Senior session tips for the class of 2018! What do I bring to my senior photo session

Summer is here! It’s time for senior photos and that means making a few decisions about having senior photos taken.

One of the things that can be confusing and I get a lot of questions about this is “what do I wear for my photos?” “What do I bring to my senior photo session?”

So my first tip is a big one….. Try it on before you bring it to your photo session.

It only takes a few minutes but try it all on before you come to photos, especially if it is new but even if you have had it for years. Maybe you loved it last time you wore it but please try it on before you come. Maybe there is a stain you never noticed. Maybe you will try it on and realize it won’t be good for photos. It might need a button sewn on or needs to be ironed. I do recommend you bring things you already love and have in your closet, but quick try them on to be sure they are ready for photos. Clothing you have to fuss with a lot, that is uncomfortable, that needs a lot of adjusting, are not good choices for a photo session. Also clothing that is low cut, revealing, or really short can make posing for photos a challenge.

Have one item that is long sleeved.

I know it’s hot and summer weather, but what if you bring four short sleeve tops and then realize you don’t like your arms or you want something more conservative later, that can be disappointing. Photographers know that arms can be unflattering on even the thinnest person because of angle and posing. I always recommend one long sleeve for variety alone, if anything else! To add to that, pants are easier to pose in, and overall look better on boys and girls, than shorts. Senior poses may involve sitting and situations that aren’t great for shorts. But ultimately it’s up to you to choose the clothing you love!

Solids photograph best.

It might be hard to find but solid colors look better in photos. Prints, stripes, and busy patterns, can be distracting in your photos. Bring at least one item that is solid in color. The color black photographs great and is slimming, and white can look too bright and look unflattering. Most people have some idea what colors look best on them but if you need help choosing colors your photographer can always help you decide.

Wrinkles and dog hair might show! I know it’s easy to just throw something on that’s a little wrinkled to go out but it might show in your photos and you might not like that. Take a few minutes to make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle free, and on hangers and ready for your session, the day before. If you need help, a parent or grown up would be glad to help you make sure your clothes are looking great!

Bring what goes with your clothes.

You may need a belt for those jeans you love or a special undergarment for that backless dress. Be sure to bring everything that goes with wearing that outfit including your coordinating shoes and jewelry. It’s okay to bring more than you need and is much better than forgetting something you really needed.

Have your hair and make up complete when you arrive but do bring your make up, hair straighteners, and hair products, just in case you need to touch up! You may need to powder for shine or reapply lip gloss, so be sure to bring all your personal stuff with you.

Always bring at least one extra outfit. A back up. When in doubt you should be able to call, text, or email the photographer with any questions you have so you feel ready for photo day.

Top five backdrops for senior photos in the twin cities.

It’s almost time for the class of 2018 to get their senior photos taken.

These aren’t your mom and dads senior portraits! Let’s get serious about taking senior photos that are unique to you! Here are some ideas for backdrops for great senior photos.

So where should you go for your senior portraits?

One) Your hometown or your favorite location! Every town has a style all it’s own, If you love your area, let’s use it as a backdrop? Maybe you don’t think there are any “good spots” in your city or town, but a professional photographer can create really great images anywhere! It’s my job to see the great spots and use them right.
Two) The Arboretum! The University of MN has the Landscape Arboretum just west of Minneapolis in Chaska. The Arboretum has so much to offer it’s amazing! Woods and prairies, flowers and gardens, buildings and bridges, and so much more, it is a great place to do a session and walk around in a truly beautiful setting. I have been photographing sessions there for so many years that I know almost every inch of it and can create a session that you will love! Professional photographers must have a yearly pass to use the grounds and it gets clients in for free! I have one and I am ready for senior sessions there! Visit my website gallery page to see samples of these sessions.


Three) Downtown MPLS! Colorful buildings and alley grunge, bridges and river front, even nature and flowers, the St Anthony Main area of Minneapolis has many looks in a 6 block area! It is a destination senior session that doesn’t disappoint. Trust a professional to set up your session time during the best time of day for the look you want. These sessions are best during the work week to avoid the weekend bike/walking traffic on the Stone Arch Bridge and other popular spots. Call me for pricing on this fun session!
Four) The Chaska area has nature everywhere! I can get a nature look of almost any kind just minutes from my studio in Chaska. This historic city is nestled right on a river with several small lakes with docks nearby that have a nice outdoor feel. There are woods and prairie grass fields close by for that natural relaxed session you want. Let me know what look you are going for and I will find the perfect spot. I have the experience to do all the work for you!

Five) Chaska! Old buildings and the small town feel! Downtown Chaska is the perfect spot for a senior session. It has almost everything someone could want for a session that is creative and beautiful. Besides the obvious historic Chaska brick around every corner there are fun spots that have so much character and unique style that make for a great senior portrait. You will be amazed at how much it has to offer.

Remember to dress appropriately for the outdoor location you choose.

What you’re wearing and where you’re posing will make a great image if it is all connected. If you want to take your photos in front of graffiti in downtown, wear a trendy dress, jean jacket, or a modern-looking outfit. If you’d rather take photos in a clearing of trees, consider an outfit like skinny jeans and a long flowing top or for guys jeans and a jacket. If you are planning on a session with water, wear a sundress or shorts and consider going barefoot! No matter what, pick a location where you can feel comfortable and you can be yourself. If you need help with what to wear that is something I can help you with!
If there is a specific style of images you love definitely create a Pinterest page to show me or gather a few screen shots to send or bring to your session, It will give me a really good idea of the feel you are hoping for. I love your ideas and creating a session that shows who you are! Communication is the key to the perfect senior photos that you will love!

Family session at The Arboretum

How safe are your family photos?

What I mean is, how are you storing your family’s photos and images? What does photo storage mean to you?

I was recently at a gathering of parents at a high school sporting event. These parents have all known each other for years, and all our kids are all graduating from high school this year. I overheard one parent say to another, “I suppose I need to find all those old CDs with sports photos and make some copies for the Graduation party.” My stomach sank a bit as I heard it. “From how long ago?” I heard another parent ask. “The last eight years” he said, “I have them all in a drawer at home, so I should probably print some photos now and get ready for graduation.” Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, please keep reading.

I was a little shocked to hear this conversation. But sadly, I have heard it before. Friends, I need to be real with you right now. Please print your photos. Do not save CDs, flash drives, or emails containing images, please print your photos. At my studio I pride myself in knowing that even though I sell digital images I send every customer home with printed proofs from their session.

CDs and Flash Drives are not to be considered photo storage, they are a means of transportation for files and images.

If you have a CD or flash drive with photos, they should be downloaded onto a computer and prints should be made. If you want to then “back up” your images to a external hard drive or save files to “The Cloud” or another online storage that is fine, but it is a back up not storage. First print your images of special events and loved ones, that is a guarantee that you have those photos. I recommend a good lab to print archival photos that won’t fade over time but that is a whole other subject for a different day.

I have read studies that safely give flash drives and CDs 1-3 years of accessing the files and then everything could be gone. Now maybe you will get lucky and never lose your photos, but why take that chance? Imagine putting a CD into your computer and realizing all the photos that are important to you are gone. A parents worst nightmare.

Save those important images for years of enjoyment and a way to remember special friends, loved ones, and important moments.

But the saving should be in a photo album or a stack of photographs in a box that years from now your family can open and look through and even put on a board to go out at graduation. Don’t take a chance and lose all of your images. Print!

If I can answer any questions about digital files, storage, or recommend a lab for you, please let me know!

How to improve your business website and social media presence with better photos.

How is your presence on social media?

Today more than ever your business presence online needs to be outstanding. One way to improve your look online is the images on your website and on social media. If your photos on your website look professional and current then you look professional also. Potential clients are more likely to stay on your site, browse, and contact you, when you look professional. I can come to your business and photograph your building location, staff, products, service, or anything else that helps people know about your business better. If your images aren’t great it can affect traffic to your website and your business leads overall. Have you ever gone to a website looking for a product or service and been turned off by poor photos.

I have the experience and knowledge to asses your needs and create photos that will improve your business.

Maybe you need updated or consistent looking images of your staff but you haven’t thought of other photo ideas that can make your business look great. Let me help you come up with creative ideas and ways to boost your social media presence and make your website outstanding. I will provide you with images that you can use in all your marketing pieces, website design, and social media. Have a specific need? Let’s get together and find out how to get it done.


Maybe you aren’t using social media yet and have questions? I can help you start your presence on social media. I am a small business owner and have been helping other business owners with social media for years. Using social media is fun, it just takes a little time and a little creativity. Any business can benefit from great photos for their marketing and advertising. Your new professional images can be used for websites, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, as well as business cards, email, and direct mail pieces. Having fantastic images for your business is a great asset.

If you have questions about my photography services or would like a consultation to go over ideas and questions contact me.

Childrens session in studio

What is so great about a mini-session?

At my studio I don’t offer a lot of mini-sessions, maybe only about five per year, but they are something people are excited about. For a photographer it is a way to be creative with a theme or a special time of year. It can even be a way to be generous and combine a mini-session with  a local charity.

What is a mini-session you may ask?

Well I will tell you what it isn’t. It definitely isn’t a less creative session or less quality images or prints. The mini-session is a great way to try out a photographer or studio at a smaller session fee. It is just a mini version of a regular session. The time is usually shorter and the proofs you receive may be less, but the quality is all there. It is a great opportunity to get a deal. It may even a fun themed backdrop and also get awesome images!

If you find that it is a photographer that captures just what you wanted then you are all set to hire him or her for future occasions like family events or graduation portraits, maybe even a wedding. So mini-sessions are good for everybody involved!

To see a schedule of my mini-session offer this year check my events page.
Hang some LOVE on your walls!

The Best!

I was recently at a client’s home providing a consultation for a fall family session. I don’t always do a consultation but I can make time for one if needed. As I walked in their home I noticed everywhere I looked there were fantastic images of their children that I have taken over the years. Small images on tables, collages of prints going up the wall near the stairs, and large wall portraits in the living room and family room. I had photographed and printed every one.

I mentioned how many there were and my client started to rave about me…to me. “I love all my photos and can’t imagine my home without them.” She then said, “You have been our photographer from the beginning and hopefully you will be photographing all their weddings someday!” I felt really moved by this and asked her why she thought my images were so great? She went on to tell me that every part of her experience with me was excellent, not just the photo session itself or the end result images and prints.My response time and flexibility when she called and her overall experience from phone call to delivery of prints.I always captured great images of her kids even when she felt they were completely uncooperative. The quality of my work and professionalism. The way I connected with her kids. All of these reasons and more!

I share this because sometimes I doubt myself and I know a lot of people do, but running a business is a lot of work and I really want to be great at it. I really try to focus on getting back to people right away and being really considerate and professional. I love what I do and I am always trying to be better. I constantly read articles on photography, research the best equipment and labs, take classes and watch webinars on everything I can get my hands on, and make sure my studio is clean and inviting. I am always trying to master my skill and treat clients with the best customer service possible. It really is my intent to provide wonderful images for people and a great experience. I am thankful for being able to do what I love to do.

Photographs versus digital images

I stumbled across an article on why you should print your images on paper the other day while checking facebook and then I read several more on the same subject. It isn’t like I haven’t thought of it before but how safe are digital images? So I decided to do some research on the subject and I was pretty suprised. First off, I know anything can fail, so realistically any image storage isn’t totally safe, but here is what I found out. Web Storage like the Cloud can lose your images at anytime and it has happened. Images on your phone can be lost anytime and I know someone who has lost years of photos of their kids first hand. So what about storage? CDs and DVDs are said to have a life of 3-7 years and hard drives 1-5 years (which seemed shocking) flash drives 5-8 years. Also pretty shocking. Now maybe photos aren’t that big of a deal for you and maybe you wouldn’t be devestated by losing your child’s baby photos, your wedding photos, or old family photos. I have photos of my great great grandparents. I mean really cool old black and whites that I hold in my hand and stare at wondering what life was like at that moment. I treasure those photos. I also have 15 or more albums of printed photos of my kids from birth on that I sometimes sit and page through remembering all those moments. The kids sometimes have pulled a few out for a school project or a special frame, and I was always glad I had them for that. Now I am not saying I don’t have “folders” on my computer “desktop” with photos that haven’t been printed because in this digital age I have so many it’s overwhelming but I always print a few. If everything went bad I have printed photos from almost everything. I hope my kids and grandkids treasure them and they are glad I made the effort to print photos. That being said I have recently changed up my service to my clients at my photography studio to include fully edited, retouched, and color corrected paper proofs for every session. I love that customers leave my studio with photos in their hand to share with friends and family. I also offer professional printing in every size as well as the option to buy digital prints. I want to make sure my customers get what they want. Now I feel a little more obligated about encouraging people to order a few prints because I really want my customers to have the memories I capture for more than a lifetime. How safe are your images?

Senior session at The Arboretum

Where is the Class of 2017 taking their senior photos?

Graduating Senior Portrait

Just had a great chat with a mom who has a photo session scheduled with me for her son’s senior photos next week. She mostly wanted to talk about locations and this has been a big subject for me this year because I have moved my studio to Chaska from Waconia and my clients want to know how Chaska is going to look for sessions. Chaska is a great area. It has the downtown area with historic brick and a city or urban look, but it also has an abundance of trees and water that makes for a nature look as well. Now if you have never done a photo session with me you may not know this, but I can make any location look fantastic. It takes an eye and the skill of using light but with my experience, skill, and camera equipment I really have an advantage over amatures. I have had great moments where a doubting customer wants to see what I am “getting” and when I turn and show the the screen on my camera to them they are shocked and excited. But I see something before I even take the image that I can’t really explain and I just see a great spot or image potential. I also have the ability to roll into a completely new area to me and do a quick assessment and get great photos in a place I have never taken photos previously. It’s why you hire a professional photographer. So yeah, I still have my spots in Waconia, Excelsior, and the Arboretum, as well as some smaller less known areas around the west metro, if you happen to be looking for a specific look, but now I have Chaska to add to my list of great places to do a senior session. I also have my new studio and brand new backdrops for a fun studio look. Summer is in full swing and my spots are filling up but if you are looking for fantastic senior photos give me a call and let’s get something on the calendar. 952-442-8249 or email me at Studio address is 117 East 2nd Street in Downtown Chaska Minnesota

Help me, help you love your photos!

I have been looking over images from last year and thinking about what made sessions successful while producing fantastic photos. Coming prepared is your best plan! Make sure you bring your clothing wrinkle free and on hangers. You will look more polished and feel better because when they come wrinkled and stuffed in a bag it’s more work for everyone. Come rested and ready to be photographed so we can get started on your session right away. Once you get in your groove fussing with hair, make up, or nail polish is a huge distraction.

Pro tip: if you regularly wear glasses consider have the lenses removed for your session. Glasses glare can throw off even the best of lighting and dull your beautiful eyes! If you take your glasses to your optomotrist, they will be able to remove and replace the lenses for you.

Your outfit looks and feels more complete with a belt, the right shoes, or accessories so make sure you have everything you need. Also if you want your basketball or something special that is impotant to you have it by the door so you don’t forget it! Remembering all of the extra details can really create a special session. Come just a few minutes early so you don’t feel late or rushed and we have a few minutes to chat about the session before we start. I want you to love your photos and you will even more if you come prepared and let me capture your best you!

Downtown Chaska senior session

Exploring Chaska

I spent the morning taking photos during the two breaks in the rain. First on the schedule was my senior session with Joe where I was able to use a fantastic spot down by the creek. The overcast weather really helped with the lighting! The green was unbelievable and the images turned out great. It is amazing how people’s expressions change when they are in a comfortable and appropriate setting for them. We also took some great photos on the new bridge that goes over the pond in Chaska. The combination of fresh wood and metal added to the water while the nature made for a great back drop! Second session in Chaska this morning was a totally adorable yellow lab puppy named Gus. Loving the images of him playing and kissing his “mom”. First, I utilized the studio space and then we went on a walk to capture some great photos of Gus against the old historc brick in downtown Chaska. It was a great morning. Make sure to check out the Facebook page for photo updates!