Thursday, May 19, 2011

The "Neighbor" a Senior Photo Shoot

From time to time I am asked to shoot a wedding or senior portraits and even though that really isn't my profession, I am getting more comfortable with them.  Perhaps because I've been lucky to have had great subjects for those people I know, friends and neighbors.  Jamie lives next door..... well, a country next door, down the road.   She lives with "Aunt Jeanne" at the Reed farm and we have been close for a long time.  Like most country neighbors, we're also good friends, so it was my pleasure to do these photos for them. 
I like to ask what kind of photos they've seen and what they have in mind for the poses (I don't like that term, but it fits I guess).  Jamie wanted some formal shots and some with representing her years on the high school softball team at Neillsville.  Since she lives on a farm, I suggested we do some outdoors and maybe the contrast between formal dresses and gowns would be interesting against the old working farm buildings and fields.  Trying to cordinate our schedules was tough, but finally, last minute, we had  beautiful late evening light and scrambled to get the shots in.  She's a bit of a ham, and I suggested she must have practiced her modeling poses in front of the mirror.  An old tin shed and rustic wood barn worked well for backdrops and we tried just an "attitude" pose on a chair in the field.  The attitude maybe didn't come thru, but they looked great in any regard.   The light was getting way too long and fading so we decided to try morning light the following day to shoot the softball versions.  Those turned out well also and it was fun trying things like shooting thru a fence, adding props and changing light direction.  Trying to make the subject comfortable is probably the number one challenge, but joking around, making faces and doing about anything to get them more relaxed seemed to help. 
I did discover some technical things like underexposing (it's always easier to lighten the shadows than darkening the highlights), the limits of my camera flash and finding surfaces to bounce light off, like the floor of the dugout.    Overall, it was great fun photographing Jamie and I was pleased with the results....hope Jamie is as well.
What follows are some standard portraits and some I played with as high key shots, infrared and black and white, which I always love in portraits. 

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