I know, the title is misleading, even for Spanglish. I studied enough Spanish to know that "si" means "if", and you need an accent on the i to make it mean "yes", but not enough to know how to find the trick to type the accent on my keyboard. And yes, I could just look it up, but then what would I have to write about in this first paragraph?
I've had the pleasure recently to say yes to a couple senior portrait sessions. I can say there is definitely one common denominator, they were all a ton of fun for all of us. The senior gets to be the center of attention. Although most of us, especially when we are teens, are not comfortable as the center of attention, it can be great for the ego when a goofball like me takes a bit of the heat off of you! The parent gets to bask in pride. They get to see their creation in literally their best light. A visualization of years of hard work, love, missteps, and thoughtful guidance standing in front of them beaming confidence back at the camera. I get to make someone look and feel great, and capture the moment forever, and that is a blast to do!
My latest session was an eye opener for me. Before, when I thought of senior portraits, I thought of that senior portrait look. Not that different (see also, exactly the same) as the senior portraits I posed for 20 years ago. Innocent look, lean against that tree, or old fence, or hay bale, very simple light, say cheese! So naturally, my first senior shoots were an attempt to duplicate this look. Not to knock this look, it is both proven and classic. But when Maddie came to me looking for something different, it reminded me that senior portraits can also be fresh, different, and dramatic. Of course we captured the tried and true classic shots, but we also mixed it up with some much more dramatic stuff. Set up a light off camera, bring the ambient light down just a bit below what the camera wants, and pop the light to create instant drama in the sky and the background. Let's go stand in front of the record store and get some cool shots with their neon. How about instead of a park, we take pictures with the city street as a background?
Now, most of the cool ideas were Maddie's, but that isn't gonna stop me from taking credit for them. I'll pretend that it was my spirit of collaboration that gave Maddie the freedom to tell me what it was she wanted her pictures to look like. Maybe it was her trust in my ability to pull off the shots that gave me the freedom to try something different. Either way we worked very well together. Future seniors will benefit from this session. Even if seniors to come are not very creative, now that I've seen what is possible when going outside the box for senior portraits, I can show you the way.
But, then again, Grandma doesn't need to worry. We're going to get the classic shots too!