by Melia. Melia is a 2019 senior at Amador Valley High School and captain of the varsity cheer team.
In the summer when the temperature is north of 90 degrees and you're spending time outside, it's a great idea to make some healthy treats to keep yourself cool and energized.
1. Banana Nutella Roll Ups
This snack only takes 5 minutes to make and is perfect for a day at the pool or the beach with your friends. If you don’t love Nutella you could sub in peanut butter, or any type of nut butter really. A fun version of it is to use peanut butter and jelly.
4 Tbsp of nutella or peanut utter
2 soft flour tortillas
1. Spread nutella and/or peanut butter on the tortillas.
2. Peel the bananas and center one on each tortilla
3. Roll the tortillas tightly around the bananas.
4. Cut into pieces.
Makes two roll ups.
2. Strawberry Energy Bites
3. Strawberry Limeade Slushies
This drink is super refreshing, easy to make, and is great for the hottest of days! I love drinking this by the pool with my friends.
2 C ice cubes
¾ C water
¼ C lime juice
4 Tbsp sugar
1. Add everything to blender
2. Blend until smooth
3. Pour into cups and garnish with extra strawberries and lime wedges.
*Try adding 7Up for a tangy variation on this recipe.
Makes 4 smoothies.
4. Fruit Infused Water
"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!
"I got this dress this morning," is how you can give your photographer a heart attack. Just don't tell me. I don't want to know. Let me think you've had this outfit ready to go for the last 3 weeks. But yeah, that's what Hailey admitted when I told her that I loved it. To everyone else: don't leave it to the last minute because you might not luck out like Hailey!
However, let the record stand that Hailey was the originator of the "accessories in individual baggies" planning epiphany. So when you get your two-day pre-shoot email from me with the last minute checklist of planning prep, and it talks about this, you have Hailey to thank!
During her planning call Hailey explained that she really wanted a rustic look for her shoot. She was going to wear neutrals. So instantly I knew that this farm and field would be perfect for her shoot.
"The photography opera!" is what her mom Micaelanne called it. And by "it" I mean me, and the happy noises I make when I'm excited about a shot. I was quite operatic at Hailey's shoot apparently. But seriously, how can you *not* get excited when you see a shot that you know will turn out like this?
While we were at this farm, in between takes, we managed to see baby goats, ducks, chickens... it was seriously like our own little mini petting zoo.
When we got the heck out of Dodge for the ultra rural part of the shoot the tall grasses were in their full spender. This meant two thing:
1. Hailey's sister, Rachael, would start throwing the little grass heads at Micaelanne's chest and, like a dart board, they would totally stick in her shirt.
2. I, in a moment of inspiration, would pick an adjacent bundle of wildflowers for Hailey to hold and, in doing so, manage to rip the dang things out by the roots. Here, hold this 3 foot tall bundle of stems with this clump of dirt! Pretty!
But it all worked out. Micaelanne made it out in one piece, I clipped the flowers down to a normal configuration, and Hailey got some lovely shots in the golden sunset.
"I broke my arm-- the same arm-- 4 times," said Kendra. The saga of how it happened each time, the metal plates, all the hospital visits...did not sound like fun. So imagine my surprise when Kendra explained that she wants to go to medical school.⠀
"I just really find it all interesting," she said. I love the fact that Kendra was able to take what most people would consider pretty crummy experiences and channel them towards a bright future.⠀
Speaking of future..."I was soooo worried that she wasn't going to do a good smile in her pictures!" Kendra's mom admitted to me when they came to pick up their artwork. ⠀
Which was surprising to me, because Kendra's smile was totally natural in all the pictures from her senior session!⠀But this comment was based on a pretty extensive history of Kendra doing either cheesy or grimacing smiles. But no worries here! Obviously somewhere along the way she figured it out.
Something else she figured out? Bringing along a concealer stick to use on her legs!! ("I read your post about how most people have random bruises on their legs and don't even realize it and already *knew* that I had some from diving!") So yeah, there was a little bit of leg touching up going on. Which was AWESOME.
I honestly think that all the careful prep that Kendra put into her session is an excellent indicator of her impending success in the pre-med track at Baylor! Keep it up Kendra!
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!
I am a teen, tween, and high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.