I already offer one of the most artistic portrait photography sessions in Mesa, Arizona. I’m always looking for ways to create an exceptional experience for my clients, so I asked myself, “what could possibly make this experience any better?” The answer? Night time photography! Now I’m able to offer two types of photo sessions. One session begins approximately 2-3 hours before sunset, and ends as we run out of daylight. The other session, well, we just keep shooting even after dark! It allows me to create unique portraits with a different feel. We can shoot in urban areas and pull in some of the city lights, or shoot at sunset and capture that glorious Arizona glow. You’ll get a combination of daytime and nighttime photos. But for now, let’s focus on some gorgeous portraits taken in the East Valley after the sun went down.
Eastmark After Dark
You’ve probably seen this location before, and yet at night it has a completely different feel! With the white fences now dark and the string lights from a nearby restaurant lit up, we got some stunning portraits for Skylar and her family! That plaid top is just too cute, and the navy blue hat from our style closet gave her outfit just the right finishing touch.
All About Plaid
For 2019, plaid is definitely still a trendy addition to your wardrobe this fall, plus the texture makes it perfect for your photo shoot. Plaid never seems to go out of style whether it’s a cute crop top or your favorite flannel!
Think you can’t full off the perfect pouty pose? Try this.
1. Close your eyes. 2. Take a couple of breaths with your lips slightly parted. 3. If you have a severe case of RBF, practice turning up just the corners or your mouth. 4. Finally, say the words “blue” or “prune” to help part your lips ever so slightly. 5. Once you’re ready, open your eyes and we’ll start shooting!
My Favorite Thing About Shooting at Night
I love the lighting we can achieve after dark! And the best part is the both the color and black & white versions are both beautiful! Which is your favorite?
Studio Portraits Without the Studio
Because of the harsh sun in Arizona, it can be hard to block out all the light during the day. However, once the sun starts to fade it’s easy to get the perfect black background. Believe it or not, this image was taken next to a lake, but Skylar definitely wasn’t in the water. Instead, I had a vision of exactly what I wanted to accomplish for this talented MAC swimmer. I simply adjusted my exposure to darken the background, added in some off-camera flash to achieve a starting point. Then used Photoshop to create the illusion of splashing water.
**Now scheduling senior portraits for the Class of 2020** www.magicalmemoriesbymichelle.com (480) 779-7797
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!
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!!!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
Let’s talk about the forgotten years. You know you have thousands of pictures of your firstborn as a young child, but what happens as they approach those awesome teenage years? Yes, I did say awesome? Perfect? No, but definitely worth remembering! I’m so thankful that we took Skylar out to celebrate turning 13. She hasn’t had professional portraits taken in years and her senior pictures are still a few years away.
Right now she is an 8th grader who just got braces. She’s a competitive swimmer with MAC. And did I mention she’s just an all around wonderful young lady! She definitely found her inner model! Here’s shes showing off this darling daisy top and sunglasses! Super cute!!
East Mesa Locations for Professional Portraits
If you know me at all, you know that “locations” aren’t really my thing. If everyone shoots there, why would I want to go there too? I prefer to use at least some out of the way pretty spots that most people don’t even think about for pictures. And yet they are stunning!!! This is just in one of the nearly neighborhoods in East Mesa. Nothing fancy, just our typical desert brush with gorgeous afternoon sunlight. But look at this stunning girl when you put it all together!
Style Closet Dress & Accessories
Skylar has an awesome sense of humor. She’s goofy and really enjoyed the fuss being made over her…once she got the hang of it! When she found out about our Style Closet, she was thrilled! She chose this darling dress which just happens to have a belt that can be used in multiple ways. So when Skylar first tried it on she came proudly dancing out of the bathroom with the scarf around her neck like a celebrity! It is something that I know her mom won’t soon forget. It is about the experience, enjoying this age, and making some time to remind your teenagers how much they are loved. Sometimes that gets lost in all the hustle of school, sports, friends, and teenage drama.
Yes, the hats are a must with all my teen and senior girls! This particular blue hat is always a favorite and looks gorgeous with Skylar’s beautiful long curls!
On occasion I’ll be paging through poems or quotes and come across something really meaningful. That was a few months ago, but today is the day I’ll finally write and share. If you know me, you know photography is not a job for me. It never has been. But finding what I love the shoot? Now THAT was a job! It took years of shooting anything and everything from newborns and babies to families to seniors. Taking every job I was offered. Pretty much everything but weddings…and I even tried that once. Where did my love fall? With teenagers. Hands down, no question about it. Many people think I’m crazy, other photographers wouldn’t even think of taking on a full schedule of teenagers. But for me, it is a time in their lives that I truly love! They are acting out, learning about themselves, and growing up. I love being a part of it, hearing about their passions, sports, school, friends, music, and even the drama. I love it all!
And then I hear the comments…
You know the ones.”Lookout when your kids are teenagers!” “The teenage years are worse than terrible twos!” “I can’t wait to get my teenagers out of the house!” Did you ever stop to think that your kids hear this? Even if it isn’t from you, everyone seems to have this impression of teenagers. So in my search, I found this lovely poem written by Natalie Stafford. Let’s just say it puts it all in perspective.
A Positive Outlook
We all know how much words mean, both positive and negative. When teens hear so much negative talk, of course they’re going to take it to heart! So I’m going to take the time to talk about some amazing teenagers, some just starting their teen years and some who were clients years ago and are now in their 20’s. I can honestly say that I have NEVER had a teen that I didn’t love. I’ve had some that were insecure, some that said they hated senior pictures. Most, if not all were nervous. I love keeping in touch with the families to see how everyone is doing! If you’re one of my past seniors or their parents, please reach out and let me know how everyone is doing! I’d love to catch an updated headshot if possible and blog/brag about them!
From full college scholarships and successful sports careers to engagements, law school, and so much more! Teenagers have as much to offer the world now as they did then. I’m so proud of each and every one of the high school seniors and how they’ve started off their young adult lives! Below are just a few of the teens who I’ve kept in touch with and watched them as they begin their adult lives.
Perry High School Graduate, Kelci Abernethy
Check out Kelci’s senior portraits from 2015! And if you want to see some awesome baseball pictures, you won’t want to miss her brother Connor’s senior portraits!
As a Mesa photographer, I love capturing the bond between brothers! If you’re the mom of boys, I’m sure you know how special it is to have pictures of your boys together! Well it was important for Amy too! I’ve known Connor and Kaden for quite a few years and have done several sessions for their family, including their older sister’s senior portraits. So when it was time for some updated pictures and modeling headshots, I was glad that Amy called me again to work with her boys. Connor and Kaden make it so easy. Since I’m updating my blog, I’m finally catching up on some older sessions that were amazing and need to be shared!
“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” -Marc Brown
Urban Portraits for Boys
We chose an cute little Tempe location that would give us some great urban shots using the brick background for the boys. How could you not fall in love with those gorgeous blue eyes?!?! And I promise, there is no extra photoshop here. They really are THAT blue!
My heart melts seeing Kaden’s sweet grin! This is always the age that parents miss. Those precious in between years when they suddenly grown up and aren’t babies anymore!
In the exact same location, with a little creativity, we were able to the beautiful green backgrounds that moms love!
This year I had the added treat of Connor’s longer hair. This teen goes from clean cut preppy to teenage heartbreaker just by running his fingers through his hair! Love that deep stare, and did I mention those eyes???
As a mom, I hate to see the pain my teenagers go through during these tween and teen years. They are so critical of themselves and are self conscious about everything. During adolescence, physical changes can also affect teen confidence. Nearly all teenagers feel self-conscious about their bodies which leads them towards negative self talk and lower self esteem. What if you could spend some special one-on-one time with your daughter and together we could help build her confidence and give her a positive body image? Photography is one tool that can help so we can empower teens and boost their confidence! If we start now, these values will grow with them and help them successfully transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Sounds kind of strange, I know, but hear me out. I’ve always thought my daughter was gorgeous, don’t we all feel that way about our kids? She’s never really given me any problems and for the most part has been an easy kid. But when she hit that 11-12 age, I would say things like “wow, you’re hair is so pretty!” and she’d disagree and of course started voicing her thoughts on exactly why I was wrong. They get so much more vocal and it is nearly impossible to change their minds! Does any of this sound familiar to you?
As a professional photographer, one of my goals is to help build teen confidence with a positive photo shoot where we show them how gorgeous they are both inside and out! You’ll get to spend some quality time together, your teen will be pampered, and you’ll get stunning portraits you’ve always wanted. We all feel so much prettier and more confident with professional hair and makeup, so why not pamper your young teenage daughter with an age-appropriate makeover? That’s one step to help her look and feel more beautiful than ever! During the photoshoot, we’ll have a blast together! She’ll be able to express herself naturally and learn some simple modeling tips that she’ll remember forever. Since this special portrait session is all about her, let’s celebrate this age and include hobbies she loves right now. When she sees herself in these pictures, she’ll see her true beauty! That smile will shine through and she’ll be excited and possibly even surprised by how stunning she is. You know there is a wonderful, special person inside! Of course she doesn’t see it in herself, yet. But she’s in there, let’s show the world!
My personal experience
I’ve been through this recently with my own daughter when she turned 14. She had braces, thought she was too small, too short, and certainly didn’t see all the wonderful qualities I saw in her. For her 14th birthday, we had her hair done, just a simple braid and some loose curls, then added some natural looking makeup. I took her out shopping for “picture clothes” since I know what looks good and she was nearly always in a leotard from gymnastics. My kids always agree to wear whatever I ask for pictures, as long as they don’t have to wear it otherwise. Hey, it works, don’t argue!
Wow, is that me?
The results were amazing!!! First of all, the photo shoot was so much fun! She looked beautiful of course, but also felt more beautiful and confident with professional hair and makeup. When she saw the results, she couldn’t believe it was her! They grow up so fast during these years and I’m overjoyed to have these beautiful memories of her at this age. I have to say, even I was shocked at how grown up she looked and how much she changed in just one year!
That beautiful face, sparking eyes, this is what I see what I look at her. Even her serious face, especially her serious face, makes me melt as a mom. She no longer sees just a short little girl. She too realizes that she’s growing up and becoming a stunning young lady! I now have these gorgeous images as a huge Signature Silk Portraits in my office. It reminds her that I love her and that she is a valued part of our family.
Alex has always loved to read. She learned early, begs to go the library, so I wanted to remember this time with two of her favorite books. Most books she gets from the library, however she loves Unraveling and Unbreakable so much that we bought them so she could read them over and over.
At the same time, she’s still my little girl. Yes, all of these images were taken within a couple of hours of each other. Sometimes she’s a fierce teen, sometimes she’s a playful teen! Many parents wait to have professional portraits until after teens get their braces off, but not me. I love her braces! That sweet smile with colorful rubber bands is something I’ll never forget.
Come in for a consultation and let’s talk! Let’s do the same for your daughter! But if you want to see a couple of other amazing teen portrait sessions, check these out!