Part of being a professional photographer is providing amazing images to my clients, but even more important is the confidence boost I want every single one of my teenagers to carry with them throughout high school. Teen Years Magazine, the sister magazine to Senior Year Magazine just released it’s premier issue and I had 5 images published! Even though I’ve been published many times over the years, it is always exciting to show off my clients in these magazines. So let’s get to it and announce the teens who have their images in Teen Years Magazine! Congratulations!!!
It doesn’t surprise me one bit that this image was chosen. By the end of the shoot she was feeling extra confident and looked gorgeous showing off this jacket from my Style Closet.
Marissa is a talented young artist who was lucky enough to have her aunt set up a photo shoot during her visit to Phoenix. I love the variety we got and these are only two of the images from her session! The Style Closet came in handy and provided both of these cute outfits!
Mavery Grattan and Alex Robertson
What could be better than a photo shoot with your best friend? Having that image published in a magazine!!! This simple image shows their beauty perfectly…and trust me, they’re both just as beautiful on the inside too!
During that same photo shoot, I took several of the girls individually and this one of Alex is also being published!
Keep an eye out for more as I’ll be adding all of my published images to my blog soon!
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of clients that find me on Google. I also get a lot of word of mouth. Combine them, and I get Rylee! Rylee and her mom Amie found my website and just happened to see Adrienne’s pictures. They remembered how amazing Adrienne’s senior pictures were, so we scheduled a consultation and our planning began. Rylee is a recent graduate from Florence high school. It’s a good thing we got started when we did. The day after her session was the first day of Quarantine 2020. Rylee had a lot of ideas and requests. Some parents think it’s too much, but as a photographer I think it’s great! I love it when kids come with opinions of what they want and let’s face it, what teenager isn’t filled with opinions? Rylee loved a little bit of everything. She loved my favorite ditch and the idea of being near the water, but also loved downtown Chandler and San Tan Village.
Looking Great In Front Of The Camera
Rylee recently told me that she was very nervous before her session. I had no idea! She is a natural in front of the camera and along with just a few secret tips and tricks, she realized there was no reason to worry! If something doesn’t look right, you’ll be the first to know and we’ll fix it right then and there. If a pose looks awkward, we move on. I check images throughout the session so if your eyes are closed or there is breeze right when I click the shutter and your hair is flying in your face, I know immediately and we can reshoot. That way we miss nothing! Ah yes, the joys of digital photography. I’m also a chronic over-shooter and shoot everything multiple times so when I pull the images from my camera I can select and edit only the ones where you look spectacular! How many images do I shoot during a typical senior session? Hmmmm, probably in the 200-300 range, and have been as high as 650! It depends on how much action and movement we do, and how much fun I’m having. If you’ve been out shooting with me, you understand. “Just one more shot” never means one more shot. It means one more in that spot, unless I find something else along the way, or you have a great expression, or we find a fun chair or…well, you get the picture. Ha, no pun intended, it just happened.
For Rylee’s senior photos we started at my favorite ditch to take advantage of the beautiful Arizona desert. She arrived with professional makeup already done, including individual lashes (my favorite!) andshe had so many outfits! We were very lucky to have such beautiful wildflowers and her blue dress gave us contrast for this lovely photo.
We left the ditch and headed towards Eastmark which is only a couple minutes away. As we were driving out of the neighborhood (Amie and Rylee followed in their car) I saw these fun chairs. Well, they looked fun to me. When you’re a photographer, you just see things differently. I wanted to stop but there was no parking so I drove around the block again with Amie and Rylee following me, probably thinking I was crazy because we ended up back where we started. We parked and they got out of the car, but thankfully they understood my craziness and just went with it! Yes, I know we were headed somewhere else, but first, this chair! Good thing too, because it ended up being one of their favorite pictures, and mine too!
Cap & Gown Graduation Pictures
If you have the ability, always bring your cap & gown to your portrait session. If not, I do offer free cap & gown sessions in May that are exclusively for my clients. If you won’t be getting your cap & gown until right before graduation, we do have black caps & gowns available during your session, but of course you’ll need to order a tassel specific to your school and graduating class. I always recommend ordering an additional tassel from Josten’s ASAP and usually you’ll have it by October. Having your graduation gear available allows us to do more than just a quick headshot. Combining your sports, hobbies with your tassel allows you to capture truly unique senior pictures that I know you’ll love!
Creative Senior Pictures
I tell all my seniors to please share their Pinterest board with me, and that’s exactly what Rylee did. She showed me a few creative cap & gown pictures and we decided to give it a try! I can’t guarantee how they’ll turn out, but if we don’t try how will we know? So I played around a little and ended up with this! Again, a favorite that ended up on the back cover of her Luxury Image Box! Here’s your warning. When I try to copy something it almost never turns out the way it did for the original photographer. That’s how art is…I see one thing, they see something else, and neither is right or wrong! So I play…that’s my favorite thing about seniors. They’re patient and let me try things, whether it’s new locations, lighting, outfits, or themes, I toss out ideas and if they like any of them we plan it to add it to their photo shoot. That’s another reason I don’t limit our time together. I need my play time!
High School and All Star Cheerleader
Rylee has been in a competitive All Star cheerleader for years, and continued competing through college! It’s always great to recognize these accomplishments and show them off during your senior portrait session. I was extra lucky that Rylee already had her senior sash and bow, and brought both for her pictures. Here are some of the highlights of her career, pretty impressive! But if you know Rylee, you know she’s incredibly determined and talented…a great combination for competitive cheer!
Competitive All Star cheerleader from 4th-8th grade
Made the competitive varsity cheer squad as a freshman and continued through her senior year
Made the competitive all girl stunt group as a sophomore and continued through her senior year
Florence High School Sophomore female athlete of the year
6 time AIA state champion, back to back to back (Did you catch that? SIX times!!!)
2018 All Girl Stunt
2018 Division III Showcheer
2019 All Girl Stunt
2019 Division III Showcheer
2020 All Girl Stunt
2020 Division III Showcheer
AIA academic athlete all 4 years of high school
Wow, that is quite a list for this young lady! I was also blessed to see part of her senior banquet where she was awarded many scholarships. So proud of you, Rylee!
A Special Note from Mom
I love the fact that my daughter excels both in academics and athletics. Throughout her high school career, Rylee has been selected for the Sports360AZ All-Academic Spiritline First Team and has won 6 state championships; back to back to back championships in 3A All Girl Stunt and Spiritline.
Checklist for Competition Cheer
I’ve photographed many cheerleaders who cheer for high school and competition. Here are a few things you don’t want to forget. It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to miss these items.
I’ve been a Phoenix photographer for over 11 years now and I didn’t offer albums until about a year ago. Why? Because I never really fell in love with any of them! I’ve been offering custom artwork since I opened Magical Memories by Michelle in 2009, and printed products are very important to me. If you’ve seen my products, you know that the majority of them are printed on high quality silk photographic paper. Since then, well, I guess I’m spoiled. I want everything printed in silk! While I did find some beautiful albums, none of them offered silk pages. Then I found this beauty! It has quickly become a client favorite and is a great keepsake for your senior portrait session!
Photographic Silk Paper
Ok, so why the fuss over silk paper? One reason I love these prints is that they have very deep color tones and are just so vibrant! The texture is unlike anything other photographic papers available. In fact, many professional labs don’t even offer silk prints. One of the biggest reasons I love silk is that it is fingerprint resistant. Our product line is meant to be enjoyed for years to come so it’s extremely important to me that they hold up well. An album isn’t meant to just sit on a shelf. I want it displayed in your home and so will you! I want your family to sit around and look through the album together. I want you to have that quality downtime remembering your senior at this age…without the worry of damaging your album. With silk pages, the fingerprints simply wipe off with a clean cloth. Notice I said clean, NOT wet! Just a dry cloth will remove those pesky fingerprints. That way, as your teenager leaves the nest and heads to college, you’ll have this gorgeous keepsake to look through when the reality hits. Just don’t get tears on it!
With so many designs and a beautiful black binding, these albums will match nearly any decor. Simply choose your favorite image for the cover and we’ll add any text, name, graduation year, or quote to personalize your luxury album. This will be a treasure for in your family for years. The album will be custom designed with your favorite images and is easily displayed on a decorative easel instead of being packed away.
Your Favorite Portraits
How often do you pull the USB out and look through images from your photo shoots? How much have you really printed? For most of my clients, the USB’s sit in a drawer and go nearly untouched. After the first 100 likes on social media, the images are forgotten in a desk drawer. With an album, or any of our other unique products, your album will hold at least 20 of your favorite pictures. It makes it much easier to have a beautiful, simple way to showcase your entire session! And here’s an added bonus. If you have digital images from any photo shoot, we can create an album with those too, as long as you have a print release.
High End, Heirloom Quality
With the layflat pages, you can spread a single image across both pages with no visible seam. Yes, these albums do have a lifetime guarantee. The pages are thick, similar to our mounted prints, and won’t easily bend or tear. I’ve heard of cheap albums falling apart after being opened only once or twice. All our products are guaranteed, including our albums. These are your memories and I want you to feel confident that your beloved portraits can be passed down for generations.
So, how do you choose a photographer for you senior pictures?
How do you make that decision when there are thousands of photographers? What should you be looking for? Here are some things you’ll want to consider to help you decide who is the best senior photographer for you.
Tip #1: Digitals Only vs Designer Products
What are your thoughts on products? Do you just want digital files? Do you want an easy way to share your images with friends and family? Do you want to do everything yourself or do you want someone that will take care of all the design work and ordering for you? Are you interested in having some beautiful keepsakes to remember your graduation? Do you want something unique? Maybe you want a huge portrait over the fireplace. Maybe you want a collage of multiple images. Perhaps you would prefer to have lots of images that you can easily swap out. During your Ordering & Design session, we’ll help you sort through all of your pictures, discuss what products fit your needs, design graduation announcements and grad party invitations, and show you some gifts that your family will love! After that, all you have to do is sit back and relax…and worry about the million other things going on during senior year! Our clients (especially moms!) love that once your session is done, we don’t just leave you hanging. We take care of every step from start to finish so you don’t have to stress about it!
Teenagers don’t care too much about products, right? Wrong!! My experience with seniors hasn’t proven that at all! Nearly all of our seniors choose to have their own storyboard, keepsake book, or metal! Of course our high school seniors all love the personalized mobile app, which allows you to show off and share your senior pictures on social media. For your safety, these images are watermarked and ready to share directly from your phone! If you’ve purchased the premier slideshow, that is available in your app too!
Tip #2: Editing and Professional Retouching
You’ll want to know how your pictures will be edited. Professional senior pictures should be edited, and if you don’t choose the right photographer, you might end up with little to no editing. Please know that ALL digital images need some basic editing, and that is where many photographers stop. The images that come straight from the camera (called RAW files) can’t even be opened by most people! They take processing to turn them into a jpg that you can view. But beyond that, also check a photographer’s images to be sure you like their style of editing. Some photographers do almost no retouching, some do a magazine edit and airbrush your skin.
For my high school seniors, I do quite a bit of retouching, but it doesn’t look like it and that is the point! I’ll be sure you look and feel as amazing as possible during your photo shoot. What if you have a few skin imperfections? What if you prefer a more artistic look? As much as I’d love to show you some before and after pictures, I just don’t believe that anyone should be worried about their “before” pictures being displayed to the world! However, during your in-person consultation, you’ll have plenty of time to see first hand what the choosing the right photographer can do for you. While we don’t believe in airbrushing your skin or making you look unrealistic, every image will be professionally retouched by hand (not actions or filters) to brighten your smile, smooth your skin, remove redness, touch up scars and zits, and be sure that your personality shines through! If you’re really itching to see some before and afters, there are a couple shown on the seniors page.
Tip #3: Meet Your Senior Photographer in Person
Most of all, you’ll want to choose a senior photographer that fits with your personality. We offer free in-person consultations to all of our clients because we want to get to know you before the session! That way we can talk, find out more about your likes and dislikes, clothing style, and help choose locations that fit your style! You’ll want a photographer that doesn’t rush you through in an hour and wants to just have a blast getting lots of unique pictures! I want you to be comfortable in front of the camera, and that will be easier if we get to know each other before your photo shoot.
Tip #4: Choose a Professional Photographer
Finally, one of the most important tips for your senior pictures is choose a professional photographer! These days, anyone can buy a “good camera” and “become a photographer.” It is a great hobby! But for your senior pictures, please be sure to choose a professional. This is a once in a lifetime photo shoot and I want it to be a highlight of your senior year. You don’t want someone who is just starting out to document such an important milestone! I’m a full time professional photographer. My goal is to produce beautiful, timeless portraits for you. This isn’t a weekend gig or something I do just for fun. Who do you think will want to ensure your happiness? Think twice before you ask your bff with a cell phone or your favorite uncle. While they might be good, they likely haven’t studied photographer like myself and many other professional photographers in the Phoenix area. I’ve also been published in several teen & senior magazines since 2014 as well as having images featured both nationally and internationally. I am licensed and insured, a member of PPA and part of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a senior photographer, so when I have families willing to drive 45 minutes or more, that really is saying something. Like many young men, LeeAnthony probably wasn’t excited about senior pictures, until I asked what he loves to do. Basketball!!! Oh we can definitely incorporate that! He also loved areas near the water and wanted to bring his dog. Since my sessions aren’t based on locations or time, we were able to fit all that in and more!
It likely has been years since you’ve had family portraits, so feel free to bring your brother or sister to your portrait session for just a few quick shots! Although I’m sure Teareya wasn’t planning on hanging out the whole time, she ended up staying with us but she was a great assistant and helped LeeAnthony with some fashion choices!
Bring Your Dog
I hate saying this, but many of our seniors have beloved dogs that they’ve had for many years. We all know our furbabies don’t live nearly as long as we’d like, so please, I’m begging you. PLEASE bring your dog to your senior portrait session! These portraits might be the only ones you’ll have of the two of you together and they will be greatly cherished by your family. And on a lighter note, hello cuteness!!! Seriously, he even smiled for us!
Including Your Car for Senior Pictures
Oh yes, a clean red Lexus brought out lots of smiles for LeeAnthony! We didn’t really have a spot planned but after over a decade of scouting the East Valley I can always find something! I wish I had a behind-the-scenes shot of this area. Nothing more than a dirt road, probably near an entrance to a community, but it worked great for what we needed!
Maricopa High School Basketball Player
Guys, again, might not be too thrilled about senior pictures but if you include the things they love it will for sure get some amazing images! Even these portraits with the black backgrounds were taken outdoors before sunset. When you hire a professional photographer for senior pictures, the creativity is endless!
Creative Senior Portraits
Again, being a professional senior portrait photographer, I have ideas! Lots and lots of ideas that I really want to try! This was inspired by an image that popped up in my Instagram feed. I saved it (yes, I have collections of ideas, poses, and outfits for inspiration) and had this vision in my head waiting for the right senior. I love everything about this! Believe it or not, this picture was taken before the first set of basketball images…it was definitely still light out. With the proper knowledge and equipment, I was able to create dramatic lighting and I love the end result. So do LeeAnthony’s parents. We printed a large 16×20 for their wall that showcases their children’s sports careers!