I first met Josie over at a coffee shop on Capitol in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with her mom. She was a senior at Wauwatosa West High School and ready to get her senior pictures taken. For anyone not familiar these are the kind of photos you take and submit to the school yearbook and then hand out to your friends and family.
Sometimes I don’t get the chance to meet everybody before a photoshoot because of conflicting schedules When I do I always take it as an opportunity to learn about my client’s personality and interests. Then, I inspire them with some really big, creative ideas.
Josie loved reading. That’s what I’ll remember most about her. She came off very thoughtful and introspective. I love working with people like that, because I can relate. i think sensitive thinkers don’t usually live in a world where their photo is taken all of the time. And then someone like me shows up with a camera to capture their world and all its wonders. For people like Josie, seeing beautiful photos of themselves really knocks their socks off.
Since, I’m based in Milwaukee I have a list of locations I like to go to. But I work with each client to see what scenery appeals to them. Do they want a pretty park (like Elm Grove Village Park) or a rustic wild-wooded park (like Doctor’s Park in Fox Point). Or would they prefer the beach? Downtown Milwaukee? If they like cream city brick, maybe the Third Ward fits the bill.
Josie liked the idea of a pretty park and somewhere next to the water, but with industrial buildings made of made of brick. I suggested Lake Park, which is a little bit north of the Milwaukee Lakefront and down in the Third Ward where the Milwaukee River runs into the Kinnickinnic River. For a third location, we’d sneak over to Lakeshore State Park – a five minute drive from where we took photos in the Third Ward.
All three of those locations are some of my favorites, and I’ve had a lot of success taking photos there. There’s something magical about the Third Ward. You can take photos with the river in the background alongside old renovated factory buildings. The industrial setting gives the location a stylized old rust feel to the photos, and the colors are always so pleasing with the maroons and creamy whites. Lakeshore State Park has the best view of the Milwaukee skyline, especially at night with the buildings lit up. Lake Park has the prettiest trees, especially in the fall.
We took all the book pictures at Lake Park, and Josie really took to heart my suggestion to bring books along for a picture. She literally brought a huge book bag that was so heavy her mom was walking tilted over sideways to keep her balance. I wanted to take a photo of the books all spread out so it looked like she was in a sea of them. Josie also brought her pet bearded dragon for a couple of shots.
She was excited about that. I love taking photos high school seniors will be excited about, because that excitement will last throughout the rest of the photoshoot and result in some amazing shots for the yearbook and proud parents.
We photographed three different outfits for Josie. At Lake Park, she wore a classy green dress. Her other two outfits were more casual. I could tell she really loved and they both showed off her personality. At the Third Ward she wore maroon pants rolled up to show off striped socks and sneakers with a black button down. At Lake Shore State Park she wore a green pant and flower spotted shirt in the other.
I’ve found the best thing to do for a senior photoshoot is to bring three outfits: one that is classy, one that is casual and one that is more daring, more “you.” (Think your sports team, future college, bold colors or even your favorite Christmas onesie.)
As usual, I photographed solely with my Nikon D750 in manual with my 1.4 fixed 85mm lens and 70-200