When a session is planned to take 4 hours it’s a good boost of spirit & literal energy to have breakfast unexpectedly provided before hand & lunch afterward by the client. And even better when it is the favorite: Indian Cuisine. Yum!
Our extended session with the large and vibrant Singh clan actually started before the session. We had the privilege to make Pratiskha’s senior portraits about a month ago. We visited Sanderosa Gardens & Downtown Fayetteville to capture her vibrant personality and passionate athleticism. Check out our blog post for her gorgeous images. During our prep & plan consultation Prabha, mom, told me I was in for a whirlwind of shoots spanning the whole summer, capturing her extended family at multiple times & locations while simultaneously being honorarily adopted into the family. Since I have been to India for part of college I said “I’m already half way there & she was sold.”
One of our portrait discussion was to adorn the play room, which is colored like a crayola box, with the 11 cousins in a fun canvas row on the wall. The play room can’t have boring images and she was sold on goofy faces & silly maneurisms. Since Pratiksha was graduating on Friday May 31 from the amazing Fayetteville Academy in Fayetteville, NC and the whole extended family would be in from all over the country to congratulate her it was decided we HAD TO capture everyone in their true form.
We started at 9 with set up in the 3rd floor bonus room and breakfast (which was an amazing surprise for the tastebuds, stomach & lacking ADP molecules). Regretfully, no images of breakfast were taken because 20 cousins, parents, grandparents & great grandparents were to interesting, delightfully calming & fun to fellowship. But trust me when I tell you it was a treat.
The playroom has 4 major colors: red, hunter green, sky-blue & purple. Pre-shoot set up was pretty simple. Purchase 4 colored backdrops to match the rooms palette. This was to be an easy task however it turned out to be a 5 hour adventure. When ever possible I try to purchase needed equipment from Raleigh’s Peace Camera to support the local small businesses. It happened to be very convenient that a private lesson client wanted to use my expertise (I laughed) at Peace Camera to help pick out a new lens and accessories. I ordered the backdrops from them a week ahead and made arrangements to pick up the set when we arrived.. We had a great time learning, exploring and spending too much money on used but great equipment before we left. About 20 minutes on our way home I had an epiphany of sorts & screamed mid-sentence “We forgot the backdrops!” They were so generous with their time, turned around, and I salvaged another full round trip to Raleigh. Thank you $3.50 gas God!
Back to the family shoot: We knew we had time to photograph everything because the family was only in town for graduation & that didn’t start until 6. However convenient, I knew the little one only had a limited attention span and we had to be quick with our shots. My major flaw of the day was with her. Read on and find out why.
Color coordination was key with the 4 colored backdrops for lack of clashing in the images & in the play room. We planned well and made sure the family had the appropriate complimentary colors to fit beautifully with the backdrops & “crayola room.” I love it when a client listens perfectly to instructions. I planned on having 1-2 others in the bonus room when shooting so everyone didn’t get bored watching me take photos all morning and boy was I wrong on my assessment. All 11 cousins organically crammed into the tiny room and it was the best thing that could have happened. They fed off each others energy and it was the best part of the day.
We started with the blue background for no particular reason (my error begins) and the energy started building in the room. The boys were a little reluctant to smile & be a little spontaneous but they opened up real quick.
After a quick change of background we transferred to the red and the energy started building even more. Everyone was egging each other on & pulling out personalities left and right.
We again made a quick change of background color to green to match the outfits. It was glorious! The girls looked amazing and fun. Everyone was now in perfect harmony helping “the talent” be amazing. (my error builds)
WERE DONE! Not quite. As I was breaking down the equipment the energy was still fun and lively in the room after jumping on the bed. The cousins couldn’t resist and I captured a few fun BTS moments with the family. (error nearly visible)
Now this is when the day became most rewarding. A few weeks back we were supposed to capture great grandma of 103 years old in her element for matriarch images. She wasn’t feeling well and we had to postpone. Her health was poor this day after recently suffering a stroke and we knew this could be the last time all 11 cousins may be in her presence. We knew we HAD to capture her amazing great grandkid with her in any capacity. They aren’t competition & 1,000 facebook likes worthy but that is not what family portraits are always about. Often the simplest and basic images create those timeless memories we cherish.
The only true surprise of the morning, besides breakfast & lunch, was our final images. We had not expected to take these last shots of the cousins on the stairs. And as you can see our bad timing & error of the day was making the little one wait way too long for her images. She became a cute but uncooperative 4 yr old, as they are always prone to do after sitting for 3 hours.
All in all, we had an absolute blast with the Singh clan, eating their amazing food, enjoying their contagious company and making a lot of new friends in the process. Plus learning from our mistake. And the best part is we have more shoots scheduled to continue the joy. Thank you for honoring us with your business Prabha & Singh family. And thank you for all the new friendships!
The Seay family rocks my socks
We were picked! We just found out we are North Carolina’s 1st Seniors Ignite Studio. We are sooooooooooooooooooo happy, excited, elated (fill in your favorite adjective)!
What is Seniors Ignite? It is a National Modeling Program for Senior Portrait Studios to give clients a chance to be a part of something much bigger than just getting incredible images by their local studio. Being chosen as a Seniors Ignite Studio allows us to offer you a senior portrait session with a modeling perspective for you images to be entered into the National Senior Portrait Portrait & Model Contest. YOU, yes YOU, a high school student, could be a NATIONAL Seniors Ignite Model simply by getting your senior portraits taken by us!
How do you become a Seniors Ignite model? Call us to schedule your Seniors Ignite Session. Simple, but hurry! Entry fees & requirements must be received by Oct 31, 2013 so our last Seniors Ignite Session will be scheduled for Oct 20, 2013.
Are they looking for male entries as well? Absolutely. Check out the top guy of last year & his video Ladies be nice and don’t fight over him!
How is the Seniors Ignite session different than other senior portrait sessions we offer? Seniors Ignite sessions receive extra work & care by us to set you apart from the rest of the model applicants. We will treat you like a rockstar because you are one! It includes hair & make-up by Fayetteville’s best, a behind-the-scenes video to show your personality to the judges, extra shots to capture your unique personality for the judges, and a short interview for the judges to set you apart from the other models around the nation. These additional features & requirements bump up the price a little for you ($295 vs $95) but its totally worth it. Keep reading because your few extra dollars could get you & a parent a FREE Las Vegas weekend.
✓ 2 Unretouched Headshots: One Image Straight-On, Smiling, Unretouched & One Image Straight-On NOT, Smiling,Unretouched
✓ Sending in 5 Additional 5×7 Images for judges
✓ Model Application
✓ Comp Card
✓ Model Release & Waiver
✓ Studio Recommendation
What happens if I am a finalist? National Seniors Ignite Model Winners will receive the experience of modeling at the national Seniors Ignite Event at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa in February 23-26, 2014. Models will be photographed on location by several of the leading senior portrait photographers in the nation, as well as by their winning photographer. If you win you receive PAID AIRFARE & HOTEL FOR YOU & ONE PARENT. Yup, PAID! The winner receives a free trip but we wanted to add a FREE parent airfare & hotel to enjoy the experience together.
But I don’t want to model for a living & I have never modeled before. Can I still enter? Of course! Not all participating models are interested in a modeling career. Some Seniors Ignite Models want fame, some want a place to showcase their talents and to get recognition, and others just want an experience of a lifetime. ALL seniors have a chance to win a spot as a Seniors Ignite National Model.
What are the judges looking for?
1) Photogenic - the winning models must be able to be easily photographed by a wide range of photographers. This doesn’t mean the most attractive but one who can listen to direction & likes getting their picture taken.
2) Personality - The winning models must have a positive and engaging personality. They are looking for models with a wide range of looks to be photographed (meaning they photograph well with more than one look). This comes through in their personality.
3) Recommendation - each model receives a written recommendation from us outlining the reason(s) why they would make a good model for the Seniors Ignite Event.
4) Variety - They are looking for a variety of looks in the winners – height, size, hair color, eye color, etc. will all be considered in the final selection of models. They are not necessarily looking for seniors who are planning a career in modeling (though some may/will), but rather those who are looking for the experience of a lifetime.
5) Video (OPTIONAL but we are doing this for everyone) – a video of you model walking, talking, and engaging with the camera is a very helpful way to show them more about you This will help you show off your personality and variety of looks as well! We will coach you along with this if you are nervous. A few tweaks make you an instant model.
What else? You would also be featured in videos, images, lookbooks, and marketing campaigns. We would love for you to check out the Seniors Ignite site and read more.
Click the logo.
Want to see the breath-taking 100% FREE event location for finalist models February 23-26 2014 at The Westin Lake Las Vegas click the event page.
In addition, models and photographers will be showcased on www.facebook.com/SeniorsIgniteModels
Below are a few image submission card examples from the class of 2013 model entries.
The Seay Family had too much fun with us last year capturing their eldest
Aarron in his element for his senior portraits. They couldn’t resist our amazing good looks & celebrity status (we wish) when choosing us for their daughter’s portraits. Joking aside, we had a blast in Southern Pines capturing the beauty and personality of Kristyn. Multiple locations and outfits make for a great variety and interesting times. See her images below and read on for our unexpected photography exploits.
Our photo day exploits included…..
Skipping school: Watching the local middle school skippers play ball on the local blacktop. They were talented players but who wouldn’t be when you skip school and play all day. We didn’t capture an image of them because we didn’t know if they had 9mm in their shorts!
Deathly rails: Getting a few images on the tracks were a moment near heaven for our friend and helper Serena
After a planned Blue Ridge Parkway shoot with the amazing fall foliage cancelled last minute due to a family emergency we had the pleasure to capture Emily in her hometown of Fayetteville, NC. The weather held off and we got some great images.
Check out her smile. It captured us and we are sure it will capture you.
Beauty again! Our senior portrait work led us to another beauty standing in front of our camera entrusting us with images that will mark the major high school graduation milestone seen for years to come.
Thank you Singh Family for letting us make portraits with your beautiful daughter Pratiksha. Her personality is amazing and we loved spending the early morning with you at our gorgeous hidden location. We look forward to capturing your extended family in the near future.
A bright future awaits this amazing graduate from Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville, NC. His athleticism, gentleman characteristics, handsome looks, or intellectual prowess is a combination Washington & Lee University are drowling over as he starts in the fall of 2013. We had such a great time shooting this amazing up and coming leader. Thanks Jesse, Mom and Jeremy for letting us spend the day with you taking your senior portraits and a few fun ones on the side.
Our rockstar sessions are in full effect capturing the personalities of those who help us do what we do– make amazing images.
Rockstars ambassadors are the eyes and ears of our business at local schools and in the community. We are picky in our quality of images and the same goes with our rockstars. Upcoming seniors are exclusively referred to us by our trusted clients to make sure our images and brand stay professional and of extreme quality.
Rockstars earn referral credits throughout their senior year sharing their images on custom smartphone apps called Sticky Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other facet they desire. Check out our rockstars. This is a preview to their success in their senior year and in life!
Help us Pay It Forward!
Pay It Forward is our monthly FREE session & print giveaway for those who need a little pick me up due to harsh times, a lost loved one or just someone who is deserving or in need.
To nominate someone write a brief description in the comment section of this blog why they could use a blessing or go to our Facebook and message us your nomination. We want to be bombarded with nominations.
Thank you for Paying It Forward with us.
“Ryan, will you make sure you bring home your camera on your vacation. We want to update our family images and since you won’t be working you can take our pictures”
?????????? Isn’t vacation supposed to be a vacation from work?
Photography is one of the few professions where you can always be “at work” when home with family, on a road trip, sitting at the stop light, or taking your dog for a walk. If you have your camera then you can capture an image. But do we need a break from our snapping?
Yes and no!
There are times where you need to separate yourself completely from all work related tasks, even if your profession is also your passion. However, with my passion being my profession, as photography is mine, it is often hard to not always look at life with a photographers eye. The water shimmer off the oil slick in the parking lot, the amazing sunset close to a park you love, or the inexplicably hilarious faces of people watching at your favorite summer outdoor coffee shop. Photography moments are literally endless!
So what do you do when your family asks you to bring home your camera on vacation when you planned on taking a break from all photography related images? For me it always depends on my workload before vacation. If I have a lot of portraits I will say no. If my workload is lighter then I am ok to capture my family on my time off.
Recently, I traveled home to see the family and had a sweet kids shoot that was paid in food, laughs and no time frame. Not really work but more play time. It was great. Here are a few of the images that captured the personalities and a bit more of the Rottman & Sabens clans.
If there is a city that encapsulates business, the 21st century technology while keeping a firm grip on art and entertainment Raleigh fits this renaissance description perfectly. Megan chose to have her gorgeous senior portraits in this amazing city and we couldn’t be happier to be behind the camera
Megan, with friend Erin and family, ventured to Raleigh to capture and make her senior portraits in the completely unique and “cityesque” atmosphere. And we believe we were spot on of her intention for variety and uniqueness with fields, art, sky-scape and true beauty.
The early photographer caught some amazing photos. We woke at 6, met at Festival Park downtown to the sound of bluejay calls and the sun peaking through the sandhill’s pines. Steven was scantily clad for parts of the morning as passerbys got a glimpse of his Spongebob Square Pants boxers (do you believe me?) during outfit changes.
With an relationship that mimics David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel in the Old Testatment Steven and Sam used their hilarious and amazing friendship to get some great photos out of Steven. My job was relatively easy and that is the best part of being a photographer…. just capture the moments you typically create.
Being a little bit of a rebel is always a perk unless there is some real life-threatening danger in your rebellious moment. This was the case in Douglas’ senior portrait shoot early morning last week.
Douglas and his amazing mom Sarah had his entire session planned out before we even met for our Prep & Plan session. It made my job a breeze! I didn’t know that our first location was going to be a barn on a restricted, active training ground just inside Pope Air Field. Just as we finished the shoot Douglas mentioned in passing “So we really aren’t supposed to be here. See that other barn over there, they use that to train clearing houses.” My heart skipped a beat. I live near base and hear guns on a daily basis. Knowing that it was a weekday and they just happened to be void of training at the next door barn made me want to charge him hazard pay.
At the end of day I guess all is well as long as no one gets a stray bullet from military training grounds.
I had the pleasure of working with Patrick not once, not twice, but during 3 different sessions.
Our first session was during a class session through my church’s small group “Learning Photography” where we teach budding photographers how to photograph with the goal of giving back to those who can’t afford portraits. Patrick was kind to take some time during our “B&W depth” class to be a model.
Our second session was his location portrait session that yielded some amazing variety, color, expression and emotion in his senior portraits. This session alone would have been on the best male senior portraits to this date I have photographed. But this wasn’t the end of my time with Patrick.
Patrick contacted me for a third shoot after looking at my Pinterest account (www.pinterest.com/RDJphotography) and wanting to play off of an idea of playing chess against himself. It turned out fabulous.
Jordan has personality to spare and friends that are willing to travel to Fort Fisher to assist in making her senior portraits absolutely amazing. I could not have been more impressed in my rockstar ambassador in choice of friends, location and patience during her on-location shoot. A true joy to work with!!
When a man and a woman get married they marry their best friend, start a lifelong relationship with their soul mate and join two families into one. Ashley and Christian stood at the altar on August 4th exchanging amazing vows of love, commitment and understanding their relationship would not have happened, and will not continue to flourish without their God and savior, Jesus Christ.
We had a great time capturing the smiles, the laughs, the kisses, early morning coffee, and all in between in the country town of Benson, NC. We think we passed 3 tractors on the road driving from church to Enoch Winery where the both families cut up the dance floor and glorious fashion.
Thank you Hoempler & Barbour families for allowing us to capture you son and daughter’s amazing and memorable day.
Additionally, we had the pleasure of meeting with Ashley a week before her wedding to take absolutely stunning bridal portraits that we will likely submit to every bridal magazine to have them sign Ashley as a wedding dress model. Truly stunning!!
Janie came into the studio a little nervous about making her senior portraits. Easing her into the portrait process took a few tricks out of the bag but by the end of the shoot she was posing and giving expressions like a new contestant on America’s Next Top Model.
Early morning shoots are a staple in the NC photography world and Bianca Fernandez made the staple become a delicacy. Bianca made my over-caffeinated creative juices a break with her numerous poses, plethora of expressions and legs and arms that could wrap around the globe–a photographer’s dream for posing.
It was a joy to be invited to the Connelly home for a surprisingly cool NC morning and even a great joy to see a man and his best friend interact. Patrick is classic, a gentleman and a genius in the books. I can’t wait to see what company he runs in the future! I’m gonna buy stock now.
The privilege was all behind the camera as Jessica Perry’s pearly whites graced the lens. I was enamored by her smile that never ended. And what you can’t see in the images are what made her smile the entire time–mom, Dad and little sis.
The variety in Madison’s session was a perfect expression of her uniqueness. I am so excited that we collaborated in our prep and planning session to include her art work in the images. Can you find it? Look for her behind the scenes video soon.
Plans for photo shoots often are time consuming and labor some. Savannah’s shoot was no exception except time consumption was of minimal importance. Hipster clothes and creative freedom tend to make time fly and having a subject as amazing and creatively accepting is plus over plus.