Becca, a senior from Colorado, scheduled her senior portraits at the beach with me this summer. I get a lot of off-Cape seniors who have ties to the Cape and want to celebrate their senior year here. I mean honestly, who could blame them? Have you seen how gorgeous it is? Becca is a competitive swimmer, and after the session was booked, asked if I would take some portraits in the studio with a little more edgy lighting to share her love of swimming.
I tried to get her to take the portraits at the beach in her suit, I thought that would be really fun, in and out of the water, still using edgy lighting, just using the sun instead of my strobes, but she had her heart set on a certain style that was popular among her swimming friends out west. I have to admit, I had to take some practice shots, it’s not what I normally do, and although I am a portrait photographer, I love simpler, more classic images and usually use entirely natural light. My practice images were of my daughter in her track uniform, and I’ll be the first to say, I loved them immediately, even while taking them, and am so glad to have them as a record of a big part of my daughter’s life, track being an important part of her high school career thus far. So despite myself, I was a little excited for the upcoming swim session.
We took Becca’s beach portraits at Dowses, a favorite beach of mine in Osterville, and she was great fun. The session went great and we got some really beautiful images. I was tired after a long day, and it now being long after sunset I wasn’t all that thrilled to be going back to the studio when I wanted simply to go home and have dinner, but I had agreed to take the studio photos, and still had that, ‘well this could be kind of cool’ thing going on in the back of my head, so to the studio we went…
We had so much fun it was crazy. My bathroom was soaked from Becca’s continual splashing of herself so that she could have water drops on her. We laughed, and photographed so many images, trying to come up with new ideas and poses while still keeping that edgy look she wanted. Her mother wanted a smile, Becca and I agreed it didn’t fit into the theme of this part of the session, but being a mom, I knew I wanted to try to incorporate some smiles to make her mom happy. I came up with the idea of her looking down and smiling, and that image ended up being one of all our favorites. I tried taking the same pose with a more serious expression after, but burst out laughing, and couldn’t take it, as it looked like she’d just lost a race or something, and being a fan of empowering girls and women, I decided it wasn’t the look we were going for. The images ended up being some of my very favorite senior portraits of the season.
When I finally got home that evening and was talking with my husband over a very, very late dinner, I told him I was giving up everything but photographing competitive swimmers in the studio.
(and because I have no troubles at all with being nepotistic, here is one of the photos I adore of my strong, beautiful daughter).