More than a month ago my gardening friend Dawn called and asked me to photograph her son’s senior portrait. We talked about locations and decided that their extensive property in southern Skagit County would be a good place. Chris is an outdoors guy, an athlete, and a pianist. As is often the case with active high school seniors, finding a time that fit his schedule was a challenge. We ended up with an October Sunday morning session under cloudy skies.
It was actually raining when I arrived, so we started with a few interior shots with Chris at the piano. He wasn’t too keen on those, but we wanted to make mom happy. When the rain stopped we moved outside and began working our way around the garden.
We shot under the grape arbor, among the structural ornamental grasses, and around a contemporary sculpture. We did standing and seated poses and tried kneeling but Chris had a football injury from Saturday’s game and it hurt to kneel. Painful grimaces don’t make good portraits.
This portrait is in the apple orchard. At first I had Chris leaning on the tree, and looking through the crotch of the V-shaped trunk. Then I asked Chris if he had any other ideas and he immediately climbed up in the tree. He’s pretty tall, so fitting him into the tree was almost a challenge. I guessed that he’d been climbing the tree since he was little.
Chris had an easy smile and we had a good time working together to create a wide range of poses in locations throughout the property. I knew the family would probably only purchase one portrait at the end, but I like to provide many concepts to choose from.
This portrait of Chris at the edge of the woods is the one everyone ultimately liked the best and ordered as a small wall portrait. He looks relaxed and comfortable, and the golden yellow autumn foliage contrasts nicely with the blue sweater and jeans.
The overcast sky served as a giant softbox. I added a single off-camera flash as fill and to give a little dimension to the light in this portrait and in many of the others I made that morning. I shot with the Canon 1Ds Mk II, a 24-105 and a 70-200 lens. The fall color in the garden and the adjacent woods made a nice setting.
All in all, we worked for a couple of hours. When Chris and his folks came in for their viewing and purchase session earlier this week (they were out of the country in between) there were many portraits that they liked a lot. I showed more choices than I often do, but they were pretty quick to make decisions as I projected the portraits. Finished portraits will be back from the lab after Thanksgiving and will look great in their home.
Here’s a video with more of the session:
If you like what you see and would like to explore having me create your senior portraits when the days get a little longer and the weather more dependable please send an e-mail or pick up the phone and call. You can use the Contact page on the menu at the left, too.