In my last post I listed several things that I would like to try with seniors in the area. I mentioned portraits with old tractors, old barns with old tools, and other farm scenes. I also asked for help expanding the list of creative senior portrait ideas. (at the end of this post I have also created some links to Pinterest pages with additional ideas)
Within hours Jean called me and said, “wait till you see where we want to do our session?” Jean is Ceili’s mom and the senior portrait session was already scheduled for Friday starting at 6pm. First we were going to photograph Ceili (by the way, pronounced Kay-Lee) with her paint horse, then we were going to take some soccer related pictures of her best friend Kim, then we were going to a historic farm to do some portraits, and then to Kim’s relative’s farm for some farm equipment shots.
It sounded great, but I was concerned about fitting it all in. Two sessions (best friends) a horse, a farm, another farm and farm equipment, and dogs too. When I arrived, I was a bit concerned because the horse that we were going to photograph with Ceili was still in the pasture and covered from head to toe in mud. We’ve been having heavy thunder storms almost daily. Lots of rain and lots of mud. After Jean went to get the horse she came back in and we regrouped. The horse was clean yesterday, but after the rains last night he was going to take some work to get cleaned up for photographs. Instead, we will do the horse with Ceili on another day.
Now Kim arrived. Kim and Ceili are best friends and they are both country farm girls. I learned more as the evening progressed. But, while Ceili changed her clothes, we went over to the Edgewood Highschool in Trenton to take some portraits of Kim in her soccer uniform. Here is a link the Edgewood High School Sports: http://www.edgewoodhs.org/sports_activities/index.php?category_id=3613
Senior portraits at a Local Historic Farm Location:
Next we were off to a historic farm nearby. The landscaping was beautiful and there were several great places for pictures. The tree-lined drive was first. Since these two are best friends, I asked them if they would hold ands or hang on each other and walk toward me from the end of the drive. “Sure, we can do that.” I said, do whatever you might do as friends. I showed them my son and his best friend on my iPhone. I had done a “best friends” session with Evan and Kyle and I had some of the pictures on my iPhone and so I showed them. It worked out great. Since I am used to working with animals and motion, I set the camera to deal with their motion and sent them down the drive. Okay, now come back toward me and hang on each other.
Best friend Senior Portraits: I’m so pleased that I was able to capture expressions of their relationship
Helping Senior Portrait subjects to strike a pleasing pose
Now for some individual images around the historic farm. With Ceili’s white dress, I thought that the beautiful white fence would look nice. I have portraits from other sessions on my photo galleries on my iPhone and there are some instructions that can help young ladies look their best. For people a good rule of thumb is, “if it bends, bend it.” I showed Ceili a picture of a girl by a fence and said, “can you do that?” I said, “put your weight on the back leg and do that sassy look like this.” I jut my hip to one side and we laugh (I look ridiculous) and then she strikes a lovely pose.
Shade is a good thing for portraits and cloudy days are also helpful. But, at the same time just shade is rather boring, so my son Evan was my assistant for this session and was holding a 52″ silver reflector and directing some light onto my subject. I asked him to feather the light rather than blast her with beam of blinding light directly from the sun. I think it worked out great here.
The reflector also adds a small catch-light in her eyes.
Getting Senior Portraits with natural and comfortable smiles
Both moms and I joked with the girls to get them to relax with more natural smiles. However, I usually have to mention to moms not to be saying things like, “not that smile” or “not like that” as it just makes people tense up. Here the beautiful stone wall and a farm windmill in the background made a lovely setting. With all this landscaping and everything in bloom I set up a standing portrait also.
Creative Senior Portraits for girls that are proud to be farm girls: Portraits about who they are
Now it was time to head to Kim’s relative’s farm for an old barn and some farm equipment and Kim’s dogs too. I thought that Ceili’s mom and Kim’s mom had really come up with some creative ideas since these two are farm girls. They both know how to drive tractors, bail hay, and help around the farm because they just do it to be with each other and have something fun to do. So we arrived at another location and went exploring. The old barn had a great back door and when we opened the big sliding doors, there was a tractor waiting there for us. Even with the heat and humidity, Kim wanted to wear her FFA (Future Farmers of America) jacket for some of the senior pictures.
Here is the tractor we found when we opened the doors of the old barn. Kim’s uncle, I believe, walked over and told me about the barn which was there when he was a child. I was surprised when he said he was in his 70s because he looked more like 50 or 60 to me. He showed me where some of the original siding boards had been replace and where new ones were added. I thought that this barn was perfect for some rustic farm portraits using the side door and the sliding door with the tractor.
Senior Portraits showing the farm crops create a great personal signature for these two students
What else do you find on a farm. Crops of course. This next portrait shows Ceili in the knee high corn with round bails in the background (maybe those are the ones she helped with).
The girls were great in 90 degree heat and humidity at close to 100%. Of course I was drenched with sweat by the end of our time together. Evan, my son was grateful to get into the car and get the air conditioning running again. One thing about location lifestyle photography sessions is that you have to deal with whatever wether brings. This year that has been lots of rain and the flowers and grass are growing and green. A huge storm had passed over just minutes before I was to arrive at the home to meet up with everyone. I’m glad we did not reschedule, because I think this portraits and senior pictures turned out just great.
Hope to hear from more folks with additional creative ideas for lifestyle senior portrait sessions here in South West Ohio. Peter DeMott Photography, 937-478-6222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more senior portraits from this session click on this link: http://pdemott.smugmug.com
Here is another link to other creative ideas that I have found throughout the country and the world:
And some general portrait ideas here: