Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Senior Pictures and Memories

The golden summer months, the time of year every soon-to-be senior high school girl anxiously anticipates...Senior Pictures. Generally, soon-to-be senior boys do them because their mothers make them.

On a recent Saturday evening as Glen and I drove from our house into town for pizza, we passed two separate portrait sessions taking place in the field of wildflowers near our house.

Wildflower fields seem to be the latest trend, as I am seeing a lot of that setting on FaceBook, just as the urban look was big a couple of years ago. The beach continues to be a classic mainstay.

Seeing all this photo activity made me remember four years ago when is was Mallory's turn to go through this coming of age ritual. We chose to go a different route though. Instead of spending lots of money on a professional photographer with a wardrobe consultation, we did them ourselves.

I knew just enough about what I was doing with a camera to feel some what confident. Looking back though as always there is that "I wish I knew then what I know now" feeling. I choose to take that as a good sign, it means I have continued to learn and grow in my skills.  Back then I was still shooting in jpeg not RAW and I used iPhoto with the limited editing it offered, as opposed to Lightroom and the full gamut of editing possibilities.

Mallory had plenty of fashion sense, even if her favorite color at the time was gray. So the money spent on a wardrobe consultation could be used instead to buy a few new things.

We decided to take the money we would have spent on the whole professional experience and use it for a weekend get away location shoot. If you have read my blog for a while you probably can guess where we went...there is no where else but the Leelanau Peninsula.

We had a great girls weekend away, trying out different locations, even hiking a half mile with camera and tripod to an old historic farmstead that we had fallen in love with earlier in the spring. One of her favorite photos came from that session, although we couldn't use it for the yearbook photo since it was shot in landscape mode vs. portrait mode. It did make a lovely 8 X 10 for the wall and she used it for her open house invitations.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying our favorite places for a little shopping and great local food.

The memories from this experience far outweigh anything we could have gotten from a professional photographer. Even now as I look back on these photos I remember the goofy faces, the silly words to coax a genuine smile, the moments of pure delight.

Now four years later and my girl is on the cusp of her senior, and final year, of college and I wonder how have these four years passed so quickly. It seems like we were just crying our eyes out as we sat on the black rocks of Presque Isle Park on the shores of Lake Superior preparing to leave our girl all on her own, eight hours away from home, for the very first time.

In a few weeks we leave her again after the final move-in day. There will still be tears, that is never going to change, once a mother always a mother. But I know that she will be fine, she has built a good life for herself there at school, and I know she is ready to finish up and move on to new life adventures.

**One little disclaimer - I have nothing against professional senior portraits, I have a couple of good friends that do wonderful work and would highly recommend them. For us though it was more about quality time and the experience than having the perfect pictures.


  1. Lovely pictures of your daughter. I can feel your pride as she is on the verge of starting a new life away from home. I have a son living on another continent, so I know the feeling.

  2. these are so lovely and what a fantastic memory, they really are beautiful and I agree, I can feel your pride, such an exciting time but yes it's so tough when they live on the other side of the world

  3. She is a beautiful girl and your photos really showcase her. I am envious of your idea to spend the time together in a wonderful location. It is always the right idea to spend the time vs spending the cash. It does go fast. The empty nest was a tough adjustment. I wanted to raise an independent woman, but when it happened, it was very hard to let go. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Such a sweet post. Your daughter is beautiful and I know where she gets her looks. I think your idea to spend time rather than money was smart. I took my newphew's pics last year. when I looked at a sample of the yearbook, there's a lot of people doing that to save money. Double edged sword as a photographer, but who can argue with what someone wants. Nice reflection of a great memory.

  5. Beautiful Mallory and beautiful mother who was able to capture the natural, genuine, happy, playful moments . . .
    The times together are Golden . . .

  6. Mallory's personality shines through in your photos. What wonderful memories. The time does fly by so quickly. My daughter is 13, it is hard for me to imagine her in college. (My eyes are getting teary :) Enjoy your last few weeks with Mallory!

  7. I took some of my son's Senior pictures last year and he remembers it as fondly as I do. We still had a professional for the inside studio shots that I wanted because of lighting that I didn't have, but it really is an experience that opens up a new communication between you and your child. You certainly got some great shots. Those happy candids would have never been captures any way else.

  8. Those are even better than what a "pro" would take. I especially love the one in the wildflowers. She looked so radiant. You know, I don't remember this being as big a "thing" when I was a high school senior. Someone came to the school, we took the pics, and that was it. I've been thinking of that "first day of kindergarten" picture I'll be taking soon.

  9. A lovely memory you will have not only the wonderful photographs but the precious time you spent together.

  10. Oh, Sarah, I think your pictures ARE perfect. And the memories both of you will always have of the weekend you took them are priceless. I can see why that particular one is a favorite of Mallory's - I love it, too. Her eyes look the same color as the wildflowers surrounding her.

  11. Sarah, these portraits are beautiful! Of course, Mallory is a beautiful young lady! You'll always treasure the memories!

  12. What wonderful shots. Back in my day .... senior portraits were taken in a studio .... no fun involved!!! LOL

  13. What a beautiful girl! Perfect photos. We are getting ready to take Ryan in less than two weeks...hard to believe!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)