It's that time of year...senior pictures! I want to share a recent session I did at Peninsula park in Portland, OR with my cousin Kristeen. This park is one of my favorite locations to shoot at in all of Portland. Even though it's well-known in the photo community, there's plenty of room for everyone. I met up with Kristeen on a beautiful Labor Day afternoon in early September. She had agreed to be my model for this test shoot. I've been creating my senior portraits offer over the last few weeks, so I wanted to test out what I'm offering before it went "live."
Kristeen came fully prepared to this shoot, which was really awesome. She put a lot of effort into her hair and makeup, and also brought a number of clothing options so we could get a bunch of looks in just a couple hours. We talked all about this beforehand so the shoot would run smoothly. This is why every senior portrait session I offer includes an in-person or phone consultation. Details matter!
We started the session in the shade to get things rolling.
I always like to start with a very simple setup when I begin a photo shoot. It's more about making the model/subject feel comfortable in front of the camera when we begin. I also provide clear direction at the begining and during the whole session! It is not your job to know how to pose. It's mine. She was a natural though and had absolutely no problem getting into things. I got some really clean portraits right away.
We decided to walk up the stairs and gain some elevation so the entire rose garden could be in the background. And that meant the shade went away. Shooting in full sun can be a real issue sometimes. I mean every time. However, it can provide amazing light if you do it right. I had Kristeen sit on a brick pillar with the sun to her back and then lit her with a flash. This combination yielded a high-contrast image that really pops! You can see all of Peninsula park in the background.
Is she a natural, or what?
"Let's try something WAY different." We moved back into the shade, and found a nice little corner of the park. It wasn't much to look at in terms of light, but the wall/fence structure was really cool. I was envisioning a really moody/dramatic photo in this location. The light was anything but moody in the middle of the day. So, I had to create what I was envisioning. (side-note: if you are looking for someone to do your senior pictures, make sure they know how to light a scene and not rely only on what's there. What happens if the light is not great? You make it great.)
Not only is the light dramatic in the above photo, but the color is pretty dramatic too. I love the cool shadows and the warm highlights. BTW, this isn't photoshop magic, it was also done with lighting. #nofilter anyone? Kristeen's expression and pose in this photo are just awesome. I'm really proud of this.
Same location. Just playing around with the elements for a totally different look.
We made our way back down to the rose garden. The light was now much softer. A contemplative look off into the distance was a nice fit for this new outfit and scene.
Same exact location, we just rotated a bit. This park has it all.
To wrap up the session, I wanted to get a few more full-length pictures. I found one more pretty location in the rose garden and had her sit in the classic "senior portraits" pose. We were totally laughing about this, however, it's a really nice photo; it's one I'm sure most parents would appreciate.
I really had a lot of fun during this session. It's so much fun to spend a couple hours with someone and just be present. I don't think about anything else when I'm taking photos. I hope that by honoring the subject and by being present, the photos I create will look genuine. Hope you like them!