My senior portrait was taken back in 1978. It was a memorable experience. Waiting in line at the local photo studio with a half dozen other 17 years old. "NEXT!" The photographer sat me into a chair. Look to the left. Then to the right. 10 shots and out the door. Thankfully, today's senior portraits are more dynamic, relaxed, and enjoyable.
I was recently booked for a senior portrait session. My subject, Haley, is a wonderful young woman. With an infectious smile and a resume of awards as long as my arm; a handful of scholarships, awards in sports, a pageant win, and National Honor Society recognition; she is confident and comfortable around a camera. From the first frame shot, I knew we would be capturing some pleasing images.
The location selected is a favorite of mine and includes a pond, two wooden bridges, a waterfall, and old barn, all within a 60 foot radius. It allowed us to get a wide range of backgrounds in a very short period of time without having to set, strike, and reset equipment.
I used a medium parabolic soft box for my key light. The sunlight was very strong making it perfect for a hair and fill light. After a few light meter readings we were ready to go.
Because of time constraints, we were going to shoot quickly, starting with casual shots, changing backgrounds, and finishing up with some formal shots. I know this locations well and had my shot list laid out.
My workflow on a portrait shoot is to start wide and work my way into the tighter framing using a wide and long zoom lens. It's fast and I can get 4 to 5 poses by the time I have walked 15 feet
Once I reached Haley it was just a matter of changing her position to capture an above angle using the waterfall as a background.
We added her letter jacket for the next set of poses, turned and walked thirty feet, then captured another casual pose using the barn's weathered wall for some contrasting texture.
With a quick outfit change, Haley emerged in her pageant gown. We walked 20 feet over to the second wooden bridge to get full length and medium poses.
Pre-shoot location planning and consultation is key for me to deliver a client's varied poses in a relaxed environment in an efficient manner. Senior portraits capture an exciting transition in a person's life. Preserving that moment and delivering images beyond a clients expectations is part of what makes this job so special.