The Senior Portrait Experience | Class of 2019 Magazine

Welcome, Class of 2019 (upcoming) SENIORS!!

(or, Welcome, Class of 2018 senior who is getting ready to graduate and missed out on wonderful senior pictures.... BUT still wants to book an amazing, once in a lifetime portrait session before heading to your next adventures!!)

I just published my NEW senior portrait magazine, designed to visually walk you through the process of the senior picture experience in a bit more depth.

We'll discuss ALL of this in person at your consultation (and I'll have a paper copy for you to peruse) but until then I hope this provides some inspiration for things you want to try in your senior portrait session, including in depth examples of different kinds of locations and photo stories from several kinds of sessions we can have in and around Denver, from urban, to natural to mountain and beyond. You'll also find ideas for styling, tips for hair, makeup and wardrobe, a bit more on how the process works. Plus LOTS of pictures to get you excited to tell YOUR story.

{ feel free to view the magazine in full screen mode -- note that clicking full screen will open a new browser window }

Hopefully if you're reading this we've already set up your consult, but if you've found this post on your own and would like to know more, please click this link to drop me an email (be sure to include a phone number, your school, and please check your spam folder if you don't hear from me within a day or two!)

Or call me at (970)708.2065 and let me know a good time to reach you! Let's grab a coffee and you can tell me how YOU imagine your senior pictures.

I'm so excited to start our creative collaboration to celebrate your senior year with artful portraits!!

Cheers,
Jennifer

Actor Headshots | Make the Most of Your Photo Session!

As a lifelong theatre lover, stage production photographer and mother of an actor heading for his BFA, I have an intense admiration for your work, and the highest possible respect for your talent and art.

above: natural light actor headshots photographed on location in urban settings in Denver, except for upper right which was photographed in my natural light studio

above: natural light actor headshots photographed on location in urban settings in Denver, except for upper right which was photographed in my natural light studio

And I get it: getting photographed as an actor when you’re not… acting… is not your favorite thing.

SO... if you're nervous about this, please keep in mind that 1) you’re not alone in this feeling, and 2) I’ve got your back. My job will be to help you relax and have fun with the process. I’ve been told often by many clients that this is my superpower.

But there are a few things you can do before the session to increase the odds that you arrive at least feeling prepared.

Think of getting ready for your headshot session like you would prepare to arrive at an audition: rested, hydrated, on time and dressed for the part you want.

PREPARING YOUR WARDROBE:

  1. Bring 3-4 different looks for and actor headshot session (or 4-6 looks if you booked an extended photo session). Even if your end goal is just two photos  (one commercial and one dramatic) it’s best to have options. Please don’t bring your whole wardrobe as we'll end up using session time trying to sort through your clothes.

  2. Bring a variety of necklines and fabric textures. Simple tops are best, and keep wardrobe options in line with your brand.

  3. Clothes that fit close to your body are more flattering in photos (no matter your body type, I can pose you in more flattering ways if your clothing is not baggy or boxy).

  4. Bring colors that compliment your skin tones, and generally avoid black or pure white -- or at least bring other options in colors that compliment and bring out your eyes, skin tone or hair.

  5. Avoid flashy and busy patterns that will distract from YOU. The main focus of these photos should be your eyes and the connection we feel with your personality. Often a simple cotton t-shirt in a color that complements you is a great option.

  6. Jackets and uncomplicated layers can create variety without stopping for full changes.

  7. If you can wear a light tank under tops, it allows for quick changes outdoors and therefore give you more photography time.

  8. Jewelry is likely to distract from you, so unless it’s a vital part of your brand (and you're confident it will stay that way until your next headshot session), skip it.

  9. TRY ON your wardrobe items before you bring them. If you’re only doing headshots, there’s no need to worry about pants (I mean, you’ll need to WEAR pants to the session, of course). Check that items still fit well. Hopefully this will remind you to pack outfit specific undergarments (i.e. avoid striped undershirts/black bras under light shirts, etc.).

  10. Launder, press, de-lint as needed.

  11. After selecting your wardrobe, PACK it in a way that it is portable and can comfortably sit on a sidewalk while we are taking photos. A small duffel bag or rolling suitcase is ideal.

  12. NOTE for actors and models who have AGENCY REPRESENTATION: talk with your agent beforehand if he/she wants input regarding wardrobe and styling!

MORE ACTOR HEADSHOT PREPARATION TIPS:

  1. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. This will help keep your skin clear and eyes bright. Don’t stress if you wake up with blemishes the day of your session (and don’t mess with them as that generally makes them worse -- let photoshop do the magic there!)

  2. Light exercise (a quick walk) immediately before your session can add a healthy glow to your skin.

  3. Eyebrows / Nails / Facial Hair: Clean up, pluck and trim as necessary.

  4. Hair & Makeup should be worn how you normally do, just be sure to refresh right before our session and bring anything necessary for touch-ups just in case (and comb/brush/spray in case of light breeze). Even if you don't wear makeup, mascara and lip tint or at least gloss is great to highlight your features but still look natural. You want to arrive at your audition looking essentially like your headshot for it to be the most effective tool for casting directors to connect your headshot to your audition. Please DO NOT try out a brand new haircut/style in the few days before your session (take it from many clients who have learned this lesson the hard way)!

  5. Men: please remember some lip balm or chapstick to avoid cracked and dry lips… it’s Colorado. 

  6. It is not your job to be photogenic, it is my job to make you feel empowered to draw out your personality while you connect with the camera. You can relax knowing that I will direct you into your most flattering poses (this is critically important since you can’t see yourself, after all). I’ll give you posing tips to take with you, and YES, I’ll show you photos as we go (not all photographers do this). My clients love to see what we are getting and discuss any necessary modifications we want to make as we work together.

  7. IMPORTANT: Please arrive on time! Familiarize yourself with directions to our meeting place and leave time to negotiate traffic and parking. Session times are designed around flattering LIGHT. Nothing worse than arriving frazzled, except arriving frazzled AND having to race against fading light or light that is getting harsher by the moment.

  8. If you have done your prep-work, the only thing left is to show up! We’ll chat about your wardrobe for a few minutes when you first arrive, and then you’ll have time to relax into the session. Ideally you’ll have a great experience while we produce fantastic headshots to land you in front of your dream casting director.

 

To learn more about my personal approach to studio and/or on location actor, model and professional headshots (for men, women and kids), and to explore investment options, please check out my PORTFOLIO. And if you’d like to read my most popular blog post to date, check out my INTERVIEW with Denver Casting Director Sylvia Gregory and discover in depth what she’s looking for in an actor headshot.

Final thoughts if you’ve reached this post and are still shopping to hire a professional:

Be sure you are working with a photographer who specializes in ACTOR Headshots (very different from portraits or professional corporate headshots). Spend time looking at a photographer’s work -- do you resonate with the photos in her/his portfolio? Are the eyes the main focus of the photos? Do you feel personality and connection in the subjects? Is the lighting flattering? Do the photos make the actors look approachable, interesting, engaged and professional? Are the backgrounds distracting? Also important: do you feel comfortable communicating with your photographer? Is he or she willing to talk with you on the phone if you have questions? Your comfort level the day of your session is critical to getting great connection in your photos.

View more of my work at this link:

Top 10 Tips | Preparing for your SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSION!!

It’s high school senior portrait session time!

high-school-senior-pictures-denver

Having a senior portrait session with a professional photographer should be a once in a lifetime, confidence building, fun and empowering experience -- AND it should be one that results in pictures that will last generations (be aware: digital media is not likely to not last -- only prints should be considered archival).

Your kids -- even grandkids -- should be able to look back at your senior photos and be inspired to learn more about your story. The potential value and life of this experience extends far beyond the yearbook picture!

So, to make it a positive and fun experience, here are a few things to look for in a photographer:

FIRST: do you resonate with the work you see on a photographer's website/portfolio? Are the EYES the focus of the pictures? Do you feel personality and connection from the people being photographed? Is the lighting flattering? Does the style match your style (or desired artistry)?

SECOND: do you feel comfortable communicating with your photographer? Your photographer should offer a complimentary consultation so that you can design your session details to fit YOUR personality and style. Your comfort level on the day of your session is critical to getting great connection in your photos so this is a must!

senior-portrait-photographer-denver

ONCE you have decided you can't wait to work with ME . . .

A little preparation can go a long way to making this even BETTER. To that end, I have compiled a few tips after years of doing this to help you arrive feeling prepared and ready to get the most out of the senior portrait experience :

TOP 10 TIPS ...   HOW TO have a ROCKIN’ SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSION :

  1. What to wear: You should bring at least 4-5 different looks to your session. We may not shoot them all, but it’s always great to have options. Think in shades of casual/cozy to more formal/dressy, but keeping all options in line with your personality and style. Think about necklines and a variety of textures of fabric, lace, etc.. Clothes that fit close to your body are more flattering in photos (no matter your body type -- baggy clothing is very difficult to pose). Think about colors that compliment your skin tones (colors that compliment your eyes, skin tone or hair are great). Layers are great (jackets, leather jackets, flannel shirts, etc.) to give us options. Try to avoid flashy or busy patterns that will distract from YOU. Jewelry will often become a distraction, but if there’s an accessory that you love, by all means bring it along and we can try it! Don’t forget shoes/boots/etc. and socks to go with each outfit! If there’s a prom dress or something in your closet that you love but never get to wear, please bring it!

  2. At least a week prior to your session: gather and TRY ON each complete outfit. Check that they are clean and that they still fit you well. Don't forget to include any undergarments needed (i.e. no striped undershirts/black bras under light shirts!!) and... please launder / press as needed.

  3. If step number two has left you uninspired, perhaps it’s time for a new outfit or two? (which is why step 2 is NOT the night before your session). Check out Pinterest for ideas (I have a fun senior photo style board and other portrait/style boards HERE), but keep in mind that your senior photos should be a direct reflection of YOU, as you are at this moment in your life.

  4. Wardrobe Portability: If we're on location somewhere other than in one of my studios, be sure that your wardrobe and accessories are packed in a way that we can carry them around with us if we're walking and put down on a sidewalk, without scattering or loosing items along the way!

  5. A few days prior, make sure you stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Think of this as you would preparing for an audition or interview. This will help keep your skin clear and eyes bright! Don’t stress if you wake up with blemishes the day of your session (and don’t mess with them as it will generally make them worse -- let photoshop do the magic there!)

  6. Nails + Eyebrows: this applies to girls AND guys -- clean up your eyebrows before your photo session! And your hands will likely be in at least a few photos, so make sure they look how you want them to look (i.e. fancy manicure is not necessary, but please, no chipped polish!)

  7. Exercise the week prior so you feel great IF that’s your thing -- but there’s no need to delay or dread your session so you can “lose a few pounds.” One of the major benefits of hiring a PROFESSIONAL is that he or she should know a number of posing tips to make you look your best and to flatter every and any body! (and this is one of my specialties!) And for goodness sake, get a good night's sleep before your session!

  8. Day of session: make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with directions to our meeting place and leave yourself time to negotiate traffic and parking. Nothing worse than arriving frazzled, except perhaps arriving late when there might be a session scheduled after yours. Losing out on session time stinks!

  9. If you’re getting professional makeup and/or hair, arrive with your face and hair clean and dry. If you wear makeup normally, feel free to bring a snapshot of how you’d like your makeup to look so your makeup artist can compliment your normal look, making it "camera ready." If you aren't getting a professional makeover, wear your normal shades of mascara/lip color, just be sure to refresh right before our session (even if you don't normally wear makeup, mascara and lip tint is great to highlight your features but still look natural). And guys, a bit of chapstick is a great thing to bring for hydrated, non-cracked lips!

  10. Trust that you’ve hired a photographer who has experience and will be able to direct you to share your most awesome sides, empower you, and bring out your personality for the best photos you’ve ever seen of yourself!

The only thing left for you to do is to RELAX into the session and be yourself. HAVE FUN and allow your photographer to direct you through this experience and capture you at your best!!

denver-senior-pictures

Hopefully that helps, but if you have ANY questions, please drop me a line and ask!