by Jade. Jade is a 2019 senior at Foothill who has years and years of braiding experience.
The anything but "basic" braid
This is a great starter look if you are new to braiding. You already know to divide the hair you want to braid into three groups and do the pattern: left into center then right into center etc.
Dutch braids are the opposite of French. With French braids you add new hair from the side as you cross into the center. When Dutch braiding you work from the center-out. The pattern is center cross to right then center cross to left. And Dutch braids add hair with each cross.
This look will also start with a center part. Begin your Dutch braid down one side of the part, taking pretty small sections initially. As you progress, take slightly larger sections of hair into each cross.
Having longer nails here is helpful because you can use them to define out the sections evenly. If you don't have long nails, using a rat-tail comb also works. It will just take a little longer. But take your time regardless, and keep the braid tight.
The key with this is to pull backwards as you go so the braid lies flat against your head. Once you are done with one side, do the other exactly the same.
The Fish Tail Braid
Fish Tail braids are completely different from all other braids because you are working with two groups of hair rather than three. You will be selecting a small amount of hair from the outer side of the right portion and crossing it into the center to join the left and then doing the same on the other side-- left wrapping into center to join right.
The key to making a gorgeous Fish Tail is to take small portions with each cross. These can be super time consuming but the longer you put into it the better it will look. If you want your braid to be thick when you are done, secure it with an elastic and then tease the individual pieces away from the center a bit.
Remember- no matter what style of braid you chose, it takes practice and the more often you do it the better you will get!
"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!
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!
"What do you think about this one?" Morgan texted. She attached an image of this gorgeous white off the shoulder dress. Um....YES! Luckily, she happens to work at the Ella J. boutique in Danville where they sell it and was able to put a size small on hold for herself, stat.
This turned out to be incredibly fortunate because, as Morgan's mom Deanna explained, they had just redecorated their house in a farm house style and needed artwork for the walls.
This dress, in this spot, just called out for a canvas...
But it was hard to pick...
Anyways, Morgan won't be there at the farm house for much longer because she's headed off to UW in the fall.
In high school she got an AP scholar award, scholar athlete award, and academic awards each year on top of being cheer captain and working as a swim coach senior year. Maybe UW will actually be a break for Morgan!
Speaking of break, after graduation Morgan was heading off to Newport beach where she was renting a beach house with 8 other girls from San Ramon Valley High.
Sounds like the perfect way to kick off senior summer!
When you leave for college it can be both a really exciting time but also a time that can cause pretty intense homesickness. Especially at first. And even though I'm sure that most of my Team 19 isn't really thinking about this yet, I am. When that time comes, they will have something that I hope will help-- a really lovely photo of them with their mom, right there in their dorm room. So this shoot was definitely a Mother's Day shoot, but I think it will grow in importance over time. And without further adieu...some moms and daughters of Team 19!
There's this location that had been bugging me. I had seen images of it pop up on my Instagram feed from time to time and whenever it did I'd get a renewed enthusiasm for figuring out where it was. After quite a lot of digging, I finally nailed it down. And it was even more fantastic than what I expected...
A few things that I love about this location:
1. So many spiky plants! And beautiful colors. We were there in early April and the tulips were blooming...gorgeous.
2. There's a mansion on the premises, not to mention a reflecting pool, stone stairways, sculptures...
3. They have a bathroom so you can change outfits.
4. Now for a couple of limitations - this venue is only open Mon-Fri and only until 4pm.
If you are a senior portrait client and are interested in a Secret Garden photoshoot, get in touch! This location adds a little bit of complication to the process but is entirely worth it.
From the get go Viviana wanted something different for her senior portrait shoot. She's very into fashion (she is Foothill High's "Best Dressed" for the class of 2018, after all) and was interested in a fashion/editorial style senior shoot. When she showed up for her session and stepped out of the car in her first outfit I pretty much squealed with excitement...
"I have a pair of pants that's an even brighter shade of yellow," she explained. Her mom, Monica, had told me that she still wanted some traditional portrait-style pictures taken, so I spent the session going back and forth between editorial style (like above), and portrait style (see below).
So what's the difference between the two? Well I like to start off by saying that there's no *one* thing that shifts a traditional portrait over, but editorial style pictures are more like what you would see in a magazine. Take, for example, this next outfit with the red blazer. Here is a traditional style portrait. I shot this with a lens that is specifically designed for portraits because it doesn't cause any distortion. I'm also shooting from an angle that is pretty straight on. I blurred out the background because, well, I nearly always do that with portraits so that the focus is on YOU.
And here is that same look shot in an editorial style:
It has a very different look and feel to it, right? For one thing, you see her in the context of her surroundings-- I'm not blurring anything out. She isn't posed in an absolutely classic position designed to be ultimately flattering-- it's more spur of the moment. I'm also shooting from a lower angle. Finally, this was shot with a wide angle lens, rather than a portrait lens. It distorts around the edges of the frame...but in a fun way. Here's some more back and forth...
We wrapped up the session at sunset down by the river. At this point I switched entirely to portrait mode. The reason was that when we got there, and Viviana put on this dress, the entire scene looked to me like a classical oil panting. I could have shot editorial here, but I wouldn't chose to do so with this soft golden lighting.
What are your thoughts on editorial style shooting? Does this suit your personality or would you like a traditional portrait style shoot?
It has been an honor and a privilege to get to know you, class of 2018. So many talented athletes, scholars, musicians, passionate cause fighters. I'm so excited to be able to say that I knew you back when! Go out and do great things!
I don't often get the chance to shoot people really dressed up so prom is something different that I always look forward to. I love every part of the process- from the promposals, to the getting ready, to the pre-party and the main event...all of it. This year I was able to take some pre-prom pictures of a few of my Team 19 members. So fun!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.