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On this post, I wanted to celebrate a big-time photography win for me.
Every once in awhile, I’ll submit the images I take during photo sessions or weddings for publications on blogs or in magazines.
This is a great way for me to get noticed and hopefully attract future clients who can rest assured that they’re making a great choice if they choose me as their photographer.
I follow several senior portrait magazines and they’ll routinely have a photo call for submissions from their magazines.
Some of these magazines like twelfth year, senior inspire, senior style guide and senior muse will publish magazines once a year or once a season and fill it up with some of the best pictures from the best photographers around the country.
Part of the reason I choose to submit senior sessions is because those sessions tend to be the most beautiful and creative of all my work.
Most, if not all, of my seniors are extremely excited for their session and they’re willing to do something completely out of the box and creative.
When I talk to them about their interests and personality, they’re then really willing to follow my lead and bring props or locations or outfits that make the photography session stand out among the crowd.
2020, was a good year for me and I had a lot of wonderful sessions.
So, when I saw a submission call for senior inspire magazine for the best images of 2020 I knew I had to try.
How to get selected
Getting your images picked for awards or publication is always very subjective. There is no way to know what the judges will prefer and what they will pick. It goes without saying, that there will be hundreds if not thousands of images not picked that are absolutely gorgeous and meet any standard of photography professionalism.
First, I submitted 10 images, trying to play the odds.
As a way to give myself more of a chance to be picked, I varied those images and the styles.
I still picked my favorite images of the year, but at the same time I picked both girls and boys and picked some that were vary dramatic and others that are more subtle. Some of them had dramatic backgrounds and others had wonderful outfits. Some were closeups and others were scenic photos. Some were taken during the day in a field of flowers and others were at night in the city.
Since I don’t personally know what the magazine editor is looking for, I could then broaden my chances that one of the images would satisfy their style.
I also picked images that stood out among the crowd and were more than ordinary.
In every session, you take a lot of professional and beautiful photos, but photos that also don’t have that wow factor when you put them in a stack of photos from other senior sessions.
I wanted to find photos that were unique in some ways. This way, they’d catch your eye if you were thumbing through a stack of pictures.
The first photo I entered was a photo of a senior boy wearing a pink shirt in front of a pink building that reminded me of a Calvin Klein commercial. It had a high end fashion vibe that I hoped would make it stand out.
The next two photos were taken with a super dramatic background on a bridge in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee. The bridge has a frame that goes up the sides and crosses together above the heads of the people below. It served as a natural frame for my portraits.
It was also sunset, so the senior were doing very dramatic poses, one was wearing his own sports shirt and the other was wearing a full suit.
The next one was on a bridge in downtown Milwaukee with the entire city skyline behind him. That senior loves bowling and actually competes in a competitive league, so he had his bowling ball and was posing in a full “I’m about to send this ball down the lane stance.” The picture was at night and I lit the senior up with a purple flash to give it a creative and unique look.
My next photo was of one of my first seniors from the season and who was a competitive cyclist and the picture I chose was him framed through his bike tire.
The next one I chose was actually taken in the same park as the cyclist and this photo was more of a traditionally beautiful photo where you could see trees, a walking path and the senior framed in the right side looking at the camera. It was pretty and simple.
As a photographer I love bold colors and so I also picked two photos from a session with a girl who had an infectious smile and big red-dyed hair. I chose her photos, mostly because of her personality and how much fun she was having. But, one of those photos was of her sitting in an art sculpture which was unique to Milwaukee. It’s an art sculpture that is essentially a human sized circle sitting on a rectangle and I will ask my seniors to sit in the rectangle. It was made by Milwaukee School of Engineering and it sits in the Historic Third Ward Neighborhood.
The one they chose
I submitted another two photos from what was probably my favorite session of 2020 and it was
with Reilly, an outdoorsy and industrious senior from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Reilly came into her session with a couple big ideas and wowed with her outfit, a warm and flowing maroon dress with sandals and a fun wide-brimmed hat.
She is also a lifelong equestrian who really wanted to incorporate her biggest passion in the pictures.
We met at Camp Minikani Equestrian Center in Colgate, Wisconsin where she kept her horse.
She really had some great ideas and was happy to do pictures that were both creative and challenging (almost model-esque) in her poses.
The first one I chose was her in a beautiful field and she was holding her hair back looking out and away from the camera. I just love the lighting on this photo.
The photo Senior Inspire ended up choosing of her was her sitting along a fence line holding the reins of her horse. But, while we were doing this photo, two other horses walked up to her on the other side of the fence to greet her. So, the photo ended up having her sitting there laughing with three horses on either side of her.
It was a fortuitous picture and something I didn’t plan and now it’s in a magazine!
Check out the Senior Inspire Instagram Account