Top-Rated Professional Senior Photographer for Arete Prep Academy

By far, one of my favorite parts of a photo shoot is that you never know which way it could go. One moment you’re clicking away, and the next, well, you could have a Monster Energy drink starring guest or come close to setting a prom dress on fire. Yes, things can get a little wild. But, if you can go with the flow, you might just like where it takes you. Helen was well aboard the “let’s see what happens” boat and brought us all along for the ride.

Professional Senior Photographer in Mesa, Arizona

With Helen at the helm, we got off to a start on what should have been a scorching Spring day considering the 106°F temperature!! Strangely, it felt quite cool, but who’s complaining? Not us anyway! With the sun out, it would’ve been silly to not dip into the Style Closet to pull out some sunglasses. But we got silly anyway with the famously cheeky “hello boys” sunglasses. Helen pulled them off with her trademark ‘cool.’

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Using the Style Closet to Her Advantage

I just loved her choice of white and blue (one of her fav colors!) flowery dress from the Style Closet. Not only did it pop beautifully against the natural-toned background, but it was very ‘a la Spring.’ Plus, gorgeous nails and the slight glint of a chic necklace are just PERFECT!

Did you know that when you schedule your senior pictures with Magical Memories by Michelle, you’ll have access to an exclusive Style Closet too? It’s filled with outfits and accessories to match every style! Amateur photographers don’t offer the same portrait experience that you’ll get from a professional senior photographer. The Style Closet is just one of benefits to hiring a pro!

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More Style Closet Fun

Inspiration can come from anywhere during a photoshoot. You often hear of dress belts being repurposed, but how often do you hear of them being tied around a lovely tan hat for romantic effect? Well, that’s what we decided to do! And wouldn’t you know, it worked perfectly!

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Helen was SO spontaneous

The mystery to how she does it all might have been resolved when we went back to the cars for a quick outfit change. There, we found her Monster Energy drink. Could we leave it behind and miss the opportunity for a quirky photo? Of course not!

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Book Lover

As Helen is a lover of all things literary, we knew we’d have to add some bookish twist to the shoot. And what better way to do it than posing in front of a bookshop (who shall remain unnamed) in the dark? While a bookstore at night may not sound like the most photo-worthy location, you just have to look at the picture to have your doubts wiped away instantly. Who knew the lighting would work that well? A professional photographer, that’s who!

Because I shoot in many local areas, I know the laws against shooting logos and store signs. We were reminded by a security guard that night, but I assured him the name would be changed to suit my senior. And voila, A New Chapter!

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But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a wild side. In fact, she let me know that she plays soccer, volunteers, hangs out with friends, reads, does ALL of her homework, and even somehow finds time to enjoy theatre on top of it all – WOW!

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Making and occasion out of it

My heart almost stopped when I saw Helen’s GORGEOUS prom dress. Then it dropped when I found out she didn’t have the chance to wear it due to prom being canceled. But we couldn’t have that, no sir-ee! Tags still attached, we added it to Helen’s wardrobe even with the tags attached and no scissors to be found. So, with mom to the rescue, we burnt off the tags (while holding our collective breath!) and finally let it show in all its glory.

I honestly could hardly believe our luck. The dress was beyond beautiful and suited Helen down to the ground – literally. She looked like a queen!

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How does nighttime lighting work? Well, if you hire a professional senior photographer, they’ll know how to handle various lighting scenarios, and that includes photos after dark. I use a combination of settings and artificial lighting for my senior pictures after dark and they are always a favorite for both teens and parents.

Brains & Brawn!

As you might have guessed by now, Helen is quite the brainbox. After graduating from Arete Preparatory Academy, she planned to study the mind-boggling mix of physics and math at NAU in Flagstaff.

However, as we all know, 2020 was a rough year for everyone–especially graduation seniors. After a semester at NAU that was definitely not a typically college experience, Helen decided it would be best to move back to the Phoenix area. Now she’s at MCC studying engineering!

I’m so proud of all of my grads, whether they go to college, start a career, move away from home, or switch paths along the way! The most important thing is that you are happy! It wasn’t an easy decision for Helen, but now she can look back and confidently know it was the right choice.

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Fashion Tips For Your Senior Pictures

Some accessories or clothing pieces are delightfully multi-purpose. If you’d like to reimagine your outfit like Helen bravely did during her shoot, here are some tips that can help you to do just that!

  • Tuck your shirt in! Whether posing proudly in pants, jeans, or even a skirt – there’s something high-fashion about tucking in those loose top ends.
  • Ankle bracelets – You don’t have to go out and purchase a specific bracelet to achieve that dreamy boho-chic look, a traditional wrist bracelet tied around your ankle will do! The fashion police aren’t checking anyway.
  • Belt up! As we can see from Helen – the humble belt works hard no matter how you use it.

As you can see Helen rocked the entire shoot! Without a doubt, she’ll be amazing at anything she sets her brilliant mind to! Helen’s younger sister, Isobel, is a Class of 2022 grad–exciting! Be sure to check out her graduation portraits too. It’s a great example of how siblings get their own unique senior portrait session, but mom still gets all the great photo artwork customized for each one of her kids.

  • Wow! Her prom dress is stunning! I’m so glad she got the chance to wear it and make some memories in it! Great fashion tips for your seniors too!

    • Right?!?! I mean really, how can you NOT love that dress!!! I was so excited when I saw them pull it out of their car!

  • Great tips and even better photos! Love all the ideas down to the ankle bracelet!

  • First off those shades in the first shot is so perfectly fitting for her, it looks so natural on her, and I have to add I love the monster drink added. I think I would of been holding my breath as well for the tag burning lol.

    • It’s always an adventure, right Shunta? I mean, I have added scissors to my list but burning the tag off is definitely something we’ll ALL remember. And it’s all about making memories, right? LOL!

  • As a professional senior photographer, YOU ROCK! These images for Helen are beautiful and she’s lucky to have such beautiful memories of her senior year!

  • I am always stunned by the beauty you create in every single senior photo! To document a senior completely means to bring to life their personality in the photos. You do that every time Michelle. Helen has indeed received the best professional senior potrtraits in Mesa!

    • She was an absolute gem to photograph! So many ideas that allowed me to be creative! As always, thanks for taking the time to comment, Andrea!

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Several of my images of high school seniors were recently published in Senior Year Magazine and Senior Poise Magazine! You won't want to miss these if you're looking for creative ideas & inspiration for stunning senior pictures!

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Most of the time, when clients are nervous about posing in front of the camera, they don’t know what to do with their hands. If you hire a great photographer for your senior photography session, with years of posing seniors guys, I'll make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. I'll guide you through poses and prompts to be sure you'll have senior pictures you'll love.