"I thought about being a hand model," Ashley mentioned off-hand. (Off-hand...heh heh). ⠀
This finally came out after I mentioned over and over how incredibly elegant Ashley's hands were. I probably came across as some total weirdo because, really, who spends that much time thinking about hands?
What gives? Well after the eyes, the hands are the most expressive features that we have. If they look stiff and awkward then YOU look stiff and awkward. ⠀
It's crazy but hands can make or break a shot.
But back to Ashley. Girl, if you have any free time while pursuing that bio major at UW, I really do think you could give this hand modeling thing a shot! You're a total natural! ⠀
Speaking of natural, I was talking with Ashely's mom, Liz, about how she would like to display the artwork from Ashley's photoshoot and she told me the craziest story. On the topic of matching artwork to your home's decor...she has this friend who is an interior decorator, who not only matches artwork to her decor, but also matches...her dogs. She actually chose dog breeds and colors to match her interior. Crazy? Or brilliant?!??! If you were in the market for a new pet, would you consider this!??!?
I've always wanted to shoot at the fair- the bright colors, the swirly rides...all of it makes for a great backdrop for pictures. Finally, this year I invited my Team 19 girls to join me for an afternoon photoshoot. So. Much. Fun.
The styling was red, white & blue, with red lips as a must. And, as someone who never wears red lips, I was quite surprised to find the adage is true: there is a red for everyone!
Yes, the fair is pretty much the opportunity to pay an admission fee to get professionally heckled, but as long as it's not 1,000 degrees when you go, you're sure to have a good time!
And if you're curious - Team 19 is this year's group of seniors who join me throughout the spring of their junior year and fall of their senior year for stylized photoshoots. Go back in the blog to www.samanthagrantphotography.com/blog/cherry-blossoms to check out our last group shoot together. The next one up is top secret...
If you are in the class of 2020 and are interested in joining next year's team, drop me a line!
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a dry garden in Walnut Creek featuring an incredible diversity of colors and textures in succulents. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for spiky plants. And for spiky plants this venue does not disappoint!
Hows THAT for a succulent? This sample looks like something out of the Triassic period! I love how it looks like it's exploding behind Emily here.
One of my favorite aspects of this location is how there are fuzzy or fluffy plants right next to the spiky ones. We could be in Arizona, right?!?!
For styling your shoot here plan on working with background colors like minty green, yellow, peach, and firey red.
Outfits with peach and pink tones work perfectly with the setting. Definitely consider some statement jewelry. Gold or silver would both be great. Turquoise would also be a fantastic choice.
We will absolutely be doing some full sun shooting at this venue for your session. Bring along a favorite pair of sunglasses (or a few). A floppy hat is also a great accessory here.
Interested in some garden art? This lovely rusty orb can be yours for only $21,000...
Agave for the win!
One of the benefits of booking your portrait session at the Ruth Bancroft Garden is that it looks absolutely stunning year round-- even in winter and early spring when most of the trees haven't leafed out in other areas. So if you love succulents, or even boho styling in general, this would be the perfect spot for your senior portrait session!
Did you know that 17 year olds can fly planes...solo? Yeah, me neither...before I met Dylan that is. "Was is scary going up all by yourself the first time?" I asked him. "Not really," he said. "It's a pretty standard flight path you take for that first solo. What IS scary though is when you do a forced downward spiral." Gulp. Yeah, I bet.
So it turns out that, just like the standard parallel park for a driving test, the forced downward spiral is something that you have to prove you can deal with as part of your pilot testing. You better be a pretty calm person in general before taking this on. "Unflappable" is how Dylan's mom describes him. I'm onboard with that one, and let me tell you why...
In addition to proving that he could deal with the downward spiral, Dylan also dealt with an ample amount of heckling during his shoot. Dylan's uncle, the owner of this lovely plane, was around for the shoot and just so happened to be playing the theme song of Top Gun-- Highway to the Danger Zone-- on his phone pretty much the entire time. Actually...it was kind of awesome. Was Dylan phased? Not one iota.
Not surprisingly, Dylan is interested in pursuing aeronautic engineering. ("He wants to be an astronaut," his mom said. To which I replied, "Don't we all?" But, um, he's actually working on it.) He's already been admitted to Purdue, but is still waiting on a few other schools.
Before Dylan's photoshoot I had never been to the Livermore Airport. I've driven past it a million times, but never pulled in and actually walked around. There were several surprises. First, I was totally floored by the fact that you can literally just walk right onto the runway. No checkpoints, no gates. You don't have to take your shoes off- heck, you don't even have to sign in anywhere. Second, it turns out that there are actually a TON of great places to take pictures!
Thanks so much Dylan for introducing me to this fantastic location! I can't wait to see you soon for your Cap & Gown mini session and find out where you'll be next year!
Location scouting is a huge part of being an on-location portrait photographer. I'm looking for a very specific set of features when location scouting: my number one goal is to find a lot of visual variety within a relatively small walking area. The Meek Estate Park in Haward is a great example.
The gazebo is adjacent to a large well maintained lawn with nice even lighting. The main structure is the Meek Estate, which is a Victorian style mansion. It has a back patio with wooden columns looking out onto the gazebo. The landscaping around the house features lots of different colors and textures.
Behind the house there is a fruit orchard. Possibly apple trees? I definitely saw a fig tree there too.
Another feature I'm always on the look out for is places to sit down. And Meek Estate has this: there are benches in several spots and also stairs. This is important to me because it allows us to work in a much larger variety of poses than just standing or sitting on the ground (which can be tricky in a dress or skirt).
Being a huge plant nerd, I also love the fact that there is a garden next to the house. These grasses are just spectacular- I love the color gradient they create and how they light up in the afternoon sun.
Pathways are also a nice feature to have at a venue. They create leading lines that direct the eye to YOU in the picture. Again, Meek Estate has plenty of them.
Finally (and I didn't take a picture of this), Meek Estate has restrooms. This is nice for obvious reasons but also it makes changing outfits a breeze. If you would like to shoot your senior portrait at Meek Estate, this is a fantastic option. Click on the "Contact" tab and we'll get started arranging your session!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.