Houlton Conservation Area

{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.


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.


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!


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!

{Heather} Gorgeous Senior Photo Session | Senior Dance Portraits | Elk River Senior Pictures


Hello all!  So sorry I haven't been on for a while! I am so busy, as you can imagine! From sessions, to editing, to paperwork! It's a zoo! I may try to make up for it by blogging twice this week :)

I'd like you to meet Heather!  I was so excited when Heather's mom, Chris, contacted me to do Heather's senior photos. A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to take Heather's older sister, Jadyn's senior pictures. I love repeat customers who trust me!  Heather is a senior at Elk River High School, a studio dancer, and is also a member of the Elk River Dance Team.  She describes herself as fun-loving, caring and laid back. I couldn't agree more!

Heather was looking for a more natural, look with a mixture of country and urban locations. We decided on Henry's Woods Park in Rogers; Downtown Elk River, including Handke Pit; and the William H. Houlton Conservation Area in Elk River.  

I had just picked up this awesome changing tent for my seniors to use this year. I was sick of them (and I am sure they were, too) trying to find a place to change and/or changing in the car all the time. I have also been showing behind the scenes of my senior sessions on Snapchat and Instagram this year. It has been a hit with the seniors, and they are having a blast with it. Unfortunately, my assistant was under the weather the day of Heather's shoot so I was on my own with that part of the session. The only behind the scenes photo I could salvage was of her mom helping me with the tent!  Looking good, Chris!


We actually started out at their house. They have a beautiful pond/water arrangement in their yard and Chris had asked if we could incorporate it into her senior session.  The featured photo above shows how Heather meticulously picked her outfits and they were perfect for her!  I think she looks like Jadyn in that photo!

We headed over to Henry's Woods next. It has been very popular with families and seniors this year!  I loved the outfits and accessories Heather chose. She brought a hat, necklaces, and different shoes for each outfit. She had a mixture of casual, high sophistication and country. Perfect!


The next stop was Downtown Elk River. Chris made a great assistant helping me with my diffuser/reflector. Heather told me after that her biggest fear or worry about the photo shoot was being uncomfortable during the session, but that I did a great job making sure that didn't happen! Thanks, Heather!  Look how relaxed and comfy you look! You did an awesome job!  And that Golden Hour sun was amazing! 


We headed over to Handke Pit and did dance pictures next. So graceful! The lighting was really beginning to impress!


And finally, we ended up at the Houlton Conservation Area.  I had used this location in the past when it was Houlton Farm. However, the owner of the farm sold it to the city and the city turned it into a nature conservation area. It has become one of my favorite locations and was perfect for Heather's country theme!


Heather's advice for other seniors preparing for their senior shoot? "Be as prepared as you can be and make sure the pictures are a reflection of your true self. Definitely pick your outfits carefully and have a good idea of which accessories you will want."  Smart words!

Heather plans to attend a four-year university and major in either education or criminal justice/law, while participating on a college dance team!  Good luck, Heather, I know you will do great things!

"Sheila did a wonderful job and made it all so easy for me!"

And that, my friends, is why I love my job!