Senior Pictures

Reasons You Should Have Senior Pictures Taken

It’s finally the time of year when the sun begins to poke its head out again and we have the types of days that lure you out to the city parks.  In addition to the sun creeping out, the retail store shelves have suddenly become lined with stuffed animals bearing a cap and gown and space for signatures and “Oh the Places You’ll Go” books out front.  Not only does this time of year signal the beginning of spring, it’s also a signal that many people are completing an educational milestone. Its graduation season.  Though people graduate throughout the year, May and June tend to be the biggest months for celebrating these accomplishments, with one of the biggest being high school graduations.

High school graduations have come with their own traditions since just about forever.  Some are ancient and over the top, but a few are worth continuing: one of which is senior pictures. Having senior pictures taken is a good idea for several reasons and most of them are extremely unselfish or vain.  So, before you think about skipping out on them, read ahead for a few reasons that you shouldn’t.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 1: The Family

Your family and close friends like having solid proof that all the love and support they have provided to the graduate over the years has actually matriculated into a finished product and a more well-developed person.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even 2nd cousins have watched you grow up and it’s nice to have comparison photos throughout the years.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 2: For Practical Reasons

If you are a proper person or just someone who likes people to receive gifts for their accomplishments, you will likely send out invitations to the graduation ceremony. A nice addition to any graduation invitation is a picture of who is exactly graduating.  Many of your guests may not have seen you in some years, so including a picture will help them put a name to a now-grown-up face. If you slip and miss sending out the photos with the invitations, they can also be saved and sent with the thank you notes.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 3: To Share and Exchange with Friends

I know you may have heard this before, but it is very likely that you (or the graduate) will never see some of these high school friends again. Everyone grows up and moves to different places and chooses different paths in life, so having the ability to exchange photos makes sure they have something to show when they are telling stories about how much of a blast you guys had in physics class. 

Senior Pictures

Reason # 4: To Capture Who You Are at This Moment

As mentioned in reason number 3, you may end up going down many different roads as you progress into adulthood.  Your habits, interest and friends may change, so senior photos are a good opportunity for you to capture exactly who you are in this moment.  Has playing basketball defined your high school years?  Maybe the debate team or spanish club?  No matter what your interests are at this moment, try to capture them in your photos.  Meet your photographer at an empty basketball court and use that as a setting or bring props that have special meaning to you. Make your photo shoot representative of you.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 5: To Celebrate Your Accomplishment!

I would say the most important reason to get those senior photos done, is that it gives you the opportunity to celebrate your own accomplishment!  Finishing high school is a big deal.  We have all been there and know how crazy those 4 (or maybe 5!) years can be, but you have done it and done it well.  That deserves a celebration.  That deserves photos that you can look back on and smile or share with the future graduates that come after you.

Senior Pictures

Tahoe Family Portraits

Tahoe Family Portraits | Bryant Family

This family has the cutest most adorable endearing two year old ever.  The weather the week they were on their Tahoe vacation was incredibly cold and blustery and for a few days, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a weather window on this day to photograph their Tahoe family portraits.  In the end, we had some beautiful overcast skies and nice soft light but frigid May temps.  Their kiddo was a trooper and was almost all smiles the whole time, especially because her parents were hands on and excited to interact with her.  From games of hide and seek to playing with pinecones, your natural interactions with your children create images of precious vacation memories that you’ll value as a keepsake from your travels!

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what to wear in your family portrait

Tahoe Family Photos | LTCC Demonstration Garden | Poth Family

Last fall, shortly before their second daughter was set to be born, my friends the Poth family hired me to celebrate their growing family with some Tahoe family photos.  We met early in the morning at the LTCC Demonstration Garden, when their spitfire of a child Zada would feel extra sparky and accommodating.

Since then, their family has grown to include their new daughter Ayah, but not without quite the journey.  Baby Ayah was born premature, blind, and with holes in her heart.  She is a little fighter and this family has been air-evaced back and forth across the Western US for more surgeries, hospital stays and emergencies than any one family should endure.  They are doing well and trying to be as normal as a family can be under the circumstances they are in.

If you are interested, you can donate to Ayah’s Go Fund Me.  In addition, the Poth family urges you to donate blood.  Donated blood is one of the only reasons Ayah is still here today.  Get information on donating blood in your area here.  If you are a Lake Tahoe resident, there is a blood drive in our area on May 23rd and you can register to donate here.

If you are not a member of a medical flight network, especially if you participate in any sort of sport, then both myself and the Poth family urge you to join one.  Our local networks for the Reno Tahoe area is AirMedCare.

The Poth family also requests that you contribute to medical and scientific research.  It saves lives.

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Tahoe Maternity Photos

Winter Maternity Portrait | Valhalla | Deibert Family

A winter maternity portrait at Lake Tahoe is a great way to celebrate your growing family.  The Deiberts contacted me on a whim – they were coming up with family to visit and as luck would have it, I was available.  Valhalla is one of my favorite places to photograph family photos in Lake Tahoe.  It offers such a wonderful mix of forest, meadow, and beach for fantastic variety.  You almost always get that nice golden CA glow that everyone wants there as well!  I really loved how Erika’s scarf complemented the fading meadow grasses.  Congrats to this growing family!

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Winter Senior Portraits

Winter Senior Portraits | Sugar Pine Point | Madelyn

Madelyn has grown up as a competitive tennis player, so it was important for her and her family to incorporate that aspect of her life into her Tahoe winter senior portraits.  Hysterically, although it hadn’t snowed for weeks before her session, when the day came it was freezing cold and a dusting of snow had fallen.  We had planned on doing the session at Sugar Pine Point State Park, because it has such a great mix of forest, pier, and lake options, plus, the added bonus of actually offering a tennis court.  Little did we know when we planned our day that Madelyn would be playing tennis in the snow!  It was a fun and comical way to end our day and I think her smile really came out and shone genuinely when she was on the court!

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Tahoe Engagement Session

Tahoe Engagement Session | Lake Tahoe, CA | Lisa + Jeff

Lisa and Jeff wanted a double whammy of locations for their Tahoe engagement session: forest and mountains were important to them so we hit up Kahle Community Center for the aspens and the forest and then the Trout Creek meadow behind Al Tahoe for some epic mountain views of Tallac and a killer sunset.  These two were married earlier in March and I’m looking forward to sharing their gorgeous Tahoe winter wedding photos with everyone!

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Snowshoe Engagement Session

Snowshoe Engagement Session | Eric + Melissa

“I’m not sure if you quite understand what’s happening up here,” one of my emails to Melissa said, when I told her that we weren’t going to be able to just walk into the forest for their winter engagement session.  Melissa and Eric became engaged at Lake Tahoe and she had a specific adventurous outdoor mission in mind for her engagement photos: she wanted a snowy thick forested wonderland.  I could certainly deliver it, but in light of the five feet of snow we’d received in the two days before we were set to photograph, it wasn’t going to be easy.  It was the first of a series of snowstorms we’ve deemed “snowmageddon” which has since turned into “rainmageddon.”

“You’re going to need snowshoes,” I said.  They found snowshoes.

“You’re going to need a sense of adventure,” I might have said, “and some good natured enthusiasm.”

As it turns out, a sense of adventure and good natured enthusiasm is inherent in this dynamic duo and there was absolutely no reason that I would have needed to say that!  We spent an hour frollicing, falling, post holing, and burying ourselves in snow for their winter snowshoe engagement session and I loved every minute of it.  I can’t wait to photograph this rad couple’s 2018 wedding and spend more time laughing and adventuring for their photos.  After this, I am quite positive that they would be up for absolutely anything that included scrambling, climbing and adventure!

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Presidio Engagement Session

Presidio Engagement Session | San Francisco, CA | Kelli + Lucas

Kelli and Lucas came to me by way of another one of my favorite couples, Sara and Will.  In fact, Lucas is standing in half the photos on their blog post.  I am equally excited about Lucas and Kelli’s wedding.  If there’s anything I know about this crew of friends, it’s that they surround themselves with awesome.  I expect nothing less than another amazingly beautiful, love filled, raging dance party and sing-along celebration for Kelli and Lucas!

Kelli and Lucas really wanted to get married at Cavallo Point Lodge, across the bay from the Presidio, but it was (not so surprisingly) out of the budget.  It’s a little spendy over there y’all.  Next best thing: engagement photos in the Presidio, clearly!  With a travel loving, adventure seeking, wine drinking photographer who is always willing to climb into the bushes for her clients.

I had such a blast with these two, sharing stories about half marathons and trips, both taken and future, and their November Sacramento wedding is one of the ones I’m most looking forward to this year!

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Winter Portraits in the Snow

Winter Portraits in the Snow | Frank Family

You can’t fake candid: it’s always a little contrived.  Capturing real innocence, warmth, silliness and frustration is a little different and the magic happens only if I get to stop directing and families just start being themselves.  Most kids don’t love taking direction and would rather either completely ignore you, or be completely involved in the process, so frankly, why not let them?  I promise that often the best images happen when you think everything is a failure.

I couldn’t have asked for better moments during this winter family photo shoot in the snow.  Daily family life isn’t perfect and neither should the memories of your kids be.  I’m always thankful when winter portraits in the snow erupt into impromptu laughter and tear inducing snowball fights!  This is absolutely one of my favorite winter sessions of family photos at Lake Tahoe that I’ve photographed this year.

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Hope Valley Portraits

Hope Valley Engagement Session | Mary + Scotty

The air is finally crisp in Tahoe.  Our first snowfall came recently and the nights are getting cold quick: don’t you dare leave the house without a hoody!  It’s apparently engagement season because someone in the wedding industry decided that was a thing.  Mostly, I just finally have some breathing room (August was a doozy y’all) and I can blog again and show you all the awesome things I’ve photographed in the last …. uh … year.  So while a few things have shown up on here over the course of the spring and summer, the majority of my amazing couples are on a really long to-do list.  Never fear kids, you’ll all get your photos up at some point.  I had to start with Mary and Scotty for so many reasons, but primarily because the chill in the air and the cool temps are reminding me of their fall Hope Valley engagement session.  We tromped around with their pups, got a little silly, made fun of photography trends and finished it all up with an epic dinner at Sorensen’s Resort.  That’s right folks, hiring Lauren as your photographer means that you get to go on a romantic date with her and your betrothed.

Mary and Scotty are my last wedding of 2016 and I’m pumped to photograph their Valhalla Wedding this November.  As further evidence that the three of us are meant to be, they wanted a Viking themed photo booth.  If you aren’t sure why anyone would want this at their wedding, you should look up the definition of the word Valhalla.  There I made it simple for you, simpleton.

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