Portrait of Dexter Community Orchestra

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The Dexter Community Orchestra recently asked me to create an updated orchestral portrait for them. I did one some years back during a concert (or maybe it was before). This time, we didn’t have much time at all to do the portrait of the orchestra. I created these photos in about five minutes, during their intermission.  When we did this photo, I was many rows back into the auditorium with my camera.  Many thanks to those onstage who told the orchestra members what to do for me so I didn’t have to be rude and yell!

I think these photos turned out very nicely, and you’d never know we had such limited time to capture the photos.

music performance dexter community orchestra onstage conductor anthony elliott
Here’s the portrait of the Dexter Community Orchestra with their conductor, Anthony Elliott.
Dexter Community Orchestra onstage for performance at dexter high school in michigan
And I took a second photo of the Dexter Community Orchestra, this time without conductor.  If you’re wondering why, I did this just in case the previous photo didn’t clearly show the orchestra members in the back row.  With such limited time for the photo session, I knew there would be no chance to review the photos and make sure everyone was visible in the first photo (but if you compare, I think we did a great job!).

I took this last image of the Dexter Community Orchestra while I waited for the intermission. I was able to hear this very talented soloist perform.  Don’t you love this wide angle view of the auditorium with the orchestra on stage?  So many visually interesting lines!

Dexter Community orchestra onstage with soloist after performing a piece during their concert at dexter high school in dexter michigan
And here’s a full auditorium view of the Dexter Community Orchestra during their performance this November. Including their soloist (who played amazingly!!).

Here’s a bit of information about the Dexter Community Orchestra:

The Dexter Community Orchestra is a musical group located in Dexter, Michigan. The DCO is dedicated to cultural enrichment through live symphonic music. The DCO seeks to provide the many benefits that can be achieved only through live musical performance. We are proud to offer a place for volunteer musicians to play and an opportunity for individuals and families to experience the magic of live classical music. We are looking for musicians and volunteers to help make our season a resounding success.

For more information about the Dexter Community Orchestra, visit their website.  The concerts that I have attended are always very well done!  And I’ve even spotted some very well behaved younger children in the audience.  Kudos to those parents — it’s tough to decide when your kids are old enough to start experiencing things like this.  🙂 🙂

 

Senior Portrait Outdoors at the Studio :: Ian

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Ian came to the studio last week for his senior portrait session.  We did some portraits inside the studio, including the obligatory high school yearbook photos.  In case you’re not up to speed with senior yearbook requirements, it really varies across the board.  Some high schools will take anything, or allow any background as long as no hands or props are showing.  Other high schools, including Saline High School, require the senior portrait for the yearbook have a professional backdrop.  So, for that reason, we started in the studio.

After the studio portion of Ian’s session was finished, we headed outside (here at the studio) for some really cool fall portraits.  I love how easy it is to create portraits both indoors and out here.  Make sure to scroll down so you an enjoy some of Ian’s senior portraits that include the natural wooded area with the fall leaves strewn all over the ground!

senior portrait boy, formal studio portrait dexter mi photographer
Ian’s senior portrait session started out in the studio. When a formal senior portrait is requested or required, I always do this part of the session first. It gives people a chance to relax a bit in front of the camera, and get used to working with me 🙂 ….we did a series of senior photos for the yearbook, and then moved on to something more casual.
senior boy, serious look, studio portrait headshot, saline high school senior photos
After we got those formal portraits taken care of, Ian changed into his second outfit and we did a few more portraits in studio. Here’s a close up portrait that I really liked. I always take a variety of poses in studio, often with some more serious rather than only smiling. Because variety is the spice of life!
high school senior boy resting head on hang, smiling for camera. senior photographer saline high school michigan
And here’s another from the studio portion of Ian’s session, with a smile this time. Love it!
senior boy in woods nature portrait, dexter michigan photographer
Next stop? Outside! While some of my clients have a particular destination in mind for their location portrait session, others are just looking for some nice senior portraits in a natural setting. When that’s the case, we’ll often use my property. We have this gorgeous wooded area that shows off the fall colors really well.
senior portrait in woods with leaves and trees, senior portrait photographer saline high school
I love this setting. Yes, I’m biased. But there’s something about the trees, the sky peeking through, and the leaves on the ground. Gorgeous spot for any type of portrait!
senior portrait, natural setting michigan senior portrait photographer, saline high school
It was hard for me to decide which of this series of senior portraits was my favorite. Ian did a great job during his session, don’t you think?
senior portrait with natural background. high school senior boy in dexter michigan
I seriously love this close up senior portrait. The background is really unique! Even though I photograph clients here a lot, the seasons change, the time of day is different, and I use my lights to create something unique for every portrait session.
senior portrait of boy in forest during fall, senior boy saline high school, dexter mi photographer
And this has been my favorite type of senior portrait lately. To be honest, I really like them all, but there’s something to be said for these fish eye portraits. The resulting senior portrait is really creative and looks awesome!
senior portrait, boy in woods, smiling, senior photo high school photographer
Another close up portrait. It’s nice to have a little variety when choosing your senior portraits, especially if you think about having me design a coffeetable album for you!
senior boy portrait photographer fall colors dexter michigan
…..seriously. The sun, peeking through the trees. Gorgeous. I love those rays of sunlight, the dappled leaves, and the whole setting. It’s amazing how beautiful nature can be! I’m so glad we were able to create senior portraits for Ian that included the fall colors 🙂
senior portrait of boy outside, serious pose, senior photos in ann arbor michigan
Another more serious portrait of Ian. Love how this turned out!
senior portrait of boy next to tree, close up smiling photo, senior photos in ann arbor michigan
I know that some people consider the “tree” pose to be a little cliche for senior portraits, but this next set of senior photos turned out really nicely and I just had to share. I love the texture of the tree bark (this tree trunk probably has a 3-4 feet diameter, and is easily 100 feet tall).
senior portrait next to tree, senior boy michigan senior photographer
A mid-length senior portrait with the same tree. Still love that tree trunk’s texture!
senior portrait boy sitting next to tree with leaves all around, dexter michigan photographer
And one final senior portrait from Ian’s session here at the studio. Yes, I had to wrap this post up with a wide angle portrait. I love how the leaves are surrounding Ian, don’t you?

Well, that wraps up this sneak peek.  I know Ian’s family is really excited to see all the portraits we created when they come back to the studio for their ordering appointment.  It’s easy to compare favorites when you can view images on a studio projection system 🙂 — and I’m here to help along the way with any tough decisions.

If you are needing to schedule a portrait session this fall, please contact the studio or call 734-424-0472.  The leaves are falling, but not as quickly as I would typically expect.  Or, if you want to keep things simple and plan a studio portrait session, I’m always happy to help you with that too!

Macro Photos of Monarch Butterfly Emerging from its Chrysalis

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It seems like forever and a day since I last shared photos of the Monarch caterpillars.  So thank you for your patience!  I am really excited to share these macro photos of the Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.  That week of my life was crazy — we spent hours watching for signs that the butterflies would be emerging soon (also called “eclosing”).  I learned that the top part of the chrysalis gets very bumpy and “slinky like” — rather than being smooth.  Yes, indeed it does.  But that’s still not really an accurate measure of how long you have, because the whole process takes time.

I was blessed to be able to witness four of the Monarch butterflies as they eclosed.  We “missed” another one, and the last one was a sneaky little guy.  Fortunately I’d turned on the video camera before putting my attention elsewhere, so it was caught on film. All together, I photographed three different butterflies eclosing.  The others I watched.  And let me tell you, this miracle didn’t get old or become more mundane.  It’s amazing how the butterfly climbs out, and interesting how small its wings are, and how swollen its abdomen is.  The wings took a lot longer to dry and “grow” to full size than I expected.  And the butterflies didn’t fly away immediately.  We put them outside within hours, but they stayed nearby for hours or even days longer.

My boys are set on doing this again next year.  I think the self-started milkweed plants in my garden bed may have to stay.  We’ll see what spring brings, of course.

Make sure you don’t miss the end of this post, where you can watch a time lapse video of one of the Monarch butterflies emerging from its chrysalis!

monarch caterpillar chrysalises with one monarch butterfly ready to emerge eclose
These Monarch chrysalises are in various stages of development. As they become ready to eclose (emerge), the chrysalis becomes more and more translucent. The middle chrysalis was hours from being uninhabited. The one on the left still had days. And the one on the right was a little further along.
monarch butterfly about to eclose, emerge from chrysalis, macro photography, michigan nature photographer
This is the first in a series of photographs I took while the Monarch butterfly eclosed (emerged) from its chrysalis. You can see right through the chrysalis, even such details as the wing pattern and the butterfly’s eye (at bottom left).
monarch butterfly eclosing from chrysalis, macro nature photography dexter mi photographer
And the process of eclosing begins! It was so exciting to look over and realize the Monarch butterfly had split its chrysalis open! Do you see the slight vertical crack along the left side? So cool!!
monarch butterfly working its way out of chrysalis, macro nature photography, entomology photos
Over the next minute, the Monarch butterfly worked her way out of the chrysalis. This first part seemed the most laborious.
monarch butterfly eclosing from chrysalis, legs almost out of chrysalis. macro butterfly photographer
And just like that, the Monarch’s legs were almost free!
monarch butterfly emerging from chrysalis, macro nature butterfly photo, michigan photographer
She wriggled her way to freedom a bit at a time. …getting free from the chrysalis that allowed her transformation to take place.
monarch butterfly almost eclosed from chrysalis, monarch butterfly emerging photo, michigan photographer
The Monarch seemed to hesitate here for a bit, I’m sure there was unseen work going on so she could finish the process of emerging.
monarch butterfly just after eclosing, swollen abdomen and shriveled wings, macro nature photography, butterfly photos
And just like that, she was free from her chrysalis. The chrysalis was empty, the Monarch hanging onto it, though looking very different from what you’d recognize, no? When Monarch butterflies first emerge, their wings are shriveled and their abdomens are swollen. The fluid drains from the abdomen and the wings fill out, and eventually dry.
monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis just after it emerged. macro butterfly photo michigan
From Toby’s butterfly book, I learned that it’s important for butterflies to stay out of direct sunlight while their wings are filing out and drying so that they can “grow” to full size. If the wings dry too soon, the Monarch would have crippled wings and be unable to fly or survive in nature.
monarch butterfly with swollen abdomen after just eclosing from chrysalis, nature photography macro photographer michigan
Here’s another view of the Monarch butterfly’s swollen abdomen.
Monarch butterfly wings drying after emerging from chrysalis, view of monarch eyes and proboscis
I took a few photos from a different angle, so you could see the butterfly’s eyes and proboscis (or, as my kids call it, the butterfly’s “straw tongue”).
monarch butterfly while wings drying after eclosing, macro photo of monarch eyes and head, nature photographer
I thought the symmetry on this photography was really neat. Love all the detail. And you can see how wavy the Monarch’s wings are too.
monarch butterfly hanging from empty chrysalis, waiting for wings to dry, macro butterfly photo
I took several photos of the Monarch while her wings dried and grew bigger. I like this one because you can see her proboscis is unfurled a bit.
monarch butterfly with wrinkled wings waiting for the wings to dry after eclosing, monarch macro photographs michigan
This photo shows the full length of the wings, and it is very apparent that the wings aren’t ready to be used yet (they’re way too wrinkled and wavy).

monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis after eclosing, macro nature photography michigan
The Monarch butterfly hung from its chrysalis for at least half an hour until its wings filled out.
monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis, wings not quite ready to fly, michigan photographer
Here’s a full length photo of the Monarch as it was waiting for its wings to finish doing their thing.
monarch butterfly macro close up of head, macro nature photography
Here’s a close up macro photo of the Monarch butterfly’s head. I am continually amazed by all the detail in such a small creature.
monarch butterfly eye, macro nature photographer
And here’s a really close up view of the Monarch butterfly’s eye. How incredible is that??
macro detail photograph of monarch butterfly wing, macro nature photographer
Another detail shot, this time of the Monarch’s wing. So incredible!
Monarch butterfly macro photograph of its head, macro nature photograph
And one last close up photograph of the Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterfly with wings drying, hanging from chrysalis after eclosing, macro nature photographer
After some time had passed, the Monarch’s wings were finally getting to the point she could use them to fly. She didn’t fly away from several hours after we took her outside, but we wanted to make sure that when she did decide to fly, it wouldn’t be inside!
monarch butterfly with proboscis, hanging from chrysalis, macro nature photo
I love this photo because you can see the Monarch’s proboscis is partially extended. Those green chrysalises in the background weren’t ready on the day I took this photo, but they emerged successfully some days later.
monarch butterfly hanging near other monarch chrysalises, maccro nature photography michigan
And one final photograph of the Monarch butterfly. In this one, you can see all four chrysalises, including the butterfly’s empty one.

Now, you may recall me saying that I borrowed a video camera from my dad in order to film one of the butterflies eclosing.  That’s true.  I managed to film two butterflies eclosing from their chrysalises.  Here’s the video I created.  Portions of the film are time lapsed so that you can experience the entire transformation:

 

Senior Portrait with Fall Colors

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I love going on location for senior portrait sessions! And, I love when my clients have a specific location in mind!  T and his mom started his session at my studio (so we could get the yearbook photo), but the bulk of his amazing senior portraits were created on location in Dexter.  Mill Creek Park is just one of those versatile places, I love how it never looks the same twice.

senior boy leaning on boardwalk railing - michigan senior portrait photographer dexter mi photo
For T’s session, our main location was Mill Creek Park in Dexter. I love how versatile this park is — even though I’ve photographed numerous high school seniors there this year, every session feels completely unique and different.
senior boy in nature high school senior portrait, dexter mi photographer
The natural setting is great for portraits, I love how it changes throughout the year. This close up senior portrait of T. is nice, don’t you think?
senior portrait boy on boardwalk, senior photo session dexter mi photographer
Another one at the same railing. I love using this lens of mine, because it provides a really unique perspective. What a great environment!
senior boy on covered boardwalk, dexter mi park senior photo session
T’s mom really liked this part of the boardwalk where it goes under the railroad bridge. I thought it was a great spot too… so we stopped here for several senior portraits that incorporated the structure and warm wood tones.
senior boy sitting on boardwalk, portrait in dexter mi, michigan photographer
Another one in the same spot. It’s always neat to see how a little shift in perspective changes up the whole portrait! I had T sit on the boardwalk for this senior photo, and I moved a bit to get more of a visual leading line.
senior boy on rock by water, half-sitting, senior photo michigan photographer
We moved to another spot in the park for some water portraits. It was a bit chilly for going in the water, so we decided just to use the rocks and have the water in the senior photo instead.
senior boy sitting on large rock by water, senior photographer dexter michigan
A quick outfit change and T was ready for the last part of his session. We started off in almost the same spot, but using a different rock for the setting.
senior boy sitting on rocks by water with sunset, dexter michigan mill creek park senior photos
It’s really hard for me to say which senior portrait from T’s session is my favorite, because they all have so much character! I love how the sun’s rays are captured in this particular one.
senior boy in natural setting, professional senior portrait photographer michigan
Oh wow! I love this one, and think it would look great hanging over a sofa or even a piano in someone’s living room. What a great natural setting, don’t you think? Love it.
senior portrait of by with river, dexter mi photographer
We walked further down the boardwalk to get to another popular spot. I’ve photographed clients at this rock many times, but again, it never looks the same twice. And I like that. Lovely colors.
senior boy at mill creek park in dexter for high school senior portrait session, dexter mi photographer
In a change of pace from the last senior portrait I just shared, this one features a calm and quiet river. I love how the sky is reflected in the water, and that we can get a glimpse of fall colors as the last rays of daylight grace those leaves. Gorgeous.
senior portrait boy on boardwalk with water behind him, fall colors, dexter mi photographer senior portraits
Again, I wanted to get a full sense of the setting, so it was time for another wide-frame image. I like to provide a variety of senior portraits for my clients, this type being one of them!
senior portrait with fall colors, michigan senior photographer
These last few are somewhat similar, but I couldn’t pick my favorite. It’s just a gorgeous setting in the fall. Love those fall colors!
senior portrait with fall colors, by water. dexter mi photographer senior portrait session
Love the colors, and the serenity of this senior portrait. So peaceful!
senior portrait fall colors photographer in ann arbor michigan
See what I mean? T did a great job of working with me for his senior portrait session. I loved creating these images for him and his family, and it will be fun to see which portraits they pick as their favorites!
senior portrait boy, senior photo for high school yearbook, dexter mi photographer in michigan
Oh yes, I almost forgot. Here’s a sample of the studio portraits we did for T — he had to have an in-studio yearbook photo for his senior portrait session. I created this senior yearbook photo (and several other choices) very quickly at the beginning of his portrait session. Personally, I’m a fan of the outdoors ones, but I know there’s a time and a place for traditional professional portraits like this one.

If you need to plan your senior portrait session, please contact the studio today so that we can fit you in before your yearbook deadline!  We typically get booked up with last minute appointments as high school senior yearbook deadlines approach.  So, a little advance planning will ensure you get your senior portrait planned — at a time that is convenient for your schedule!

Sometimes… Simple Portraits are Best!

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If you’re thinking about skipping the whole senior portrait thing.  Please reconsider.  My guess is that you just want something simple and painless — well, look no further!  We can make your senior portrait session short, relaxing, and maybe even fun! With studio senior portraits, there is nothing to distract you from the person.  Everything, all your attention, is drawn to the high school senior — you really get a sense for their personality.  You get to look into their eyes and see their smile.  Years down the road, you will look at that senior portrait and fondly remember that time in your life.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a picture book illustrated by one of my favorites, Tomie DePaola.  The author is Nancy Willard, and the book is called “Simple Pictures are Best” (#afflink).  The brief synopsis?  A man and his wife hire a photographer, but add so many props and “things” into their portrait that they end up with ….well, let’s just say the photo doesn’t turn out as planned.  Anyways, I digress.  Let’s take a peek at these simple senior portraits that we did in my studio that meet most high school yearbook requirements in the Ann Arbor area.

senior boy, high school senior traditional yearbook photo portrait photographer dexter mi
When it comes to keeping things simple for your senior portraits, there’s no better choice than a studio portrait session!
studio portrait of high school senior boy, huron high school senior portrait for yearbook photo
The nice thing about staying in the studio is that you don’t have to worry about rain or inclement weather. It’s always nice and comfortable inside!
senior portrait, high school senior boy sitting in chair backwards with arms crossed, senior portrait photographer ann arbor mi
Simple is good. We can breeze through a number of poses to give you some variety in your final senior portrait images, but it doesn’t take a lot of planning or effort on your part!
senior boy headshot yearbook portrait high school senior photos
Whether you have a great smile and are “camera ready” — or you need me to work my magic, we will get some fantastic portraits of you during your senior portrait session. 🙂
senior portrait high school senior boy, headshot, senior photographer michigan
Seriously. Your session can be a calm and relaxing experience. My job is to listen to what you want from your senior portrait session and make it happen. If you just want some simple portraits for the yearbook, we can do that. If you want senior photos that you can also share with family and friends, we can do that too. My job is to make sure you have a great senior portrait experience!
senior portrait, boy sitting on chair in studio, senior photographer ann arbor mi dexter
When my clients are up for it, we’ll do several full length portraits during a studio portrait session too. It’s simple, but gives you a little bit of a different look…. because variety is nice!
senior portrait of boy sitting on chair with studio background, senior portrait Michigan photographer
I always love using this traditional studio backdrop! It’s a little more interesting than your run of the mill textured color wash, and pairs wonderfully with earth tones and blues alike. While this senior portrait wouldn’t cut it for the yearbook, it would definitely be a nice portrait to display at home!
senior portrait, professional photographer portrait in studio with professional background, high school senior yearbook photo
All in all, I am excited for this family to see the senior portraits — I know that they will be very pleased with the results! Because in my book, everyone *is* picture perfect!

 

There’s something to be said for the classic portrait. Whether it’s the more traditional suit and tie, or a somewhat relaxed studio portrait — these senior photos really will never go out of style. As I said before – if you’re on the fence about hiring a professional for your senior portraits, please give me a call at 734-424-0472 or visit our contact page.

I’d be happy to talk with you personally about what you want for your senior portrait session and help you make that happen.  Your senior year of high school is already crazy enough, so let me help you make at least one thing go smoothly!

Senior Boy Portrait Session (in the studio)

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Sometimes my clients contact me looking for something simple and in studio.  Maybe it’s because the yearbook requirements dictate a formal studio setting for the portraits, or maybe it’s just because simple can be easier.  Whatever the reason, I’m always happy to create timeless portraits like the ones we created for this senior boy’s portrait session.  So, without further ado, enjoy these portraits I created for this class of 2018 senior.

senior boy portrait in studio
I really like how this portrait turned out for G!
senior boy portrait in studio close up
Here’s another portrait, this one framed pretty closely. This type of senior portrait looks very sharp, don’t you think?
senior boy leaning on chair studio portrait dexter mi photographer
I typically run through a series of poses when doing studio portraits, changing out chairs and such to create a variety of portraits for my clients. Love how this one turned out!
senior portrait boy smiling in studio huron high school ann arbor mi photographer
From the same set of photos, we changed up the pose just a little bit. But it has a very different look. This whole posing thing is my job — to make it go quickly AND to get the photos to look good.
senior boy serious resting head on hand, studio portrait photographer senior class of 2018
I really like how dramatic this one looks. Definitely contemplative and such. It’d look nice as a black and white portrait too.
senior portrait boy smiling in studio portrait photographer dexter mi
You don’t always have to be smiling a full smile for a senior portrait to look good. Sometimes the beginning of a smile, or a half-smile, like this expression, turns out really nicely!
senior portrait, serious boy in chair not smiling, huron high school senior portrait photographer
I like the weighty atmosphere in this portrait. Not everyone comes in planning to create “serious” portraits, but I typically capture a few anyways. They are a great addition to a coffeetable album, if you’re more a fan of smiling senior portraits.
senior portrait of boy smiling, studio portrait photographer dexter michigan.
And let’s wrap it up with one final smiling senior portrait. I really enjoy creating portraits like these — they may be just in the studio, but these senior portraits are timeless and will look nice in any home!

I’m excited to see which portraits G. and his mom will like best. It’s always interesting to see which of my clients’ favorites end up being my favorites too!

If you’re needing to plan your senior portrait session still, know that it’s never too late.  Even if your yearbook deadline has come and gone, we can still create a series of senior portraits that you enjoy and want to display in your home.  If your yearbook deadline is coming quickly, make sure to get in touch, as we may be able to fit you in before the deadline.  Contact the studio today at 734-424-0472 or use the contact page on our website to get in touch!

Nature Portraits by the River in Dexter :: Haylee’s Senior Portraits

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With this recent cold spell, fall really seems to be upon us.  But it wasn’t that long ago that we had warm sunny days like for Haylee’s senior portrait session.  We planned Haylee’s portrait session to take place at Mill Creek Park in Dexter.  As you might have guessed from some past blog posts, it’s a popular destination for portraits.  But even so, it’s not hard to make your portraits look unique and personalized to you.  Haylee was a great sport and smiled beautifully for the camera throughout her entire session…. and we ended up with a fantastic set of senior photos for her and her parents to enjoy.

Make sure to scroll all the way through this series of senior portraits, because I saved some of my favorites for the end.  We did do a few portraits standing in the water, which I have to say, was cold but felt refreshing given the heat.

high school senior, dexter class of 2018 senior photo dexter mi photographer
I’m not sure if there was a surefire favorite from Haylee’s senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park, but this one is definitely up there. She looks so beautiful!
high school senior girl portrait leaning up against rock wall. dexter mi photographer
I love photographing seniors at this rock wall. It’s timeless, and even on the hottest days, it feels nice and cool!
black and white photo of senior girl in nature, michigan photographer
Okay, so every once in a while, the photo just really needs to be in black and white. And I love how this one turned out.
senior portrait headshot, senior girl smiling, high school senior photographer dexter mi
This portrait of Haylee was used for her drama club headshot. So pretty!
smiling senior portrait, dexter high school senior portrait photography
And a close up of Haylee smiling. Love it.
senior girl sitting on rock by river, senior portrait in mill creek park, dexter mi photographer
We ventured out towards the water a bit, and Haylee smiled beautifully for the camera (even though her mom was making her laugh!).
senior portrait mill creek park dexter mi photographer girl near rocks
This one of Haylee is cute too! It was really hot out, but she did an awesome job of following my directions and smiling for the camera!
senior portrait, girl smiling, high school senior photo
Seriously, Haylee had so many great photos to choose from. What a gorgeous senior photo session!
senior portrait in nature, dexter mill creek park, portrait photographer
You’d never know it from these photos, but it was sweltering out the day we did Haylee’s senior photos . And, there were bugs too, of course. But Haylee did so well!!
senior portrait head and shoulders picture, dexter mi photographer
After a quick outfit change, Haylee was ready for the second part of her session. Here’s a head and shoulders photo of her…
senior portrait dexter mill creek park, border to border trail senior photos dexter mi
Haylee put up with my antics while I created a series of wide angle portraits like this one. It takes a little guesswork when you’re holding your camera two feet above your head! Love how this one turned out.
senior portrait at mill creek park in dexter near dexter library and railroad bridge.
Honeslty, this portrait might be my favorite from the session. It’s just so fun, and you get the awesome view of the border to border trail going under the railroad bridge…and the Dexter library too! Quintessential Dexter, right?
senior portrait, girl in dress smiling, senior photo dexter mi
Stunning. Really. I love this portrait series that we did on the pathway. Haylee looks so sophisticated, don’t you think?
full length senior portrait, high school senior girl, dexter high school
A full length photo from this series of senior portraits. So pretty!
senior portrait of girl leaning on railing, dexter mill creek park, michigan portrait photographer
And, of course, another one that turned out great. 🙂 🙂
wide angle senior portrait, girl by water and trees, nature portrait senior photographer dexter mi
We wrapped up Haylee’s senior portrait session with a few portraits by the water. This one is a super wide angle one that is kind of fun, don’t you think?
digital painting from portrait photograph, high school senior girl, senior portrait photographer dexter mi
And here’s the final frame. A digital painting that I created from one of the last portraits we did at Mill Creek Park in Dexter. You might notice a few scenic changes from the last portrait — that’s the beauty of painting. It’s an art and you can change the scene to fit the feel of your painting. Love those clouds.

 

If you’ve been putting off planning your senior portrait session because it seems like a lot of work, just get in touch!  We help you through the entire process, whether it’s choosing your location, giving advice on attire and outfits, or selecting the best portraits to hang on the walls of your family room.  Your senior portrait experience can be relaxing and maybe …even fun! 🙂

Senior Photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter

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It’s always fun to do senior photos someplace local, someplace meaningful.  Or, in the very least, someplace that is amazingly gorgeous!  And that’s what Mill Creek Park is — gorgeous.  You might know it as the Library Park, because the Dexter District Library overlooks the park.  Or maybe you know the park as Warrior Creek Park….which it was formerly named in years past.  Whatever you call it, the park is gorgeous.

Let’s just say, if you’re thinking about doing senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, you won’t be disappointed.  I love the boat launch steps, the walking path under the bridge, the grassy natural areas, and even the playground.  Mill Creek Park offers a nice variety of settings for most types of portrait photography sessions — and, most importantly, there are some nice shady spots to keep you out of the heat of the midday sun!

Here’s a sibling portrait session I did at Mill Creek Park this summer.  N. is a senior at Dexter High School, while C. is a junior this year.  It was nice to get photos of both of them during this senior and not-quite-yet-senior photo shoot!

Since you might want to see what some other parts of Mill Creek Park look like, here’s another senior photo session that we did there.  Well, at least partly.  Madison’s senior portrait session took place in downtown Dexter, and included some senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter too.  I love the one of her with her black lab.  So adorable!

I’ve done various other senior portrait sessions at Mill Creek Park over the years.. the water is almost always nice to wade in, and feels great during hot summer Michigan days. On rare occasion the water is too high, and the current too fast, but usually my older (i.e. teen or adult) clients are able to comfortably wade into the shallows of the water. Here’s a few photos from a teen photo session at Mill Creek Park….

And for those of you who remember what Mill Creek Park was like before the boardwalk and other improvements went in, I haven’t forgotten either.  Here are a few senior photos at Mill Creek Park when it was still known as Warrior Creek Park.  Amazing how quickly we grow accustomed to new improvements, huh?

As an aside, there’s another nice park in Dexter that’s similar, but a little different — Hudson Mills Metropark.  I’ve done senior portraits there too.    If you want to take a peek, you can view Luke’s senior portrait at Hudson Mills Metropark.  Here’s a teaser of his senior portrait blog post:

If you want to explore Mill Creek Park a little more, you might check out this blog post of mine about Mill Creek Park in Dexter.  I have a few more recent sessions on the schedule to share with you at Mill Creek Park, so if you’re dying to see more senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, definitely sign up for my email updates so you won’t miss those posts.

If you want to learn more about planning your senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park (or elsewhere), please contact the studio today.  We definitely are in a busy season right now, but should be able to fit you in before your yearbook deadline.

 

Family Photos with Baby + Dog :: A. Family

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I photographed the A. Family when this cute little girl was just a newborn. And now here we are, doing a family portrait already… she’s grown so much!  There is nothing more exciting than getting to watch my clients’ children grow up into their own little selves.  Oh, I guess there’s one thing almost as good… and that’s when my clients bring their pets to the portrait session.  I love including animals in family photos (or any type of portrait photo, for that matter!).

infant portrait, digitally painted by photographer dexter mi
I based this digital painting from several photographs we took during the outdoors portion of their family session. It was really fun to create this, and I especially had fun painting the background of the piece.
family portrait with baby girl outdoors dexter mi
Here’s one of the portraits I am talking about. Adorable family portrait, no? You’d never know it was buggy out by their great smiles 🙂
mom with baby girl, portrait session outdoors dexter mi
We got this portrait of mom with baby girl before deciding the bugs were too thick outside …at least in this spot.
family portrait with baby and dog in grass. dexter mi photographer
Before heading into the studio, we did one last set of images out in the grass. I was hoping the bugs would be fewer in number here, but no such luck. They were great sports though! Love this one.
family photo in studio with baby and dog, dexter mi photographer
And after a bit of a break for baby, we started in on the studio portion of the family photo session.
baby sticking tongue out with mom giving her kiss, dexter child photographer michigan
It’s always cute to capture some of those silly baby faces. I love this one of her with mom!
baby smiling while mom holds her, dexter michigan baby photographer
And an adorable baby portrait where she’s all smiles!! I love it.
baby sucking thumb in dad's arms, dexter michigan photographer
Dad’s turn to hold her came next. At this point, she was more interested in her thumb. Too cute!
dad with baby, family portrait photographer dexter michigan
She was getting a little wiggly at this point, but we managed to get this one with dad and babe in arms.
mom and dad looking at baby during family portrait, michigan dexter photography session
Oh my gosh. I totally love this photo. She is looking so sweetly at the camera, and mom and dad are so happily looking at their baby. Love it!!!
outtake from photo session, prepping for baby portrait session dexter mi safe photography
This one is an outtake from the family photo session, but I wanted to share it with you because it’s important to know how much prep work goes into some of these photos. With little ones, we’re always VERY careful about keeping them safe. And then you can’t do a portrait like this with just any dog. They have the calmest, sweetest dog ever. Dad stayed right nearby the whole time, with his hand on his kiddo to make sure she didn’t fall over. That’s when Photoshop comes in handy — I do a little magic and you end up with a safely created portrait.
baby portrait studio dexter michigan photographer. baby girll with chocolate lab dog pet portrait
Seriously. Adorable. Isn’t this the cutest baby portrait ever??? I love how it turned out. And as I mentioned a minute ago, dad was holding onto this kiddo because she’s not quite ready to sit up yet. Sometimes Photoshop magic just makes sense. Safety first.
chocolate lab portrait in studio, pet photographer dexter michigan
And to finish things up, I took one portrait of this well-mannered chocolate lab all by herself. She is really such a sweet pup!!!

I’d love to talk with you about planning a fun family portrait session — whether or not you have pets to include! Call the studio today at 734-424-0472 to start planning for your next family photo.

Senior Portraits at Hudson Mills Metropark :: Luke

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Luke’s senior portrait session started at the studio, but most of his photos were created on location at Hudson Mills Metropark.  When photographing clients at two locations, I always love to start in the studio because those portraits are a little more formal. By the time we get to the second location, everyone is relaxed and comfortable — perfect for more casual location portraits!

So, without further ado, enjoy these senior portraits taken at Hudson Mills Metropark!

formal portrait of dexter mi high school senior boy
We started out in the studio for Luke’s portrait session. I like to start in the studio because it gives us a chance to get used to working with each other. Besides, these traditional shots tend to be a little more formal anyways.
senior portrait boy at hudson mills metropark mi
After the studio part of his senior portrait session, we went to Hudson Mills Metropark. Hudson Mills, like most parks, has a lot of nice natural areas. I love that it’s easy to incorporate the river into sessions here too!
senior boy crossed arms in front of river, dexter mi senior portrait
I love this portrait of Luke with the river behind him. Whether you’re a natural in front of the camera, or need lots of directions from me, I will make sure that we get some fantastic portraits 🙂
senior photo relaxed expression high school boy dexter mi
Luke with a slight smile. I love how natural this expression is, and how relaxed he looks in this senior photo.
senior portrait, boy on bench by huge tree. dexter michigan hudson mills metropark
A lot of the time, I will tell my clients “go sit over there on that bench.” Because even if you might not see it, there’s an awesome photo waiting to be taken. And that was the case with this photo. I love the huge old tree in the background, and how Luke isn’t really looking at the camera (yes, sometimes I tell my clients to look at such and so …to deliberately stage a contemplative senior portrait like this one.
senior portrait boy standing on rock by river dexter michigan
After a series of photos on the bench, we walked down the path and stopped by the river bank near the base of that old tree. I had Luke stand on one of the larger rocks so that I could create this cool senior portrait. I love how the leaves are in the foreground…
senior portrait, boy sitting on rocks dexter michigan hudson mills park
While it had been a partially cloudy day, the sun suddenly peeked out from behind the clouds. We got some gorgeous light on the water, and it definitely added a lot of impact to this portrait. Love it!
senior portrait of boy on rocks at hudson mills metropark
Another one from the same series. I just love that light reflecting off the water. Throughout this whole session, Luke did a great job of following my directions so we could create great images like this one.
senior portrait of boy near a fence in dexter mi
A little further down the path, we found a wooden fence. I had Luke lean up against it. This one is the first in the series. Very serious, but I like it.
dexter high school senior boy leaning on fence.
Another senior portrait – I love this capture of Luke.
senior portrait boy near fence in nature park dexter mi
And the sun, again. I love it. The leading lines from the fence draw your eye down the path, and Luke is right in the center of it. Very cool senior portrait!
senior portrait of boy in nature dexter michigan
I had Luke stay where he was, and moved further up the path to create a totally different look from the same exact spot. Love this one too!
senior boy at river edge sitting on rocks dexter michigan portrait
We finished up our session by a boat launch. I had been eyeing this spot from the beginning of the session, but we did wait until after several kayakers got their boats into the water. Luke sat on the rocks, his mom steadied my light for me so I didn’t have to worry about it falling in the water (thanks mom!)…. and we got this great natural looking portrait of Luke!
senior boy sitting on rocks near water in dexter michigan
And, of course, a pull back of the same portrait. I couldn’t decide which was my favorite, so you get to see both! Either would be great for a senior portrait — but I’d use this one for a larger wall portrait 🙂
senior portrait boy sitting near tree roots dexter michigan photographer
As we were wrapping up the session, Luke’s mom asked about doing a few photos near these cool tree roots. I am so glad she mentioned it, because I had seen the same thing and loved it! We did a few photos of Luke here, and I love how the roots all wiggle their way towards the subject of the senior portrait.

Luke was a great sport during his entire senior portrait session. We managed to create all these senior portraits — and more — during his hour long session.

I’m always happy to work with clients who know exactly what they want… and with clients who want me to direct them completely. We will make your senior portraits uniquely you. If you’re interested in planning a laid-back senior portrait session and need someone who knows what they’re doing, call us at 734-424-0472 today!

Baby’s First Year – P. is Ready to Stand!

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One of the best parts of my job is getting to see repeat customers. I love it when my littlest clients come back to the studio, because it’s always so amazing how much they’ve grown! And, let me tell you — if you’re worried about planning a portrait session for your child because he or she just doesn’t behave in front of the camera — don’t worry.

That’s my job — leave the magic to me. I feel a little silly telling you this, but I’ve been called a baby whisperer by clients who were sure the photo session would be a bust. So don’t stress out. After all, that’s why you’re trusting me with your memories, with creating portraits of your loved ones. Relax, and let me do my thing.

baby's first year portrait, hand painted in photoshop, digital painting, master photographer artist dexter mi
I seriously can’t get enough of this smile. P. has the cutest expressions. I just had to do a painting from one of the priceless expressions he shared during his final first year portrait session. I am really excited about how this painting turned out!! LOVE!!
toddler baby boy with wooden car. studio portrait, baby's first year plan, dexter michigan portrait photographer
Like many little boys, P. loves cars. So when his mom told me he was super interested in anything that has wheels, I made sure to hand him a cute wooden car right away. No better way to help a kid relax and get excited about letting me take their portrait!
baby boy one year old, standing with a chair. photographer studio portrait dexter michigan.
Since P. was not quite standing on his own for this session in his baby’s first year plan, I brought out a chair to give him a little support. Now, when photographing little ones (or any clients, for that matter), safety comes first. For portraits where I have a toddler who may topple over, there’s always an adult literally right out of the frame. My rule? “If you feel uncomfortable at any point, grab your kid.” No photo is worth a little one getting hurt.
toddler boy riding rocking horse for baby's first year portrait in studio. dexter michigan photographer
I think P. smiled most of the way through his first year portrait sessions! By now, he’d started moving the chair around as a walking aid, so we switched to a new prop — this lovely wooden rocking horse that used to be one of my nieces’ toys. I’m all for repurposing well-crafted pieces. He was so excited to ride the rocking horse!
baby boy one year old, standing with chair in photographer studio. Baby's first year photos in dexter michigan
P. needed a little break, so we took the opportunity to do an outfit change. I love that his mom planned this portrait to correlate with his older sibling’s portrait at the same age. That will be so adorable to compare their portraits! Of course, the chair thing didn’t last long… but we got a couple before he was off to the races! (pretty typical for a first year session).
toddler boy standing and holding mom's hand during portrait session at dexter mi photographer studio
Here’s the closest we came to having P. stand unassisted. We tried seeing if he would let go of Mom’s hand for any length of time, but he was having none of it. Oh well. No worries, this portrait is still cute! One of the less smiley photos of P. ….but still adorable.
toddler boy with curly hair, smiling at camera. dexter mi portrait session for baby's first year.
And finally… look at those curls!!! I can’t get enough of this cutie. Isn’t it interesting how some siblings look so similar, yet have different features, like curly/straight hair? What a sweetie.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these first year portraits of P. (sigh, I can’t call him a baby anymore, he is getting so big!). If you want to learn more about planing your own portrait session with Betsy’s Photography, please call the studio at 734-424-0472 today. If you have a little one, or are expecting, make sure to inquire about our baby’s first year plan!

A Field of Sunflowers :: Rachel’s Senior Portraits

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Rachel’s mom contacted me this summer about doing her senior portraits in a field of sunflowers.  Cool idea, right?  And we were in luck, because the weather was great on the day of Rachel’s session.  A bit hot for anyone’s liking,…but, hey, it’s Michigan.  We have to work with what we’re given.  You’d never know it from these photos, because Rachel looks absolutely gorgeous, but it was drippingly hot.  Seriously.

Enjoy this slideshow of our favorite images from Rachel’s senior portraits in the sunflower field.

 

And in case you’re a sucker for web photos instead of video slideshows, here they are!  Rachel was a great sport.  She put up with the hot sun, some windy gusts, and of course, my goofy requests that she pretend to laugh at her mom.  All in all, Rachel’s senior portrait session went very smoothly though.  We got some great portraits that I am sure her family will enjoy for years to come.  And once I’ve designed the memories panel that her mom ordered for their home, I will share that with you too!

senior portrait of a girl in a field of sunflowers.
This photo was one of Rachel’s mom’s favorite portraits in the sunflower field. Love it!
senior girl in sunflower field for senior portrait photo session, Michigan.
I love love love this view of the sunflower field. Rachel’s senior portraits all turned out awesome!
Senior girl with sunflowers behind her.
Love those sunflowers behind Rachel. <3
Senior girl in a sunflower field, Dexter, MI
Another one of Rachel… love that white dress, it looks great with the sunflowers!
senior girl portrait, closeup, with sunflowers. Dexter Michigan Photographer.
Look at those eyes! Gorgeous.
senior photos of high school senior girl in field of sunflowers, Dexter, MI
And it was windy now and then, so Rachel’s long hair looked fabulous (as long as we faced into the wind!).
senior girl in dress, surrounded by sunflowers. Dexter Michigan Senior portrait.
Another one of Rachel, looking great!
Sunflower field for a senior portrait photo session, Dexter Michigan.
Pulling back to get a few more sunflowers in the portrait. Love it!
senior portrait in sunflower field, Dexter, MI - dance.
This one looks a little more formal than the rest of Rachel’s senior portraits, thanks to the pose. I usually try to get a mix of relaxed and more posed portraits to keep the session flowing well.
Senior portrait, girl with hat, sunflower field, Dexter, MI
I love that Rachel brought along this hat!! Isn’t it great?
senior portrait, girl wearing hat in sunflower field, Dexter MI
Of course, with a hat, we had to do something a little more fun and peppy. Love how this portrait of Rachel turned out!
senior girl portrait, Dexter, MI, sunflowers behind her.
I love using one particular lens in my camera bag because you get such a neat perspective. <3
senior girl portrait in sunflower field, sitting on tree stump, dexter michigan photographer
Okay, I have to tell you, we didn’t bring a tree stump to our portrait session. I did a little of my artistry magic to give Rachel something a little nicer to sit on than my white stepstool. Presto chango…voila!
Senior girl with long hair, looking over shoulder, senior portraits in sunflower field, dexter mi photo
Love that hair!
Senior girl relaxed smile, long hair, dexter michigan senior photo
And I love this relaxed photo of Rachel. Great natural smile!
senior girl with hat and long hair, sunflower field dexter mi senior photo
Again, that hair…and that hat. Love it!
senior girl standing in field with sunflowers, wearing hat, dexter mi senior photo
I know, another hat portrait. But she’s rocking it.
senior girl wearing hat, smiling, in sunflower field. senior photo dexter mi
Hats off to you, Rachel, as you enter your senior year of high school. <3
senior portrait, artist painting, sunflower field
It must be the artist in me, but I can’t help myself. I loved painting this portrait of Rachel… it’s so fun to explore the world of digital painting. Seriously, I get to use a paintbrush with my stylus and tablet…. and there is no messy paint cleanup!

 

If you’re looking at doing senior pictures while the weather’s warm, get in touch with me ASAP to plan your session! Or, we can plan something for the fall… your call.  Call the studio at 734-424-0472 to learn more about having your senior portraits done by award-winning master photographer Betsy Finn today!

Studio Portraits of My Dog :: Meet Apollo!

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Life has been pretty busy around here. But, I’ve finally taken studio portraits of my dog.  Yes, we have a new pup! As an aside, if you’re looking for a lab, I highly recommend Northern Lites Labs in Grayling, Michigan.  We made the drive from Dexter to Grayling to pick him up, and it was totally worth it.  This pup is one of the calmest labs I’ve ever met. Except for his mom.  Apollo has got a soft mouth already, and is very tolerant of everything our crazy household has thrown his way.  Plus, he came to us practically housetrained — and he slept through the night in his crate without any issues right from the get-go.  Seriously. Northern Lites Labs is a fantastic breeder.

Now, onto the portraits!  Apollo is a chocolate lab, and he’s not quite 5 months yet. What a handsome guy.  We are so lucky to have found him! Our dog photo session was cut short because one of my little assistants left the treat container on the floor. Yes, open.  So, Apollo naturally got into them… and we had to postpone the rest of the photos for another day. No need for a sick puppy!  Regardless, our mini session was very fruitful.  I think we spent under 15 minutes getting all these studio portraits of my dog.  That’s excluding the two minutes of crazy kid photos you’ll see at the end of this post (my assistants like to pose for the camera).

Studio Portraits of My Dog, Apollo! studio portraits of my chocolate lab puppy, Apollo studio photo of my chocolate labrador chocolate labrador studio photos dog photo by puppy photographer dexter michigan

I have to admit, even though I already think my dog is a good looking pup, when I saw the results of his portrait session I was wowed.  Seriously adorable.  Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of all the gushing about how cute this puppy is!

Before we wrap this post up, here’s the “test shot” or two of my kids.  Yes, my photo assistants wanted to do some silly photos to make sure my camera was working correctly. So, per my usual, I made Toby and Zack smile first.

Although adorable, remember, they are a textbook example of what NOT to wear to your photo session! LOL

....what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

what not to wear for your studio portrait session
….what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

If you are looking to have studio portraits of your dog (or human family), please contact Betsy via the web or call 734-424-0472. Let’s get you set up with some fantastic photos of your own!

Senior Photos With Pets? Yes! :: Madison

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While I love photographing seniors, or any of my clients, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for animals.  So, when Madison’s mom asked me if I ever do senior photos with pets, I enthusiastically said, “yes!!”

A lot of my clients are concerned that their dog might be too rambunctious or energetic to sit still for photos.  But, as I reassured this client of mine, I am happy to include dogs for a portion of any session!  My secret?  Well, besides just liking dogs and being patient with them, it’s a simple matter of getting your dog mostly tired out before the photos happen.  Whether that means a trip to the dog park, or a long walk, or numerous games of tug… it’s usually a pretty good bet that when your pup is pooped, he will be amenable to having his photo taken.

I have to admit, I think this is my favorite photo of the whole senior session. We had Madison stand in the water to coax the pup towards her. Even thought he generally doesn’t like water….it worked! Yes, he was back out of the water within a minute… But, I was able to capture this priceless moment. I initially wasn’t even sure we had captured him looking at the camera!  Now, you might notice this photo looks more like a painting. I used my traditional artistic training and recent training in painting digitally to create this digitally masterpiece. Don’t you love how it turned out???

senior portrait of a girl and her dog in Dexter, Michigan. senior photos with pets
Madison’s black lab doesn’t usually like water, but we coaxed him into the creek for this gorgeous portrait moment. I painted it digitally, because it was just crying “paint me!” I think this is one of my favorite senior photos with pets that I’ve done.

Now, let’s get on to the photos of Madison.  It was such an honor to photograph Madison, she is a great person and I love her cheerfulness!  While I love all of my clients, it’s always fantastic when a session goes smooth as silk. And Madison’s senior portraits just flowed so nicely. Despite the heat, we managed to stay out of the direct sun. …and we created some gorgeous senior portraits in the shady spots of downtown Dexter. Side note — when doing senior photos with pets, make sure to also bring a water bowl and enough water. On a hot day, it’s really essential.  (I’m so glad Madison and her mom planned ahead!).

Madison, class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, posing for a photo op during her senior portrait session in downtown Dexter, Michigan.
Madison, class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, posing for a photo op during her senior portrait session in downtown Dexter, Michigan.
I love this photo of Madison laughing during our senior portrait session in Dexter, Michigan.
I love this photo of Madison laughing during our senior portrait session in Dexter, Michigan.
Madison is a class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. She came to Dexter for her studio and location portrait session. This brick wall was a great spot for photos.
Madison is a class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. She came to Dexter for her studio and location portrait session. This brick wall was a great spot for photos.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
senior photos with pets? yes! Girl with dog in Dexter, MI
Madison brought along her black lab for some portraits during her senior photo session in Dexter, Michigan. (senior photos
Since it was a hot day, this spot under the bridge in Dexter's Mill Creek Park was a fantastic place to stop and take some senior photos.
Since it was a hot day, this spot under the bridge in Dexter’s Mill Creek Park was a fantastic place to stop and take some senior photos.
Class of 2018 senior Madison posing under the bridge in downtown Dexter for her senior photos.
Class of 2018 senior Madison posing under the bridge in downtown Dexter for her senior photos.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Madison’s senior portraits. As I mentioned earlier, these were taken in downtown Dexter.  What I didn’t mention is that her entire session took about an hour. Yes, including a quick stop at my studio for the obligatory studio senior portrait.  Easy peasy!

As the senior portrait season ramps up, we’ll be sharing more sneak peeks. I hope you will find these senior photos inspirational as you plan your next portrait session. If you’re interested in learning more about how the portrait planning process works, just contact Betsy via internet or call 734-424-0472.

 

Senior Photos in the Backyard? 3 Reasons you should consider it!

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Senior Photos in the Backyard? 3 reasons  you should consider it!Can you do senior pictures in your own back yard?  Sure!  High school senior pictures don’t have to be in the studio anymore.  These days, it’s possible to hire a photographer to go on location, even to your own backyard, and have senior photos taken there.  Where you have many memories. Where the setting is meaningful to you.  Don’t think that these senior portraits will cut it?  Does your backyard sound too boring and mundane?

If so, here are some reasons why you should consider doing senior photos in your backyard.

Convenient

You don’t have to go anywhere.  Most professional photographers will cheerfully go on location, including to your home.

What are some of the benefits of staying at home?

Well, for starters, you don’t have to drive anywhere on the day of your session — your photographer will come to you.

Then, there’s the whole wardrobe thing.  If you’re planning on multiple outfits for your portrait session, you’ll appreciate not having to bring half your wardrobe with you (like would be necessary if you went elsewhere). Outfit changes will be easy — just head back inside.  No fumbling with clothes in a public restroom, or layering clothing so that you can “change” in the middle of a park.

And, if you have a instruments, a pet, or other items you want to add into the session, you don’t have to worry about piling those into your car to drive to the portrait studio or another location.  Your things are at your house already.  When it’s time for that part of the session, just go get the dog, or bring your trumpet out.

Meaningful

Your senior photos will mean more to you because of the location, the setting, and the memories you’ve made there.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years as a portrait photographer, it’s that people love settings that have memories.  You might think your backyard looks boring and commonplace, but trust me when I tell you, that’s a concern I voiced hear frequently when planning portrait sessions.  Trust your photographer.  Show her the space, and let her work some magic for you.

Your backyard might be ordinary, but it will look fabulous in the pictures.

Unique

If you want your senior pictures to be different from everyone else’s… to be different… then why not choose a location no one else will be using?  Let’s face it.  The local parks tend to be popular portrait destinations.

Your backyard?  Not so much.

By simply selecting your backyard as the location, you’re setting your portraits apart from the masses. Your backyard is different from Jane’s, so even if you both have the same ideas about what you want for your pictures, you won’t end up with a cookie cutter portrait.

No one else will have portraits like yours.

Unless you have siblings who also have their senior portraits done in your backyard…. but that’s a story for another day.

See what I mean?

Here are some high school senior portraits I’ve created for clients… in their neighborhoods or yards.  No park pictures here!

Hire a Senior Portrait Photographer?

Now, when it comes to the question of hiring a photographer or doing it yourself, I’m a bit biased.  Obviously I’d recommend hiring a professional photographer (like myself!) for your senior portraits.  Sure, it’s going to be an investment.  But you get what you pay for — quality portraits that make you look great.  There are several big milestones in life that you can’t let pass by without having your portraits done — and graduating is one of them.

Sure, you could do it yourself, or find a friend with a fancy camera to do it — but this is your high school graduation.  It’s a big thing.

You deserve it.

These pictures will be hanging on your relatives’ walls for years.

One thing to keep in mind?  Scheduling senior portraits can a little hectic if you wait until the last minute. As the school yearbook deadlines get closer, senior portrait photographers like myself get booked up.  Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule something!  Get it on the calendar now.

If you’d like to contact me about helping you plan your senior portrait session, please don’t hesitate to call (734-424-0472) or send me a message.  I’m located in Southeast Michigan.

 

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool

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Water is an inherently “tricky” thing to photograph.  While I’m not going to get into the science of things, I figured I could share some tips with you for taking pictures of your kids when they are swimming pool.  The images you can get will depend on the camera, the available light, and how far away you are.

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool - Betsy's Photography - PhotoArt.comToby has been taking lessons at Goldfish Swim School for quite some time.  I’m frankly not quite sure when we started, but I know he has progressed through the various classes and loves every minute of his swim lessons.

The facility is very nice, with numerous windows around the indoor pool, so you have a lot of ambient light.  This is *great* for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  Every so often, I will take some pictures to document his progress — for that memory book I’ll eventually get around to making once I decide what format will be best (Wildflower Ramblings has a nice series on keeping and recording memories).

That being said — you have to get the pictures first.  So here are my tips, which I’ll keep simple and sweet.

1. Don’t use a flash if you can help it.

You heard me.  Water is so reflective that your flash will illuminate all the water droplets in the air as your child swims; the flash will reflect off the water’s surface too.  If you’re trying to capture something underwater, it will not be visible at all.  So, if you have the luxury of a well-illuminated pool like ours, or an outdoor pool on a bright day — don’t use the flash.  If you can’t get a photo without flash because the pool is too dark, well, then cut your losses.  Use your camera’s low light setting, or turn off the flash and see how it turns out.  If that doesn’t work, let the flash do its job.  Take the photo, deal with the flash being present in your image… and don’t worry about it.  Something is better than nothing.

2. Use “Fast” or “Action” settings on your camera.

If your camera has some sort of action setting, this may do the trick.  Basically it will have your camera take the picture more quickly (it uses a faster shutter speed to eliminate blur, to get technical).  These settings usually have the flash automatically turned off, so you won’t have to worry about that.

3. Use a higher ISO (“film speed”) or low-light scene mode on your camera.

Sometimes low light settings will work too — they typically sacrifice detail, but if you’re okay with a “grainy” photo, then have at it.  How good will it look?  Well, this depends on your camera.  As digital technology has improved, cameras have gotten better at capturing details in low light.  So you may find this works …or if you have a low-end camera, it may not be up to par.  You’ll have to experiment.

Swimming

4. Closer is better; get close.

The closer you are, the better.  Now, during my son’s lesson, we parents have to sit in the “observation deck” — depending on where my son is in the lane, I’ll be 10-30 feet away from him.  So I’ll usually wait until they come to the near end of the lane for any pictures I want to take.  If you’re taking videos, it can be fun to document the whole “down and back” swim, but this doesn’t really translate to still photos.

 

5. Don’t forget about taking pictures when your child is *not* swimming.

While he waits his turn, it’s amusing to watch my son’s antics.  I’ve taken some adorable pictures of him at the edge of the pool.  Goggle-eyed grins are priceless.  As are photos on “graduation day” …or whenever your swimmer accomplishes something new for the first time.  Toby gets ribbons from time to time for learning a new skill, and there is nothing more adorable than having a picture of him holding that ribbon, just out of the pool.

Swimming

So, there you have it!  A short and sweet list of tips for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  I probably should’ve added a sixth item — don’t get your camera wet!!!  But hopefully that’s a given, right?

Do you have any other great tips for taking pictures of kids at the pool, or while swimming?  I’d love to hear them.

5 Tips For Great Pet Snapshots

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5 Tips For Great Pet Snapshots - bphotoart.comDog owners aside, most pets don’t really listen to their owners. Sure, cats will come for a treat, but often it’s dependent on their mood! So, what’s a pet owner to do when you want some good pet photos? I’m going to share five tips for great pet snapshots (this is a revised list from way back in 2006).

Now, I can’t promise these tricks will word without fail, but they should help you get more used to the idea of photographing something that won’t sit pretty for the camera, like people. Hmm, scratch that — a lot of kids don’t want to sit still for the camera either, right? I’ve covered that in other posts, so today, let’s stick with the topic at hand. Pets. Here are my 5 tips for great pet snapshots!

Step 1: Introduce your pet to the camera

This tip is an obvious one, but sometimes even I have to remind myself of it. The first few times you pull out your trusty camera, your pet probably will be excited or fearful — remember, even though you know what a camera is, your pet either thinks it’s a cool new toy or a one-eyed monster.

Give him some time to get used to the thing before you start clicking away, it usually helps.

Step 2: See how your pet reacts to having his picture taken

Try taking a FEW pictures with him nearby — and see what happens. You may have to distract your pet away from the camera by dangling an enticing toy.

When I initially tried to photograph our cats, I had to resort to distraction — those cameras just look like too much fun! Once your pet is used to a camera being around, you’ll find many cute photo ops…

Step 3: Keep your camera handy!

This of key importance — chances are if you haven’t prompted your pet to do something cute, you won’t have your camera ready. I know, it’s amazing that “hold on kitty, let me take a picture” doesn’t work.

When your pet is sleeping or has just woken up, he’s a whole lot easier to photograph than when he’s playing with that fun toy. Know your pet’s behavior and take advantage of his lazy moments.

Step 4: Get closer to your pet

Sometimes getting on eye level with your pet can make the difference. These pictures I’m sharing of Jake were taken quite low to the ground, from a short distance.

Instead of taking a far-away picture that shows your pet as a furry dot, take some time to sneak up a little closer. With patience and persistence, you’ll get some really great snapshots.

Step 5: Try not to use your flash

You know that “red-eye” feature on your camera? Well, just like people’s eyes don’t always photograph very well with that flash on your camera, neither will your pet’s.

If possible, photograph your pet while he’s basking in the sun, or while outside in your backyard. That way you’ll have enough light so that your pet’s eyes will look normal.

Have more ideas for getting pet photos?

I’m sure you’ll think of some great tips to add to this list — as you find more, feel free to comment or let me know! Hopefully though, I’ve given you enough great ideas to get started — remember, the most important thing is to make sure that both you and your pet have fun.

10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Portrait Session

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One of the things I frequently hear when helping my clients plan their portrait sessions is the desire for individuality, for the pictures to reflect who they are and what they enjoy. I love finding ways to incorporate hobbies and the like into portraits! Here are 10 ways you can make your portraits reflect who you are and what you love.

1. Pick a place that is meaningful to you.

I love creating portraits on location, especially when the setting has memories attached. Like an engagement portrait session at the Arb where a couple met, or a senior portrait session on the football field for an athlete. Location is a big part of pictures. So when it evokes memories, that’s a great thing!

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2. Bring your pet along.

Pets are a big part of peoples’ lives. So, including them in portraits is a natural way to add more personal meaning to photographs. I’m not one to shy away from being around exotic pets, so I’d be thrilled to photograph atypical pets as part of a portrait session. Usually, though, I end up working with the more mundane (but still lovable) four legged furry friends. Dogs are the most common pet my clients bring, but I’ve also done portraits with larger animals like horses (outdoors, of course).

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3. Include your instrument.

As the daughter of a professional musician, I enjoy when my clients want to document their love of music. Smaller instruments can be easily brought to the studio, but I’ve also gone on location to photograph less compact instruments like an alphorn, or chimes.

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4. Show off your sense of style.

I’ve worked with a number of high school seniors who were interested in fashion and clothing design. Naturally, their portraits included several outfits to showcase their sense of style. Sometimes people have a signature hat they always wear, or a wristwatch that is particularly meaningful. items like these can be easily incorporated into portraits either on location or in the studio.

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5. Wear sports paraphernalia.

If you’re a die hard sports fan, there is no better way to show your true colors than in your portraits. I’ve done University of Michigan themed family portraits  — that was fun! High school seniors might want to include their letter jacket, a jersey, or other another sports item (helmet, stick, glove, etc).

Family Portrait Photography - Peony Garden Portraits

6. Choose a specific time of year.

If you love a certain time of year, it makes a lot of sense to plan your portrait session during that season! I’ve done family portraits in the snow, high school senior portraits in autumn, you name it. We can plan ahead to make sure we keep on top of the weather (sometimes it’s tough, for example, to get the fall colors in your portraits).

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7. Coordinate your accessories.

I have had clients personalize their portraits in more subtle ways too. Coordinating accessories isn’t something that really sticks out as a way to personalize your session, but it can really make a difference. I had one high school senior who made her own jewelry — she wore it for her session. A family who loved wristwatches decided they would wear their favorite watches. It’s all in the details. And if the details mean something to you, so much the better!

Family Portrait at Barton Hills Country Club - BPhotoArt.com

8. Incorporate a hobby.

While I’ve photographed family hobbies (such as golfing, see 7 Ways to Personalize Your Family Portraits), more frequently this is something high school seniors really want.  Whether they’re an aspiring artist, a fan of photography, or just an outdoorsman — seniors love to make their portraits communicate interests and hobbies.

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9. Plan a candid session.

More photojournalistic in nature, candid sessions focus on capturing personalities and interactions. The photos forgo careful poses in favor of flow.  For these types of sessions, we’ll often walk around downtown, or through a park, pausing at select areas to create some candid portraits.

Sibling Portrait at Mill Creek Park

10. Be silly.

Along the lines of candid captures — I love “forcing” silliness.  It lightens the mood for everyone, even if we’re doing a more posed and formal portrait.  The more relaxed you are during your portrait session, the more you will love the results!

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So, there you have it. 10 things to consider when planning your next portrait session!

10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Portrait Session - Betsy's Photography bphotoart.com

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