Senior Pictures at Night | Downtown Chandler Senior Pictures

Senior Pictures at Night | Downtown Chandler Senior Pictures

Senior Pictures at Night

You have many choices for your senior pictures, so Magical Memories by Michelle offers something that not many other photographers do, and that is having your senior portraits taken at night! We start about an hour or so before sunset and once the sun goes down we keep shooting in the city lights!

Downtown Chandler

One of my favorite locations for senior photo shoots after dark is Downtown Chandler. By shooting during the week we avoid the crowds and parking, and you get something fabulous added to your gallery of senior pictures! These beautiful images of Briana were taken near the parking lot of the Chandler Public Library. I love the way the city lights glow in the background!


Chandler Senior Pictures at Night

We moved just across the street to get some more images with that beautiful nighttime bokeh, which is a photography term for the blurry, out of focus backgrounds we all love! Briana’s boyfriend joined us for these last few images and his jokes and comments brought out some fun expressions from Briana.

Downtown Chandler Senior Pictures at Night

Of course the color images are always fabulous, but all of our sessions include some black and white portraits as well. This is one of my favorite black & white images of Briana!

Chandler Senior Pictures Black & White

As I mentioned earlier, this was only part of Briana’s photo shoot! Be sure to check out more of her senior pictures where we incorporated her Jeep and took some beautiful gymnastics pictures! If you’re looking for something to make your senior pictures a little different, give us a call so we can start planning with you!  

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson


East Valley Senior Pictures | Cover Contest for our Senior Client Guide

East Valley Senior Pictures | Cover Contest for our Senior Client Guide

East Valley Senior Pictures

Happy New Year!  After several years, it is time to update our Senior Client Guide and we need your help! I’ve created a mock cover for each of our recent seniors and posted to both Facebook and Instagram

How does it work?

This is the easy part! Simply go to our Facebook page or Instagram and you’ll see all the covers. Like, react, or comment on your favorite. Then on Saturday, January 12th, we’ll see which cover has the most points! Here is the scoring:

Like on FB or IG: 1 point
FB Reaction (anything but a standard “like”): 2 points
Social Media Comment: 5 points

So vote, share, post a story…anything to rack up those points!

Who are they?

Adrienne: Class of 2018

Briana: Class of 2019

Derek: Class of 2019

Jalen: Class of 2018


Joe: Class of 2019

Lizzy: Class of 2018

Matthew: Class of 2019

Oceanana: Class of 2019

Tyler: Class of 2018


Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Chandler Senior Pictures | Hamilton High School Varsity Soccer

Chandler Senior Pictures | Hamilton High School Varsity Soccer

Chandler Senior Pictures for Guys

Does your guy love the idea of senior pictures? Or is he a little hesitant? Or is he doing it just for mom? I’ve worked with senior guys that are all of these things! In fact, I often have more senior guys on my schedule than I do girls, and I love it! Both senior guys and senior girls are fun in their own way, but once my senior guys figure out that I’m truly invested in their thoughts and ideas, they have a blast at their senior portrait session! 

4 Tips to Help Guys Love Senior Pictures


1. Communication Before Senior Pictures

It is not uncommon for me to communicate directly with my teens to hear what they have to say, and trust me, what they say (or don’t say) tells me a lot even before our photo shoot. If a guy has short answers, he’s maybe just doing it for mom. He’ll cooperate fully and maybe give me an idea or two. Then some guys tell me they just don’t have any ideas. So I throw a few thoughts their way, maybe text some pictures of other senior guys’ portrait sessions, and make sure they’ve taken a few minutes to fill out our Senior Portrait Questionnaire. Do they like sports? Music? Cars? As much as I want to hear “YES” I also need to hear “NO!” I want him to tell me what loves, what looks fun, and yes, even what he hates! Together we will make this a great experience and get those awesome portraits for Mom and Grandma! 

Matthew definitely had some ideas of his own! He brought along many of his favorite shirts and even had one specific idea that I’ll share later. 

Chandler Senior Pictures | Hamilton High School     

2. Include His Favorite Sport or Hobby

Matthew is a varsity soccer player at Hamilton High School in Chandler. He also plays club soccer, so I asked him if he wanted to include this in his portrait session. I asked rather than assume.  If he had said no, I might have had to persuade him a little more, but thankfully he was more than willing to bring his soccer gear along. Before his photo shoot I had sent him a few ideas so he’d be prepared ahead of time and know that he’d be running showing me his moves! Of course I wanted one or two “nice” shots in his uniform but I was much more interested in capturing his action shots! 

Hamilton High School Varsity Soccer Action Shots for Senior Pictures

Hamilton High School Varsity Soccer Action Shots for Senior Pictures

Hamilton High School Varsity Soccer Player | Chandler, AZ

3. Bring His Dog

I can’t say this enough! If you have a furry friend that has been in your family for years, it is sad to think they might not be with you when you graduate from college. Do you have any portraits of you and your dog? Well, Cooper is Matthew’s dog. He got him when he was 7 years old.

We found a great field in Chandler at Tumbleweed Park that was actually perfect for Cooper to run and play. All dogs are different, so we do what is best and safest for each one. Some dogs are great listeners. Let’s just say that Cooper wasn’t one of them. Often I want to take off the dog’s collar, but Matthew’s mom, Holly, said Cooper was a runner.  So the collar stays on! But just letting him run a little and having his favorite toy, it was easy to get these priceless pictures! Yes, I always try to get some of the dog alone. Trust me, the day will come when you’ll be glad you have it. 

Senior Pictures With Your Dog

Male Senior Pictures With Your Dog

At one point Cooper accidentally slipped out of his collar and Matthew and his mom Holly had to chase him down! While originally this was an outtake, it ended up being a keeper! And then once we got Cooper surrounded, I was able to catch this adorable playful image of him before we got his collar on him again.

Chandler Senior Pictures Outdoor Dog

Chandler Senior Pictures Dog Photographer

4. Listen!

This is oh so important! LISTEN to him!!! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a guy with as many of his own ideas! Matthew included lots of his favorite t-shirts as well as a couple of nice shirts and ties. One of the things he mentioned was a specific headshot that a friend of his had done in France. As he tried explaining it to me, he told me that it was cropped in close, monochromatic, and it looked like he was in deep thought. He couldn’t find the picture though, so he sent me this:

Thoughtful Chimp | Funny Story About Senior Pictures

Um, it’s a monkey, which is why I have nicknamed Matthew “Monkey Boy.” I laughed so hard after his text! It caught me by complete surprise and it’s just one of those things I’ll never forget! At the end of his session we were in Downtown Chandler. Normally I don’t show the back of my camera too much, but in this case we were going for something so specific, it really was best to show him what the images looked like. After just a few shots he was able to nail the look he wanted and here is the final result!

As an artist, this is what it’s all about. Picture something in your head and make it a reality! And it’s even better when the idea comes from the teenager himself! Thankfully he looks more like Matthew and less like a monkey! 

Chandler Senior Pictures Artistic Black and White

Helping Guys Prepare For Senior Pictures

  • Iron Your Clothes (Photoshop just isn’t the same as an iron, I promise!)
  • Hang Clothes on Hangers
  • Trim Your Nails
  • Have Matching Accessories (shoes & socks for each outfit change)


Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Social Media Sharing  |  Scottsdale Senior Photographer for Teens and Senior Pictures

Social Media Sharing | Scottsdale Senior Photographer for Teens and Senior Pictures

Social Sharing & Printing Tips

I love my teens and seniors, you already know that!  Your positive reviews and recommendations are a huge value to me personally, as well as professionally.  However, I seem to get two very different opinions when it comes to sharing your professional senior pictures on social media. It isn’t always about giving credit, but we take your privacy and safety seriously!  Once an image is shared online, it is out there forever for anyone to see. Even if you remove the image, it is still out there and can be altered, printed, sold, or even stolen.  That is why your social media images have been watermarked. If you’ve purchased a collection including digital images, you’ll see that you have two folders.  One is labeled “print” and the other is labeled “share.”

Printing Digital Files

These files are meant to be printed for your personal use. They are high resolution files meant to be printed 8×10 or smaller. Why the size restriction?  I prefer that my clients use these files to make prints for friends and family and use for cards, invitations, or announcements.  You’re given a print release, and any time you print them the print lab should be asking to see that release, which is why there is a file included on your USB.  Larger prints however, require a little extra attention. If you’d like a larger print, please just get in contact and I’ll help you out to be sure the portrait will be sized properly for your needs!  Canvases are especially tricky since you need extra room to wrap without cutting off important parts of the image. If you’d prefer to order from us, we can order anything from our product line as long as you have a print release! Not to mention that professional labs require calibration and color management to produce high quality, archival portraits.

Did you know there is a difference between an image that is meant to be printed and those meant to be shared online? The number of colors available on a screen is much greater than what can be printed, so it is critical to know the difference and be able to prepare images in the correct manner. Beyond that, even professional lab equipment varies which is why they require us to calibrate prints to our monitors. One of my labs has a consumer division. They calibrate every 2-3 weeks. However, the professional lab equipment is calibrated daily and after every paper & chemistry change!

Sharing Digital Files

My clients enjoy creating unique artwork from their professional portrait session.  So of course, if you visit their home, you’ll see gorgeous wall displays and portraits on the walls, image boxes on their coffee tables,and beautiful storyboards showing off their favorite pictures. But let’s face it.  The best way to share online these days is social media!  Isn’t it awesome when you can instantly share your images with all your friends and family, even those who don’t live nearby?  We have Facebook albums, Instagram, and Twitter to which allow you to share.  But at what cost?  The rules of social sharing aren’t always followed, or even understood.  Sometimes I see people cropping out watermarks or not tagging the photographer’s business page whenever they share one of their professional photos.  My question is, if you love your photos so much, why would you choose to remove your photographer’s name from the photograph? The most likely answer is, people just don’t realize what can happen.

Gilbert Photographer Copyright

Online Safety

Most people don’t think of this when posting online, but what if one of your pictures is stolen, edited, or displayed on an inappropriate website? When I first started in business, I hadn’t thought of these things either until it happened to me. A client’s maternity image was stolen from my website and displayed on a porn site without my permission or knowledge. I was shocked, angry, and felt awful for my client. Thankfully, because the watermark was in tact, all it took that time was an email stating that they didn’t have the rights to the photograph and it needed to be removed immediately. Yes, there are ways of finding a photographer’s images online, through information that is included in the files from the moment you click the shutter. Being a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) gives photographers access to resources, insurance, and education which helps us stay on top of important things in the world of photography!

Copyright vs Fair Use

What is a copyright?

So what is a copyright and why is it so important? Professional Photographers of America has very simply written out the terms of a Photographer’s Copyright and what copyright infringement can mean for you, your photos, and the photographer. Keep in mind that majority of photographers (including Magical Memories by Michelle, LLC) give you limited permission to share your digital images online, with additional specifics in their contracts.  By cropping out watermarks, you are in breach of contract and have infringed on their copyright. Copyright protects artists from theft. Often companies and consumers will copy, share, or print without the photographer’s permission. That too is illegal.

Professional Photographers of America says, ” ‘Copyright’ describes the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. But we often don’t consider copyright when we look at our family photos, [share them online] or go to get them copied. Even though it is so easy to copy an image—with scanners, photo-quality printers, and copy stations—it is still illegal.”

Things to remember about copyright:

  • Copyright is a property right.
  • Buying a print or digital images does not mean you have purchased the copyright to those images.
  • Photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
  • Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
  • Even small levels of infringement—copying a photo without permission—can have a devastating impact on a photographer’s ability to make a living.
  • Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.


What is fair use?

Fair use is not the same as free use. Fair use is a legal exception to the exclusive rights an owner has for his or her copyrighted work.  Fair use is in place for the greater good, to allow copyrighted works to be used without permission for the benefit of the public. Let’s face it. We love you and all, but while your senior pictures are priceless to you, they don’t benefit the general public.


Every company out there has a logo and you can bet there is a copyright. Photographers are no different. I work hard to maintain a certain level of quality and I’m proud of what I do, so my company’s logo is on my work the same way an auto maker puts their logo on a car. Ok, so maybe I’m not Audi…but it’s the same idea! Ha ha!

Gilbert Photographer Guys Cars

Tips for Sharing Your Professional Portraits

  • Do not crop out their watermark.  For my clients, if this is issue on Social Media, I’ll happily resize to a square image. Better yet, our personalized mobile apps allow safe sharing of your images directly to social media.
  • Tag your photographer’s business page or add credit such as “Photo by Magical Memories by Michelle”.
  • If you really love your portraits and your photographer, you can share their name and website with the photo. Again, I would like to say that your positive recommendations to your friends and family mean the world to me!
  • Remember, safety first. I don’t want your priceless images to end up in the wrong hands!

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Senior Portrait Photographer for Guys | Basha High School Football Player

Senior Portrait Photographer for Guys | Basha High School Football Player

Senior Portrait Photographer

As I mentioned in my last post about Jalen’s senior portraits, we’d had everything planned for a few weeks. When plans started to fall apart, I knew right away that we’d have to choose a 2nd date to finish his session. That’s just one reason why our senior portrait sessions are different from any other senior portrait photographer in the East Valley. I don’t want you to worry that we won’t get to everything. I understand that some things, like the football field, are out of your control. Your senior portrait experience will be everything you imagined and more! Even if that means going out for a 2nd shoot! I’m much more concerned about documenting a complete story than watching a clock and worrying about how much time I’ve spend with each client. I spend about 15-18 hours per senior. We talk you through the session, help with outfits and locations, discuss what your dream session looks like, and then we make it happen!

Senior Portraits at Basha High School

Look, this is where you’ve likely spent the last 4 years. You have many memories of this place and you’ll be graduating soon, so why not incorporate it into your senior portrait session? We tried to get permission for weeks ahead of time, but the person we needed to reach wasn’t available. Since Jalen had talked to his coach, we just hoped it would be OK to be on the field for pictures. Well, it would have been if the track hadn’t been resurfaced! But on our 2nd visit, everything fell into place! And because we had another day, Jalen chose a different football jersey.

Professional Senior Portraits Football Player Basha Stadium

Planning Your Senior Portraits

At your pre-session consultation you’ll have the chance to look through many different clients and complete photo shoots to get ideas. You’ll see lots of options for locations and wardrobe choices, and together we’ll help you choose what is most important. Cathy had seen a similar image from Brandon’s senior portraits in Colorado, so I wanted to be sure to create these images of Jalen too!

The bleachers can make a great backdrop for nearly any sport, so I took a was sure to get a nice shot of Jalen smiling that mom will love!

Professional Senior Portraits Football Players

Unique Images and Poses

Everybody wants unique senior portraits, and why shouldn’t you? One great thing about our final portrait galleries is that you’ll have lots of variety! We don’t turn every image black & white, because not every image has the best lighting or emotion to make a great black & white portrait. Sometimes, if an image calls for it, you’ll get a creative edit or two as well! I created this textured art print of Jalen because I wanted something that looked rough and tough instead of bright and sunny.

Professional Senior Photos Football Gilbert

The Lamborghini Was Worth The Wait

Finally, it was time!!! Trust me, Jalen’s dad Warren had a blast with this session! Yes, mom & dad are more than welcome to tag along! In fact, I encourage it and we all have a blast together! Warren drove the car to the high school, then we discussed where to shoot. Originally I had planned on using a parking garage, but with the car sitting so low we didn’t want to go over speed bumps. Being a professional photographer means I have tons of ideas and thoughts in case the original plan doesn’t quite work out.

Jalen started out in one of his favorite t-shirts and jeans. You need to be comfortable and look like you for your senior pictures! This ended up being by far my favorite car picture ever! Can you blame me? Love it!!

A quick shirt change and a pair of sunglasses make for a completely different look! Love it when guys add sunglasses, so make sure you bring yours!

So many people stress about the location of their senior portraits. First of all, don’t think it has to be someplace special in order to get great portraits. Often I try to just get away from everything so we can get the sunset and not have to deal with cars and crowds. For these pictures, we just drove south through Gilbert and Chandler to find a nice dead end with views of the desert and San Tan Mountains.

Artistic Senior Portraits

One reason my clients choose me for their professional senior portraits is my artistic ability. Anyone can take pictures, but professionals have multiple lenses and know when to use them and where to position their subjects. Look how massive the Lamborghini looks when the shot is taken from the ground with a wide angle lens! Not to bore you with details, but it would have had a totally different feel if I had used a 70-200mm lens. FYI, that’s the big lens that is on my camera most of the time for senior portraits.

Tips for your senior pictures:

  • Bring your car or rent a fun sports car
  • Plan ahead and call the school for permission to shoot on campus
  • Don’t stress if things don’t work out as planned

Did you miss Day 1 with Jalen?

No worries, you can see the rest of his senior portraits right here!

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Chandler Senior Photos | Guys, Football, & Cars…What’s Not to Love?

Chandler Senior Photos | Guys, Football, & Cars…What’s Not to Love?

Choosing a Location for Senior Pictures

Right from the beginning, Jalen and his parents had some great ideas for senior pictures. We had discussed several downtown locations as well as the possibility to using the field at Basha High School to include some football pictures. So the first question you need to ask yourself is “which pictures and locations are most important?” Some locations, such as the football field, are best when they’re at your school, therefore choosing other locations in the area is usually the best idea.

They had also discussed the possibility of using a Lamborghini for Jalen’s senior pictures, which of course I thought was a spectacular idea! Guys & cars, it’s a great fit for senior pictures and of course the guys (and dads!) love them!

Day One: Disaster Strikes

We’d had everything planned for a few weeks, Jalen had his outfits, the Lamborghini was available, and so we decided to start at Basha High School and get some football pictures. I met Cathy and Jalen at Basha high school, then planned to have Warren join us with the Lamborghini. That’s when it started to fall apart. Literally within 10 minutes we found out the Lamborghini in fact, was not available that day. Strike 1. I could see the disappointment in their faces, not to mention mine! But we decided to continue and possibly get the Lamborghini another day. We headed the office at Basha High School to ask permission to use the track. Professional photographers always ask permission when shooting on any property! Well, it turns out the track had been redone and was off limits for at least another week. Are you kidding me? 20 minutes in and our plans had completely unraveled!

My suggestion was to continue on to some other locations and let’s get started anyway. Then if necessary, we can always come back to for football pictures and hopefully the car would be available too.

Senior Pictures at the Lake: Chandler, AZ

Jalen started out in one of his favorite t-shirts and jeans. You need to be comfortable and look like you for your senior pictures! Love it when guys add sunglasses to their look!

Chandler Senior Photos of Guys by the Lake

If you’ve ever been out shooting with me you know that “just one more shot” or “ok, I’m done” is something I say often but never mean. And here’s the perfect example why sometimes you really just do need one more shot! We were leaving the park and this normally average desert spot just looked perfect. I wasn’t sure why until I we tried a few poses. Then it was obvious! Simple shirt and jeans, sunglasses, and a bench…it’s definitely a favorite!

Chandler Senior Photos Desert

Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, AZ

The old truck is always a favorite for guys’ senior pictures. It can bring an urban, rustic, or country vibe depending on what outfit you choose.

Chandler Senior Photos Old Truck

Chandler Senior Photos Old Truck

Moms Dream of Getting Senior Pictures of Their Sons

Don’t deny it, every mom loves those happy smiling pictures! But when you have boys, sometimes it is a little more difficult. It’s my job to get teens to loosen up and giggle a little, and a fake laugh goes a long way! And because it is just so goofy, they end up with a genuine laugh! Makes the perfect senior picture, doesn’t it?

Chandler Senior Photos Guys Smile

Senior Pictures for Football Players

Since we really didn’t know what the future would hold, and Jalen had all of his football gear, I decided to get some pictures in his jersey. This is one of my favorite locations to get gorgeous sun flare! If you like this look and the sun cooperates (which in Arizona, it often does), then it’s definitely something we can talk about for your senior pictures too!

Chandler Senior Photos Football Sun Flare

When the lighting wasn’t exactly what I wanted, I decided to go with a more artistic look. This image was actually taken in a gorgeous green, sunny are at Tumbleweed park, only a few feet from the previous image. But I wanted something more intense for this shot.

Artistic shot of

Senior Guys: What to Wear for Senior Photos

If you’re having trouble deciding what to wear for senior pictures, definitely bring a variety of outfits! Don’t be afraid to dress it up a little and get this awesome look! Jalen just looks so sharp in this button down shirt, but then paired with simple jeans, it fits perfect in an urban area of Downtown Chandler.

Senior Pictures What to Wear for Guys

Downtown Chandler After Dark

When I saw Jalen’s tie and suspenders, I was in heaven and knew exactly the look I wanted! When the sun went down, we pulled out the lights and just kept shooting! The results? Well, you can decided but I think they’re awesome!

Downtown Chandler Senior Photos Night

Chandler Senior Photos Art Black & White

Chandler Senior Photos Night Guys

Ideas for your senior pictures:

  • Bring your car or rent a fun sports car
  • Bring your jersey and sports gear
  • Don’t be afraid to dress up a little

Want to see more Day 2 with Jalen?

Of course you do! Yes, we did go out for a 2nd day once the track was done and the Lamborghini was available. Go check them out!

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson