Last week, I decided that I wanted to showcase my ten favorite images. This was much harder to narrow down than I anticipated. My favorite ten images have changed to the top eleven. They are listed in no particular order. As a disclaimer, these are not necessarily the best eleven images in my portfolio – but were chosen because of the stories behind them.
A typical senior portrait? Absolutely not – but it is very typical of what I want to create for my seniors. I take all sorts of standard pictures as well, but I love to create something a little larger than life. My goal for each of my senior photo shoots is to create a piece of artwork for them. In this image, I love that the sky and the water is so clear and vast – like the endless possibilities in front of her. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…”
This family contacted me to do a portrait session of the four generations of women in their family, and specifically requested an image of their hands together. This portrait is special to me because all too often we think about the things that we’d like to do, and the memories that we want to make with one another – but life gets busy, priorities change…. plans are forgotten. These folks made the time with each other a priority and followed through. I’m so thrilled for this family that they have this keepsake – it is an incredible testament of their love.
It was after this senior session that I walked back into my house and proclaimed to my family that Gigi’s Joy Photography will now require all future photo shoots to include a horse. (It was all very dramatic – the statement was soon retracted and business went on as usual.) But I loved the opportunity to work with animals – and it was such fun to get to know Becca, her family, and her friends – and be chauffeured around on a Gator. (Perhaps having a driver will be a new requirement of future sessions)
I photographed Tyler as part of the Stories of Autism series last winter. As soon as I clicked the shutter on this image, I remember my hand going up to my heart. I was so enamored with this image: the crown, the shirt, the slippers – the way that he’s concentrating on his Legos. (Seriously, look at that crown!) While the intention was to create a portrait of a child on the Autism Spectrum, what was created was a portrait of childhood itself: a childhood that I think any kid would be lucky to have.
Max is a long time friend of mine – and I was honored when he contacted me to photograph his family. I was a little taken aback when he also requested images of him, in his tux, dancing with his daughters. I understood his intent – but my goal for sessions is to capture natural, genuine expressions and emotions – and all that came to me at the moment were images from Pinterest that looked cheesy and forced. This was on my mind for weeks before the session, and then it dawned on me that this is an opportunity to make art. I love silhouettes because when the faces turn dark – you see the outline and fill it with your own imagination. They make you consider the image just a little bit longer. Was this image posed? Of course – But it still makes you feel something. Some day this little girl will have this portrait hanging in her own house, and when her friends stop to look at it, they’ll be seeing a clear picture of a father’s love.
This is another not-typical senior portrait, but exactly the type of image that I strive to capture for each of my senior clients. I want each of them to have a portrait that could be in a fashion magazine – or a perfume ad, for that matter. It’s a portrait that captures their beauty in a un-photoshopped, unexpected, but completely natural way.
There are some images that I take and I immediately think to myself: I wish I had this picture of my own family. This is one of them.
This image was from the marketing shoot I did in partnership with The Salon Within here in Union Grove. I asked my models to borrow prom dresses – when I heard that Steph’s was yellow, I knew I wanted to use this bright blue wall right off of Main Street. I love the contrast of the colors, and the formal feel of her dress and elegant hairstyle against the chipped wall and the whimsy of the colorful balloons.
Tyler and his mama (a link to this post will be added once I get this session up on the blog)
This was Tyler’s one year old session in December. As soon as I entered the house and saw this stained glass hanging in the front window, I got excited. You know that you’re working with the right people when they allow you to start pushing all of their living room furniture around without question (and start to help).
It is always intimidating when folks you’ve known your whole life, hire you for a session – for some reason, more so than complete strangers. The pressure was on when they wanted to do the portrait session on their 10th anniversary – in front of the church that they were married in. I loved the whole concept, but producing a session that would live up to their expectation is tricky. It had rained for an entire week beforehand, and while the sky was absolutely beautiful on the session date – we were also standing in the land of (very hungry) mosquitos. I remember explaining to the husband “I promise you, my sessions are usually so much more fun!” I was pleased with the outcome, but even more so afterward when I saw a framed picture from their wedding day in their living room of him kissing her forehead, and then when I found out that on their actual wedding day, it rained so they couldn’t do any pictures outside of the church. But the most fabulous part was when I was told that they decided to do the portrait session with me instead of going away for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary – and were happy with their decision. I am so thankful that I did not know that information beforehand!
This family invited me into their home to document their family this summer. Earlier in the year Anna had some pretty major health issues, and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital. She’s still working on getting better and stronger (and I know that they would welcome prayers of recovery and healing). There are so many powerful images from this session, but I kept coming back to this one. I love the angle and perspective: the sign hanging in the background, and her feet in the frame, showing the challenges that she is facing… But it is her mom’s eyes that captivate me. I see her mom’s loving eyes holding her gaze, and I can’t help but ask myself if I studied each of my children so intently today…
It is an honor and privilege to document people’s lives – and I am so thankful for the folks that ask me to do so. Though I chose eleven images to showcase here, I have an entire year of sessions that I’m proud of – and incredible new people that I have met. What isn’t pictured here are all the new relationships that have been formed, and the folks that I have laughed, and sometimes cried with.
Thanks for sharing your lives with me, Friends.