Elk River Senior Pictures

{AJ} Senior Baseball Session | Elk River Senior Pictures | Elk River, Minnesota

Hello and welcome back to my blog! This week I am featuring AJ!

AJ is a senior at Elk River High School and a member of the Class of 2019. His extracurricular activities include baseball and basketball. He enjoys the outdoors and skateboarding, as well as hunting with his dogs. I had a great time hanging out with him and his parents and those dogs! He describes himself as funny, outgoing and friendly. I agree wholeheartedly! He was so fun to talk to!

AJ wanted his senior pictures to represent all sides of him in his natural every day look. One that showed his love of sports and also a bit classier look. Hales Field in Elk River is (and was) a huge part of his life with lots of memories, so we started out there for baseball shots. He brought all of his baseball equipment to “accessorize”. The lighting was fantastic this late summer evening.

a teenager getting his senior baseball photos taken at Elk River Hales Field.

I asked AJ how she would advise someone else on how to prepare for their senior photo session. He responded:

“Figure out places you would think make good backgrounds as well as great outfits that show who you are.”

He is absolutely correct! From Moments to Memories helps with this as well. We have taken seniors all over the Twin Cities area and have great locations we can suggest. From urban to country, we know some awesome locations. We are always looking for new locations as well!

senior boy getting his baseball pictures taken at Hales Field in Elk River, Minnesota.

We then headed down the road to Bailey Point Nature Preserve which is an amazing park. AJ’s opinion of the park? It is one of the most beautiful outdoor places in his home city of Elk River, Minnesota. I frequent the park quite often for my nature photography and love when my seniors pick this park. The sunsets here are fantastic and we even run into deer often on sessions at this location.

As I mentioned, AJ also brought his pups along. They were so fun and friendly! At one point, one even jumped into the river! So much fun!

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What’s one piece of advice AJ has for other seniors during their senior session?

“Be yourself. Don’t wear something that doesn’t express who you really are each day.”

AJ’s overall senior photo experience?

“I had a fantastic time taking pictures as well as talking with Sheila. I believe my photos came out better than expected, and I loved how they all looked.”

AJ plans to attend the College of St Scholastica, major in secondary education, and pursue his dreams in baseball.

I am sure that AJ will do well! His future looks very bright! Thanks to AJ and his parents for entrusting me with his senior photos!

{Bridget} Country Senior Session | Elk River, Minnesota | Elk River High School

Hello and welcome back to my blog! This week I am featuring Bridget!

I was so excited when Bridget’s mom, Nancy, contacted me for her senior session! I have known Bridget”s sister for many years, as my daughter had danced with her since kindergarten. Bridget is a senior at Elk River High School and a member of the Class of 2019. She is involved in archery and robotics. She loves programming and designing new things! Bridget describes herself as kind, quiet and giving.

Bridget wanted her senior session in a natural, outdoor setting so I suggested both Bailey Point Nature Preserve and the Houlton Conservation area in Elk River. We started at the Houlton Conservation area, which is one of my favorite parks for senior sessions. It is along the river, and has an old barn-type building for great backdrops.

Teenager getting her photo taken at an Elk River park in the country.

Teenager getting her photo taken at an Elk River park in the country.

I asked Bridget how she would advise someone else on how to prepare for their senior photo session. She responded with,

“Look at the photographer’s other senior shoots and make sure you have an idea of what you want with your session.”

She is absolutely correct! When choosing a senior photographer, make sure you check their portfolio/gallery for their photography AND editing style. This ensures a good fit with your senior photographer.

Bridget brought a chair and some daisies along for her session. She brought the chair because she checked out the landscapes before hand, and thought the chair would look good with the back drops. She was right! And the daisies are her favorite flower.

senior girl getting her senior photos taken at Houlton Conservation Area in Elk River, Minnesota

We headed down the road to Bailey Point Nature Preserve which is an amazing park. I frequent the park quite often for my nature photography and love when my seniors pick this location. The sunsets here are amazing, as well as the wildflowers in season. I loved that Bridget brought her own props.

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Bridget did her own makeup because she knew what she wanted and how she wanted it done. When in doubt! She went to Simonson’s Salon to get her hair done because it was less stressful to have someone else do it! She didn’t want any big or crazy accessories and chose a simple necklace and bracelet. I loved all her outfits, and the daisies made it all come together with her country theme.

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Toward the end of Bridget’s session, a few white-tailed deer even stopped by for a visit. Twins, even! Bridget was coaxing them in with her flowers, however they kept their distance. I was wishing I had my long lens to capture some close ups of them!

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Bridget’s overall senior photo experience?

“Amazing! Sheila made it very easy and fun. It was very cool to see all the deer at Bailey Point!”

Bridget plans to attend Bethany Lutheran College in the fall where she will major in Chemistry.

I know you will do well, Bridget! Thank you for trusting me with your senior photos!

{Sam} Elk River Senior Session | Elk River, Minnesota | Elk River High School

I have a lot of catching up to do with blogging my senior and family sessions! I’m going to try and do two a week until I’m caught up! What a season I had!

Starting this week with Sam!

Sam is a senior at Elk River High School and a member of the Class of 2019. He also plays baseball AND basketball, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Sam describes himself as funny and self-loving!

We started out at Handke School and the Pit near Downtown Elk River. Sam was looking for a suburban look for his senior session, but not overdone. He wanted nice and simple! And I believe that’s what he got! He chose Elk River because it’s the place he calls home. Its his last year here, and wanted to show the place some love!

senior boy at Handke Pit for senior pictures in summer

I asked Sam what one piece of advice he would have to other seniors getting their picture taken. His response?

“Don’t try to be a “model” or pose for the camera. Just relax. They’re YOUR photos, so just relax and BE YOURSELF.”

handke pit senior photography in downtown elk river minnesota

We moved on to the Downtown Elk River area off Main Street and the river. Sam says his biggest fear about the session was that he wouldn’t be comfortable and honestly ended up and having so much fun. “Honestly, I felt like I was just walking around with my own little group of paparazzi, and it felt amazing!”

teenaged boy getting senior pictures done in downtown elk river

He advises other high school seniors to prepare in advance for the session. “Get your clothes picked up as soon as possible, don’t wait like me choosing two days before!” I would have to agree! There is less anxiety if you prepare well in advance!

senior urban pictures in downtown elk river minnesota on the mississippi river

Sam said his overall senior session experience was fun. “I loved having my mom follow us around. Overall, I had more fun than I thought I would.”

Sam’s future plans?

“Go to college, have fun in life, and see where it takes me!”

Good luck in everything you do, Sam! Thank you for trusting me with your senior photos!

{Lexi} Softball Senior Session | Elk River, Minnesota | Elk River High School

Featured on the blog this week is Lexi!

Senior getting her senior photos taken in Minnesota.

Lexi plays softball for Elk River High School in Elk River and is a member of the Class of 2019. She also participates in Elk Buddies, which is a club at school that focuses on bridging the gap between special education students and those in general education classes! Lexi describes herself as outgoing, kind, and athletic.

We first started at the softball fields in Elk River. Lexi brought her bat and a softball to use as props in her photos. They are an essential part to her sport, so she wanted them to be featured!

Softball player getting senior photos taken in Elk River

We then headed to the Downtown Elk River area. Lexi wanted to stay in her hometown and have familiar backgrounds featured in her photos, because it is where she grew up! The weather was quite warm, but beautiful!

Senior girl getting her photos taken in Downtown Elk River Minnesota

We ended our night at The Houlton Conservation Area and Bailey Point Nature Preserve in Elk River. These parks always make for such gorgeous photos! The sunset was beautiful. It made for another gorgeous golden-hour session!

Teen girl having her senior photos taken at parks in Elk River Minnesota

We asked Lexi what advice she would offer to seniors preparing for their session. Her response?

"Bring a comb. Make sure you’re comfortable in your outfits. Make sure you have all your clothes set out and props. Also what locations and poses you want."

Girl getting her senior photos taken in Elk River Minnesota.

Lexi plans to attend college and possibly major in Social Work or Special Education.

Good luck in your endeavors, Lexi! Thank you for trusting me with your senior photos!

Why I Shoot During "Golden Hour" | Senior Portraits in Minneapolis, Minnesoa

So you want to learn about golden hour, huh? It’s a pretty popular time of day for photographers to shoot. I'll tell you what it is and why I like to shoot at that time of day!  I have heard clients ask, "Can we shoot at 1:00pm?" While I will shoot mid-day as a last resort, it is not an ideal time. Most people don't understand why, and I thought I would shed some light on it (pun intended). 

Unless there is quite a bit of cloud cover or shady areas, shooting in the middle of the day under direct sun is difficult. Harsh shadows, squinting eyes and the bright sun is not my idea of a great photo.  Yes, it can be done, and has been. I use back lighting a lot and my reflector/diffuser, along with finding hidden shade. 

Here is an old photo that I shot in direct sunlight.

jasmine harsh sun

Jasmine's face is quite orange, she's squinting and she has such an uneven skin tone. This was one of my first senior sessions. Even back then, I knew this wasn't a look I was going for. Don't get me wrong, this session has always been one of my favorites, and there were plenty of great images.  But it just wasn't the ideal time of day.

I then moved to mid-mornings, which was a bit better.  The lighting was nice, but mid-morning seemed to give off a lot of harsh shadows and dark faces. I did a lot of post-processing in Lightroom. 

But then I discovered what all photographers rave about. "The Golden Hour".  This is the time just before sunrise or sunset. You may or may not have noticed that my first availability is always 1-2 hours before sunset. During this time, the lighting is absolutely perfect!  It is also shortly after sunrise; however, not everyone wants to wake up that early, especially soon-to-be seniors in high school!  

The perks of "Golden Hour":

  • You get yummy light flares and beautiful soft light.
  • There are no soft shadows or squinty eyes from the blinding sun at high noon.
  • In the summer, it cools off in the early evening, so you’re able to relax a little better knowing there isn’t sweat running down your face or making stains on your shirt.
  • During "Golden Hour", everything is warm and pretty and gives off a magical feeling.
  • We can also get some sweet silhouette shots as the sun is going down on the horizon.

Here are some of my favorite recent sessions that I have shot during this time. I think you can agree with me that nothing compares, and that "Golden Hour" never disappoints!

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We can't forget the boys during Golden Hour!

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Here are a couple from my latest session, that was just amazing!

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