One of the reasons that I love senior portrait photography is that I have clients who truly want to record who their children have become as they are growing into adulthood. There are loads of great senior portraits taken every day, but very often, we see the same KINDS of portraits that are traditional and could be any kid, in any city, and you can't tell a single thing about that individual's style, personality or interests. Each type of portrait session a client hires me for has a specific purpose or meaning to them. Family portraits are usually about ensuring that we take a hot second to preserve what our children and pets (and ourselves) look like today in the hustle and bustle which becomes lives with kids. Head shot sessions are to fulfill a need for social media and business typically. Senior portraits are different still. The reality is that most anyone who has had a senior portrait session in their lifetime will only go back to reflect on them a handful of times throughout their lives (until we get kind of old, and then we sometimes love to reflect on those times and how incredibly we have grown as human beings). Senior portrait sessions are often for the parents and grandparents who are saying goodbye to their babies. Preserving their entry into adulthood and being sure we will remember them exactly how they are today. Still OURS, but also now their own people, quickly growing into who they are going to soon be. For me, this portrait session should capitalize on what makes that kid truly unique, what they love and sometimes how they arrived there. Portrait sessions like these are intimate affairs. I need to understand and know the subject and who they are, and also who their parents are and most importantly, how they SEE their child. I meet with every senior client and their parents when possible so that I can get a read on the individual, the relationship they have with one another and so that I can start to open up these kids, who are often a bit uncomfortable with the whole thing. It's a daunting thought, after all, to be "on stage" with a stranger directing you for a couple of hours. With that being said, however, sometimes seniors are performers, either by practice or by nature. This session was for a dancer who hopes to make a career of her craft and is very accomplished and focused on this specific goal. She and her mom are a great team who know one another intimately and don't even really have to talk to communicate (you know it's true, Marti and Caroline, you are like little psychic ninjas with each other). No boring senior portraits for this girl. Her ability, grace and ability to perform are a portrait artist's dream. I knew I wanted to create a special fine art piece once I saw Caroline move, so we shot a few extras for me to go back and build a story from. She studied dance in Chicago over the summer, so compositing a surreal scene into a shot of Chicago I had taken recently while traveling instantly came to mind for this piece. She dances on air, so why not over a city she loves and which holds special meaning for her? This was such a fun session from start to finish and I made a couple of new friends throughout the process. Very grateful to have had the opportunity to really show her sweet disposition, insane physical abilities, creative mind and intense focus through her portraits. An extra special thanks to the guys at The Independent Denim and Essentials for letting us play in your beautiful store.
Some of our favorite images from recent portrait sessions featured here.