Chandler Senior Pictures
Tyler recently graduated from Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, AZ. Moms, are you longing to have amazing senior pictures of your son but he’s not quite as interested? That’s totally normal, but I haven’t had a senior guy yet that hasn’t admitted to having fun once the session is over! Not kidding…they have ALL done very well and enjoyed it once they found out they weren’t gonna be sitting in one spot, rushing to get a few pictures. Most importantly, once they found that I want their thoughts and opinions, I want them to enjoy this!
Moms don’t seem to get a lot of opportunities to get good portraits of their boys, and having a teenage son myself, I knew how much Tyler’s mom, Tina, wanted amazing pictures before Tyler graduated from high school. When we discussed Tyler’s interests at his consultation, he sat quietly and didn’t really have any opinions. He was willing to go along with whatever we wanted (of course) but really wasn’t that into it. Until…I asked about his car! Wow, that was a fast switch and he was instantly engaged once I started showing him pictures of other senior guys with their cars, dogs, and other ways to cater to what these young men really want. Believe it or not, most of them really do want awesome senior pictures!
Senior Pictures for the Guys
Most guys, once they start looking at sample images and products, do find things they like. For Tyler, he didn’t care as long as we used his car. But more on that later. During their consultation, I found out about their sweet boy, Baxter. If you’re a dog lover I don’t have to tell you how important it is to get pictures of your kids with your dogs! After all, by senior year many of them have grown up with their dog and have a special bond. Well, Baxter is definitely a huge part of their family! It is often easiest to take pictures with your dog first, and then either drop them off at home or have someone that can pick the dog up so they don’t have to tag along with us for the rest of the session. When you bring your dog along, it helps to bring some treats to keep their attention, but honestly Baxter was just so easy he didn’t need it!
As much as I hate to be reminded, these little guys aren’t going to be with us forever. I always try to get one picture of just the dog so you’ll have a nice keepsake. And of course, Baxter brought his smile! Isn’t he seriously the cutest thing? I’m extra lucky. Not only do I get to go out on the town for senior pictures, but sometimes I get to play with dogs too!
Bringing Your Pup? Be Flexible!
Having never met Baxter before, I didn’t know how he’d react or how long it would take to get pictures. In this case, it only took about 30 minutes or so, and since we had lots of time, we decided to head to Downtown Chandler. Tina & Tyler took Baxter home and I began making my way towards Chandler along the surface streets. After all, you never know what you’re gonna find! And there it was…the perfect, east-facing, empty lot! It was exactly what I needed to Tyler’s car! Or at least some of his car pictures So I texted Tina and let her know where I was, and I got set up so I was ready when they arrived. This is why I ask my clients to be flexible.
I rarely have an exact plan until I see exactly what the lighting is and what outfits were chosen. That was the case today! Tyler was excited about his car, but he didn’t tell me it was a Dodge Charger!!!! Go ahead, leave out that important bit of information! Being a huge Nightwing fan, he wanted to be sure we captured the back of his car. Oh, and did I mention he had a matching Nightwing shirt?
Since the lighting was so amazing, I got some awesome shots that I knew Mom would love! Tyler has an amazing serious face, so we talked about how to pull it off without looking angry. One tip is to part your lips just a little and try to turn up the corners of your mouth too. Another great tip is to use your imagination! This works great for all expressions! Pretend your on the beach, flirt with your girlfriend, or think of how you feel on the last day of school. And if that doesn’t work, just throw fruit! Yes, I’m somewhat serious. Usually I’m just playing, but Mom wasn’t!
Backstory: One of my first sessions years ago, like 2010-2011, we were near a grapefruit tree and our session was pretty much over. The kids were little and started jumping trying to grab the grapefruits from the trees, began collecting them, and I became the juggling goofball. I got some fun pictures from that session, some due to tossing grapefruits back and forth. Have you ever tried to catch a grapefruit while holding a camera? Not an easy task! Ever since then, when I have someone that won’t smile or needs to loosen up a little, I threaten to throw a grapefruit at them.
Turns out, there was a grapefruit tree in this empty lot and Mom took advantage! I don’t recall which one, but one of these smiles was caught just as a grapefruit went whizzing over Tyler’s shoulder, courtesy of Tina! I’ll do just about anything to put teens at ease, and sometimes that means catching them by surprise with something as silly as a piece of fruit.
More Fun with the Dodge Charger
Oh the perfection of it all!! This is it…the perfect look, the sunglasses, the sports car, the lighting, the headlights, the location, it just all came together! I managed to get this amazing shot that has quickly become a favorite! Of course what I’m sure we’ll all remember was me crunching up against the wall of the parking garage and needing just a little more space. So I leaned back and smacked my head on the concrete wall. I don’t remember it hurting because, well, I got the picture!!! Everything else is irrelevant, right?
At your Reveal & Design Session, you’ll sometimes see the same image in both color and black & white. That was the case with this picture since I loved it so much. And I still can’t choose between the two!
Unlimited poses and not having a specific set time for my sessions allows us plenty of time to have fun and get a little creative for senior pictures! When the sun went down after Tyler’s session, we didn’t stop! Since he was part of the choir at Desert Ridge, he brought along his suit and we got some fun night time shots!