touch goes a long way during a photo shoot, and not everyone has to know what it’s for. It’s unique to you and makes your photos special; it certainly worked for Nicholas anyhow.

Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures Night

A Natural Model

I’m always amused when guys show up a little tense and nervous for a photo shoot, but bring out the car and they instantly become natural models! Put Nicholas next to his Mustang and it was a though he was born to be in front of the camera!

Downtown Mesa Senior Pictures Guys

Get that Authentic Look for Your Senior Pictures

There’s one thing we can be sure of, Nicholas made this photo shoot his own, and you can too! By following a few simple steps, you can take charge and make sure your true self is evident in every photo. Would you like to find out how? Let’s take a quick look!

  • Get in the zone – whether listening to music, talking to friends, or anything else helps you feel at ease or pumped up, then make plans to do that before the shoot!
  • Good thoughts – is there any thought that makes you smile? Perhaps an achievement you’re proud of or a nice deed you did. Keep it in mind during the shoot for that natural happiness effect.
  • Get your 8 hours – no one feels good in front of the camera when they’re suffering from grogginess. You may not look it, but if you feel tired, pictures can be a struggle.
  • Bring along some personal props! – just like Nicholas included his wrestling gear in his shoot, you can also incorporate hobbies, passions, or anything else you love into your photos!
  • And perhaps most importantly – interaction! Don’t worry, I don’t bite. I do, however, click non-stop. So, feel free to chat, joke, or whatever else helps you feel at ease – I’m here to help!

And at the end of the day, remember, a good photographer has a way of catching the real you no matter what. So, what’s the point in hiding! I’ll do my best at every twist and turn to make sure you’re at ease and feeling just fine. You just have to sit back and enjoy the ride!

Desert Vista High School Senior Pictures | Ahwatukee Portrait Photographer

Desert Vista High School Senior Pictures | Ahwatukee Portrait Photographer

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures

There’s something about nature that tends to bring out the beauty deep within every one of us. Maybe it’s the natural light or the feeling of being at “home” or at peace. Either way – sun, rain, or storm – the outdoors have a habit of bringing us out of our shells. I absolutely LOVE shooting outdoors, it’s one of the best parts of being a photographer…unless its 110 degrees out and then none of us want to be out taking pictures. When I met Caroline she had just one request. She loves the desert and wanted it to be one of her locations. Hmmm, we live in Arizona so I’m pretty sure we can accommodate that!

Natural Light in the Desert

When she expressed interest in using the desert, I knew we were guaranteed a fabulous shoot! But I’m not sure Caroline even needed the Arizona sun; her gorgeous smile brightened every picture regardless of light or setting. In fact, once we got started she was so comfortable, all I did was give her a few directions and then just click, click, click! That smile is everything!!!

Ahwatukee Outdcoor Senior Pictures

Senior Photos at the Lake

Sticking to the shoot’s open air and fresh feel, Caroline opted to include water and greenery for her portrait session. Amazingly, despite the rumors about deserts, we were able to find plenty of beautiful trees, shrubs, and grassy patches in the East Valley. We even came upon a rock that looked as though it has been placed with the sole purpose of being included in our shoot! This simple green top has just a bit of texture and is a favorite choice from the style closet. Caroline had plenty of gorgeous outfits, but this green top just fit beautifully into the gorgeous background!

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Girls

High School Senior Pictures Desert Vista

Bring Your Personailty…Please!!

It’s quite evident in every picture anyhow that Caroline made each setting her own. Her laid-back, caring, and kind personality is apparent in real life, but it simply radiates out of every photo!  With those gorgeous golden curls, we definitely had to include a classic hair flip. A new addition to the style closet last spring was this beautiful floral romper. It has quickly become a favorite for the ladies and that blue really brought out Caroline’s eyes!

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Desert

In her spare time, Caroline likes to dabble in baking, gaming, and of course – watching Netflix.

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Desert Vista

More From the Style Closet

We had a lot of fun trying to find good spots and pick out natural poses; however, when I offered up a fashionable hat from my ‘Style Closet,’ I wasn’t fully expecting her to pick one. Caroline wasn’t 100% sure about his choice of hats, but I asked her to trust me. After all, it’s digital…if it doesn’t look good we’ll simply delete it. And I know most of don’t wear hats regularly, and putting one on for a picture can feel funny, but it always works! She wore it like a pro and it ended up being one of her favorite senior pictures!

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Outfits Hats

A Bright Future Ahead

Currently attending Cal Poly Pomona after graduating from Desert Vista High School in the spring of 2020, it’s clear that Caroline is following her dreams. Her major is in Early Childhood Development, and there’s no doubt that her bright, intelligent, and caring soul is the perfect mix to bring her success!

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Graduation

2020 has been a tough year for young people—especially those graduating and setting off on a new life journey. Seeing Caroline’s beaming smile, positivity, and bravery in the face of everything was inspirational. This darling image below even became the cover of her Senior Keepsake Book!

Ahwatukee Senior Pictures Cap Gown

Perhaps simply for memories or as proof that she made it through this crazy year, Caroline ordered a lovely keepsake book to have all of her best images in one place as well as these beautiful custom graduation announcements. I hope she loves her photos just as much as I loved taking them!

Senior Pictures Keepsake Album

High School Graduation Announcements

Must-haves for Outdoor Photo Shoots

You might be wondering exactly what you should bring to an outdoor senior photo shoot. It’s a good question, so I’ve listed a few useful recommendations below.

  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Shoots can be longer than expected, so it’s always have a good to have some in your bag.
  • A water bottle or two just to stay hydrated, so be sure to grab that Hydro!
  • A hat – yes, I can supply them, but you’re always welcome to bring your own.
  • Sunglasses. Hey, they’re fun, fashionable, AND keep you from squinting in the harsh Arizona sun!
Desert Ridge High School Senior Pictures | East Mesa Professional Photographer

Desert Ridge High School Senior Pictures | East Mesa Professional Photographer

Desert Ridge High School Senior Pictures

Fun was the order of the day with Savanah. I honestly think my face was sore the next day from smiling so much! Endless laughs aside, Savannah had interesting ideas of what she wanted her senior photo shoot to look like and I was thrilled that her wardrobe choices matched her bright, vibrant personality.

Mixing Fun and Business

In fact, I think the shoot was a never-ending stream of exciting new poses, outfits, and expressions. And it’s no wonder why, after graduating from Desert Ridge High School in the spring of 2020, Savannah has gone on to study business management at ASU.

Desert Ridge High School Senior Pictures

And she’s clearly the right person for the job! Brimming with energy, positivity, and all things “new,” Savannah knew how to get what she wanted out of the shoot. She creatively welcomed her personality into every shoot, and the camera couldn’t get enough of it!

Desert Ridge High School Graduation Pictures

A Sunny Shoot With A  Sunnier Attitude

If you’d like to know a little more about this intriguing yet oh-so-adorable character, it’s safe to say that she loves all colors (preferable red & pink) and can’t get enough of dancing. Chocolate is her not-so-guilty guilty pleasure, and she’s never happier than when shopping, watching movies, or spending time with family. And wouldn’t you know it, the sun shone right through the whole shoot while Savannah was doing some shining of her own! Can you believe that her daisy top matched perfectly with the daisy sunglasses and straw hat from the ‘style closet?’ The playful earrings were just the perfect icing on the incredibly cool outfit cake.  You could say that we might have had a little too much fun watching the perfect outfit come together, but that’s what it’s all about!

Desert Ridge Outdoor Senior Pictures Hats

Desert Ridge Outdoor Senior Pictures

The Outfit Talks

But of course, photo shoots are also about trying on new outfits and showing the most of “you” that you can. This flowery blue dress flows just right to create a serene yet elegant look for the camera that comes together to say, “I’m carefree.” And it’s right! Oh, you guessed it, this darling dress is in fact from the Style Closet!

Desert Ridge Outdoor Senior Pictures Lake

Coming as a surprise to no one, Savannah’s delightful (and expert!) posing even got her published in the Senior Year Magazine’s Class of 2020 edition. When you’re upside-down in an orange lawn chair, smiling, and have daisy glasses – no one can stop you!

Fun Desert Ridge Senior Pictures

Savannah decided to debut this flowery peach dress, which might I say fits in delightfully with the “flower power” theme that the shoot took on over time.

Desert Ridge Senior Pictures Outfits

Mastering the ever so daunting serious pose

Now, if there was one part of the shoot that seems to stump some teenagers (and adults!), it’s the “serious face.” It’s understandably not easy to stop smiling during the excitement of a photoshoot, but Savannah nailed it! Following the tried & tested method of close your eyes, deep breath, open eyes, and stare straight into the camera, she couldn’t have done it better! She’s still all business, after all. And did I mention beautiful?!?!

Desert Ridge Senior Pictures Model

Like a flower, it seemed that Savannah has bloomed into her true self as she sets off to take on the big grown-up world out there! Following in her footsteps soon will be her sister, Liliana of the Class of 2022. I feel truly honored to have had the chance to capture moments of Savannah’s life that she’ll hopefully have as keepsakes for years to come!

Beautiful Photos, But What’s Next?

My clients not only want a stellar senior portrait experience but also a way to display their favorite photos. For years now I’ve heard that the kids only want digital images. Wrong again! Nearly every senior for the last 3 years has their own keepsake. Some choose a custom designed metal print with a quote, others prefer a keepsake book. But one of the all-time favorites are storyboards! It’s a classic that lets you choose several of your favorite pictures and create a beautiful piece of artwork for your room. That’s what we did for Savannah! Of course Mom wanted her own storyboard so we designed two and that makes everyone happy.

Desert Ridge Senior Pictures Custom Artwork

Desert Ridge Senior Pictures Designer Artwork

Posing Made Simple

If you’re now impressed with Savannah’s posing skills like I was and would like to do some posing practice before your shoot, I’ve got some inspiration for you!

  • Start with sitting poses before moving to standing poses if you’re just not ready yet.
  • If posing is just not your thing, keep moving!
  • You can never go wrong with the classic “over the shoulder.”
  • Leaning may feel cheesy, but it never looks 
  • If you feel like you’re overdoing it – you never are.
  • Don’t be afraid to use pockets, tassels, or anything else if you’re not sure what to do with your arms (like most of us!)

And last but not least, if you find yourself getting nervous, take time to pause and breathe. The photoshoot isn’t a race, and it’s always quality above quantity when it comes to photos. I’ll make sure you get the perfect shot no matter what!

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