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!
by guest blogger Katherine
Note: This article was written about the official Livermore fountain. But when we showed up to shoot it the water was turned off! So we headed across the street and shot this other fountain, which happened to be turned on, and also very pretty.
This fountain lies in the heart of downtown Livermore. It is designed so that children can frolic about in the water on hot days and parents can watch over them on the surrounding benches. This fun could last for hours!
Taking a family photo after spending some time here (even if the children are sopping wet) and instagramming it is a fabulous way to remember your experience. And… it gets better!!! This location has many of the great aspects that make the Pleasanton arch desirable.
First, it lights up at night; this means a shot here will turn out no matter when it is taken. Second, it has history: it is named after William Mendenhall’s (the founder of Livermore) daughter Elizabeth, and after a well known resident of Livermore named Lizzie who passed in 1903. The Livermore fountain can also be considered one of the most instagrammable locations in the tri-valley because as I mentioned before, it sits in the center of downtown Livermore… and downtown livermore is poppin’!
Most nights you might find you and your family there anyways, eating at one of many delectable restaurants, cozying up for a movie at the Vine, or just enjoying the busy atmosphere... so while you’re there, why not snap a photo at the fountain?!
This was the most surprising of all the ice cream I tried! Like Rita's, I had never been before but I had walked by hundreds of times because it's right by school. When I got there there were a lot of people; always a good sign. The inside didn't have a lot of decoration except for a really cool giant tie-dye tapestry.
They don't make their own custard but that doesn't mean it's not good. The lady gave us a sample and it was so good! It's different than regular ice cream; it's a lot richer and has a bit of an eggy taste. The lady recommended the Italian ice and custard combo, where they layer custard and Italian ice called a "2nd Street". I chose the regular custard and pineapple ice in the kids size. It was only $3 and it was the perfect size! It was so yummy I had to finish the whole thing. I was really surprised and delighted about flavor brigade and I will definitely be back! 10 out of 10 cones.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.