The Senior

I’ve posted my thoughts on both an infant and a toddler portrait session I was hired to do last fall, now I wanted to finish of the trilogy with a brief look at my first senior portrait session. I haven’t advertized myself for the Senior portrait market and typically photograph toddlers and younger, but when I was asked to do senior photos I readily excepted. I knew the family through a school connection and was fairly certain that it would be a relaxed affair that would give me some freedom to ease into my first senior photography gig.

I was right. The session was fun and relaxed and I was able to try out various local locations. I also discovered that senior photography couldn’t be more different than my usual toddler or infant portrait jobs. To have a subject that was willingly cooperative and that could follow my guidance for poses and positions was, well, luxurious.

We began photographing at the local country club where Katie works. Her employment gained us the use of 2 golf carts which helped us quickly gain access deeper into the course property. I talked my 9-year old son Jude into assisting as my reflector holder and he did a stellar job.[1] Katie wanted to start the session in a black dress primarily to get the formal, mother-required outfit out of the way and get into something more casual. We drove a loop through the course and photographed the dress photos. It was beautiful property and partly cloudy skies helped to cut down on harsh shadows. We stopped back at the clubhouse for an outfit change after Katie had allayed her mom with a good coverage of dress photos. I had scouted the course a few days before and discovered that the country club had a few rental cabins on site. The cabins had rustic porches that caught my eye as a good location for some photos. The photos at the cabin turned out to be my favorite of the day. Jude nailed the his reflecting angle and lit Katie with some beautiful golden, late-day light which helped separate her from the shadows of the porch.We finished up at the golf course and drove down the road to Punderson State Park for some more photos on the porch of the lodge overlooking a lake and autumn-colored hillside. My second favorite images of the day of Katie leaning on a split-rail fence in front of an autumn-colored maple tree were made there. We finished the portrait session with a quick stop at some nearby soccer fields for a series of photos of Katie and her soccer cleats. Katie is an avid soccer player. I was a bit surprised when I learned that she wanted some soccer themed photos but purposely didn’t bring a soccer ball. She correctly pointed out that everybody uses a soccer ball. Instead, she wanted just her cleats as they were really the key piece of gear for her from game to game. It was a great decision in my opinion and it was nice to be thrown a curve ball so late in the session when my creativity was drifting into cliche. I tried to layer the photo vertically from foreground to background and set the soccer goal as an anchor to help define the theme.

For my first senior class portrait job I couldn’t have asked for a better client or experience.


  1. I had brought along flash equipment, but the day was windy and I could foresee battling the wind with umbrella gear would be a hassle so I stuck with using just a reflector with Jude’s help. He was very excited to find out that he’d be paid for his work. He was less excited that he needed to wait until I had bills smaller than $20’s to be paid. I mean, really, the job includes daily room and board too.  ↩