10 May A Chill Evening of Senior Photos With Hunter
You’ve got a couple hours to sum up a senior’s persona in a nut shell via photos. To tell that story of “here I am, this is me” as a senior in high school. Ready, go! At least, that’s what I try to achieve – something greater than a just a factual picture of someone’s face, something that is storytelling. Easier said than done, and why I feel that too often seniors are forced into really obscure, non-representative poses and situations that are completely not them. What’s up with that?! Sure, you’re documenting a moment in time, but what kind of “moment” is that numb pose coupled with an unrelatable location and a fake smile on your face? Does that sum up your high school experience? No. We don’t think so either, and luckily, neither do our fun clients who walk in to the studio. They want to make exactly what we want, something different – looking for a shoot that captures them perfectly. We work super hard at that! Just like us, our clients are tired of seeing that red brick walls, the railroad tracks (illegal by the way), and a random grassy field with a washed-out picture filled with more flares (most faked in editing) than a JJ Abrams flick. It’s tired, boring, and lacking any originality or visual/technical creativity. Blah. If it’s not the location that’s tired, it’s the technique. Can you tell I’m passionate about making great work and care about delivering it to my clients?
Taking the time to actually getting to know our clients prior to a shoot, we feel great going in to the shoot day to give it the feel of our clients. Would they be in this environment, wearing this, doing this, sitting/standing like this? Do the clients even know about the location or what it looks like before showing up? Will they ultimately feel that the images created are both visually awesome yet captured in a way that bottles the essence of them? No, we don’t have limits on our shoots – ex. I’ve seen photographers who offer only four locations and 2 times of the day you get to pick from. What?! Every single one of our shoots is built from the ground up, the sky is the limit, and we don’t tie your hands. It is a lot of work, a lot of prep, but we love it. It’s what is required to make custom work every time, because every client is unique. Why would we approach it any other way?! Ok, I’ll get off my soap box and get on with our awesome senior shoot!
The easy-going guy you see in these photos is Hunter. A soccer-loving, chill kid. Like a lot of seniors, Hunter is ready to be silly, ready to laugh, and game for making some fun pictures. A quick chat with him and mom made some quick and obvious choices for our shoot. This was going to be a 100% location-based shoot to capture the area Hunter and his family live and love to spend a lot of their time – the Chambers Bay district. With a car full of lights to make some dramatic images, we set off to Hunter’s stomping grounds.
With the sun still fairly high in the sky, we hit the soccer fields right next to Hunter’s home. Sporting his team’s jersey, we chatted, had some laughs, and talked favorite tv shows we are binge watching as we captured his love of soccer.
Though most male seniors dread the pending senior shoot, thinking it’s going to be a painful experience akin to that of a trip to the dentist, most find very quickly our shoots are quite fun. After a couple shots roll off the camera, they get a peek on a frame or two, they are game for just about anything. Along with a huge change in their willingness and comfortable appearance in front of the camera, they are jazzed about whatever else I have in the cooker for the session.
By the time we hit the apocalyptic landscapes of Chambers Bay, Hunter was warmed up and settling in to really just being himself in front of the lens. This is what it’s all about. No funky,forced poses, not asking a senior guy to smile endlessly for the camera. Just Hunter being Hunter as I work my lights around him and the environment – a place where he has spent a lot of time.
There are a surprising amount of shoots, especially seniors, where the family pet gets to share in the limelight for a few frames. We’ve got a natural dog model on our hands here.
Hunter is a very easy going guy, and he very easily and naturally settled in to poses that required zero tweaking on my part. Athletes are inherently educated on body mechanics and overall awareness of what the body is doing, so posing comes naturally to those who stay active. I really love this series amongst the textured concrete.
I shot so much of this session wide angle because the landscape begs to be included in every shot. Hunter is the type of guy that can pull that look together. We kept moseying down to the water, where we found a gorgeous little pocket to capture the beachside landscape while pulling in the details of the clouds and colors of the setting sun.
The 200 pounds of lighting gear we trekked over what totaled a couple miles was completely worth it. It was a great set of locations, so many different looks and styles, all that would not have been achievable without all that lighting! It really was a relaxing evening of capturing Hunter doing his thing, capped off with pretty decent sunset. Hunter and his family have a fantastic set of images to look back on for decades to remember this time in his life, his interests, and the beautiful location they live in.