Twins run in my family, so I am really familiar with how different twins can be — whether they’re identical or fraternal. So, for this senior portrait session, I enjoyed the challenge of creating senior portraits for twin brothers David and Joseph …and giving each of them senior portraits that weren’t exactly the same. My goal is always to let everyone’s personality shine through in their senior portraits. And I think we did just that!
Both boys play football, so after a few portraits in the studio, we headed out on location to Mill Creek Park in Dexter. It’s a tested and true location for senior portraits, and even though I do senior sessions there often, no two senior portrait experiences ever turn out alike. Even these guys’ portraits are different — but similar enough that mom will be able to display portraits of her boys side by side. Love it!
If you’d like to plan a senior portrait session that is relaxed, stress-free, and showcases your personality, please contact the studio at 734-424-0472 today! Betsy will help you through each phase of your senior portrait experience, and you will love the results!
When senior year finally rolls around, there’s a lot going on! Add senior portrait decisions on top of that, and you might feel a bit overwhelmed, right? After all, senior portraits have come a long way in the past 30 years or so. What used to be a simple studio formal portrait with one outfit has become a mini model session with multiple outfits and even multiple locations.
Senior portraits are no longer just a milestone. The senior portrait has become an experience, a rite of passage.
And with that, the stakes are a bit higher. Not only do you have to find a decent-looking outfit, you have to pick the right location for your senior portrait session. If your photographer is like me, they’ll be able to list off a bunch of neat spots based on your interests. But still, it can seem a hard to commit to just one spot.
Maybe you’re worried about the weather being bad.
Maybe you’re concerned that the location is “too popular” and your photos won’t look special.
Maybe you’re not sure if the location is really a meaningful spot to you personally.
You’re not alone in feeling this way.
But don’t worry!
Let’s take this step by step.
Could bad weather ruin your senior portrait session on location?
Honestly, it won’t ruin your senior portraits. But bad weather might make us change the date. When planning a senior portrait session outdoors, I always tell my clients that bad weather is a possibility. That’s why we watch the weather in the days leading up to the session — if it looks like it will be rainy or stormy, I’ll touch base with you to discuss options for rescheduling for another day, or moving to an alternate (indoor) location. It’s as simple as that! No fees to reschedule either :).
What if the location for your senior portraits is popular?
Definitely a possibility. But, here’s the thing. Your senior portraits will be special because of who’s in them. You like the location? Cool. You like the photographer’s style? Great! You’re still a bit concerned? No prob! Just talk to your photographer. When I know you’re looking for something a creative or different at a popular location for senior portraits, I can make adjustments to the session so you end up with totally unique images. The more you share your vision with me, the better job I’ll do of making that dream a reality!
I’ve done senior portrait sessions on the same day as other photographers, even passed them on the paths. And I can guarantee that even with the same location, each photographer can create totally different looking images. The location is just one facet of a senior portrait. Trust me.
Maybe you just aren’t feeling like any location is “meaningful”?
Yeah, that can happen. But trust me. If you’re not set on a particular location, there are things we can do to make sure you end up with senior portraits you love. If you like being downtown, we can plan a session in downtown Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea, or wherever you like to hang out! If you are more of a nature person, you’re in luck. The greater Ann Arbor area has a ton of parks with grass, trees, paths, and even water. If one park doesn’t stick out to you, that’s fine! We can pick a park that is convenient and easy to get to — because if forests and trees are your thing, you’ll love the results regardless of the park you pick as the location for your senior portrait session.
Now for those tips. Which are really questions to make you think….
10 Questions to Help You Choose a Meaningful Location for Your Senior Portraits
You can think of this as a list of tips, formatted as a questionnaire. By answering these questions, I bet you’ll be able to see what types of locations are really meaningful for you! Or, if you can’t, maybe a family member, or even your photographer, will be able to help you connect the dots.
1. Where do you go, or what do you do, when you have had a stressful day and just want to relax?
You might go for a run. Or maybe you head to your favorite cozy chair and curl up with a book, a blanket, and your favorite hot beverage. You might have an instrument you pick up and let out some chords and melodies, letting the stress of the day fade away. You could be a nature person — you head outdoors to breathe in some fresh air. What works for you?
2. What are your hobbies? Where do you go to do what interests you?
If you like to swim, you’ll head to the pool. If working out is more your thing, you’ll go to the gym, or maybe the great outdoors for a cross-country hike. Maybe you meet up with some friends to make music together. Or you’re an artist at heart and you love going to your studio… or downtown Ann Arbor so you can sketch passersby. Where do you go when you do what you love? Think about how we can incorporate your hobbies into your senior portrait session!
3. Do you have any pets? Or do you like animals?
While some people are ambivalent when it comes to pets, most of us know where we stand! If you have a dog, a cat, a horse, or any other type of animal… do you want to include it in your senior portraits? Some pets, like dogs, are pretty versatile and you can easily transport them to most locations for a senior portrait session. On the other hand, if you want senior portraits taken with your horse, we’ll probably head to head to the barn where your horse is stabled. Cats are rather particular about their surroundings, so if you want to include your feline, that likely means a senior portrait session at your home. It’s all about making the animal feel comfortable. I’m happy to photograph a variety of animals, and am personally not afraid of bugs/insects/snakes — but it’s always best to let your photographer know ahead of time if you plan to include your pet. I like to be prepared!
4. Do you play any sports, or are you on any teams?
If you play football, you might want to do your senior portraits at the high school stadium. Or if you are on track, it might be cool to create some portraits of you at the starting line. If you know you want to do something sports-related during your senior portrait session, but you’re not particular about the location, we can definitely work that into your senior portrait session! I’ve done sports-themed senior portraits in the studio. And if you play soccer or another outdoors sport, it’s pretty easy to find a nice looking patch of green grass for your themed portrait if you don’t feel the need to pose by a soccer goal! Think about the sports you are involved with, and which might be good to incorporate into your senior portrait session. This should help you come up with some senior portrait session location ideas!
5. Do you like the outdoorsy, nature look?
In the greater Ann Arbor area, we have a TON of parks and recreational areas. I am always happy to suggest locations if you need ideas. Some of my clients are happy with whatever location I suggest, as long as it is outdoors and is some sort of natural setting. Other clients want me to do portraits at a specific park where they spend a lot of time. I’m happy to make suggestions, but it’s ultimately up to you. If you like being outdoors, I bet you have some places that you go to frequently. If you go there a lot… chances are it might make for a meaningful location for your senior portrait session!
6. Do you like going downtown?
If the answer is yes, think about where you go when you head downtown. Is it to a particular park? Maybe you go window shopping, or maybe you love being right downtown by Michigan Theater. I’ve done senior portraits all over the place… and no two senior portrait sessions ever look alike. If gritty urban portraits are more your thing, we can definitely talk about a visit to graffiti alley — they walls are always changing so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a unique backdrop for your senior portraits.
If a smaller downtown scene is more your thing, we can look into downtown Dexter, Chelsea, Saline, or even Ypsilanti. Each city has their own unique charm, so if one spot means more to you, by all means, let’s head there! If you like going to Depot Town in Ypsilanti, it’s always a nice spot. If you want to head downtown Ann Arbor, expect to do a bit of walking. I will add that parking is usually plentiful, unless you want to have your session downtown during the week of the Ann Arbor Art Fair (been there, done that!)…and then it’s going to be more walking!
7. Do you have a favorite hangout?
Over the years, I’ve photographed seniors in coffee shops, libraries, book stores, restaurants… you name it. If there is a place that you go to hang out, chances are good that we can plan a senior portrait session there. If you love the store where you work, maybe you want to have senior portraits done there. Maybe you go to Nichols Arcade a lot, and want portraits there. Get the idea? If there’s a place that you go with your friends for fun, maybe we can make that into a location for your senior portrait session. It would definitely be memorable!
8. If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you want to take them?
The spots that you want to share with an out of town friend may include a great place for your senior portrait session. Maybe you want to take them to Gallup Park because of all the cool walking paths and bridges over the Huron river. Maybe you would take them on a walking tour of downtown Saline because you love that area (followed by a side trip to Curtiss Park). Or maybe Michigan Theater would be at the top of your list. Wherever the spot — you’ve chosen it because it’s important to you. So maybe it’d be a great location for your senior portrait session!
9. When you scroll through your phone’s camera roll, is there a spot where you frequently take photos or selfies?
If you have location tagging turned on, take a peek at the different spots where you tend to take photos. Do any of those locations seem like a fun spot for senior portraits? You might be surprised to find some ideas for where to have your senior portrait session!
If you take a lot of selfies, think of where you were when you tend to take those photos. Maybe we could use that location for a fun “candid” senior portrait of you taking selfies!
10. Does your family have a location that is meaningful to you as a family?
Okay, I know these are your senior portraits. You want them to be special to you,… but sometimes part of that “special” comes from doing portraits in a location that you’ve gone to since you were little. So, if you can’t come up with any ideas, but know you want something special… try asking your folks! You could do your senior portraits at the same park where your mom or dad took you as a kid, or maybe your backyard has many happy childhood memories for you. We can incorporate those memories into your senior portraits by choosing that as your location! If you have older siblings, your parents might suggest the same location as their senior portraits. If so, don’t worry about your senior portraits looking the same. We will be able to make your experience unique to you, I promise.
Also, if you end up doing your senior portraits at your house, we could do some pictures of you in your environment — your room! That’s up to you, of course. Some people prefer to stay outside in the backyard for senior portrait sessions at their house. But I will say, choosing your home as your senior portrait location all but eliminates your travel time. And outfit changes will be a breeze!
Now, look through your answers….
Do you see any similarities? Any locations listed more than once? Maybe that’s a spot to consider for your senior portraits. Seriously, though, there is NO wrong choice when it comes to a location for your senior portraits.
Your portraits will be a reflection of who you are because you are in them. Your senior portraits will be meaningful because you are special.
You don’t have to stress out over finding the perfect location. It’s okay to flip a coin, or ask others for input.
I hope these tips to help you choose a location for your session have been helpful. I’d be happy to help you plan your senior portrait session in further detail too — just call the studio at 734-424-0472, or get in touch via our web form. I’ll look forward to chatting with you soon!
Every so often, my kids look up at me with those adorable puppy dog eyes and ask, “Mommy, can I be your assistant when your next client comes?” While I think that’s adorable, I have to say no, and promise they can help me another time (when my clients are not there). It’s cute. Just like when I loaned one of my old DSLR cameras to my oldest the other day for experimentation. He took some pictures, came back to me, and asked, “Mommy, am I a professional photographer?” Adorable, right? I smiled and answered, “do you want to be?”
Anyways, today they helped me out with an equipment test photoshoot. I took some portraits of our dog, Apollo, using some equipment I’m testing out (I write articles and reviews for an industry magazine). The kids had fun, and the dog loved all his treats. Here are some of the photos we took. Make sure to scroll to the end so you can see when my assistants jumped in front of the camera for a cute outtake :).
Do you want a nice portrait of your pet, or your kids with your pet… but don’t want the hassle of wrangling all those bodies? Let Betsy help you plan a portrait session for your family, furbabies and all! Contact the studio at 734-424-0472 to get in touch today.
Last week I had a family portrait session here in Dexter — and the weather forecast was looking rainy as all get out. After conferring with Angela, we decided to go ahead with the session even if it ended up being indoors at my studio. Work schedules can be so tricky to work around, and they hadn’t had a family portrait done in a long time, so this family portrait would be happening, rain or shine!
When Roger and Angela Snyder showed up to my studio, the sun was shining, the sky looked gorgeous, and everyone was happy to be outside. What luck!
After saying hello to my clients, I knelt down to greet the littlest member of the Snyder family — an adorably sweet miniature pinscher. She greeted me happily, although I have a hunch she was more interested in the smells of my dog, than in letting me pet her.
That all changed when Roger gave me the bag of treats. Can we say treat motivated? I love that — it makes my job easier! Although, I have a hunch that the pup would say I was too stingy in doling out treats. 🙂 We chatted briefly about Angela’s vision for the session one last time. She didn’t have anything specific in mind, aside from wanting a photo of her and Roger walking away in the distance.
I knew the perfect spot for that photo!
So we worked our way around the edge of my woods, where there is a nice place for walking. Yes, we took some portraits on the way, both with and without the dog. Since she’s such a small pup, I offered to multitask and hold the leash while photographing Roger and Angela. Though, I had to laugh to myself a bit as I took pictures with a leash in hand! There’s no way I would have done that with a large breed like my 75 lb Labrador! I guess, another convenience of the miniature breeds, right?
The session went very smoothly, and the sun stayed out the whole time. It was fantastic. I am so glad we decided to pull through regardless of the weather!
Here is a sneak peek from the Snyder’s family portrait session. So many awesome ones, don’t you think?
If you haven’t had a family portrait done in a while, please contact me at 734-424-0472 so that we can plan a session that will be perfect for you and your family. I’m happy to work with you whether you have a clear and precise vision for your family photos or if you simply know “it’s been a while” and you simply want a great looking family portrait to put above the fireplace!
Don’t you love being outdoors? I’m so glad that the warm weather has finally showed up! Although, with spring and summer comes a flurry of activities. Baseball, swimming, golf, nature walks, you name it!
My oldest son, Toby, has moved up to machine pitch baseball with Dexter Little League this year, so we’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the ball diamond. My husband is coaching for the fourth season, so we constantly have baseball gear coming out of our ears. It might seem like a big time commitment, right? Yes… but it’s worth it.
I get to set my to-do list aside and simply watch Toby being a kid. And I get to chat with other parents who are doing the same thing! And the little siblings have fun too, in their own way (Zack, my younger son, loves to playing on the bleachers, or in the ball diamond dirt). I love the community that comes with baseball.
Most days, you’ll find me happily carrying a pocket camera. But, every so often, I’ll bring my DSLR camera and zoom lens to a ball game. For me, there’s just something about capturing a moment, a memory. It’s the process of creating and documenting life… and while I’m often busy doing this for my clients, it’s important to me that I do the same for my own family!!
So, with that in mind, here are a few photos from one of Toby’s recent games. Enjoy!
Thanks for letting me share these family memories with you! I hope that you’ve found fun ways to capture memories of things you enjoy doing as a family. 🙂
On Saturday I left my older son Toby’s baseball game to go hang out at Mill Creek Park for an engagement photoshoot. Since Steven (my husband) was coaching the baseball team, I took our younger son Zack with me. Which was actually helpful…. because this wasn’t a typical engagement portrait. My client hired me to photograph her son as he proposed to his girlfriend.
And I had to be inconspicuous.
So, I figured, what better way to be inconspicuous than to have a toddler in tow? Right? I mean, no professional photographer would be hanging out at the park with a kid, a toddler bike, and a wagon full of snack supplies!
It was kind of exciting, too! I hadn’t met the couple, I didn’t know what they looked like (aside from a photo that the mom had texted me). I knew where he was planning to propose (at the friendly troll statue next to the boardwalk. And we had a general idea of the time it would take place.
So about 45 minutes before the proposal was set to happen, Zack and I headed over to the park. Zack was on his bike, and I brought the wagon along just in case he got tired, so we could make it in time. We set up a “picnic” on a bench near the troll, and waited. Since I figured Zack might not be good at keeping a secret, I didn’t tell him what we were doing — we were there to “look for birds and other animals.”
For a three year old, he was a trooper! We hung out, I pretended to look for birds while secretly checking out everyone coming down the path — I didn’t want to miss the soon-to-be-engaged couple! Towards the end, Zack got a little antsy and wanted to start biking again. Fortunately, I was able to persuade him to stay a little longer with a cup of trail mix.
That was around the time when I saw my couple walking down the path. I tried to look the part of mom with camera, looking for birds with her toddler. When I saw him start to pull the box holding her ring out of his back pocket, I stopped trying to be secretive and just made sure I was in the right spot to get the best photos of them.
So, while my cover was blown, at that point she was focused on something other than me — her ring. It was so much fun to document her reaction; seeing people so excited always makes me happy :). At that point she kind of looked around at everyone standing and watching — and I said, “congratulations!”
He had succeeded in surprising her, and she started to piece things together. We introduced ourselves, and I took a few more posed portraits of them next to the troll. And that was it. I congratulated them a final time, and then they went back the way they came, arm in arm.
I was really proud of Zack for holding himself together, so we headed off for a celebratory ice cream cone at Dairy Queen (this time he didn’t bike; I pulled him in the wagon). What a fun day!
Here are some of my favorite images from the session (and to see the whole series, you’ll find a slideshow at the end of this post!)
And, as promised, here’s the slideshow:
Congratulations!!! I am so excited to have been a part of your big day 🙂
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.
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!
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. 🙂 🙂
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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???
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!).
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.
One of the tough things for any high school senior to decide is where to have their senior portraits taken. It’s a big part of expressing individuality, or conveying personality. So, with that in mind, here are 10 places you should consider having your senior portraits done.
1. Indoors at the studio.
Studio portraits are timeless and classic. It’s a great choice if you want to do something simple, or want to avoid the unpredictable weather. We can do a lot indoors, trust me. Here are some senior pictures taken indoors at the studio. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
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!
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!
And here’s another from the studio portion of Ian’s session, with a smile this time. Love it!
2. In your own backyard.
While you may not think of your yard as picturesque, it likely has potential. My job, as a photographer, is to make the most of what you’ve got. So, if you want your senior portraits to be someplace that has lots of memories — your own yard is a great choice! Here are some portraits taken in my clients’ yards (and outdoors here at the studio too). Click on any image to enter gallery view.
3. In your car.
Ok, so this isn’t a “place” …persay. But work with me on this one. If you have a car you’re proud of, I’d love it include it in your senior portrait session. Cars can be part of a portrait session pretty much anywhere — your home, the studio, a park… you name it. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
4. Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor.
This is a great park in Ann Arbor, with many acres. There are the peony gardens, the Huron River, wooded paths, open grassy expanses… you name it. This is also a great location if you’d like to bring your dog along for some of the pictures. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
4. Mill Creek Park in Dexter.
I love this park; my son and I visit all the time. I’ve done all kinds of portraits here. The greenery is fantastic, and the river is great too. Since the addition of a boardwalk and walking path, you can even get to Hudson Mills Metropark from this spot. Though, I wouldn’t recommend that jaunt during a portrait session. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
5. Downtown Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor’s downtown covers a lot of area. Some places are easier to get to than others, but there is a lot of neat architecture and urban imagery that can be incorporated into pictures. One word of advice? Don’t plan a downtown Ann Arbor portrait session the week of the Art Fair unless you really, really, love the crowds. That was an experience! Click on any image to enter gallery view.
6. Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor.
If you’re going for a contemporary, urban look, then Graffiti Alley is a perfect spot for senior portraits. The fun thing about this spot? The graffiti is never the same. So from year to year, or week to week, the senior portraits could look completely different. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
6. Downtown Dexter.
Dexter’s downtown is a little more… quaint, perhaps? But it is a lot of fun for senior portrait sessions. An added bonus? Parking is a lot easier than if you’d chosen to venture downtown Ann Arbor. I love all the different looks we can get within a one block radius. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
7. At your school.
Maybe you’re a sports fan, or you really love playing sports. If that’s the case, then pictures at your school would be a great choice. Pioneer High School has the added bonus of being kiddy corner to UM football stadium, so it’s a two-for-one sports deal! Click on any image to enter gallery view.
8. Curtiss Park in Saline.
This is a great part for senior portraits, there is a river, grassy open areas, wooded spots, and even a playground. I have done a number of sessions here for high school seniors and it is so much fun. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
9. Train tracks (near, but not on).
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s dangerous to do pictures on train tracks. But, I’m happy to do senior portraits near them, as in these photos of the young man. The young woman in the photos below actually had her portraits done at the caboose in Depot Town in Ypsilanti — it’s a “permanent fixture” and doesn’t pose any danger to get near (or on). Click on any image to enter gallery view.
10. Go on location indoors.
There are many neat places to go– indoors — for your senior portraits. Your own home is one great place, or perhaps the local coffee shop where you go all the time. Or, maybe you love your job and want your senior pictures taken there. The nice thing about indoor locations? No need to worry about the weather. Click on any image to enter gallery view.
So, there you have it. This list is by no means all inclusive, I had to leave off some fun places! What’s your favorite spot?
This past week was pretty busy! I enjoyed participating in the second annual Paint Dexter Plein Air festival (see my paintings from last year). This time I didn’t paint solo though — I had a entourage with me (both boys, and grandma). My newborn slept, my toddler painted for a bit with grandma, then both enjoyed the outdoors while I kept working. Due to the weather, we didn’t go out to paint the first two days (while I wouldn’t have minded painting in the rain, I didn’t want to bring the kiddos along to get soaked).
So, I had two days to complete my two plein air paintings for the festival. Plus a third painting that was part of the “Quick Draw” event — but, honestly, they all felt like quick draws to me! I enjoyed painting so spontaneously, not really worrying about minute details, and rather going for an artistic representation. Although, I will say, these pieces were a little more realistic than the abstract style I’d briefly entertained using.
Day One – Painting a Caterpillar En Plein Air
We went to one of the Dexter metroparks and while I was deciding what scenery to paint, I found a curious little caterpillar. He had crawled onto my painting supply bag. I gently helped him onto a branch, and proceeded to paint him as the subject for the first day. I really had fun with this piece. The green background did start out as abstract circles, but then I melded the colors together. I felt like a kid for a bit while I was flicking drops of paint onto the paper — so freeing to make a mess outdoors (no cleanup!). And finally, the fuzzy white hairs of the caterpillar — sticking out every which way — were enjoyable to create too. Can you tell I had fun on this day?
Day Two – Plein Air Painting at Night
The evening after painting the caterpillar, I saw a most fantastic view out my son’s bedroom window. The moon was gorgeous, surrounded by ever changing clouds. I decided it would be fun to paint a night scene — and so I did! It was fun to use so much black in a painting (as an aside, my son would agree – his favorite color to paint with is currently black). The dark colors were a bit challenging too, as watercolors aren’t usually so low-key in nature. I ended up adding in our grass in the foreground, taking a low vantage point rather than including the lake and the trees on the horizon, which were all but silhouettes against the city glow of Ann Arbor in the distance. I enjoyed seeing my painted clouds shape themselves and change as I added layers of paint, ever shifting just as the real clouds do.
Day Three – Quick Draw Painting
The final day of painting was the actual Quick Draw event. I had three hours to complete this final piece — not too stressful, as the other two pieces were completed in that timeframe. Such is the life of an artist who happens to be a mother. Especially to little ones — time is precious, and all too fleeting! After going downtown Dexter to register, I returned home to set up shop. Grandma played with my toddler in our yard so he could be near mommy (someone likes to watch me paint). I sat out on our deck, accompanied by a sleeping baby, painting the lovely view of our trees.
I have to admit, working under a three hour time constraint turned out to be a little stressful. Some of my experimentation while painting did NOT turn out as planned, and I had to backtrack a couple times. I think it turned out for the better, in the end, of course. But I definitely could have worked longer on this piece, as I was originally envisioning much more detail in the final painting.
So, there you have it. My three plein air paintings from this year’s Paint Dexter event. I enjoyed participating. It will be interesting to see the other paintings that were created this week — all are on display in Monument Park until Saturday afternoon — for sale by silent auction (or “buy it now” price).
Thoughts on Painting and Creativity
I wish I painted more often. Every time I paint, I tell myself that. But then life happens.
This time, I am going to try and make sure I get my hands on a paintbrush again soon. Painting is so soothing, relaxing, inspiring. Especially when I allow myself the freedom to experiment and play, rather than trying to adhere to “what should be.”
Because, let’s face it, part of art is breaking the rules.
Of course, you have to learn and master the rules before you break them. Or so they say.
One of the perks about our nice weather? Being able to spend time outdoors without bundling up! I love being able to get outdoors, but especially if the sun is shining and it’s not too warm or too cold. We did a combination walk/bike excursion at the park, which worked …except my son is pretty quick on his balance bike. Next time, I may consider bringing along my bike so I can do a better job of keeping up!
All the photographs in this post were taken at the Mill Creek Park in Dexter, Michigan. It’s been fun to see the improvements and changes that have taken place over the past several years. The park has also undergone a name change — it used to be Warrior Creek Park. The dam was removed to allow for a return to more natural creek conditions, and a pedestrian bridge was created to connect the park, via about 5 miles of trail, to Hudson Mills park. A stairway (with bike ramp!) now allows visitors to get from the park up to Alpine street (where the Library and Farmer’s Market are located). There are also boat launches for kayaks/canoes.
We haven’t gone the full length of the trail yet, maybe halfway — but it really has been nice to use the wide trails and boardwalks for getting outdoors. Here are some photographs of our park excursion. On this particular day, we also ventured to “downtown” Dexter as my toddler wanted to go up the ramp/pathway when we were on our way up to the library for storytime.
Fortunately I had allotted enough time for the scenic detour (usually we use the stairs right next to the libary). In the images below, you’ll also find we stopped at the playground — long enough to go down the slide, have mama give an “underdog” or two on the swing, and find a prize pine cone that later accompanied us home.
In case I haven’t made it obvious, I really love being outdoors. It was so fun to identify birds, their songs, look for fish and frogs, and read some of the new informational signs that were placed in the park when it was updated. So, anyways, make sure to check out the images a little further on (click on any image to open in gallery mode).
Portraits at Mill Creek Park in Dexter
Dexter’s Mill Creek Park is also great for portraits! I have enjoyed creating family photos, high school senior pictures, and portraits of toddlers all in various areas of this park. Here are some favorites from a few sessions to give you an idea of what we’ve done in the past. Make sure to check out one senior portrait in particular; it will show you what the park looked like prior to the construction of the pedestrian bridge!
Mill Creek Park Scenes and Snapshots
And back to our park excursion photographs… here are more images of Mill Creek Park, the boardwalk, and our fun in the sun on a wonderful spring day!
By the way, my son loves his fireman balance bike (afflink). The balance bike is adjustable in height and has allowed him to really get the hang of balancing, gliding, and steering — all while zooming. It’s amazing to see the difference when we bring out a tricycle or other “vehicle” with pedals. Those pedals have been a source of frustration, whereas the balance bike is natural and freeing. Based on what success my friends have had with their kids and balance bikes, I anticipate an eventual smooth transition to a 2 wheel bike (with pedals) down the road, skipping training wheels completely!
Articles About Mill Creek Park
Here are some articles about Mill Creek Park — detailing the different stages of contruction, and the official Dexter Parks page. Links will open in a new window for your convenience.
Do you have any favorite activities when you go to the park? It seems like we always visit the playground, and we usually have at least the balance bike with us. On one trip to Mill Creek Park, we were blessed with an unexpected friendship when we met another mama! What’s your favorite part of being outdoors? Is it the wildlife? The scenery? The people you’re with? Do you have a favorite memory at a particular park?
I love snow. Really. And the fact that we were holed up in the house, sick, during the past couple big snows made me sad! So, I resigned myself to capturing what I could from within the warmth of our house (no way I was going out in negative temperatures to risk an easily induced coughing fit). Here is one of my favorites — it’s a little on the abstract side, but I have always loved looking at the wind ripples on snow drifts. And, I was able to capture a section of our yard not tromped over by deer or turkeys!
It’s hard to believe Paul is finally a senior… maybe that’s why I’ve put off posting his portraits? At any rate, I’ve had the privilege to do senior pictures for his older siblings, and the neat thing about all three of their sessions (see Kathleen’s senior pictures here; Doug’s aren’t even on this blog!) is that they have a common theme — We did a canvas wall portrait for each session featuring each of the kids with the car. Here are all three siblings with their respective car senior pictures. I love how these look together, don’t you?
We started off in the studio, then went to two parks for the outdoors portion of Paul’s pictures.
We did Tommy’s senior pictures at the start of school (can’t believe time flies so quickly! Even though it was fall, the leaves hadn’t started to turn yet, so Tommy’s portraits have lovely vivid greens for the outdoors portion of his senior session.
And as I wrap up writing this blog post for my nephew, I really can’t believe it’s been two years already since his brother, Ben (my oldest nephew), was getting his senior pictures done. Time really does fly.