Best Senior Photographer Mesa Arizona
Unique Locations for Senior Pictures | Mesa Portrait Photography

Unique Locations for Senior Pictures | Mesa Portrait Photography

Unique Locations for Senior Pictures

What’s the most asked question when it comes to senior portraits? The answer: What locations are best? Well, it turns out that often the best locations for senior pictures might not be in places you’d consider picture worthy. For years, I saw things just like you. It wasn’t until I became a professional photographer that I started to learn how equipment, lighting, and creativity can really change the way an area looks! I’ll often call them “un-locations” because they aren’t the spots people normally choose. If I left it up to my clients, nearly ever session would be shot at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Freestone Park, or the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert. The problem? EVERYONE goes there! So think outside the box with me for a moment and see what we can do in spots that might be within a mile of your home. 

A Ditch in the Desert

If you’ve checked out my website or had a consultation, chances are you’ve seen some incredible images and heard me talk about “the ditch.” It’s really nothing special, but for people who live in the East Valley, it’s just convenient. During one of my recent photo shoots at this unique location, I took a quick snap off the side of the road. Yes, there are homes, poles, and wires everywhere, but don’t let this fool you! 

Unique Locations High School Senior Pictures  

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Az Desert

Same spot, with a variety of looks

The last thing you want for your senior pictures is to have images that look like everyone else’s, right? You also want a variety of different images. The ditch is definitely a winner when you’re looking for a beautiful “non-desert” location. Each of these images below were taken in the ditch with all the houses on one side and a major road on the other, but can you tell? 

Unique Locations Professional Pictures Mesa Az

You can shoot a good closeup in just about any location with good light. In this image, I had mom hold a small piece of a plant in front of my lens to get this picture.

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Phoenix Arizona 

Another great way to make these types of locations portrait worthy is to use the proper equipment. I’ll often choose my Canon 70-200 2.8L in order to bring the focus more on my subject and less on the background. Getting that beautiful “blurry background” is a favorite for my clients!

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Perry High School

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Eastmark Desert

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Chandler Arizona

Finding shade in the ditch can be a problem on sunny days. You know, nearly every day in Arizona. But no worries, the ditch works in nearly any kind of light! Here is what behind scenes looked like, and then two beautiful resulting portraits.

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Arizona Desert

Unique Locations Senior Pictures East Mesa

Unique Locations Senior Pictures Mesa Az

So when I tell you not to stress about locations…please don’t stress about locations! I’ve been a professional photographer for over 10 years and it’s my job to find beautiful locations that you’ll love!

What to Wear for Senior Pictures | Formal Outfit Ideas for Guys | Mesa, AZ

What to Wear for Senior Pictures | Formal Outfit Ideas for Guys | Mesa, AZ

What to Wear for Senior Pictures: Outfit Ideas for Guys

Suiting Up for the First Time: Finding the Perfect Suit for Your Son

As a senior portrait photographer, I used to tell teenagers to just choose comfortable clothing. However, after a few years I started having guys choose suits, blazers, and ties as one of their outfit choices and they looked amazing! Knowing this, I truly wanted to have this look for my son’s senior pictures, but I had no idea where to start! So this subject is near and dear to my heart, as I recently took my own son, Trevor, for his first “real” suit.  After a short discussion with him, he and I both wanted something that would last for years and would also reflect his personality both now and into the future.  Trevor is young enough to want a stylish appearance that is not old-fashioned, yet old enough to know that he wants a suit to be classic enough and quality enough to withstand years of wear.  The first step was to choose a great retailer that specializes in men’s suits as he is now a older teenager and of course, needs a manly look. We wanted someone that could give us some ideas and help us to choose the best style for a teenage boy. 

Desert Ridge High School Senior Pictures Guys Outfits

So, off we went on the “perfect suit hunt.”  We headed to Jos.A.Bank because they specialize in men’s clothing and I thought it would be a good first step in deciding what we wanted for Trevor’s senior pictures. First of all, go during the week if you can. It is far less busy which gave us the undivided attention of several experts who were able to tell us what the current trends are for guys clothing. For his fitting, the perfect measurements had to be carefully taken. But that was the easy part. Without them, that would have easily been my first mistake. Their first selection was a slim fit jacket that fit pretty well. A slim fit? Really? I never would have guessed that, but he slipped it on and instantly had a grin across his face realizing just how good he looked! It was priceless! He actually liked it! I thought this was going to be such a difficult shopping experience, but with the associates help they were able to tell just by looking at Trevor what his best style and color would be. 

Senior Pictures Guys What to Wear AZ

Of course there are a lot of different styles available now, although the classic style is still a good choice.  A good associate will know all the styles and what is popular with teen guys. Grey and black are always a great bet, but there is also a wide selection of blues. There are “extreme” colors and styles, but we avoided those, since we had decided in advance to make this a lasting purchase.  Grey is considered a good neutral choice, but black is considered now and always has been considered a “power” choice. Either gray, black or a blue seemed to be the most classic choices. For a younger man, black might be too severe yet, depending on personality. Grey or charcoal on the other hand shows confidence and can be worn by any age.   But for Trevor, this navy jacket from the Traveler Collection was the perfect style and color for Trevor.  His face absolutely beamed satisfaction and both of us were thrilled in the end. The jacket he chose looked like it was made just for him and he looked like such an adult that this mama was close to tears herself!  What started out as a stressful experience, turned into some special time together that we’ll both remember forever. 

What to Wear Guys Senior Pictures Mesa AZ

Choosing the jacket was just the beginning. Next came selecting a shirt and tie, and the choices will make your head spin! Once again, the professionals at Jos.A.Bank were able to piece together many choices including color combinations that we wouldn’t have considered. They are able to fit each tie directly in the shirt so you can truly see what it will look like without trying it on. We ended up with several shirts and ties so Trevor would have a good variety, however, this gorgeous blue shirt and purple tie were exactly what I wanted for his senior pictures!

So, if you are suit shopping for a young man yourself remember things: quality, classic style, color, and the personality of the young man themselves.  Don’t forget to bring your patience and an open mind, then let the pros do their thing! This should be a lasting purchase so a knowledgeable salesperson will make it much easier.  A good suit will make your son look amazing and feel confident in front of the camera!

Take it from this proud mama. The experience was a great one and will live in my memory forever!  Suit up happily everyone!  

High School Senior Pictures Guys What to Wear

High School Senior Portrait Photography | Peek Behind the Scenes

High School Senior Portrait Photography | Peek Behind the Scenes

Your High School Senior Photo Shoot: A Not-So-Top-Secret Look Behind the Scenes

Everyone wants to know—but not everyone wants to ask—“What in the world actually happens at a photo shoot?” I’m about to give you the inside scoop so you’ll be ready to tackle your day with enthusiasm and kick the nerves to the curb. Hint: It’s probably a mix of some of the things you were thinking and a surprising amount of things you hadn’t even dreamed up. Trust me, your day in front of the camera lens is going to be all you imagined…and then some.

Choosing a Location

Don’t worry; you don’t have to choose just one! I like to wander, so I hope you do, too. We’ll move around a lot during your photo shoot so I can capture you with as many different backgrounds and environments as possible. If we’re in a downtown area, we’ll easily walk several blocks to find the best locations for you.

Sometimes we go to popular areas like the Riparian Preserve or Nichols Park. Downtown Gilbert or a small local park are great because they are often less crowded and we’re able to get more creative shots and use the great backgrounds and colors that nature provides. Most high school seniors like a combination of both the natural elements AND a bit of the urban environment. When you’re with me, we cover a lot of ground—and that means we get a wide variety of shots.

C’mon, let’s take a look behind the scenes of what will make up your amazingly fun photo shoot!

Behind The Scenes

We typically arrive at our first location between 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon, depending on the weather, the sun, and the locations you’ve chosen. We’ll go through your outfits to determine which outfit will give the best vibes, which ones are “must-haves,” and you’ll use our portable changing room to change into your first outfit. My team and I will set up the equipment and take some test shots, and then we’ll be ready to capture some amazing shots of you in action! 

In this shoot, I am working with my clients, Trevor, a 17-year-old basketball athlete from Mesquite High School, and his mother, Gina. During our session, Gina snapped a few pictures of Trevor’s session and I thought it would be fun to show some behind the scenes pictures compared to the final senior portraits.

This red wall really isn’t anything special, but when paired with Trevor’s flannel shirt, the headshot is great! Couple that with some prompts to get that genuine smile, and it’s a win for both of us!

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer

High School Senior Pictures Guys Outfits

It’s All About Lighting

Well, if you’re gonna do basketball pictures, we need a basketball court. Gina told me about a great park near their home with a nice basketball court. While this was a great opportunity to highlight Trevor’s love of basketball, I needed to assess the location and lighting—and we had to be careful because often, neighborhood parks can be crowded, making it tough to get the shots we’re after.

Gina was able to snap a few casual pics for me so that I could determine the layout of the park, including potential lighting issues, landscaping, and other details. The park was at street level with a lot of trees, so I instantly knew I could shoot great photos without houses distracting the scene. Score!

It’s not uncommon to find me climbing a ladder or laying on the ground to get the exact shot I want. Sometimes we just get creative and see what the results are! These shots really show what it’s like behind the scenes!

High School Senior Pictures Basketball

High School Senior Pictures Sports

As the sun went down and we were done with action shots, it was time to pull out the lights. Since Gina is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, she also chose to paint a ball silver and the results were even better than we’d hoped! 

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Athlete

High School Senior Pictures Sports Letterman Jacket

After Dark

We were having such a great time we kept shooting after dark. After a quick uniform change, we captured even more unique basketball shots. The sun sets quickly, and with the off camera lighting we can choose how much of the background to include in each photo offering plenty of variety.

High School Senior Pictures Basketball Player

Trendy Night Shots

If you want nighttime portraits—a popular photo trend for the Class of 2020—then we continue shooting into the evening. Downtown Gilbert is a favorite nighttime location, even if it’s just the edge of a parking lot or parking garage!

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer After Dark  High School Senior Pictures Guys Suit

High School Senior Pictures Downtown Gilbert

Highlighting Your Hobbies and Interests

Many high school seniors choose to include their sports because it might be the final games of their career. Trevor added basketball in several ways. We chose to start with Trevor’s Mesquite high school uniform (shown above) and a standard basketball. You want your senior in a suit and tie? No problem! It’s an incredible look and trust me, the guys love it when we combine this snazzy look with their favorite sport.

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer Night

High School Senior Pictures Gilbert Photographer Sports

You don’t play sports?

This is actually a very common concern with my high school seniors! “But I don’t play sports, I’m not active in clubs, I’m just a regular teenager!” Well, one solution is to include your favorite pro sports team, as Trevor did. Now, his was even more awesome because he has a personalized Phoenix Suns jersey! However, any of your favorite sports teams would work.

Or how about the college you’re attending? It just so happens that Trevor got an academic scholarship to the University of Arizona in Tucson!!!!!

High School Senior Pictures College Shirt

Finishing the Photo Session

Most daytime photo shoots take 2 – 3 hours. I like to end the day by making sure we have at least 35 great shots. A checklist includes basic poses, close-up shots, and even some candid fun and funny shots of you being your quirky self. Whatever makes your personality shine through, that’s what I’m looking for—and that’s what I’ll capture in senior portraits. 

Your memories of high school should be cherished. I will work with you to create a modern, authentic plan. When you trust me to capture your look, personality, and style in high-quality professional images, you’ll be proud to share your high school portraits with friends and family!

Gift Giving Made Easy: 8 Fun Gift Ideas your Teen Will Love! | Mesa, AZ

Gift Giving Made Easy: 8 Fun Gift Ideas your Teen Will Love! | Mesa, AZ

8 Fun Gift Ideas for Teenagers

We’re smack in the middle of the holidayseason, and with that will comes shopping and gifts. If you’re stumped on what gifts your teen will actually use and love, then you might want to check out this list created for you below.

 

1. Customizable Hydro Flask: $55.00

Hydro Flask
If you have a teenager, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Only now you can customize your Hydro! Choose the size, bottle color, boot color (yes, it comes with a boot!), cap color, and strap color! My teens personally prefer the 40 oz wide mouth. If you have an athlete, it’s perfect for those long practices!

My Hydro

 

2. Fuji Instamax Mini Camera: $54.99

Need a lightweight camera with tons of options for taking selfies? This one is for you! The camera signals the recommended aperture setting with a flashing LED. This helps capture the perfect photo every time!
 
 
 

3. Custom Title & Name Frame: $24.99

Everyone needs a frame for their favorite pics with their BFF! Personalization Mall has quite the assortment of names and quotes to customize your gift. This frame lets you show off your favorite picture and have it engraved with your friends’ names too!  This natural wood frame arrives with an easel back design for table top display, or ready for wall mount.
 
Personalized Best Friends Wooden Picture Frames - Engraved Free - 5518
 
 

4. Personalized Starbucks Cup: $16.75

Amazon
The perfect gift for your favorite coffee lover! Ditch the paper cup that everyone else has and sip your favorite java in style — your style. This biodegradable cup is reusable plus you get 10 cents off your drink when you take your to-go cup to Starbucks!

 

 

5. Multi-Device Wire Charger: $13.99

Your internet connection just got faster, portable, and stylish. This high-tech gadget lets you charge five devices simultaneously.
 
 
 

6. Portable Speakers: $96.99

Amazon
If your teen loves music, you can never go wrong with gifting them a tiny portable speaker. This way, they can listen to their favorite beats on the go without any inconvenience. Speakers with a built-in Bluetooth feature will be a big plus for them. This is definitely a favorite in our home and it’s waterproof so it can go by the pool or near the shower!

7. Airpods w/ Charging Case: $144.00

Amazon
The latest technology which has taken the world by storm, Apple Airpods are a present that will be more than welcome for teens. Buy the latest pair introduced by Apple that comes with their own charging port, Bluetooth feature, and their battery lasts much longer than their previous version.

8. Wireless Charging Pad: $14.99

Amazon
Stylish, chic, and modern, these wireless pads are a convenient fix to a teen’s fear of their battery running out too soon. The latest updates come with the feature of charging several cell phones at once. Now parents don’t need to worry about not reaching their kids because their battery died.

These are just a few out of a plethora of gift options available for teens. Looking for the latest fashions? Check out American Eagle or Hollister. If you have a makeup lover, don’t miss the new, smaller James Charles Mini Pallette. Looking for the perfect experience? What about iFly Indoor Skydiving? Maybe tickets for their favorite concert, like Blake Shelton or one of the other events on this long list of 2020 concerts? just need to be aware of where to look. With this season’s holiday sales going on in full flow, make sure you take advantage and buy your gifts in high quality at cheaper rates! Use our list, check it twice, and you’ll be sure to find gifts your teenagers will love!

If you’re looking for great personalized photo gifts, be sure to check out our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide!

Gift Giving Made Easy: The Perfect Holiday Gifts | Arizona Photographer

Gift Giving Made Easy: The Perfect Holiday Gifts | Arizona Photographer

Gift Giving Made Easy: The Best Gifts for the Holidays

Making a List, Checking it Twice

The holidays are almost here. Like right around the corner, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it…that kind of almost here. Do you have your shopping list made? Are you ready to stand in the lines, fight the crowds, scramble for the very last fuzzy bath robe? (Because what else are you going to get for Grandma?) Stick with me…I have ideas.

I’m just about the holly-jolliest person you’ll meet, but you won’t find me volunteering to stand in those holiday store lines that wrap twice around the building before snaking through the automotive department…and then finally, FINALLY ending up at the cash registers. Not only do I end up collecting about 20 things I don’t need on that slow, arduous trek through the aisles, but by the time I get to the finish line, I feel like every ounce of holiday spirit has slowly been jingle-jangled from my system, leaving more bah-humbug than ho-ho-ho.

Get the Jolly Back

Ever think to yourself, “There’s got to be a better way”? If you have, then you’re one smart cookie. There is a better way! You can skip the lines AND give holiday gifts that will be WAY more cherished and loved than fuzzy socks and Chia Pets. (For those of you who end up waiting until Christmas Eve to shop, the main aisle at your local drug store should still have plenty of novelties like Chia celebrities, so if that’s your jam, procrastinate away.) If you’re looking to level up, however, I’m here to help.

Make it Look Like You’re an Overachiever

See what I did there? You’ll look like an overachiever, but these are NOT difficult gifts to acquire or prepare. Have you had photos taken lately (or are you planning a photo shoot soon)? If so, you are sitting on a holiday gift-giving gold mine!

Nothing will make mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Bill (you get the idea) happier than getting a gift featuring professional photographs of you, the kids, or the family. Whether you just had senior pictures taken—or whether you did an entire shoot featuring everyone from Fido to Great Uncle Bubba—when you give gifts that feature the faces they adore, you’re sure to get a smile (and maybe even a few happy tears).

Do you have family that lives far away? Photos are the perfect gift to remind them that you’re thinking of them! We can even have them shipped directly to their doorstep! 

Custom Photo Gifts

Have kiddos hitting major milestones? Graduates? New drivers? Going to high school? Give a holiday gift of photo memories! Teenagers LOVE getting that one-on-one time with mom to go out and be treated like a celebrity! Our teen photo shoots will let them show off and we’ll create gorgeous images of them! Even though the internet would have you believe that this younger generation doesn’t care about prints, I have proof otherwise. Check out some of these storyboards that our teens helped design for themselves!

Alynna chose this quote along with some of her favorite senior pictures, and just look at the result! This is a gorgeous 16×20 signature silk print, perfect for framing or mounting directly to your wall with 3M Command Strips. Make sure you choose picture hanging strips, not poster strips. 

Photo Gifts Collage

And yes, even the guys have them in their rooms. We designed this gorgeous metal for Nicholas using his favorite wrestling photo, then added a quote from Dan Gable.

Photo Gifts 

Gifts for Dad

This stunning storyboard is the perfect gift for Dad, and it’s just the right size for his office. We combined these gorgeous images of Skylar with a quote that will bring tears to Dad’s eyes! How does it work? Just contact me and send few high resolution images, then leave the rest to me! 

Unique Photo Gifts Collage

Perfect Gift for Mom

“I have so many images from our last photo shoot that I just can’t decide what to display!” If this is your mom, wife, or other photo lover, then this is gift will be a favorite under the tree! Our Luxury Image Box holds double sided 5×7 prints and comes custom printed with your favorite image on the cover. It opens like a book and can have both the spine and back printed. Maybe you have photo shoots from various years that were never printed or maybe you took an amazing vacation this year. Let’s take those memories and create an image box that can be enjoyed all year!

Many of you have probably seen the photo keepsake items I offer. From high-quality photo boxes to collages that feature multiple images to artistic metal art, the medium is up to you. You can give great gifts by getting creative with the memories you’ve already made—and the best part is you can ditch the malls, watch some sappy holiday movies, and sip some cocoa while you wait for your gifts to arrive! Still stuck for ideas? We offer gift cards for portrait sessions as well as our entire product line!

Merry shopping to all! Contact me with any questions you have—I’m happy to help you get your gift orders ready to go! But don’t wait…deadlines are approaching quickly!

 

 

 

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