"I created her," is what Lucy's mom Karen told me. She delivered this line completely deadpan after I showed her the back of the camera, in the middle of Lucy's shoot. Yes. Yes you did. Nice job!
Lucy is attending Chapman University in the fall. She wanted to incorporate some of her college gear in her shoot as well as some dressier and more casual looks.
Wind can be difficult to work with at photoshoots but sometimes you need to embrace it. I love the movement in her long hair...
Lucy has a shark tattoo on her back. "It's to remind me to constantly keep swimming," she explained. She also loves nature and exploration. Love. It.
Lucy, I hope you have an amazing time this summer exploring Europe and are rested and ready to rock it at college in the fall!
Taylor, captain of the varsity basketball team and also captain of the varsity stunt team, is one of the busiest seniors that I've come across. So it's pretty much a miracle that we found time for her to do senior pictures. But thank goodness we did because it was a blast.
Upon arrival she emerged from the car fresh as a daisy in an adorable yellow party dress and... a pair of Ugg slippers. Which was smart. It was kind of chilly and we did need to walk a bit from the parking lot over to where I wanted to take pictures. Note: feel free to bring comfy shoes and change into the cute ones at the last minute! This isn't prom- you don't need to torture yourself in heels the entire time!
So we got to the spot. "Hop into that drainage ditch over there!" I direct, with enthusiasm. The drainage ditch? "Yes! That drainage ditch!" Up for anything, Taylor found the spot, her mom Andrea got the reflector just right and we started shooting up a storm.
Some rather gallant passers-by asked us if we needed some help. Like as if we were looking for something, maybe? But doing so by having Taylor sit really still and not look at the ground? Funny!
Not so funny was the extremely near miss with a bird perched just above Taylor's head. We decided to just completely ignore the fact that poop just fell from the sky, mere inches away and just continue on our way.
Taylor is in the enviable position of already knowing all of her roommates at the University of Alabama. They are actually from all over the country so she'll have people to stay with in plenty of cities after freshman year.
She plans to rush so sophomore year she'll probably be living with some of her sorority sisters. Naturally, we did some headshots for rush recruitment.
Taylor, I wish you an amazing time traveling around Italy this summer and at school in the fall. Roll Tide!
Each February the Cal High Leadership team puts on the Formal Faire: it's a lunch-time fashion show that takes place at the quad. A prom dress boutique loans out dresses, Men's Warehouse loans tuxes, a salon donates their time doing full hair and makeup, and for the past two years I've been invited as the paparazzi. Now, I'm not typically an event photographer but I make an exception for the Formal Faire; it's always a ton of fun.
If you are in leadership and would like to bring this event to your school, here are a couple of tips to get you started.
1. Start planning early. Definitely get in touch with all the vendors *before winter break*! November is not too early to start reaching out to explain your concept to local businesses!
2. Make sure you've got a greenroom available the day of the event where the salon can set up and work on at least 6 people at once.
3. Find a good centralized location for the catwalk: hopefully outside.
4. Have people available from leadership to help the vendors set up tables near the catwalk.
5. Find a charismatic person to be the M.C. Make sure that they have accurate information about the outfits that each couple is wearing so that they can announce everything correctly.
6. Pick a fun sound track to play leading up to the event and for background music during.
7. Promote, promote, promote! Signage, IG posts, do your thing!
8. Finally, DM me if you'd like more info! Like I said, this event is so much fun-- I'm happy to help you make it happen at your school!
I did the cherry blossom shooting over two consecutive weekends.
And from one week to the next we switched from a high of 70 degrees to around 50. So appreciate that this set was taken when it was pretty dang cold! The shots of Kaitlyn (down at the bottom) were after the sun had set and it was probably 45 degrees for her there!
But I think that this particular shoot is so unique, so different from anything else that you can get in our little valley, that everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. And I'm so glad that they did! I hope you love these shots as much as I do. Enjoy!
Oh yes! So I've had several other photographers ask me how I styled this shoot. And the quick answer is that I briefly explained to my team what I had in mind via email and I included a link to a Pinterest board for inspiration on makeup, hair, and outfit ideas. If you'd like to check out the board it is here:
A cherry blossom shoot has been on my bucket list forever. I've been kind of obsessed with cherry blossoms for a long time. In fact, I actually used a fine art Japanese paper called Chiyogami featuring a cherry blossom print for my wedding invitations. At any rate, this year I finally pulled off the shoot-- thanks in no small part to this phenomenal team of girls who managed to pull my style vision into reality with a scant 4 days notice.
As soon as the white flowering trees started to pop, I went to check on the grove of pink ones and sure enough they were about a week out. The weather was an amazing 70 degrees for February. Everything just came together like magic. Enjoy!
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*.
Although I shoot fashion on a regular basis, it's not every day that I get to shoot fashion shows and this one at California High School in San Ramon was a real treat. I guess it's like anything worth doing, but the amount of prep work relative to the duration of the actual event was astonishing. I spent about 4 hours backstage as the hair and makeup crew helped get all the models ready. The show was awesome, but it was also over in about 15 minutes.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.