Senior Portraits Worth Traveling For :: Areonna’s Senior Session

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Would you travel three hours for your senior portraits? Areonna and her mom did just that!  Why make the trek to Ann Arbor to have me do their senior portraits?  Because they were looking for a unique senior portrait experience…. and they found me via a web search.  Love when things are serendipitous like that!

Anyways, Areonna’s mom contacted me because her daughter didn’t want senior portraits that looked like anyone else’s. And she’d seen my senior portraits at Graffiti Alley in downtown Ann Arbor — it was the perfect spot for Areonna.

While I always enjoy helping my clients plan their senior session, in this case I got to go a little more in depth… suggesting hair and makeup stylists in the area that would be close to the spot where we’d be doing her senior portraits in Ann Arbor.  You might think it would be stressful ….planning a senior photo session for someplace you’ve never visited, but that’s why I am here. I am happy to provide location suggestions, put together a collection of locations on Google maps, recommend stylists, whatever you need.

As usual, we monitored the weather in the days leading up to the photoshoot, and while it was muggy, there wasn’t a raincloud in sight.  We met at Nickel’s Arcade for the first set of senior portraits, and then moved onto Graffiti Alley for the second set.  It’s always fun to see what props people bring along with them for sessions.  I know I mention this a lot, but one perk of being my client?  I have a portable changing room AND a folding wagon (for extra camera gear and also for client outfits).  It really makes the whole senior portrait experience a lot easier.  I’ve done it the old fashioned way — and let’s just say, there’s a reason I bring both things with me! 🙂

Okay, enough chit chat.  Let’s get onto Areonna’s senior portraits.  Make sure to tell me which ones are your favorites.  I have a few in mind myself!

senior portrait of girl in nickel's arcade, downtown ann arbor, michigan senior portrait session, michigan senior photographer
Let’s start things off with a serious expression. I don’t know why, but I love this senior portrait. Areonna’s eyes are so intense and I’m just drawn to the image…. and artistically I like how the left side of the image is light, and the right side, in contrast is dark and shadowed.
smiling senior portrait of girl in nickel's arcade, downtown ann arbor, michigan senior portrait session, michigan senior photographer
And here’s one of her smiling, in a different pose. Love that hair!
senior portrait of girl wearing hat in nickel's arcade, downtown ann arbor, michigan senior portrait session, michigan senior photographer
Areonna’s mom brought along a fun white hat, so we included that in a series of shots. It’s always interesting when you’re doing a senior session in someplace like Nickel’s Arcade — because there is a constant stream of people passing by. Areonna did a great job of ignoring them and I did my best to minimize the distractions . I love the contrast in this image, and how the light frames Areonna’s face, and the little bit of refined attitude that the white hat adds to the image. 🙂
senior portrait of girl at Nickel's Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
After that it was time for an outfit change. Areonna got to do this in the privacy of my portable changing room — right in Nickel’s Arcade. It’s so nice to do outfit changes this way!
I took a number of images at this spot, because I loved the location, the columns with their lines, and Areonna’s pose.
senior portrait of girl playing guitar at Nickel's Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
Areonna brought her guitar with her for the session. So, I told her to sit down and start playing. This is a really nice way to get a cool candid senior portrait — and it also helps my subject relax. Because you can push back everything around you and just focus on the music. Love it!
guitar senior portrait of girl at Nickel's Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
The guitar lent itself to more serious expressions, so I picked this one as my final sneak peek of Areonna in this particular outfit. Don’t worry, mom — I have some of her smiling for you too 🙂 🙂
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
And with that, it was off to our second location. Areonna’s element — Graffiti Alley. She changed jackets for this set of images. You can’t see it in the photos, but there were construction workers doing a site survey right as we arrived. I chatted briefly with them to make sure we wouldn’t be intruding on their job, and then we worked around each other. I had to smile when they asked Areonna if she was a model, or what magazine the photoshoot was for …. 🙂 🙂
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
As usual, I captured a range of smiles and more serious expressions. It’s hard to pick my favorites sometimes! Definitely a little less edgy.
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
With senior photos like this, I kind of get why the surveyors were asking about us doing a magazine photoshoot. This really reminds me of a fashion photo with that intense serious look. 🙂
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
A smile changes it up so much, doesn’t it? I love all these senior photos — Areonna just looks great!!
guitar gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
This is one of my favorites with the guitar, I think. And Areonna’s hat with that graffiti — it looks totally planned, but I’m not sure we did that on purpose. Whoops, should I admit that? 😉
musician gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
Areonna also plays drums. She brought her drumsticks with her for the session. So I told her to play on the wall. She totally got in the zone and just started hammering out some awesome rhythms. This is kind of an outtake photo, kind of an artsy favorite. I loved how the black and white really changes the mood. What do you think?
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
And then we did a more posed senior photo with the drumsticks. I couldn’t decide between this one and the next — so take a peek and decide which one you like better 🙂
letter jacket gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
This one is with Areonna’s letter jacket, and is from a different angle, so the look is different — even though it’s really similar to the last one. Gotta include those hard earned letter jackets, right??
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
I LOVE this portrait of Areonna smiling . It’s definitely a letter jacket senior photo, but with a bit of character. Maybe my favorite one of her smiling too. 🙂
gritty urban senior portrait of girl at Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dexter mi photographer michigan senior portrait photographer
I couldn’t help myself — one last gritty senior portrait from Graffiti Alley. I love how the artwork here is ever-changing. Graffiti is so transient, but despite that the art gets documented every time someone comes here for a portrait session. Kind of cool.

If you’re looking to plan a really unique senior portrait session, please contact Betsy via our web form or call 734-424-0472 today.  Betsy will walk you through the planning process and answer all of your questions — whether you’re familiar with the area or not.  And yes, travel is an option (check out this senior session we did on Lake Michigan)!  If you have a particular vision for your senior portrait session — just let us know, and we’ll make your dream a reality!  Talk to you soon 🙂

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