Top Tips for a Sensational High School Senior Session

We all feel a little awkward when we have professional portraits taken.  I remember my own experiences in high school, being awkward and self-conscious when a camera was pointed in my direction.  Now a days most high school seniors are proficient taking

‘Selfies’ with their iphone but still feel self-conscious when a camera is pointed in their direction.  

 Below are few ideas to help you create senior portraits to help create images that will capture your grace, confidence and maybe sassy side?

 1. Smize.

Have you noticed when you smile naturally your whole face lights up and your have a little twinkle in them. Use your eyes to express emotion – just subtle changes make a big difference. It feels weird but before the photo session practice smizing (that is smiling with your eyes) and play with using different expressions to see what looks best.

2. Relax.                                                                                                                                                         Memorable portraits happen when the you are relaxed, confident and having fun. You may have moments of feeling silly but a good photographer will do everything to help you feel more comfortable, and forget you are even in a portrait session.

3. Breathe.

Yes, stating the obvious but breathing is key to capturing a natural look. Just breathe, take a deep breathe, and slowly release and smile.  Try it in the mirror a few times and notice how your face and eyes settle into a natural and relaxed expression.

4. Move.

You are not a model so most of the time you find yourself getting stuck in a stationary pose and that can sometimes look a very staged and cheesy. Small adjustments leaning into the camera slightly, or shift your weight from left to right, or even a slight movement of your chin slightly up and down produces a variety of facial expressions.

5. Beautify.

You know how you feel when you get ‘done up’ – Like a million bucks!  Take that extra time to get your hair blown out, get your makeup done, choose an outfit that makes you look and feel your best.   The same goes for men, take a shower, shave and pick the outfit that makes you feel most confident.  Go the extra mile to walk into your senior session feeling confident, attractive, prepared, and inspired.

Finally, your photographer should help you with basically all the items listed above, so relax and enjoy.  These High School Seniors sessions are so much more than the old ‘Cap and Gown’ of my time, and trust me you (and your family) will look back at them time and time again and cherish them.

Creative Inspiration

My friend Kendall is an artist, model and very sensitive person. She has been sketching since I met her and in the last few years she has been creating these sketches. Each one makes you stop to stare at it, with their colors and sadness that oozes out of them.

Kendall’s images and a talk by another Canadian photographer, Kelly Robitaille inspired me to create my own wide eyed sad doll. I mean I loved my sad clown’s so I knew that a sad doll would be just as epic for me. I have been trying to figure out a style to work with that allow’s me to break out of my ‘brand’ and give me freedom to just goof around. This was one of those times and I just loved it!

I know it is a bit freaky, and out there but is that not what art is? To push boundaries, and allow for creativity to come forth?

Accreditation and Awards

This year I entered into the Sue Bryce Accreditation ans awards to push myself and grow. I entered 15 images and 14 of them placed with Bronze placings and these are my top 4 images. I am very proud of myself for just jumping in and putting myself out there. Thank you to the models who stepped in front of my lens to create some magic.

Legacy Portraits of Sandra

This gorgeous woman reached out for a glamour session to both celebrate her 80th birthday and to capture some portraits of herself for her daughter. As soon as Sandra arrived and settled in Haley started on hair and makeup, while I got some tea on and then joined them to chat a bit and set up for our session. We decided on very neutral colors and keeping things monotone so we could really see her beauty shine through with no distractions. I think it was mission accomplished!

Andrea's Maternity Session 34 Weeks!

Who else thinks Andrea is a glamour gal as an expectant mother? When Andrea called to chat about her session I envisioned her as on the cover of a mag and we discussed this look, with flowing fabric, and big hair.

Yes, Bring your Pet



Tips for pets (1).jpg

Let’s be honest, pets are family, and of course you want to include them in your portrait session.  Of course, including your pet does require a little extra prep,  but it is totally doable, and memorable.

Some tips I have learned to help you and your pet for a photo session.

If your pet is like mine they LOVE new people, so don’t expect to have them sit still right off the bat.  To make this work you will need to allow your pet some time to become acquainted with the new person.   Don’t be surprised if it requires some treats to bribe them with.

Always bring a leash or harness, just in case.  I always try to arrange your poses so you can hold onto your pet securely without it looking like you are hanging on for dear life.

Sessions with your pets tend to take a bit more work, so know that going in.  Give your pets the chance to take breaks, walk around and take a quick drink of water. I know there is no way to force a pet to sit still if they are thirsty, agitated, or distracted, and you will see that in the photos.  So, come prepared and with patience.

Finally, pets pick up on your energy and emotions, so be aware of how you are feeling.   Try to be relaxed as possible, and try to arrange your session in a place familiar to your pet like a favorite trail, garden or park.

Maternity session with Francine

I met Francine through her amazing makeup skills and we have work together in the past so when she asked if I would do her images I was over the moon thrilled. One thing about this mamma is the amount of faith she has and how much thought she put into her session. This is her second child and she made sure to have some little details to include her entire family. There were candles with 3 wicks to represent her growing little family, a henna tattoo done by Charcoal - Eclectic Artisan Emporium and Henna Lounge collaborated with her eldest daughter on outfit choice and styling (can you say awe) and had some pintrest ‘inspo’ on hand.

I picked her up at her home and met Sarah Bowman who agreed to create some BTS video footage (thank you so much), and we all headed out to one of her favorite summer swimming holes - Nanaimo River just out by Cassidy. We arrived and immediately spotted a berry bush of sorts that just screamed at us, it was so colorful, we had to play. After spending some time shooting we moved on down to the river stopping along the way to shoot with beautiful cedar trees and some candles. We finally made it to the river only to sit and stare at the rushing waters and enjoy a little moment of wonder. We finished our session by the river and headed back to the car to end the day.

You can find the Talented artist who did the henna at Charcoal - Eclectic Artisan Emporium and Henna Lounge

Follow Francine’s Makeup Artistry at Artistry by Francine

Follow Sarah Bowman at Sarah Bowman Portraits