All the fun begins with the planning sessions I have with clients before the portrait sessions. They usually start out polite, with a lot of I-don’t-know’s and not-interested-in-much’s. With just a little patience and digging around, personalities and interests do start to pop out. What I’ve learned is that we are so fascinated (sometimes intimidated) by other people, that we don’t give ourselves much credit for being anything special or unique. That couldn’t be further from the truth! A little deeper into the planning session, the client will start shyly offering nuggets of ideas, but quickly dismissing them as nonsense or bad ideas because they haven’t seen it done before. Good news, my friends: That’s why you’ve come to me! And that’s why, in this senior session, we ended up in a shopping cart outside Goodwill.
I photographed this senior’s brother last year (the one that ended with him in a handlebar mustache and very short running shorts), so I knew this family was up for anything. In fact, their family had taken me up on my offer to do a complimentary family session in addition to his senior session in order to get up-to-date photos for everyone. That’s when I got to first know his little effervescent and ornery sister, just a year behind him.
She is also an athlete, and a singer, and a dancer, and a part-time employee, and a National Honor Society member, and friend to a vast variety of people, and a…. How can I put it more concisely? She has taken the reigns of a dozen things and gleefully shouted, “YAH!” to enjoy the ride. Sometimes the ride can feel like a wild bronco, and sometimes it’s as though she’s in a chariot driving the horses to victory, but her eyes light up at the mention of the ride – all that potential just waiting for a participant!
My feet literally did a happy dance at every stop light on the way to their planning session in anticipation of what fun plan we were going to concoct together.
I admit that I was a little surprised that her session did start the normal way, with the I-don’t-know’s and whatever’s. This girl is so confident in her style, her goals, and her zest for life, that she looked really out of place talking about her own session. Maybe the problem was that she doesn’t fit the mold, and senior pictures can tend to fall into a sort of mold. As we talked about her life in general and she politely answered my questions, every once in a while her personality would slip through her nervousness. I don’t know if it was when she knew that I knew what a vsco girl was, or when her mom blurted out that she was weird while she was defending that she was unique, but somewhere in the laughter there, we hit upon a brilliant idea that opened the door for everything else.
Her style is to thrift and find something that entertains her for the sheer boldness and hilarity of the outfit, but that meets some undefinable structural requirements. Goodwill is by far her favorite store. “But you can’t do a senior session at Goodwill,” they supposed. “Why not?” I answered back. “And why not with your favorite footwear?” (I knew she had a not-so-secret crush on her Crocs). After all, her brother had shaved everything except a handlebar mustache for the end of his senior session. This was less crazy than that, right?
She looked hopeful and cautiously excited. Her mom looked dubious. I was thrilled. Her dad was in the background staring at us over his computer monitor.
We reviewed the other outfits she planned to wear, and the locations to best highlight them and the Midwest fall season. Her mom relaxed knowing that we’d get some “real” senior portraits out of the session, and the senior perked up talking about the rest of the session because she knew what was at the end – Goodwill and Crocs.
What’s the lesson to learn? You are pretty fantastic yourself, despite what you see other people doing!
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Thanks for reading! This is one of the ways I add a smile back into the world.
- Posted by hellobabs
- On November 4, 2019
- 2 Comments