Spencer – Senior Photos at the Beach

Spencer – Senior Photos at the Beach

The weather in the PNW… what can you say about it. It hasn’t been… ideal to say the least. As a photographer, that can drive you a bit nuts, you can forget about scheduling anything outside of 48 hours with any confidence. But we schedule anyways, and it’s like hitting the lotto in late spring if you schedule a week in advance and the clouds happen part at the right time for a brief photo shoot. I feel more like a meteorologist in the Fall and Spring seasons than a photographer. If you get really lucky, the weather is in that iffy area, leaving all kinds of room for the sun to bath the scene yet keep plenty of moody clouds hanging around to catch the color of the fading light. It gives the sky much more character and depth than just a simple abyss of blue. So, in late April, Spencer and I headed out to a beach styled park in Tacoma to capture his senior portraits, and we got those exact weather conditions to work with.

I enjoy senior sessions and the light, simple conversation with my late teen subjects. Better yet is the parental unit who is usually there to accompany and… yes, embarrass the crap out of their kid. I don’t know what it is, but man… the parents are hilarious. I don’t know if I’ve had a parent at a senior shoot not intentionally embarrass or call-out their kid on something. As if it’s not enough the teen has to endure my giant camera and flashes, the parent is there to sneak in a couple punches to their kid’s mental kidneys. If it’s not direct verbal abuse being slung, it’s indirect embarrassment via mom stopping passer-bys with random conversation, “yep, that’s my boy, we’re doing senior pictures…” I get a real kick out of it, and try to make light of it out of the sake for the teen. I can usually spin it somehow to make the kids laugh/smile. Once I pop off a couple cool looking shots, I show both parent and teen the back of the camera, they get excited, and usually the nerves settle and we can proceed as scheduled.

Spencer and his mom were a hoot, both really good people. Turns out that Spencer is quite the drummer, and if my memory serves me well, as I write this he is on a national tour with a premier drum team. So yeah, the kid can keep a mean beat. He didn’t bring a drum set with him for this shoot, but after further talks, we may be formulating a future shoot revolving around his drumming skills. I have a couple cool ideas in mind for that! I paid a little bit more attention to the patches on his letterman jacket with this nugget of knowledge, to showcase his drumming achievements in a few shots.

Our last “look” for the shoot was to be Spencer in his letterman jacket leaning against these large concrete barriers. I figured it’d be a good mix against the colors in the sky and wandering clouds. The park we were at happens to be split by the Tacoma rail system, and as our luck has it, one came right on cue. We postposed my original idea to accommodate the train to take an interesting and unique composition, and then moved back to the first idea. I love when little opportunities like this present themselves and I can leverage them. This had to be especially quick thinking. See train approaching, idea clicks, 60 seconds to adjust lighting, inform client for reposing, and shoot it. Turned out pretty cool.

Lots more to come to the blog, this Summer is going to be insane. My blog post cue is building up and I’m really hoping to give it some love in the coming weeks.