Let Your Personality Shine
When Nikolas rolled up to his senior session, he was the definition of calm, cool and collected. Truthfully, when I asked him to describe his personality, I never would have guessed that he would have answered that he was “funny”.
But as the session continued on, I realized just how hilarious Nikolas really was. I mean, this kid is genuinely one of the funniest seniors I’ve ever worked with. But! If he hadn’t taken the chance to act a little silly, I would have never been able to capture the variety of shots that really brought his session to life. Yes, I would have still been able to get what I like to call the determined “tough guy” looks. But in the end, there is something heartwarming (especially for the moms of senior boys!) to have one last record of their son’s amazing smile before they start their new adult lives in the real world.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let Loose
After working on choosing the perfect outfit and getting your hair and makeup on point, my number one key to a great session is this:
When we are shooting together, don’t think for a single second that I will think that you look strange or silly if you want to show your personality. This is especially important during senior sessions when teens typically feel the most awkward and tend to close themselves down. In the end, when you’re laughing, jumping, twirling, kicking, dancing, or whatever else I can come up for you to do, it gives the images a feeling of movement and life and takes away the stiff feeling that posing tends to bring. Through these carefully planned actions, your genuine smile, personality, and laughter emerge. In the long run, isn’t that more important than achieving the perfect “selfie” face? (Don’t worry, I definitely make time to capture the perfect classic selfie look too! 😉 )
Remember: your senior session is like a time capsule immortalizing the magical person that you are during your senior year. How do you want to be remembered?
Sessions are what you make them.
I absolutely LOVE when clients get enthused about their sessions. I’m talking about the kind of bubbly excitement that you have before your favorite holiday. Or the kind of happiness that happens when you finally have the chance to sit down to coffee with a really good friend that you haven’t seen in forever.
It’s truly is something amazing to see when you can tell that a client is really, truly eager to help plan their session. When everyone involved is excited before the session even begins, you can’t help but have a wonderful session when it’s time to pick up the actual camera.
So! Why did I love the Pershing family session?
From our first session planning and design conversation, Andrea took my advice and went above and beyond to make sure that her family had the perfect outfits and to make sure that everyone had plenty of snacks. So not only did everyone look phenomenal because of her careful attention to wardrobe detail, but the kiddos were also happy and content to play and explore together during their session with full tummies. She even remembered to bring a potty chair to the session! (Which even though we didn’t end up using it, it was a phenomenal idea. Ten points for Hufflepuff, Andrea! 🙂 )
During the session, we had plenty of time together to relax with one another and to let the magic happen naturally. And truthfully, that is the key to any great session:
Imagine the feeling that you have when you’re crunched for time, ready to head out the door and your child asks you to read a book to them. Yes, perhaps you sit down to quickly read through the story, but how much of that moment do you truly absorb? Probably not much, right? You may feel the need to rush through or to skip around pages. You aren’t truly in the moment and you feel it and your child likely does too.
It’s the same with a photo shoot.
When people feel rushed, it’s hard to express the genuine emotion. And while you can absolutely still do a photo shoot without it, the genuine expression of emotion and feelings is what elevates images into something truly unforgettable. When sessions are rushed, smiles that would have otherwise come naturally begin to feel forced and the tension is evident on everyone’s faces.
But with enough time to relax, the expressions and emotions are authentic and beautiful. The photoshoot transforms into an experience or a memory. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important? Creating beautiful experiences and moments with the people that we love the most.
Is it possible to show up to a photo shoot without any planning and it still turns out wonderful? Absolutely. But in the past several years of my career, I’ve noticed that the folks who are actively engaged in their pre-session planning usually end up having the most relaxed and effortless time during their session. And really, shouldn’t that what pictures should be all about? Remember, it’s not necessarily the picture that counts most. It’s the memories attached to them that make it all worthwhile.
A Generational Session
Generational sessions are an incredible opportunity to celebrate the bonds between one generation to the next. But what makes them so special?
In Elizabeth’s case, this session was not only her last chance to have photos taken before her move across the world but to also complete a many-year in the making wish. Growing up, Elizabeth came to love the picture that her mother Leonor had on display in their home. This picture featured Leonor’s mother as a teenager and Leonor’s grandmother posed together, and Elizabeth had always wanted to do a similar picture with her own mother.
For Elizabeth’s session, it was key to feature memories that both Elizabeth and Leonor could hold onto after Elizabeth’s move. I brought along a blanket and a book so that they could read to Natalie and in between nose kisses and giggles, I was able to photograph the tender hugs along the way.
It has been an honor to witness the genuine and selfless love between this mother and daughter. I know that one day as Natalie grows up, she too will look at these images and hopefully it will inspire her to keep the tradition going strong within her own family.
Sending all my love to Elizabeth, Leonor and Natalie. Thank you for this one-of-a-kind mother-daughter experience!!
The Gault Family
Sometimes, sessions don’t always happen according to plan especially when it comes to sessions with little ones! During our session together, this precious little girl wasn’t quite ready to burst out in smiles. But! Just because she wasn’t ready to play quite yet, doesn’t mean that her pictures didn’t turn out absolutely GORGEOUS!
In this particular session, the Gault family drew inspiration from the recent “Black Panther” movie along with their ties to African culture to plan their outfits. I absolutely LOVE when clients try out unique looks for their sessions, especially when it’s something that is so important and central to their lives together as a family.
What do I love most about these pictures?
It’s clear in every image just how this beautiful couple cherishes their daughter. 20 years from now as she looks back on the moments of her life, this little girl will be able to feel her parents love as they held her and dried her tears. She will see her parents’ youthful smiles and she will instantly be able to hear her parents laughter. And what could be more beautiful than that?
Many warm thanks and hugs to the Gault family!