One of my favorite senior sessions this year has been with Kaisa, a senior at Oxford Hills. We started at the studio with hair and makeup by Allie Roberge of Tagli Salon.
We did some photos outside as the skies got cloudier, then we headed to a special location near their house.
Shortly after we left the studio, the rain started. We drove through rain the whole half hour to our destination, but as we turned down the narrow country road leading to the photo spot, the rain stopped and the sun came out. The timing couldn’t have been better.
The location for these photos was spectacular — A private property with a field overlooking fantastic mountain views, a barn and wooden fence, gazebo, pond… everything one could ask for.
And of course my favorite part of the session — when Kaisa’s dog, Leo, made a guest appearance. I just love these.
Kaisa’s mom describes her as outgoing with a sarcastic sense of humor, friendly and happy.
She plans on going into the medical field but isn’t sure just what she wants to do yet. She loves to wear dresses, but you’ll most often find her wearing her Birkenstocks with them.
Thanks for a great time, Kaisa and Kathy (and Leo)!
Thanks for bringing me to such a wonderful location, and for being willing to stay out in the light rain at the end.
AND I’m excited that I get to photograph Kaisa’s brother’s wedding next year, at the same great private property!
Danielle is a senior at Poland Regional High School. We had a great time, starting with hair and makeup here at the studio (by Allie Roberge of Tagli Salon). Danielle has gorgeous hair, skin and eyes, and she totally rocks her glasses. She loves the outdoors, so we embraced nature and also incorporated what I would call a little ‘country glam’.
We did some family combinations first, then a bunch with her beautiful dog before we concentrated on just her. She brought a lot of personal touches, including some of her artwork since she likes to paint.
These are just a few of my many favorites…
Thanks for a great session, Danielle!
In early September I made the ferry trip to Long Island (Maine) to do an engagement session for Kim and Henry. I photographed Kim’s senior photos several years ago, as well as many other milestones for the family. And I’ll be looking forward to hopping on the ferry again next year to photograph Kim and Henry’s wedding.
It was my first trip ever to Long Island…I had never even heard of it when Kim asked me if I would go there. It’s a small island in Casco Bay and Wikipedia says the population is around 240. Henry grew up on the island and his family has lived and worked there for generations.
They met me at the dock and proceeded to drive me all around the island, stopping here and there for photos. Some spots planned, some unplanned. It was a great way for me to see the island and the weather was perfect.
Kim and Henry met when they ‘swiped right’ on Tinder. They say they started talking and never stopped. Kim was going to school in Vermont, Henry was in Maine. They officially met in December of 2013 when Henry made a trip to Vermont for the birth of his nephew. Kim says they ended up watching Christmas movies for hours that evening because they both love Christmas.
This spot is special to Kim and Henry because it’s where they got engaged. On a New Year’s Eve day, Kim had been at work all day on the mainland, and Henry picked her up at the island dock. He took her to her favorite spot on the island and they had a little picnic with hot cocoa and banana bread (Kim’s faves) and then he popped the question.
Plans are well underway for the September 2017 wedding on the island. Kim and Henry are really glad they decided to do an island wedding and are really excited for everyone to get a little taste of island life.
They wanted to embrace all of Long Island in the photos and they think we accomplished that really well.
I saw so many nooks and crannies of the island, and each with a different look.
There was rocky coast, fishing boats, sandy beach, pebbly beach, trees and flowers…
When I asked Kim what advice she had for other couples about to have engagement photos done, she said “Just have fun with it! Smile big and let Jill work her magic!” Good advice!
We ended the afternoon with the most beautiful sunset, just before they took me back to the dock to catch the return ferry.
Thanks to Kim and Henry for being such great hosts and tour guides.
Looking forward to my wedding trip there next September!
Tamara is a senior at Oak Hill High School in Sabattus, Maine. Beautiful, smart, outgoing and athletic,
Tamara has so much going for her as she gets ready to graduate and head into the world.
Tamara has been in the Green Ladle culinary program through school, and plans to continue studying culinary arts after she graduates. I tried to include some not-too-serious details in some photos that gave a nod to her culinary background.
Tamara’s makeup and hair were done here at the studio by Audrey Martin of Escada Salon.
I had so many favorites from her session…I’m just going to show a bunch and let the photos do the talking…
One of Tamara’s other loves is soccer, so we made sure to get some in her soccer uniform…
Thanks for letting me capture your senior photos, Tamara!
It was a pleasure working with you and I know great things are in store for your future!
I had a great experience photographing McKayla’s senior photos. She’ll be graduating in a few months from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, and it’s seniors like her that give me great hope for the future.
Besides being incredibly beautiful, this girl is super smart and very active. She’s a National Honor Society member, on a variety of sports teams — soccer, cheerleading, and track and field. She’s a Freshman Kick-off Mentor. She plays multiple instruments in the Jazz Band and String Quartet. She’s in the Chamber Choir and took part in the Wizard of Oz Community Broadway Musical.
Not to mention she also has a job!
Q: How was your overall senior portrait experience?
A: It was awesome! Despite the humidity, I had so much fun, it felt like it was all about me. It was a special time I will not forget.
Q: What was your favorite part of the experience?
A: I think my favorite part was going back to see the photos, the video was so nice and I know my family loved it too.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for others who are having their senior portraits done?
A: Don’t stress about it! You’ll be struggling to find the one you like the most rather than trying to find one you like. Just enjoy every moment of the spot light being on you. Oh and learn how to keep your face relaxed because I couldn’t seem to keep a relaxed face, it made me laugh a lot though which helped create some good pictures. When in doubt, laugh!
Q: Why did you want to include the props you brought?
A: I brought my saxophone, violin, javelin and soccer cleats. I brought these items because they are defining symbols for me in my high school career. One thing that has stayed consistent with me throughout middle and high school is music and my instruments. Soccer is a sport I’ve played since third grade and is my favorite sport. I started throwing Javelin my sophomore year and it came very naturally to me, I’ve gone to States every year since and hope to go this year too. I just brought things I love, things I will talk about when people ask me what I did in high school.
Q: How would you advise someone else to prepare for a senior photo session?
A: I think if you don’t have anything you really care to bring, then don’t search for something, you don’t need anything. But if you’re really into reading, bring your favorite childhood book or a book you really like now or a book that made you realize something special. If you like math, you’re weird, but you could bring a math book. I think if there’s an item that describes you or your high school career, go for it and bring it with you.
Q: What was your biggest fear or worry about the photo shoot? And what was the outcome?
A: I think my biggest fear was that my pictures wouldn’t look like me. I was worried they would be over edited, but when I was getting my hair done I was talking to Jill and I let her know I didn’t want them edited so much that it didn’t look like me, but edited enough so that it’s still special. She did a perfect job.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I want to work all summer and then go to college in the fall. I plan to major in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. I have a lot of schools to choose from but one of my top choices is University of Maine at Farmington.
When I asked McKayla for three words she would use to describe herself, she said “Leader. Passionate. Hardworking.” Those are fantastic qualities to have, and I could see them all during my time with her. I am sure McKayla will succeed in whatever she puts her mind to, and the world will be better for it!
Last summer I asked for nominations for inspiring seniors…seniors who had overcome challenges and/or were making the community a better place.
I had only planned on having one winner, but among many entries two especially stood out, and Emma was one of them.
Emma’s makeup and hair was done here at the studio by the talented Allie Roberge of Tagli Salon.
Emma has a whole lot of gorgeous hair!
Emma was nominated by her mom, Tara. This is Emma’s story, as told by her mom.
“I would like to nominate my daughter, Emma. Emma has an exceptionally giving spirit in the areas of life where it counts. She started going on mission related travel with me when she was 9-years-old. At that young of an age, she would work with children who were in need of assistance – often befriending them and allowing the team that traveled with her to gain even greater access to them. At age 10, she offered to give up her space and life as she knew it to bring a child home. Emma was already the oldest child of three, and she was aware that adding another child might mean sacrifice on behalf of herself and her siblings.
She made a space in her room, donated away half of her belongings, and worked with social workers to assist with
home studies for an adoption. At the age of 12, Emma traveled with me and her father to Ethiopia to bring home
her new little sister who would live in her space.
“As soon as Emma was able to work at age 14, she began a job filing papers. Her work life evolved from that age. As she heads into her senior year, after keeping a straight A average, Emma balances four jobs. She works at an upscale restaurant running food and has been entrusted to hostess, she lifeguards, and she works for the federal government under-cover in the purchase of tobacco. She purchased her own car, and incorporated her own business driving children to sporting and summer events and practices at the request of their parents.
With her earnings, she contributes to the physical needs and desires of her siblings, and provides much for herself.
“These skills are often overlooked in today’s world, where exceptional children are rarely given exceptional opportunity. Emma’s accomplishments are quiet, but sacrificial, and require a great deal of character. She is always a winner in the eyes of her mom.”
Emma’s story really blew me away. She is such a DO-er. A doer, a worker, a giver…if only the world had more Emmas.
She doesn’t wait around for things to happen or think the world owes her anything,
she takes initiative and works hard for what’s important to her.
Emma is truly a beauty inside and out. Her smile and attitude can light up a room.
I can’t wait to see where Emma’s life takes her.
Her giving spirit combined with her strong work ethic will no doubt make the world a better place.
Thanks to Emma’s mom for sharing her story during my Inspiring Seniors contest and thanks to Emma for being Emma!
Warning: this is a really long post. Spoiler alert: If you don’t like cats, don’t bother reading.
Shelby is a senior at Leavitt Area High School. After the pre-session consultation with her and her parents, I felt like I ‘got’ who she is and that I could create photos that suited her personality. Words that were used to describe her were ‘quiet, unique, low key, smart, caring’. Individuality was also mentioned a few times. And she loves her cats! I think I felt like I especially ‘got’ her because she reminded me of me at her age.
During the consultation Shelby asked me if she could bring one of her cats to be in some photos. I’ve had girls bring their cats before, but always for inside photos. Shelby wanted photos outside with the cat. I said okay, but the cat had to be in a harness and leash because I would hate to have the cat get lost in the woods.
This, by the way, is one of her favorite photos. Mine, too.
And she studies a lot, so we incorporated some books.
Here are some more of my favorites, that I think really suit the vibe I got from her:
We planned to do the cat photos last so Shelby wouldn’t get hair all over her clothes. The cat waited in the car and near the end mom brought it out. “Marble” was in a harness with a leash attached. I posed Shelby and as mom was bringing the cat to her, somehow the cat got out of her arms and took off into the woods, dragging the leash behind her. I live and work right in the middle of 70 acres of woods. We all took off after her, looking and calling and there was no trace. The woods are really thick, and soon it was starting to get dark. None of us were dressed for cat searching, and we were getting scratched and bloody from walking through thick and prickly brush. I brought out flashlights and we kept looking for quite awhile in the dark. But after no sign of her and no one in proper searching clothes or shoes, the search was called off for the night. We all felt awful. And we were all worried about Marble’s harness or leash getting stuck somewhere. I kept telling myself that she could squirm out of it if she really needed to. I kept thinking of her alone and scared (she was not an outdoor cat) and I didn’t sleep much that night. I put a radio out into the woods that night, playing loudly, to hopefully keep predators away.
The next morning my husband and I went out at dawn and started looking again. I started walking in a zig zag pattern through the woods in the area that she had run through the night before. I walked back and forth about 15 minutes and didn’t know where to look next. I was walking through some tall ferns and grass and all of a sudden I looked down and right in front of my feet I saw the blue leash stretched across my path. I held my breath and looked at the end of the leash. There was a cat! It was either sleeping or just trying to be invisible. I grabbed the leash and for a second or two I felt a thrill of victory and relief…until Marble immediately sprang to life and before I could grab her body she had flailed her way out of the harness and ran away. Well, at least we knew she was alive and she wasn’t stuck in the harness somewhere. I knew she wasn’t going to come to me so I just stood in the area she had run toward and hoped to spot her somewhere. We called Shelby’s moms and they were on their way. They thought Marble would come out of hiding once she heard their voices. No such luck. They searched most of the day and I procured a trap and contacted Maine Lost Cat Recovery (a volunteer organization) for some tips. Trapping seemed to be our best bet so Marble’s family bought 2 more traps that afternoon; we had 3 traps set up in various spots around where she was last seen. They were loaded with tuna and sardines and had worn articles of Shelby’s clothing in them. The MLCR folks told me that the traps should be checked EVERY HOUR. Yes, all night long. The family stayed and looked until about 9pm. Just after dark they caught a glimpse of her glowing eyes in the woods, then she ran off. They didn’t expect me to check the traps all night, but I set the alarm for every hour and my husband and I took turns going out to check. The traps were quite spread out, and quite far from the house, so it was a trek into the woods each time. There was no success night one.
The next day was Saturday and the family came back to look all day. I kept all my photo sessions away from the woods so we wouldn’t scare the cat. Jenna from Maine Lost Cat Recovery was nice enough to come (with a 4th trap) and give advice on trap placement and other tips. That night I went out at midnight and saw Marble walking around near my husband’s barn. When I shined the flashlight at her she looked for a second and then disappeared. I was optimistic that she was getting hungry and we’d find her in a trap soon. At 2am the traps were still empty but I saw her eyes, crouched in the woods on the opposite side of the barn. At least she was staying close. We decided that by checking the traps every hour, we weren’t giving her enough time to wander around in between, so we decided the next night we’d switch to every 2 hours.
The next day Shelby’s moms came back to search during the day and until dark. Jenna had told us that Marble was most likely hiding and sleeping during the day, but I do believe Marble stayed close because she could hear and smell her family in the woods each day, even if she was too scared to come to them. My husband left for several days so I was on my own for trap-checking. Sunday night there was no Marble sighting. It was the first night we hadn’t seen her at all and it made me really worried. As usual, no sign during the day on Monday. My nightly routine each night was to check the 4 traps and then check the barn. I had been leaving the small barn door open, hoping if she was too smart to go into a trap at least the relative warmth of the barn might attract her. 10pm, nothing. Midnight, nothing. I was getting really discouraged. This was the 2nd night in a row with no sightings. I feared the worst. 2am, I checked the traps and figured I might as well check the barn again. I shined my light into the barn and saw a flash of movement at the far end. I shut myself in really fast and turned on the light. All was quiet. My husband has 2 years of wood on pallets stacked along inside walls of the barn. I started crouching down and shining the light under the pallets. Nothing…nothing…nothing…CAT!!!! There she was, crouched under the back end of a pallet. I could hardly believe my eyes.
To make an already long story a little shorter, I couldn’t reach her and I didn’t want to let her out of my sight so I stayed out there from 2am till daylight. When Shelby’s mom came that morning, after much difficulty we managed to get her to a spot where we could get our hands on her. She must have been tired and weaker at that point because she hardly put up a struggle once I got my hands on her. I don’t know which one of us was more tired, Marble or me. I know her family REALLY appreciated all I did to get their cat back, but I really did it for Marble.
So that’s why this session is one I will never forget. A week later I went to their house to do photos of Shelby with her cats INSIDE.
Note: I will only photograph cats indoors from now on. 🙂