I really enjoy shooting senior images and working with high school juniors on their yearbook photos. It is such a special time in a young persons life and senior photos have morphed from the boring old “yearbook” photo of days of old (you should see mine!) to be more fashion-oriented with hipper, more modern looks. I think it will be awesome to look back at their senior photo set as what they looked like at a point in time before their lives really took off!
It seems I have done a lot of guys lately and specifically guys who don’t like to sit for photos! It’s always a fun challenge when after a few clicks, they ask “are we done?” My job is to take their nervousness or nervous energy and turn in into making them a participant and collaborator interested in the final images. I tend to shoot seniors quickly and have lots of staging, lighting and posing set-ups in mind even if we don’t get to accomplish all of them.
Daniel, pictured here, was one such fella. Very accomplished as a musician and cross-country runner, he had a no-nonsense air about him that took a while to break the ice and get him on my side. Even though I endeavor to keep to a minimum showing the subject images from the camera’s LCD during the shoot , in this case it helped to draw Daniel in and to be more involved with the shoot, once he could see the quality of the lighting and images we were getting. It’s always a good idea to keep your peripheral vision on high alert and allow spontanaity to happen during the shoot and not be so “locked in” to your original concept that you miss some great shots that are happening right in front of you.
I raided my daughter’s bedroom for her little keyboard which added a nice propping touch and a little hard graphic element to the first shot. The second shot was our last of the session where he trusted me enough to let down his guard and allow a bit of his true personality come out. He and his family was very pleased with our efforts
On a rainy Saturday this past weekend I headed up to rural La Center, Washington in Clark County to shoot these senior portraits. About an hour north of Portland and originally known as a business center and depot along the Lewis River in the 1800’s, today La Center is mostly known for its legalized gambling in four casinos in the center of town but the city is still dominated by wide open spaces, farms and beautiful horse ranches.
We had originally planned to take advantage of the spectacular fall color but scheduling conflicts made it impossible to catch the peak weekend. The report on Saturday was early morning fog so we pushed back the shoot an hour to let the fog lift and give us some visibility of the beautiful views of the low-lying hills surrounding the families ranch. As the rain increased while I made my way up there on I-5, I started formulating Plan B. The family had recently built brand new stalls to shelter their several horses and they afforded many cool locations for some good pictures. I jazzed some of them up with a few Canon Speedlites and some colored gels to add some pop.
Arthur came into the studio recently requesting something different than I usually create for a senior portrait package. I had met him a few years earlier when I was the photographer for his sister’s Bat Mitzvah and ran into him again with his family in Ashland at the Shakespeare Festival that they attend every year. When he showed up for the session in his outfit (which included spats!) I thought he was someone selling bibles He claimed to have no theatrical aspirations but I could tell by his movements and mannerisms that he must have spent countless hours watching Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers movies because he had their shtick down pat and had his mom and I cracking up with his antics. Arthur had very specific ideas as to what shots he wanted to capture/perform so we just worked it out from his list. I love spending time with energetic, creative young people and it’s even more fun photographing them. I’ll still keep my eye out for his name to appear in a production or cast list sometime soon because this young man is really going places!
Also from this summer, a Sunset High School lacrosse player in the studio for senior portraits.