Follow along as I highlight client sessions, offer tips, and share glimpses of my life. Grab a glass of sweet tea and sit for a spell. I'm so glad you joined me!
When you are scheduling your senior portraits! Remember this post from a couple of weeks ago, with the graphic that showed the differences between custom senior portraits and school package portraits? We looked at the 1st difference, unique clothing options (click here to go to that post). Now it's time to look at the 2nd difference: scheduling!
Typically, when schools contract with photography companies for underclass and senior portraits, the seniors are given 2 days in the summer to schedule an appt. It's usually a 1/2 hr. - 1 hr. on a weekday. And, honestly, between summer jobs, sports and vacations, the times are inconvenient. Many seniors miss their scheduled times (did I mention that the photography company will tell you the date and time they've scheduled for you - helpful, huh.). And, then there is a mad dash for a make-up session.
I know this to be true because I was the yearbook adviser. I contracted the photography company and scheduled the auditorium for 2 days in August. I sent the reminders to the seniors and then wondered why half of the class didn't show up. And, because sometimes I'm not too quick on the uptake, it took me several years to figure out that if seniors want pictures in the summer, they will schedule them! And, if they schedule them, it will be when it's convenient for them! And, sometimes summer is not convenient!
This is why it's so important to look for a custom senior photographer! This is not your driver's license photo or your school ID. This is serious because it will be on your mom's wall for eternity (I know - that picture of me with the 100% humidity hairdo? Still. on. the. wall.) Every date you bring home will see it. Someday, your children will stare at it.
If you're not a morning person, how do you think your 8am session will go? What if you have field hockey practice until 4 and your appt. is at 4:30? Yea, thought so.
How about a fall Saturday, 11am at a local park? Perfect.
A Sunday evening in May? Done.
A weekday afternoon is more convenient for you? We can do that!
The point is, when you choose the photographer, you also get to choose the time and date. You can never be too early - spring of your junior year; or, too late - spring of your senior year! Even January of your senior year can be just the right time if that's when you want it to be!
Now is the right time to schedule your portraits for whenever you want to have them taken!
Nope. I'm not going to start fashion blogging. And, although I will admit to having a SLIGHT addiction to purses, I'm not going into any kind of 12 step program for it (at this time). And, of course, every woman knows that the answer to that question is "NO!"
Some purses are big enough for us to pack up for the weekend. Some are only for fancy occasions when we want a license, a little cash and a lipstick. Others are for everyday and there are some that have no purpose at all, but they look darn cute!
A professional photographer is the same. Do all purses do the same thing? Sure, they hold our things. But, some are better at special occasions; some are great for moms; some are big enough to hide the cup you want to sneak out of Texas Roadhouse (what???).
I am a pro. But, that doesn't mean I am a pro at everything! Today, I want to urge you to make sure that the photographer you hire is really a professional at the type of photography you need. Can I take portraits of newborns, toddlers, seniors, families, engagements and weddings? Yes. Am I great at all of those? No. Just like there is no "one-size-fits-all" purse, there is no "one-size-fits-all" photographer.
If you want family portraits that look stunning in Black and White, I am your girl!
A family portrait in vivid color that captures everyone loving being a family? Pick me!
And, especially if you want stunning senior portraits that show off style and personality - I try really hard to excel at that!
Hire me for any of these sessions and you will be confident that I will give you the best. But, if you are looking for a wedding photographer? Erin Dickson of Erin Dickson Photography is making that her specialty and knows what brides need and want! Newborns? Are you looking all over Pinterest and drooling for the adorable hats, props, headbands, etc? There are a couple of fabulous ones in this area. Erin rocks the newborns and so does Whitney of Pictures by Whitney Photography! There are others, as well, who have taken an area of photography and elevated it to an art form.
Just do your homework and make sure that when you are choosing a photographer who matches your STYLE you choose one who has experience and expertise in the TYPE of photography you need. And, if you're unsure, just ask us! We want you to have the best experience possible and if we can't provide it, we will always refer you to one who can!
My Coach bag and my Vera Bradley bag are both beautiful - but they definitely aren't the same:)
In last week's post, I shared an infographic which highlights the 4 big differences between custom senior portrait photographers and chain store portrait photographers. And I promised that we would look at each of the differences individually. The first one is arguably the most important: What to wear!
Every school morning; every Friday and Saturday night; on vacation; for an interview; before a date you spend lots of time and energy on WHAT TO WEAR! Why? Because you want to look your best and look like you! Style is extremely personal and can communicate so much about who I am - and who you are. When planning for the photo shoot that will celebrate the culmination of your high school years, shouldn't your look be about you?
Don't laugh - this is my senior portrait:
(Photo Credit: Blatner's Studio)
Brown background and black drape - classic! And, it looks like every other portrait in my high school yearbook. My parents still have it hanging on their walls and though it's not a bad portrait, it doesn't tell you anything about me (except that I had BIG 90's hair!). Can you tell what my style was? Can you imagine what I look like when I'm not in a portrait studio, tilting my head at odd angles? Probably not.
My parents didn't have a choice - there were no custom, on-location portrait photographers in the, umm . . . early 90's (stop counting up the years in your head!). So, I am in no way saying they (or I) should have done things differently. But, the good news is: YOU DO have a choice! There are still studio photographers to take the traditional yearbook mugshot. And, there are very talented custom photographers able to create a portrait session which says something about you!
Let's use Brenna's senior session as an example. We made full use of the location to show off her awesome style! She's a little bit modern-style and a little bit bohemian. So, I chose settings to compliment the 2 outfits she put together:
The jacket and shoes (those shoes!! I was so impressed with her ability to walk in them:) fade a little into the scenery so that her shirt and jeans can pop! But, at the same time they compliment the texture and colors of the tunnel wall. I love her look here - it is all her own!
She brought out her other outfit and it was so different than the first, but completely true to her personality. And, again, the background just served to enhance it (we'll talk about backgrounds in another post!)
The great texture in this skirt, and the leaves on it, are mimicked in her surroundings. Could we have done her shoot with these outfits in a different location? Sure. Would I have been able to capture her unique personality somewhere else? Yes. The point is that we had options and the ability to make this portrait session about her style, and highlight her clothing choices.
No one else's senior portraits will look like Brenna's. We highlighted and celebrated her! I know more about her personality - carefree, confident and unique. And, so do you, just by looking at her portraits.
No matter who you choose to take your senior portraits, make sure the session is all about you and who you are! Clothing choices are personal and unique. Your photographer needs to be able to make the location, setting, posing and emotion reflect that.
Last week I said that I have a new direction and focus for my business. The opportunities for photographing families, children, seniors, babies and even a wedding also helped me to decide what I really LIKE to do. I didn't have a bad day on the job, but some days made me more giddy than others. As I reviewed portraits and reflected on sessions this past year, it didn't take long to understand. I love families and seniors!!!
We'll talk about families at another time because today I want to share my passion for seniors! In a life I lived before children, I coached HS cheerleading, taught 12th grade English and advised the yearbook. And, I adored "my kids"! It was so exciting to watch them play out the tug-of-war between the kids they had always been and the adults they were becoming. Their junior and senior years were filled with frustration, elation, anger, joy, angst and love. And I loved being along for the ride: as a pseudo-parent, a mentor, a friend, a confidant or a swift kick in the butt. And, in the last year, as I have gotten them in front of my camera I am remembering all over again why they are such a special group and why this is such an important and magical time in their lives!
I am absolutely thrilled to say that I will be focusing my business in 2 areas of photography, and SENIORS are the first! Listen up class of 2013 and 2014:
So, why hire me for your senior portraits? I know. Your high school has conveniently arranged for photographers to come in to your school for 1 or 2 days in July or August. And, they will have clothes there for you to wear! They have chosen your backdrops, your poses and your yearbook image. Fantastic! Truly! Go and let them take your picture. Many schools require the drape/tux photo for the yearbook (I did when I was the yearbook adviser!). And, grandmas and grandpas always have room on their walls for the last school photo you'll ever have taken:) There is absolutely a place for those pictures.
But, then I want you to ask yourself if those pictures are "you." Do they really look like you? Did they capture your personality? Your REAL smile? Your style? Chances are the answer to all, or most, of those questions is "no." That's what I will do for you. I will capture all of those things in a custom portrait session.
Check out this infographic which shows why custom portraits are such a good idea:
Thanks to www.seniorologie.com for use of the infographic!
Custom senior portraits will always be unique - even if the same photographer takes yours, and all of your friends'! That's because custom senior portraits are designed just for you! Your outfits, location, weather and printed images will not be the same as anyone else. They will be a celebration of you! In the next couple of weeks I'll be highlighting each of the 4 categories, 1 post at a time, with portrait examples. Stay tuned for those as you plan your custom senior portrait session! We'll have so much fun!
During the first few weeks of 2013 I'll blog the MANY client sessions I didn't find the time to blog in 2012. So many children, families and seniors made my job fun and affirmed my decision to go into business this year! But, before I get to that, I'm sharing an image that reminds me why photography - your own snapshots or the portraits you hire me to create - are SO important.
This adorable couple is my niece and nephew. They live in Baton Rouge and, if I'm lucky, I see them 2x a year. Haleigh has to be introduced to me all over again each time she sees me and Caden knows I am "Aunt Cole" but doesn't have the warm and fuzzy attachment to that name he would have if I was a constant presence. (I'm not blaming my sister and BIL for this at all - it's just a fact, and I think my sister would say the same about my children). So, when we do get to spend time together, I take lots of candid shots and also try very hard (although rarely successfully) to have a portrait session with Caden, Haleigh and my kids.
In June we traveled to Baton Rouge and at the end of the week we made the kids get out of the pool, take baths and put on good clothes. Then we put them in the car and drove 20 minutes to get to the Campus of Louisiana State Univ. (at dinner time), all the while telling them to sit still and not mess up their clothes. Then we got them out of the car and made them pose and smile, without exploring, while I chased the fading daylight with my camera. A good time was not had by all. The kids were tired, hungry and cranky. My mom and sister were worried about the kids stepping/sitting in fire ant piles; and I felt pressure for "the shot" because we waited until the last night of vacation to try this!
As I reviewed the session at home, I was discouraged because none of the shots of my own children were good (you are a photographer's children, darn it - I should not have to tell you how to behave in front of the camera!). My nephew turned out to be a pretty good model, but his sister (who had just turned 2) wouldn't cooperate without a fruit snack in her mouth (I did try to tell my sister that those were not the best treats to bring but . . . )
My mom was desperate for 1 shot of all 4 kids that she could hang on her wall, and we really didn't get it. Just to be real with you: I may be able to work wonders with your family and produce gasp worthy portraits for your wall, but my own children could care less about what the woman behind the camera wants and my sister and mother forget that I am a professional and feel the need to run the shoot and the children. I've already told them to hire someone else next year:)
BUT THEN! Oh, but then I opened the next to last file and found this! It was spontaneous and I wasn't sure I had clicked the shutter at the right time, but I did!!! This made all the rest worth it (maybe) and has become a cherished photo for me, because I had to work hard for it; because these are my sister's babies and I love them; because even though I can't see them very often, I can look at this photograph and remember, and look forward to a day when they will not only call me "Aunt Cole" but also feel like I am their aunt.
This is my favorite personal photo of 2012: This is also my entry for Rock the Shot's "Favorite Shot of 2012"! See more of them at www.rocktheshotforum.com.