As crazy as it sounds, my favorite age when raising children was the teenage years, and my favorite photography subjects are high-school seniors. While my associate photographer Jenny’s daughter Marlee is only four (the jury’s still out on the fave age), she, too, gets juiced about taking HS senior portraits.
Were my children sweet little angels, who washed dishes without asking, never wrecked their car and simply held hands with their b’friends and g’friends? Nope, not by a long stretch. Challenging yes, but it is fun and exciting to watch them come into their being, to see the hard work start to pay off.
High school senior portraits are my favorite assignments because the subjects are young, their skin more supple than it will ever be again, they are idealistic and they are invincible.
Oh! And the places they’ll (or we’ll go)! When working with students from Plano Senior High Schools, Allen, McKinney and Frisco schools and, some of my favorites, Booker T Washington, we use everything from Whataburger to Deep Ellum to the Dallas Arboretum as the colorful environment surrounding the subjects. And, honestly, we don’t have to go anywhere special to create beautiful. (I’ll tell you about my most memorable shoot in the next couple of paragraphs.)
Another aspect about senior portrait sessions is Mom and Dad’s reaction to the final product. A wall portraiture as a daily reminder is the gift that just keeps on giving while they are away at college, in the Navy (where they can sail the Seven Seas) or off adulting somewhere. My children’s images are some of the greatest gifts I have given to myself.
Of course, my children love to have their pictures taken, even asking me to take portraits of them if it’s been more than a couple of years. Even those high school seniors who reluctantly head into our time together end up having a great experience (even wanting to skip college to go into modeling), which translates to wonderful and genuine portraiture. Gifting graduating seniors a session where they are the boss, feel over-the-top special and create, together with myself or Jenny, an experience they will always treasure is one of the best ways to say, “I love you. I am proud of you.” And at the same time, the graduate’s parents will be giving themselves the best d*** piece of artwork hanging in their home.
Now… back to the not-so-great-locale story.
Hmmmm… never mind. This story deserves its own blog. Look for “The Greatest Gift,” coming soon.