When we were planning her photoshoot Bella mentioned to me that she would love to incorporate flowers. This presented a bit of a challenge, given that it was early November, but I suggested that we start out at Alden Lane Nursery because they pretty much always have something in bloom. I love shooting at Alden Lane; the people there are *so nice.* They always tell me that I'm free to move anything around for the shot, and go out their way to accommodate photography. Sure enough, for Bella's photoshoot they had plenty of flowers and were crazy nice, as always.
This trimester Bella is taking a sci fi lit class where they not only get to read the Hobbit but also get to watch all the Star Wars movies. "It must be really hard to get into that class!" I exclaimed. "I mean, wouldn't everybody want to take it?" But she said she just signed up for it, no problem. One of her other classes is an internship at Kaiser, which sounds pretty perfect since she intends to major in nursing at Ole Miss.
After a bit at Alden Lane we headed over to Shadow Cliffs to catch the sunset.
Between her four classes she's done with school at 2pm (sweet!). But Bella's still pretty busy; she works at Bent Creek Winery helping out with the back room stuff and she also leads a bible study group for 7th grade girls at Cornerstone Fellowship.
During her free time Bella plays the guitar and and enjoys reading and writing poetry. I'm so happy that she brought her guitar to her photoshoot-- I feel like the images of her playing really capture the heart of who she is.
I'm so excited to see you in the spring, Bella, with all of your Ole Miss stuff for your mini shoot! It's going to be a ton of fun!
For Sophia's photoshoot we did our pre-session consultation, like always, and she sketched out a few ideas for her outfits. But I have to say that I had no idea (based on what she described) how cute her looks would turn out. But you'll see...In the mean time, let me actually tell you about Sophia.
Sophia volunteers at Sage Veterinary Hospital because she'd like to be a vet. "The vets there are super nice," she explained. Total roll models. They've actually allowed her to do observations in the operating room. "How is that?" I asked. "It sounds like it could be intense?"
"The first time I nearly passed out," she admitted. But after that it was fine. Her plan is to go to either U of O or OSU and major in general science before going to vet school.
Sophia was on the cheerleading team this fall but is super excited to have more free time now that it's over. She's got time to go to basketball games and is contemplating getting a job in retail.
So this was a complete fluke: I asked Sophia to lay her head down on her arms on a table for one of the shots. And her mom Danette exclaimed, "Hang on a second! We have a similar shot from when she was a little kid!" So I took the shot, and later that night Danette texted me this lovely picture that they think was taken around when Sophia was in 4th grade. Amazing, right?
This got me thinking-- are there any shots that YOU would love to recreate? What a fun concept...count me in!
In case you live in the Tri-Valley and don't already know who Madi is, allow me to enlighten you. Madi is a level 10 gymnast, which I guess is one step before an Olympic level. When she was 14 Madi was offered a full ride to Oregon State, and since she did a verbal commit then, she's known where she was going to college since she was in 8th grade. Consider my mind boggled.
Now in order to make this all happen Madi, who goes to HS in Pleasanton, commutes to her gym in the peninsula 4 days a week and practices 5 hours per day. Pleasanton USD was kind enough to allow her a class schedule that lets her to head out a bit early for this.
So I knew all this about Madi before our photoshoot, and I was really wondering what a person would be like with that kind of drive and dedication. Was she going to stare me down with steely intensity? Was it going to be all about focus, details, minutes on the clock?
Not at all. Madi drove up with her mom, we talked about outfits, we talked about classes...apart from a few shots in her leos, Madi's senior session was just like anybody else. Actually, I take that back. Madi is both totally casual and pretty silly so her session included more peace signs than I typically take.
Madi's cap & gown mini in the spring is going to be awesome because we're trying to time it for when her sister Lacy is home to get the two of them together: Lacy is already on the gymnastics team at OSU and Madi is super excited to join her in the fall. I can't wait to see you two together!
Grant's photoshoot involved quite a lot of two things that I don't often get a ton of: 1) a huge variety of hilarious outtakes and 2) embarrassing stories about him as a kid as told by his mom throughout the photoshoot.
The best story was about Grant in 3rd grade. Apparently he had a tough teacher and a long patch of bad behavior in class. Finally his mom, Mindy, got to the point where when Grant got a good report home from the teacher she gave him a banana split....for breakfast. "There's worse things, than a banana split for breakfast, right? I mean, there's fruit in there at least" she concluded. I concur.
Grant is on the track team. His main event is the hurtles, but he'll probably also do the 4x400.
We were talking about flexibility because I wanted to have him sitting in some of the shots. He said that because it's the off-season he's not super flexible right now. But during the season they stretch for like 45 minutes a day (!) and he improves a ton.
Grant's dad was an FBI agent, so that begged the question. "Are you going to apply?" I asked? He answered with a resounding "No." He explained that when starting out you can actually make more money in the Livermore PD than as an FBI agent. And that it takes several years of rising through the ranks to finally make a decent salary. You also can't hold any other part time jobs while you work there in order to supplement your income. "They own you" is the consensus. Interesting.
Speaking of owning... Grant is the owner of a Cap & Gown mini session in the spring so I'll be posting more pictures of him then and we'll get to find out where he'll be next year. Can't wait to have you in front of my lens again Grant!
My first contact with Tori was through Arianna-- she did Arianna's makeup for her senior portrait session and I was totally blown away by how amazingly perfect it was. Tori has a really good eye for color and also has a trait that I find in precious short supply in makeup artists, which is a light hand. She's good at creating a look that is polished with a bit of shimmer but totally not overdone. You notice that the person looks really nice and put together but their makeup isn't what jumps out at you, and I love that. So I had to ask...
Me: "How is it that you are so good at makeup?"
Tori: "Well I'm into art. And it's kind of like art..."
Me: "I'm 'kind of in into art' too (!) and I totally suck at makeup!"
So there you go. Interest/skills in various other arts do not translate to makeup. It's a whole other ballgame.
Tori is into art. I feel like this speaks volumes about her skill level: her mom wants her to sketch out a design for a tattoo. Let that sink in for a second...
In her current art class there was an assignment to focus on an issue important to you so she chose "acceptance." She drew a place where she felt free to be herself and the finished product moved her art teacher to tears. She claims that she wants to major in education but her mom is advocating for graphic design. Me too!
Tori is a cheerleader. So we took some shots with her letterman's jacket and poms. It turns out that at cheer competitions you have to have this certain face. I asked her to show it to me, thinking maybe this was something we could bring into her photoshoot. So she did it. Let me just say that what I will call "cheer face" is the look of unequivocal enthusiasm. It's not exactly the most, um, genuine of emotions. And actually, call me a total downer but I don't think I'm technically capable of making a cheer face.
I definitely prefer "regular face" in general and (although Tori's cheer face was pretty cute) I definitely prefer her regular face in particular!
Don't you hate it when you run your gels and the bands are all muddled and the data is crappy? Emma and I commiserated about gel electrophoresis, which is something she's doing in her biotech class. This totally blows my mind, by the way, because I didn't even know what a Western Blot was until I took genetics my sophomore year...of college. I can't believe you can even take a class called biotechnology in high school now. Amazing.
Emma does not love having pictures taken. That gives us another thing in common. Unlike me though, Emma has the most adorable dimples and she kept complaining that her dimple was getting tired. So during this shoot, whenever I needed to adjust my camera settings, I would say "relax your dimple."
Emma has the best schedule ever right now. Most of the week she's done with school by noon. On that other day she's done by 11:30am. Part of the reason for that is that she's doing a work study. She has a pretty sweet job: she's a waitress at a retirement community. Emma admitted that the job is challenging but she recently got a raise and is making decent money.
One crazy thing happened during this shoot when we were on this raised trait. I love this path- it's up high and gets great light at sunset. But you know who else likes this path? Lots of people. Especially people out walking their dogs. And that's totally fine except for the couple that walked towards us with their super friendly golden retriever who was soaking wet and off-leash. I asked them nicely to please keep the dog away from the photoshoot because I was really worried that it was going to shake all over Emma in her lovely white romper. And you know what they did? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And of course the dog ran right up to us! So I got the dog by the collar and walked it around Emma so she would be out of the potential shake-zone. The folks, who we thereafter referred to as "the mean dog people" then spoke loudly about having the right to do whatever they want with their dog in a public park and kept walking. Astonishing.
Thankfully everything turned out just fine. We got our lovely sunset, Emma stayed perfectly dry, and all was well.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.