We headed out to a dock by her house at sunset, captured some headshots, and played around on the beach until the light ran out. Middle school can be such a challenging time in a person's life- socially, emotionally and academically. With tween photoshoots my goal is to make your daughter feel beautiful, confident, and ready to take on the world as she transitions to high school.
I was going to title this post "Death, Garbage, and Inappropriate Jokes" but Jordynn's gallery is so lovely I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So first I'll tell you a little bit about Jordynn and then I'll get to all that other crazy stuff.
Jordynn already knows that she wants to get her teaching credential. During her senior year she is student teaching in a second grade classroom at Alisal Elementary. But here's the best part: she's student teaching... with the same teacher that she HAD for second grade at Alisal. How awesome is that?
So during her session we took smiling Jordynn shots and serious Jordynn shots. I asked her to do my "big fake laugh" and can report that Jordynn has the worst fake laugh ever. I would say "Ok, go!" and she would give the weakest little "heh heh." But then I would call her out on it and she'd start laughing for real. Her real laugh is *fantastic*.
We lucked out during her shoot because it started off overcast and then the sun came out. Best of both worlds, really.
Towards the end of the shoot I asked Jordynn if she'd be willing to forge across to the opposite side of the nearby stream for the last location. She donned a pair of random pedicure flip flops her mom had from the car, which promptly ripped apart in the water, and then proceeded barefoot up the bank.
I dragged over a log for her to sit on and we started shooting. It turned out there was a can of Modelo in the frame so to spare myself the time in photoshop I did a little "real life" edit. (Note to self: buy more hand sanitizer for the camera bag.) The scene was beautiful. The scene was perfect. Well, I thought it was until I glanced to my left...
Not 5 feet away from me was the well rotted carcass of a mid-sized mammal. I quickly looked back at Jordynn hoping that she hadn't followed my gaze. She had. "What is THAT?" she asked. I took a deep breath, which at that point started to smell, nodded slowly, and said, "You look stunning right now." And we kept on shooting.
I'm fairly confident it was a raccoon. But you know what? Jordynn kept right on going like it wasn't even there. I was so impressed.
On the walk back to the car I found out that Jordynn's mom, Chris, is an agricultural inspector so I asked her about those tall golden grasses that I'm always working with. I've always wondered what they were. She wasn't sure then, but she remembered this conversation at Jordynn's gallery reveal and there she looked it up.
Wild Oats. Yes, that's right. I couldn't help myself, "Wild Oats?!?!?" I exclaimed, "as in "sow your wild oats??" Ha! I actually get this question fairly often, so the next time someone asks me if I happen to know what that plant is I'm going to have a really hard time not cracking up.
At any rate, Jordynn: it was an honor and a pleasure to photograph your senior portrait. Thanks for the adventure and I can't wait to see what happens during your Cap & Gown mini session in the spring!!!!
Meet Megan, University of Oregon class of 2021. Megan's mom reached out to me to see if I could schedule a shoot with Megan before she left for school; we managed to pick a blazing hot evening for the session but the golden hour turned out to be *magic*.
Megan's session was absolutely packed with meaning, which I love. The location was one where she and her mom often go for walks together. She was also wearing a necklace that she got for her 16th birthday, and an engraved bracelet from graduation.
Being in the midst of planning her dorm room decor, when Megan came to her gallery reveal session one of the first things that she noticed was my throw pillows. That's a first! Discussing her color palette of pinks and neutrals brought back all the excitement that I remember having in getting my own dorm room ready.
Megan is currently undeclared but she's taking a class in sociology and in education this fall and leaning towards an education major.
I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to capture this moment in time with Megan. This entire session was about the transition from high school to college; that inflection point between enjoying the familiarity of home to diving into the energizing newness of a big move out of state and into the rest of her adult life. Megan, I wish you all the best and I hope you have an amazing intro week!
Marissa is, quite possibly, the most disciplined and conscientious person I know. Not only is she vegan, but she also makes sure that the clothes she buys are ethically sourced and the products she uses are cruelty-free. Because of Marissa I now have connections with local makeup artists who use exclusively organic products.
Marissa cares very strongly about animal welfare but she's not just talk; she volunteers at Valley Humane Society taking care of cats and kittens.
She's also a member of a on-campus group called SAIC that gives a voice to students and strives to make positive changes at the high school.
Marissa went to a summer camp that focused on teaching teens how to become activists in their communities. I love that she brought this t-shirt to her session because I feel like it's a true reflection of who she is.
I'm so glad that I got to meet Marissa because it reminded me how my every day purchasing decisions can actually have an impact toward positive change.
I love shooting in downtown Livermore. There are so many interesting walls and fences and little nooks and crannies; it's possible to get tons of variety of imagery within a very small walkable radius. And every time I go I discover something new. This photoshoot started out at one of my favorite spots which features a highly unusual *turquoise* (swoon!) brick wall. I wanted to begin there because my model brand rep, Adelle, happens to have blue eyes and I thought this wall would really make them pop. Sure did!
Her eyes really are this color. No photoshop magic here, I swear. Adelle has this great collection of glasses so I asked her to bring some along. I've heard this particular style referred to as "1980s serial killer" glasses. Funny, right?
After the brick wall I thought it would be a good time to hit up some graffiti. (Attention taggers of Livermore: can you please up your game? I like your color palette, but please can you work on your hand lettering?) Anyways, luckily for us the graffiti was right next to some corrugated metal. Location GOLDMINE!
This next spot was a total fluke. The third place I wanted to try wasn't going to work because of the light at that time of day so I thought "let's just go find an abandoned lot." So we found one and walked across it, and low and behold was this sign... "Purity Cleaners". OMG. I literally was speechless, dumbstruck by our luck.
The other side of the lot had a few trees and and abandoned trailer. Score!
A little behind the scenes here with a reflector...
Select dates in November are still available for senior portraits. Book now in order to reserve your sunset session.
When planning Maddy's photoshoot we talked about sparkle and shine and a 1940s glamour vibe. Maddy happened to have a short sequined dress that she had picked up at the Free People store in Walnut Creek and a long shimmery skirt that her aunt had given her so she built her looks around those two pieces.
I normally recommend wearing a neutral nail polish color for photoshoots. But I have to admit that this shade of grey/blue that Maddy chose actually compliments both of her looks really well.
It's important, when choosing your outfits, to make sure that they won't become see-through if they are backlit. This comes up a lot with white tops & dresses. I *love* shooting white tops and dresses, so don't rule them out! Just make sure to check this before your shoot. Isn't it beautiful how the outer layer of Maddy's skirt looks with the sun shining through...
Also, give yourself permission to go with makeup that might be a touch more dramatic than your normal wear. I wouldn't consider Maddy's lipstick "dark" but it really does pop in the pictures, as compared to, say, just a tinted lip gloss.
Now this next section is a complete departure from my normal work, and was just for fun. After Maddy's shoot we were losing light fast but I asked her if she'd be willing to wade into the water and she was totally game for it. Most of my sessions I shoot with natural light but because this was basically at night I got out my lighting equipment and we played around for a bit.
Something about those ripples in the water...
Halle and her mom, Stacey, met up with me at Alviso on a scorching hot evening a few weeks ago for her senior portrait session. Halle is an avid softball player. She started out with some dressier looks and then we incorporated her sporty side into the session by pulling in her letterman's jacket, bat, mitt and ball at the end. This was seriously one of the most fun photoshoots for me because Stacey was cracking us both up the entire time.
I don't wear makeup on a regular basis because it all makes me break out. (Don't get me started on this-- I've tried all types of brands. Really.) But if I'm having my picture taken you better believe I do. So let's talk foundation for your senior portrait: there are some serious do's and don't here, some obvious, some less so.
1. I'm guilty of this-- if you haven't bought your foundation recently there is a pretty high likelihood that it doesn't match your current skin color. Have you been out in the sun all summer? Foundation from the spring is going to make your face crazy pale compared to your neck. And your summer foundation is going to make you look orange come January. Mark my words.
2. Also guilty here-- you only have a few spots that need coverage so you think "I'll just dab a little on those spots." No. Just don't. This is worse than nothing and totally draws attention to those places. All or nothing. Which brings me to nothing...
3. If you have naturally clear skin (*cough* Katherine Marotto *cough*) I would prefer to photograph you with no foundation on at all. Ok? I said it. Nothing. Why? I shoot super high res and can see the texture of the makeup. I do have photoshop techniques to smooth it out, but the texture of clear skin is the obvious winner here.
4. Not foundation but related: highlighters. I *love* the look of highlighter IRL. But I've noticed that in camera they can actually shift the color tint of your skin where they are applied. For example they can shift you yellow. They also can add shimmer which sometimes reads as shine in photos. Highlighters should come with warning labels. Be careful!
What to do with all this? Well, if you are intensely into makeup and are planning out your look for your shoot and know what you want to do, then more power to you. Otherwise, here are a few ideas.
A week or two before your shoot, go to the makeup counter and buy a new foundation. Or, at the very least, get a sample of a foundation that is your correct skin color.
Better yet, make the day of the shoot a day to get pampered. Make an appointment with a professional makeup artist. Pin a bunch of pictures of people with your skin tone and hair color and bring them to your appointment to get the exact look you are going for. If you would like recommendations on who to go to, or would like to see examples of past seniors I have shot who have done this, send me a message through the Contact tab.
To round out your day of pampering, you could also go with your mom to get your nails done. Think about hitting up a dry bar for a professional blow out. This way you won't have to worry about looking too pale or orange, or shiny, or yellow, or frizzy...you will feel fantastic when it's time for your session and will be *R E A D Y T O R O C K I T*.
I met Abbie last year when I was recruiting for my model brand rep team. Before the meeting I didn't have any solid concepts set in stone for stylized photoshoots. Maybe a few general ideas...but nothing solid. When I saw Abbie this one just jumped right out. I didn't want to do full-on Alice in Wonderland; I just wanted to evoke that dreamy surreal feeling at the beginning of the Disney movie where she's hanging out in the tree, supposed to be studying. And then, of course, at the tea party.
I was very fortunate to collaborate with the wonderful folks over at the English Rose Tea Room which, if you haven't been, is charming to the Nth degree. I seriously cannot begin to describe how cute their decor is. We shot on their patio which is full of pastel tea sets, bird houses, pillows, wind chimes... It was utterly perfect for our mad tea party. If you are looking for a special seating of high tea I cannot recommend this venue enough!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.