Part of what I do differently with my senior photo sessions is I let kids have a voice in the decisions about what and how we shoot. Typically when young adults reach their senior year, they want to have a senior photo that feels real to them and represents who they feel like inside. I negotiate with kids and parents: a certain amount of time making pictures that the parents want, and time dedicated to photos that the senior wants. We could spend an hour doing glamour shots or spend time capturing your sport, music, art, best friend, or spending time with the family dog. I want seniors to feel like their senior photos are at the same time authentic and also hyper-real. We all want to see the best version of ourselves. I loved this photo session because Aidan and his mom, Cyndi, were in agreement that they wanted both kinds of photos. I was very excited to take the mountain biker senior photos because Aidan is an amazing competitive Enduro cyclist. Watching him practice made me cringe with fear but it was also incredibly exhilarating and I knew we could get some pretty cool shots.
Last year nearly half the seniors I photographed requested the same location for their portrait session. I think a great photo can be taken anywhere, don't get me wrong, and so I didn't complain when the umpteenth person requested photos at Cheeseman Park. It's my job as a photographer to deliver spectacular and unique images, wherever you choose to shoot. I did a session at the Clear Creek History Park in Golden which has to be the most overused photography location in the state and there were no fewer than 15 other photographers there with seniors and families. So I throw this down to seniors and photographers -wouldn't it be cool to go somewhere different? I offer these eight unique places for senior photos in Denver:
1) Out in the open - no trees or flowers to be seen anywhere. A good example of this is Central Park in Stapleton. You can create a feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere, or on top of the world.
2) A parking garage. The darkness behind, the concrete, shadows, and weird industrial fences make for lovely lighting and shadows. This one is near DPAC but I've shot in a half dozen different garages and love them all.
3) At a trampoline park like Jumpstreet or Big Time. Some yearbooks require a more standard photo but that doesn't mean you can't have photos for YOU about YOU wherever YOU want. We can get ordinary photos anywhere.
4) On a farm. Farms have open space, vegetables and many beautiful bright colors. Think nature, animals, tractors, hay, vegetables, fruit trees. There are small community gardens all over the Denver metro area and a number of nearby commercial farms in Denver County.
5) Near a body of water. We have several reservoirs in the Denver metro area, plenty of docks and wide lakes that create a fantastic beach-like look.
6) In a cemetery. Even if you don't want headstones in your photos, most cemeteries have beautiful and very peaceful, solitary, areas for sitting or walking.
7) In front of murals or graffiti - South Santa Fe Blvd. has a lot of lovely murals that can be a fun backdrop for senior photos.
8) An amusement park or carnival - imagine your photos on the tilt-a-whirl or just with all the sparkly lights in the background during an evening shoot?
East High School Senior Pictures featuring Jasmine Lucero. I've known Jasmine since she was in about fourth grade when her mother was my son's kindergarten teacher. Jasmine was kind enough to wear this vintage prom dress I found probably 10 years ago. It is tiny, almost didn't fit Jasmine who wears size 0. She was a trooper and wore it anyhow and pranced around for me in full supermodel mode. Jasmine is such a smart girl and very fun to work with. I was impressed with her kindness to her mom and sister and her willingness to try whatever I wanted. She was a great sport. Have a wonderful senior year Jasmine.
I shot Berkeley's senior photo session at the Denver Botanic Gardens amidst throngs of Dale Chihuily fans. Shooting there right now is a challenge because there are so many visitors at the gardens due to the fantastic glass exhibit. Initially I played with trying to incorporate some of the art into my photos but ultimately, I decided nothing can compare to the beauty of the human face. Nobody would notice the art anyhow, so why compete with 200 other people for a spot next to a sculpture? Berkeley was really easy going and has such obvious beauty it was a treat as a photographer to shoot with her. I have a tendency to prefer people not to smile in photos and Berkeley is no exception. I'm sure her parents will want to wring my neck for saying so but she has this very sexy, sultry look about her that just calls to the camera and I couldn't help but try to emphasize. It was a pleasure to work with her. I photographed Berkeley and Ashley Zaeske on the same day (they are friends since preschool) and I got to enjoy the photographic trifecta of the Botanic Gardens, the tall, blonde gorgeousness of Ashley and the petite, dark, winsomeness of Berkeley. I'm one lucky photographer. I included here some images I finished with a magazine-style filter because I love them. Have a fun senior year Berkeley. To see more senior photos, click here.
I love doing Mountain Range Senior Photos because all the kids I photograph from that school are THIS CUTE. I'm friends with Ashley's mom, Pam, whom I've known since Ashley was a toddler. I've always been a fan of all things leopard, platform heels, and fabulous clothes. Ashley, much to Pam's dismay, is a total clothes horse and we've always gotten along famously. I think Ashley has been planning her senior photos since 2011 when I took her brother's senior pictures. Ashley brought so many adorable outfits for our shoot it was difficult to know when to quit. We had a wonderful time shooting at the Botanic Gardens and she was such a good sport and fantastic model. I love the candid shots of her, and everything in the beautiful glass summer house. Hugs Ash, you are a beauty!