My focus on portraiture is with area high school seniors, families and children. I mention high school seniors first, because this is the age group that I absolutely love to photograph. Seniors and teens are an age group in transition. They often have boyfriends or girlfriends and are thinking about college or career, and they're facing the reality of leaving home soon - all of this makes for a confusing time in their lives. The opportunity to capture these myriad of expressions will not happen in their lives again.
I believe the only way to reveal these emotions in my portraits is to have their portrait session in an environment where they are most comfortable - their homes!
When I first started with high school seniors, the sessions would take place in the studio and around their town. When I wasn't shooting a session, I would constantly be driving around looking for unique but mostly cliche locations - old buildings, alleys, railroad tracks, parks and playgrounds. Soon, I realized, that there were more seniors than these interesting locations. The last thing I want is for one high school senior's pictures to look like copies of their friend's pictures.
As I have evolved in senior portraiture, I have discoverd the wealth of portrait possibilities in people's yards and inside their homes. Most of the time the best yards are not necessarily at new or wealthy homes. The type of settings I enjoy most are found in established yards, mature shade trees, tall grass and front porches - these all make for excellent portrait settings.
Most of the seniors I photograph live in very modest, middle-income homes. Understandably, many are reluctant to have me come to their homes because they don't think they have any place worth photographing. Leave this up to me, it's up to me to turn the "what is" in to the "what can be".
My ultimate goal is to create portraits telling a story and revealing that person's character or personality. The way I see it, the only way to most accurately capture this is on location. Having me photograph you in and around your home is the best way for me to express the real you. Your home is not the only place, I also highly encourage you to pick other locations like your grandparent's home, your school, sports field, where you work, etc. Give me places and locations that will best describe you and where you spend much of your time.
Going to your home is not only a giant leap forward in photographing you as a real person, it also has some other great benefits:
- you're in a comfortable environment - this yields comfortable expressions
- it makes clothing selection a breeze - I can offer suggestions on color coordination with the surroundings
- it's amazing how much 'stuff' seniors have that can help portray them. Things that they would never have thought to bring to a studio
Seniors and Parents of Seniors:
Just ask yourself "How can pictures of a senior in a studio set, where a few hundred other seniors stood, be 'real' and personal"?