My favorite type of photography is high school senior pictures–I really enjoy developing a rapport with my subjects. I try to make the experience a pleasant, relaxed and artistic collaboration. For a High School Senior though, getting truly creative and beautiful senior pictures can be a challenge.
There are so many photographers in Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi and Livonia–how do you choose?
First of course–you look at their work. If it’s all outdoor senior pictures, you can bet that photographer doesn’t have a photography studio. Great senior portraits are much more than just great lighting, interesting poses and beautiful backgrounds. Truly great senior pictures come from a combination of studio photography and outdoor photography. Many photographers today talk about “natural light.” Often, these photographers do nothing but outdoor pictures because they don’t know how to use studio lighting, and they have no actual training in photography. I love doing outdoor senior portraits too, and I love natural light, but I also LOVE using the studio for my portraits. The lighting equipment and backgrounds I use allow me to create amazing senior portraits that bring out the subject’s best features.
Photographing people is an art. When I have a senior portrait session, I first have a senior portrait consultation with the student and at least one parent. We discuss clothing, makeup, styles and personality. I want the portrait to reflect the personality and interests of the senior. I often include items that reflect their interests: anything from a cheerleading outfit, musical instrument or high school letter jacket, to a favorite pet! I avoid cheesy things like fake pillars and big plastic numbers.
You’ll notice in my portraits, the subject is often not smiling at the camera. Pictures with great smiles and expressions are great–especially for your yearbook photo, but portraits with a quiet, or thoughtful expression are usually more artistic and have greater impact. A successful portrait should make you feel something.
The old adage, “eyes are the window to the soul” is still true. When the subject is just looking–either at the camera or somewhere off camera–you get a glimpse of the real individual inside. One of the things I most love about high school senior portraits is capturing the essence of the individual.
Sometimes these images make moms cry, but that’s a sure sign that we created something of real and lasting value.