When Lynda called me about her son, Ryan’s senior portrait, I soon learned how important these images would be to her, so there were a lot of details that needed to be discussed. I suggested that we meet in person to discuss the details. I first met them, at Starbucks in Independence. I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and energy and could tell that both he and his mom were super into this portrait session. Since he is an only child, and will soon be going off to college, it’s really important to Lynda that she have some great images to enjoy while he’s away.

During our meeting, I found out that Ryan likes to play baseball, so we decided to create what would become one of his favorite senior portraits with his glove and bat. We also discussed locations and with all the great memories Ryan has had in and around campus, we quickly settled on Independence High School.

I scouted out the location prior to our session and found a few really cool places to shoot. We decided on the dugout and field to showcase Ryan’s sports activities.

The day could not have been more perfect; sunny with a warm breeze. We began on the baseball field in the dugout where I could get Ryan posed on the bench surrounded by his gear. He wanted each pose to be with and without glasses (I discovered this at our initial meeting, which is why I think it’s so important to have these prior to the actual session, so that all parties are on the same page!).

When we got out onto the field, I motioned for Ryan to come over by the scoreboard. (he told me about this and I suggested it for a background, which he readily agreed to). He grabbed his bat and I created a few images with it. I showed them to him and he got really excited about how well they were turning out. He loved that the scoreboard was lit up, which really brought out a realistic atmosphere.

We then went over to alumni field where we captured some frames of Ryan with his sports gear and the school in the background. I suggested that he stand up so I could render an image of his profile against the deep blue sky. Ryan typically smiles, and that is what came across in the majority of the images that day, but this time, I simply told him to relax his smile a bit.

What a senior portrait! The image showed a more thoughtful, even serious side of Ryan. His profile showed a quiet strength that contrasted beautifully with the darkening sky and the way he was standing, feet spread slightly apart and head up made it that much more powerful.

As the sun waxed in the amber sky, I took the last few frames of him in the wooded meadows. I showed Ryan and his mom some of the images and they were super excited.

Pet photography is one of my specialties. Earlier in the day, Lynda mentioned that perhaps we might get some photographs with Ryan and the family dog, which I readily agreed to. Lynda warned me that it might be dicey, as their dog was a “ball of energy”. As it turned out, we had no problem. The little guy behaved just fine, sitting next to Ryan the whole time. At the moment I snapped, I called out to him. His ears perked up and presto! We had both Ryan and the family pet perfectly captured!

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