Amber is a 2011 senior at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. She is one of our senior spokesmodels for 2011, so while we had a lot of fun creating these images during her mini-session, you’ll be seeing more portraits of her later this summer when we plan her outdoors senior portrait session!
I believe it’s important to give back to those in our community; to share the talents I have been given. I really do believe that everyone deserves to have their memories captured, and that senior portraits are a big part of creating a legacy. Senior portraits aren’t just a sign that you’re done with high school; they have become a personality statement. For many families, these senior portraits remain on display until replaced by wedding portraits.
When Brandon and Charlae (co-directors of the Youth with a Purpose mentorship program) contacted me, I felt that it would just be right to give these youths (and their families) a gift of portraiture. Betsy’s Photography will be donating senior portrait packages to the initial group of YWP seniors (in graduating classes 2010 through 2014).
AnnArbor.com took interest in this affair, and in late January, published an article about Youth With a Purpose. Brandon told the reporter:
One parent was so overcome with joy that she began to cry […] She said that Betsy’s donation was truly a gift from God.
I’m truly honored to be able to make a difference for these youths and their families. In my life, I have been blessed in countless ways; it only makes sense to give back.
One of the highlights, so far, has been meeting the wonderful individuals involved in the mentorship program. Last night Steven and I met some of the youth! Brandon and Charlae introduced us to three of the YWP students (Left to Right: Brandon, Michael, Bailey, Steven, Betsy, Charlae, O'Dell)
A little more about Youth with a Purpose, as quoted on AnnArbor.com:
Baugh and Charlae Davis founded Youth With a Purpose, a nonprofit organization of the Labor of Love Church in Ypsilanti, almost four years ago while they were working at the Comprehensive Studies Program at the University of Michigan. After gathering approximately 20 middle-school students for the program, Baugh and Davis began mentoring the students and providing help with school work. Baugh said the program has grown to include approximately 30 members.
“When our program began three years ago, many were in difficult situations at home, their academic performance was very low and many were in trouble with the law,” said Baugh. “I’m happy to say all of these issues have been resolved; it’s like they are completely different people now.”
Corey is a Senior at Pioneer High School. If he looks familiar, it’s because, a while back, we did his brother’s senior portraits. For Corey’s session, we wanted to create portraits in an outdoor setting, since Corey loves being outdoors. We spent some time at Corey’s home in Ann Arbor, followed by the schoolyard at a nearby public school.
On the school grounds, I found a wonderful variety of settings, allowing me some lovely backgrounds that complemented Corey’s attire. We ended up with some great images incorporating the natural scenery, brick walls, an exterior door that contrasted wonderfully with nature’s greenery. Corey’s mom said one of Corey’s portraits reminded her of a mountain man… the stark landscape with Corey as the solitary subject.
The portrait with the fence was taken in Corey’s backyard. His mom loved it… I always like it when I can incorporate a meaningful/significant location into the portrait session. It helps transform the portrait from just a picture into a meaningful memory.
Corey was a good sport throughout the entire session, and I’m so glad we were able to keep the experience a relaxing one for him!
Alex is a senior at Plymouth Salem High School, and he came to the studio this fall for his senior portrait session. Alex plays varsity football, so naturally we had to incorporate his jersey and letter jacket into the session! Here’s one of my favorite portraits of Alex. I love the serious but thoughtful expression on this image, it’s very intriguing!
A different take on the same concept. I like how this portrait displays the back of Alex’s letter jacket.
This next image was meant to be conceptually a little more “serious.” I love how Alex’s expression and the football paraphernalia all add to the feel of this portrait.
We also created a more casual portrait of Alex. Here’s my favorite one from the series. Love the subdued gray tones!
Alex, congratulations for all your accomplishments. I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your senior year!
For Sarah’s senior portrait session (on location), we decided to go to the Arb, as well as create some portraits in and around the studio. This first one is going to be a wall portrait, and will look gorgeous from across the room. I absolutely love how pretty Sarah is, surrounded by flowers.
Sarah’s mom came out to the Arb during her lunch break to bring an adorable visitor…. Princess! Princess was so excited to be a part of Sarah’s senior portrait session… that she didn’t know what to do (well, it was either that or the squirrel taunting her from the oak tree in the Arb — your guess is as good as mine!). Anyways, Princess behaved amazingly and we were able to capture some really relaxed senior portraits for Sarah. Here’s her laughing as Princess pranced over to say hi to me:
Next, we went over to the tree where that squirrel had been, so Princess could investigate. I had Sarah sit down with Princess… and when Sarah leaned over to praise her for being such a good puppy… I caught the moment (You should know, I call all cute dogs puppies, because isn’t age relative for dogs too?).
Back at the studio, we went outside to create something a little more pensive and dramatic.
Martin’s senior portrait session was fun! Martin is actually into photography himself… architectural photography, actually. So while we didn’t go to anywhere with striking architecture, we did go outdoors for the location portion of his senior session… and where better to go than home? Martin’s family has a gorgeous yard, and even though it was hot out, I was able to create some awesome images for Martin and his parents to enjoy.
First stop — tree climbing. I saw these amazing trees, and had an idea, of course! Martin was more than cooperative… after all, how often do you get to actually climb a tree during a portrait session? Here’s one of the images of Martin up in the tree.
Next, we went into the backyard, which has a lovely open area with this neat little hill. It looked like a great place for the next series of images! Here’s one portrait of Martin in the “field” — I really love how this one looks.
And of course, I can’t make a post without sharing something more “typical” …so here we go.
I always enjoy working with seniors… Thanks for a fun session Martin!
Hannah’s location senior portrait session was fun and we captured some great images, despite the heat and the crows at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.
After doing some gritty urban style images, we walked back through the Art Fair booths to find a few more “scenic” locations. We found an awesome stone wall for a series of shots.
I’m soooo excited to have my senior portraits done; all my senior friends’ pictures turned out so amazing! I need help though. I want to choose my own photographer, but my mom wants me to use the one she used ages ago… And that totally is not what I want. His style is boring and stiff… I want casual and fun. What can I do to convince my mom we should go to someone like you for my senior pictures?
— Just a Junior
My answer this question has several parts, so stick with me, ok? First of all, in order to convince your mom, (or even to have a chance of getting her to change her mind), you need to talk with her. And when you do, make sure you keep things cool. While this decision means a lot to you, you’ll need to be mature about the discussion to show her that you are capable of making decisions as a mature person (trust me, this is probably very important from your mom’s perspective). So, before you talk with your mom, read the rest of my response so that you can share your feelings with your mom in a way she’s more likely to understand.
First of all, do you know if there are any specific reasons why your mom wants to use her old photographer? Knowing her concerns and reasons will help you be able to answer her questions and make her feel better about the whole situation. Without know exactly what it is, I can only provide some more general suggestions. So, make sure you find out her reasons before you start giving yours!
Your mom probably wants that one formal senior portrait. Are you willing to make a compromise if she lets you choose your senior portrait photographer? In other words, if she really wants the formal outfit and formal pose to remember your senior year — it might go a long way to offer to do this in addition to the fun, casual senior portrait session that you’re looking forward to. Actually, a lot of my senior clients often do something similar — either before or after the “fun” part of the senior session, we take a little time to do the formal senior portrait. And, since it’s not the only thing we do, you and your mom get to enjoy a variety of styles, all of which are great portraits of you.
Your mom may have concerns about using a different photographer for your senior portraits because she wants to make sure both of you will enjoy your senior portraits. This is a completely valid concern — and you want to make sure you have a good experience too, don’t you? So, since you mentioned that you like my style, let’s say you are telling her about Betsy’s Photography. You can mention the style of senior portraits that I create (remember, I can do those formal ones too), and you definitely want to mention some of my qualifications. Your mom will probably feel a lot better about considering another photographer if she knows the “new” one is properly qualified. In fact, send her to my website — she’ll be able to read all the details there.
Ok, so after addressing your mom’s concerns and telling her why you want to have Betsy’s Photography create your senior portrait, what’s the next step? Well, first make sure her main objections have been answered (keeping things calm, remember?). Then, if she’s still not completely convinced, maybe you should suggest visiting my website, giving the studio a call, or even scheduling a consultation to discuss your senior portrait choices.
It’s important that you and your mom to both be happy with the photographer you use for your senior portraits, and by finding out what the real concerns are, you have a better chance of helping your mom consider other photographer when it comes time to schedule your senior portrait session. Keep cool, discuss things calmly, and present supporting points. Don’t try tell your mom she’s wrong (she’s entitled to her own opinion!), but ask her if she’d be willing to consider hearing you out. A little information never hurt anyone, right?
Who knows, maybe when you’ve finished discussing everything, your mom will be the first one to contact me about scheduling your senior portrait session!