Williams Bay Senior Portraits
Vinny gets her senior portraits taken at kishwauketoe nature conservancy in Lake Geneva.

Williams Bay Senior Portraits

At this point in my photography career, I have a cadre of favorite photo spots for sessions around southeastern Wisconsin. In the Milwaukee area, I love Grant Park in South Milwaukee, the Third Ward area near downtown and Doctor’s Park in northern Milwaukee. 

West of Milwaukee I love Delafield and Lapham Peak. 

Of course, every once in awhile I get to travel a bit further outside of my normal backyard and make new camera memories in new favorite places. One of those places is Lake Geneva and before last year I hadn’t had much portrait experience there at all. 

I think in my whole career, I had only traveled down there once for a portrait session and that was a camping engagement session at Big Foot Beach State Park. Of course, I had traveled down there a lot in the past and knew it was a beautiful spot with lots of scenic locations.

Last year I was able to book my first senior portrait session there and it was worth the wait.

Vinny attends Williams Bay High School, which is a school and town that neighbors Lake Geneva. Her mom found me online and asked me to help their family out with senior portraits. In our first initial conversation, I asked Heather, Vinny’s mom, whether they had any preferred locations. 

Her first spot was Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy. I had never been here before, so Amanda, my wife and assistant for this job, arrived 20 minutes before our session to scout it out. I went to the first main trail I found, which was across the street from Williams Bay. The part of the park that we walked in was one continuous long boardwalk with thick foliage on either side. The foliage was full of sunflowers. I mean really full. It was like was walking in a sea of yellow everywhere you could see and it was so dense that it isolated you away from the rest of the park and the road that was only a hundred yards off to your right. 

Because of the density of the flowers, the location really immersed you in a one-of-a-kind breathtaking world. I immediately got super excited for the shoot, since I now could see that it would be something really special.

Anytime I’m in a situation with a lot of flowers and tall grasses, I love to set up my clients in a spot that makes them look surrounded by nature with flowers and grasses on the bottom of the frame and on the right and left sides of the frame. 

If you want this same effect, but don’t want to trample through a field in a fancy dress, we can still get this effect. In some cases with Vinny I simply had her continue to stand or sit on the boardwalk and then I would walk into the grass and photograph from there. I would then get low enough so that the grasses between Vinny and me would block out the boardwalk making it appear that she was in the field.

She was also willing to walk out into the field herself and that’s where we got some of our best portraits.

Sometimes, in order to break the ice and start to establish trust, I will ask prospective clients if they have any concerns before our photo sessions. Most of the time, I don’t expect them to say anything, but it’s nice to know if there is anything I can do to help put them at ease or avoid poses or situations that they wouldn’t like. 

For some people, it may be poses. A couple I just worked with, doesn’t like pictures of them kissing and another couple hadn’t had their first kiss yet when I took their engagement photos, so they told me ahead of time to not ask them to kiss. Others may not want any photos that look unnatural and prefer candids.

Another common concern is that the session will be awkward. A couple may say that they’re both super awkward on camera or a future bride will throw her future husband under the bus and say he’s not looking forward to pictures and he’s awkward.

For other clients, their concerns are physical insecurities. They may like one side of their face more than the other. They may want to look taller or shorter than their partner or don’t like certain features.

As we come into the senior portrait season these are some of the concerns you may have and I hope this will help you feel at ease that I’ll make you look your best whether you its in regard to posing, awkwardness or physical insecurities.

After Kishwauketoe, we walked over to the actual Williams Bay Municipal Pier and took some photos with the lake as the background. This pier was special to Vinny and her family as they had spent a lot of time there in the past. 

I love this, because then Vinny’s senior photos will forever be connected with family memories and hopefully make the pictures more special.

For prospective clients out there, I’d like you to notice Vinny’s choice of clothing in the park. For her first outfit, she wore a yellow sundress and a blue whitewashed jean jacket. If you plan on wearing a dress I’d strongly suggest bringing along a jacket like Vinny. For one thing, you won’t have to wear the jacket the whole time. We can just as easily take the jacket off and hand it to mom. But, on the other hand, wearing a jacket can make the awkwardness less awkward. It gives you places to put your hands (in the pockets or holding the sides). It can also be more comfortable to start with layers, especially if you don’t typically wear a dress. 

In Vinny’s case it also allowed her to stand out from the background and made it so her blonde hair and skin and dress separate themselves from each other. 

I loved how her dress blended into the background. 

If you are looking at what clothes you want to wear for your shoot and want to go above and beyond, I’d suggest pairing things with your environment. 

If you’re in the forest, wear dark earthy tones so you complement the scenery. If you’re on a beach, wear a light pastel color with less layers.

If you’re ready to set up a senior portrait session with me, give me a call at (414) 617-3834 and I’ll be happy to go through more clothings options and what would really pop.

Or, if you’d want to look at more of my work in the Lake Geneva area, check out Autumn and Kyle’s engagement session.

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