Vote for Inspiring Teens Cover Contest | Phoenix Senior Photographer

Vote for Inspiring Teens Cover Contest | Phoenix Senior Photographer

Nationally Featured and Published Phoenix Senior Photographer

When you schedule your senior pictures with Magical Memories by Michelle, did you know that YOU might be featured nationally or even internationally? It’s true! We’ve had many images featured on social media and our seniors have been published in Senior Year Magazine, Modern Teen Style**, Senior Muse, and now…Inspiring Teens! In fact, right now we have TWO of our clients in the running for the cover of Issue 33!

**I know the Modern Teen Style site isn’t up and running right now. Not sure why, but I’m guessing Vickie is working on something new.

Inspiring Teens Magazine

Just by being nominated, both Trevor and Colton will be published in issue 33! But they’re also eligible for more prizes, so help them out! By voting for our two featured guys, you can help them get in the lineup for IT Girl or Guy of the day on Inspiring Teens Social Media, earn a larger spread with more images, be interviewed for the Inspiring Teens Blog, become eligible for the International Leadership Team, and even win up to a $1000 scholarship!!

Desert Ridge High School Class of 2020: Colton Weier

I couldn’t have been more excited when Colton expressed interest in doing part of his senior pictures in the weight room! It was a new location for me and the images…wow! He’ll be playing football at Wesleyan University in the fall!

VOTE for Colton

Weight Room Senior Pictures Desert Ridge High School

Mesquite High School Class of 2019: Trevor Schwartz

Sun flare? Some love it, some don’t, but this image of Trevor is the reason he was featured! I’ll never forget all the extra shots I took to get this just right. He’s currently attending the University of Arizona to study engineering. Go to our blog to peek behind the scenes of Trevor’s senior pictures!

VOTE for Trevor

Athlete Sports Senior Pictures Basketball AZ

 

As of April 29, 2020 they have both received enough votes to make it to Round 2 with a minimum of 25 votes. Round 2 voting begins 5/19/2020 so check back for more updates!

 

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2021!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

Red Mountain High School | Outdoor Senior Pictures in Mesa, AZ

Red Mountain High School | Outdoor Senior Pictures in Mesa, AZ

Ideas for Outdoor Senior Pictures

If you haven’t noticed, Arizona has some beautiful locations for senior pictures in the East Valley. One of our Class of 2020 graduates is Marissa from from Red Mountain High School. She participates in both high school and club dive, and will be continuing her athletic and academic career at Colorado Mesa University! You’ll be able to tell from her pictures, but Marissa is just oozing with personality…giggles, serious, smiles, dancing, goofy, she does it all and is absolutely beautiful!

Fashion Tip: Hats

I’m a hat lover, not necessarily for myself every day, but for senior portraits? Definitely! But you’d be surprised how many girls are so against wearing hats for their session. I’m really not sure why because not only does it give you additional looks, it’s a fun way to bring extra fashion and variety to your senior pictures! Sometimes you wear the hat, sometimes you carry it, and sometimes it just sits next you. Despite saying that she did not like cats, Marissa ended up loving many of our final images with hats. Can you blame her? Both the cute off-the-shoulder outfit and hat are from our Style Closet.

Red Mountain Senior Pictures Mesa Az

Bring the Balloons

Balloons are definitely trending with our graduates! Many of them are turning 18 and choose to bring mylar 18 balloons while others choose to bring balloons that match their graduating class year. Keeping the balloons straight can be a challenge though, so we made sure to take them together.

Senior Pictures Balloons Mesa Az

Senior Pictures at Night

One of the newest additions to our sessions is the ability to shoot after dark. Our senior portrait sessions used to finish around sunset, but now if you choose the ultimate session we’ll continue shooting and get some gorgeous night time shots to add to your gallery! Below you’ll see two of my favorite hats from out Style Closet. Sometimes she’s wearing it, other times she let’s her personality show and turns it upside down!

Mesa Az Senior Pictures Photographer

Red Mountain High School Senior Pictures Mesa Az

Mesa Senior Pictures Night

 

Ideas for unique senior pictures

  • Bring hats or borrow some from our Style Closet
  • Have pictures taken at night
  • Use balloons to celebrate a birthday or graduation

Now scheduling senior pictures for Red Mountain High School Class of 2021!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

 

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

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!

 

**Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021**
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

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!

 

Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
If you’re a Class of 2021 senior, now is the time to get on the list for your photo shoot!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

 

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson Save & Exit

5 Secrets About Your Senior Pics | Phoenix, Arizona Photographer

5 Secrets About Your Senior Pics | Phoenix, Arizona Photographer

5 Secrets About Your Senior Pics

Shhhh…I’m Gonna Tell You a Secret (or Five)

Every trade has its tricks, its magic ways—and photography is no different. If I were a magician, I would be banned from the business for divulging the magic behind my tricks, but lucky for you, I’m merely a wizard…a wizard who wields a camera like it’s a magic wand. My point is, there are secrets, and before your big day gets here, I want you to be in the know. Why? So you’ll have the most perfect pictures ever, of course!

You’ve already heard a lot of talk about your big day, the spotlight, the hair, the outfits, and all the glam that goes along with senior pictures. It’s a lot of pressure—for you AND for me. After all, we’re tasked with wrapping up an entire academic career into one amazing photo shoot that will showcase exactly who you are. No problem, right? Exactly. No problem.

The insider information I’m about to expose is meant solely to make your day even more awesome and (hopefully) put your mind at ease about all the fun that’s about to happen.

Secret #1: It really IS all about you.

That means you don’t have to be someone you don’t want to be. Don’t like dresses? Cool. Don’t wear dresses. Not a fan of high heels? (I mean, who is? They’re pointy and pinchy.) Wear your kicks. Or go barefoot. Or wear those funky toe-shoe things. The point is, no one wants you to be uncomfortable. Just be yourself, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time and end up with some awesome pics. We’ll help you style every single outfit to match the location for magazine-worthy senior pics!

Senior Pics Arizona Photographer Water

Senior Pics Arizona Photographer Outside

Secret #2: Fashion isn’t complicated.

You know that one outfit? The one that makes you feel like you have a little bit of sass, a little bit of edge, and a whole lot of “Look. At. Me.” Yep, that’s the outfit. That’s the one that defines your style and your personality. That, my dear, is fashion. Sure, it could be fancy. Or it could be casual. Or it could be a mixture of sequins and denim—with a little bit of leather thrown in the mix. However you define fashion and style, whatever floats your boat and makes YOU shine, that’s fashion. Besides, with our exclusive Style Closet, you’ll have even more options for outfits and accessories!

Senior Pics Ideas Arizona Photographer

If you’re ever in doubt, just reflect on the words of Coco Chanel,

“Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

When in doubt, keep it simple and wear what makes you feel good.

Senior Pics Phoenix Arizona Photographer

Secret #3: Weather doesn’t always cooperate.

Fashion, we can control. Weather, we cannot. Things we try to avoid include monsoons, haboobs, temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, flash flooding, and pretty much any natural disaster. They don’t tend to be conducive to helping us produce the best photographs, plus, it can be a bit difficult to get the dust and bits of debris out of your hair if we get caught in a dust storm.

The good news is that YOU don’t have to worry about mundane things like watching the Weather Channel—because that’s what I do! I’ll be on top of every weather forecast leading up to your photo shoot, and if we need to move things around, we’ll do exactly that. I literally have an app that tracks wind for me, and that is my #1 photography session killer! Never fear, we’re flexible! Being low volume allows you to be more than just a number and our schedule is designed to allow for last-minute changes if Mother Nature has other plans for your photo shoot! Find out what we do if you have bad weather for your senior pics.

Senior Pics Arizona Photographer Outfits

Secret #4: Zits are OK, but fix your fingernails.

Let’s get serious for a minute. No one plans for the last-minute zit, and sometimes they’re so big they merit being given a name. My last BIG ONE was named Martha, and she didn’t go away for a week. Martha was a monster, and she staked a claim right in the middle of my nose (not cool). So, if you get a surprise “Martha” on the day of your photo shoot, don’t panic! We can work through it. Remember, I have my magical ways, and Martha will NOT make an appearance in your pictures.

However, let’s chat about your nails. These are fixable. Ahead of time. Picture talons, long talons swooping out of the sky, maybe attached to a dragon or a hawk or whatever bird of prey suits your fancy. It takes a little more work and creativity to edit these down so that they are not the single biggest focal point of your photographs. Yes, they are pretty and long and lovely. But let me give you a tidbit of advice (you can take it or leave it)…those long and lovely clickers are going to seriously stick out when you are running your fingers through your hair or putting your hands by your face in your pictures. It might be a good time to consider a file.

Senior Pics Arizona Photographer Nails

Secret #5: Beauty shines…inside and out.

There’s magic behind that lens, and together, we’ll land on exactly the look you’re going for. Wake up with a bulging zit? I can fix that! Have a few stray hairs? No problem! I want you to look fabulous, not photoshopped! Yep, that’s right, you can look as natural as YOU want, and I professionally retouch each image by hand. Nobody needs to know except you, me, and the camera lens.

Your photos can be fun, flirty, or serious. And we can add some nice effects to some already-awesome images, so let’s work together to come up with some fun options. The best part is that it’s up to you, and we can be as creative as you want to be!

Senior Pics Arizona Photographer Tips

Now you know what the professional photographers know!

Cat’s Out of the Bag! Now that you know several trade secrets, I hope you’re feeling ready to tackle your upcoming photo shoot with all the style and confidence that makes you the amazing person you are. The best part about my job is that everyone I work with is unique—which means that every single photo shoot is an opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind collection of memories!

 

**Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!**
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

 

 

So You Want Senior Pics With Your Pooch? | Mesa Portrait Photographer

So You Want Senior Pics With Your Pooch? | Mesa Portrait Photographer

Tips for Including your Dog in Your Senior Pictures

On the scale of zero to adorable, there’s not much that can top cute pictures of your pet—unless, of course, it’s cute pictures of you WITH your pet. Your senior picture photo shoot is the perfect time to bring along Fido or Phoebe or Boomer (or all of your furry companions), because it’s a pretty sure bet that they’ve been a big part of the memories you’ve made throughout your school years.

If you’re planning on bringing your pup along for your big day (which I highly recommend!), I have a few tips and tricks that will help things go smoothly. After all, your photo shoot is a lot like a vacation. It takes some planning, we’re going to be tired when it’s all said and done, and if the pooches come along, we need to plan ahead for that.

I’ve done a LOT of photo shoots, and I’ve captured a lot of tail wags and slobbery canine kisses along the way. So trust me when I say the cute factor of the pictures we get will more than outweigh the little bit of planning we do to make sure things work out how we want them to. Here’s what you need to know:

Operation Cooperation – Getting Your Pooch to Cooperate

Yeah, this isn’t going to happen. You know every dog commercial where the obedient and well-groomed pup leaps into the air with perfect timing to catch the frisbee that’s thrown to them? That’s likely take #412 of that shot, and at that point, the guy behind the camera is probably considering giving up his career to live a solitary existence somewhere in a forest. So, instead of putting pressure on your furry best friend and expecting him or her to behave in a certain way, we’ll just capture the moments organically. Trust me…we’ll get better pictures that way anyway!

Dog Senior Pictures Arizona Pet Photographer

 

The Less Complicated, The Better

If you’d like your pooch to wear a velvet capelet while prancing through a field with a flower crown balanced on her head and spontaneously nudge a butterfly with her nose, that’s not going to happen either. However, if you plan on finding beauty in the simple moments, you’re guaranteed some great images of you and your best fur-buddy that you’ll cherish forever. And please don’t forget to clean up after your pup. We’re typically in public places, so always bring paper towel and a bag for those potty breaks. Nobody wants to step in that!

Seconds before this picture was taken, Marissa’s dog nearly knocked her over. “Quick, grab him and give him a hug!” Let’s just say that a 10-month-old pit bull might just have a few other ideas about how the session should go. But seriously…this face!!!

Dog Senior Pictures Evit Photographer

 

Capturing Their Character

Goofy? Serious? Playful? Gruff? Whatever your pup’s personality—and however your pet acts with you—I want to capture that in pictures. Does your best pal get the zoomies whenever you play with him? Let’s see that whir and blur of tail and ears! Does your best gal flop of her back for belly rubs whenever you’re around? Whatever their silly quirks, whatever makes them your unique best friend, THAT’s what will make pictures with your pup the very best pictures ever. Don’t worry about all the sitting and shaking and behaving. This whole photo shoot will be out of the norm, so don’t count on your pooch to take that lying down!

Dog Senior Pictures East Valley Photographer

 

Not Opposed to Bribery

Got Snausages? By all means, go ahead and fill your pockets with whatever treats will calm the savage beast (or drooling fluffball). Seriously, if you need some snacks for yourself, too, go right ahead. Just try to steer clear of Cheetos or anything broccoli-ish that might get stuck in your teeth. My point is, go ahead and bribe your pup with a Beggin’ Strip or two. I’m all about everyone having a little bit of fun! 

The first picture is what every client thinks they want. Literally all of you, right? Until we get the 2nd picture. Which one do you think is printed BIG for their wall? It isn’t the first image of Brandon and his new pup staring sweetly at the camera. It’s the one where you can smell that puppy breath and feel the slobbery kisses! Maybe we used a little peanut butter, maybe we didn’t! Nobody will ever know.

Dog Senior Pictures Mesa Az

Dog Senior Pictures Mesa Arizona

 

A Little Goes a LONG Way

Here’s where we throw in a little strategy. You may have noticed that your doggo doesn’t have the longest attention span—and that’s ok. But we need to plan for that. The best way for us to get amazing shots of you with your pup is to limit the time he or she spends in front of the camera. While you’ll be going to several locations for your pictures, your pup will likely only go to one. We’ll work together to pick the perfect spot. I try to pick a time either at the very beginning or end of your shoot, and have someone (mom, dad, friend) swing by with your pup at the perfect time. We will be at a safe location—not near busy streets or train tracks—just in case there’s a slip of the collar or escape attempt. I also try to pick wide open places like parks or even back yards so there’s less noise and confusion for your pup. I’ll get several shots of you interacting with your best fur-buddy, and then he or she can go home and relax after their short photo session experience. It’s super stress-free for you…and for your pet!

Dog Senior Pictures Mesa Photographer

 

My dog is crazy!

Um, aren’t they all? Isn’t that why we love them so much! I can’t tell you how many clients have come in for their in-person consultation and never considered including their dog because they “don’t listen” or they’re “too wild and crazy.” Lucky for you, wild and crazy is my specialty! Trust me, ALL dogs are like that! Well, except Mocha, this sweet pup below. But I’m telling you, she is the exception not the rule. Also, when we got our first dog (years and years ago, before we were married) we had our dog trained by professionals. Really, they trained us not the dog, so my husband and I both know techniques that work with many dogs. I’ve worked with rescues, small dogs, big dogs, you name it. And of course it doesn’t have to be a dog either! I’d love to meet your cat, horse, or other beloved pet!

Dog Senior Pictures Arizona Photographer

Goldie is a gorgeous rescue and it took some time to get her to adjust to her surroundings. She wasn’t outside much as a pup, so an outdoor photo shoot sent her senses into overdrive! That’s OK! We let her roam and sniff and just enjoy being outside. Then in between, still captured gorgeous images for her mama.

Dog Senior Pictures Mesa Animal Photographer

Some of the cutest and most fun senior pictures I’ve taken have included family pets. When it’s time to sit down and talk about your session, ask me to show you some of my favorites. Once you see all the slobbery faces and wagging tails, you’ll definitely want to include your pup in your senior picture photo shoot. After all, they’ve been your study buddy, your slumber party pal, your midnight snack sidekick, and your secret confidant for all these years. It just takes a little bit of planning to include them in your photo memories.

 

Contact us about scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2020!
www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com
(480) 779-7797

 

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson

 

 

 

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