I had a lot of fun photographing Katie for her High School Senior Portrait. In collaboration with her mom, we picked two locations that just worked out great for Katie. Katie is a Walsh Jesuit High School graduate, where she was very active in the performing arts program. We wanted to capture some unique images with her in that environment. I brought my studio strobes and modifiers and then mixed my lighting with the lighting in the theater to capture some unique shots. Most senior portrait shots are bright and light feeling, so it was great to be able to make a portrait that was a bit more moody in the theater. It was a lot of fun, and I think Katie just looked stunning!
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Theatrical PortraitBesides Katie looking beautiful, I love the way we were able to get some of the overhead theater lighting into this shot, as well as the very cool detail in the side of the seat. Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Theatrical PortraitKatie wore a very cool retro dress and brought along a very cool retro microphone to make this portrait. I think she pulled off the look just great! Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Theatrical PortraitWe used some theater lighting on the curtain in the background, and one of my softboxes to light Katie. The dramatic look is well suited for the environment. After we finished up in the theater we drove over to Stan Hywett Gardens to capture some beautiful outdoor portraits. The gardens at Stan Hywett are really beautiful and I hope to come back soon to shoot here again. Katie is such a natural beauty that it was nearly impossible to take a bad photograph of her. Katie had some ideas about where she wanted to be photographed, like at the birch trees you'll see below, but we just strolled along some of the paths and it seemed just about everywhere we turned we found another great location to shoot.
This shot was taken on a balcony overlooking the valley.
One of the places that we wanted to photograph Katie was among the the birch trees in the garden. The lighting was a little tricky here, but the shots turned out great. I stylized the shot below to highlight the punches of color from Katie's dress and the green ground cover.
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan Hywett GardensThe path between the birch trees, from a compositional standpoint, is a really cool spot to take a portrait. Just add Katie with a beautiful pink dress for a punch of color, and you end up with this image.
We made our way up some stone steps on our way up to the balcony overlooking the valley and I noticed how the late day sun was just streaming into this location. So we paused to take some photos here. Because Katie was back-lit here, which normally results in a pretty underexposed face, I just needed a little diffused fill flash to help properly expose her face, as well as to add some catchlights in her eyes.
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan Hywett GardensI just love the way the late day sun just added a natural rim and hair light. It really brought out the beautiful tones in Katie's hair. Katie wanted an outfit change and she and her mom were resourceful in finding a place to change (on the other side of the concrete wall below! Who needs a dressing room?!). She changed from the colorful pink dress to a more sophisticated black and white outfit. While we were standing outside her make-shift dressing room I wanted to capture this different look with a hardscape background.
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan Hywett GardensEven the hardscapes at Stan Hywett provided some interesting backgrounds. Katie can even make a concrete wall look great. Although, as seen below, this same outfit still looked great among the more natural settings of the garden. Again, I wanted to use the late day sun as a natural hair light so we found a spot, with this background, and where the sun was shining through.
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan Hywett GardensWhile Katie's next outfit lacked the color pop of her pink dress, she still rocked this shot with one of the footbridges and some colorful azaleas in the background. There were a few more locations that included some hardscape backgrounds, including an arbor that was made up of brick columns. Not only did I like the look of the brick, I love compositions that have repeating patterns, such as the repeating pattern of the brick columns.
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan HywettWe found another hardscape feature in the gardens to make this portrait. Again, I tried to find the right spot to get some of the sunlight to highlight here hair.
Down another pathway I spotted a set of steps made from stone and had a beautiful patina. I think this was one of the last shots that I took before they were about to close. This was shot at f2.8 to blur out the details in the steps, and then in post I stylized this portrait a bit to mute some of the colors and to bring out the color in her eyes a bit. I think it's just a stunning portrait!
Katie - High School Senior Portrait - Stan HywettThis headshot portrait was made while Katie was sitting on some aging stone steps. Katie is a beautiful singer and an amazing actress. Besides being a great student, she spent a lot of time at Walsh honing her skills as a musical theater actress.