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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Senior Pictures - A Tale of Doing it Yourself!

Okay, so tell me please when senior pictures started costing upwards of seven hundred bucks?  I think about all the seniors every single year that graduate in Richmond, and think to myself I seriously made the wrong career decisions.  How much does it actually take to produce a photograph?  Ugh.

My daughter and I decided that since we didn't have the money to take her to have senior portraits done, that we'd give it a try.  We had a friend who we'd just found out had gotten into photography and thought maybe we could use her studio or backdrops, but turns out she only works with natural lighting and doesn't have anything elaborate set up like a studio.

I won't lie.  I panicked.  We loaded up the Canon Rebel XTI my mom bought Kitty for her birthday a few years ago along with makeup, curling irons, hair accessories, and the whole nine yards, and headed to my Mom's house since she's got at least one wall devoid of anything hanging, sticking or clinging to it.  Unlike my house.  I admit, I'm a decoratoholic.  So off we go and it was a fantastic experience.  My mom was thrilled that we "needed" her for something and we had a great afternoon playing around and talking while we got Kitty ready for the big photoshoot.

We took about eighty photographs and wound up with a couple that I thought would work.  We were only doing her drape this time around, since we'd planned to take the casual photos at Maymont Park, thinking it would be really beautiful this time of year.  We got home and I started piddling around with Paint Shop Pro, I've got Photoshop, but I learned on Paint Shop Pro and never felt like starting over to learn another graphics program.  I have to admit, I was proud of myself.

I made the background from scratch using layers and textures, and a couple of grunge brushes.  I had to lighten the photograph quite a bit since the one we both liked best was a little darker than some of the others. I used a background eraser to take Mom's blank wall out of the picture and layered it over the new background, touching up the edges a bit.  I had to manipulate a few parts and then she decided she didn't like the way her glasses looked in the photo, so I took another picture and cropped them out and put them in the photo we were using.  I personally think she's got the most beautiful eyes in the world, so I did to versions of the photograph, one with the glasses and one without.  Funny when you see them side by side because it's the same picture.  :)

Anyway, this is how they turned out.



That done, it was time to do the casual photos.  I have to say that was a LOT more fun, although an adventure in and of itself.  We didn't really think to prepare well beforehand, so aside from it being cold, I ended up carrying the entire camera bag, when I should have simply carried the camera.  That was only a small thing though.  My daughter you see, has decision making issues.  She gets that from me.  So instead of taking a couple of outfits, she had three pairs of dress pants, two dresses, a skirt, three pairs of jeans, four pairs of shoes, a jungle of jewelry and hair accessories, not to mention a whole bag full of shirts.  Since she was carrying her bag full of shirts, I would up with camera and clothes on hangers.  Why we didn't think of a suitcase with wheels before we left I have no idea, but I would up going back to the car and using a steering wheel cover as a fix, draping it around my head and one shoulder and hanging the clothes on it.  Ugh.  Better than the alternative, but still not fun.  

Other than that, the day was fabulous.  The park was beautiful, despite my aching calves and thighs and feet at the end of the day.  We took pictures at a few random spots but most were in the Japanese Gardens and the Italian Gardens at Maymont.  Out of almost two hundred pictures I got about thirty five great ones.  Although I'd love to post them ALL here and show her off, I'll leave you with a few of the best ones.

I'm thrilled that we didn't have to spend money we didn't have, AND got to spend the entire day together laughing and having fun.  The pictures turned out well enough that we were both pleased with them and we're having some printed off to send to friends and family.   The best part is that we're going back in the spring to do another series of senior portraits for her, and I'm so looking forward to that too!

So here's my little girl, all grown up, a senior at Thomas Dale High School.  










7 comments:

AubrieAnne said...

I can't believe you made those formal pctures on your own. Oh, the miracle of photoshop!

I love the casual photos though. Your daughter has such a fun sense of style.

djpr said...

Tell me about it, maybe we really could all be young and beautiful! At least in pictures :)

She's gone through a lot of phases like most kids do as far as style is concerned, but thankfully the horrors of some of those has passed and she's actually pretty awesome when it comes to style. We've got a lot of the same tastes, and one day maybe when we've got some money we can go on grand shopping sprees like we used to! We both love going to Plato's Closet (a teen consignment shop here) they've got some great deals and everything you could possibly hope to find. She's still got her heart set on a big Audrey Hepburn style sun hat at a local vintage shop, but she'll have to get a J.O.B. before that happens. I think that hat is what inspired her to start her job search more than anything! Unfortunately, jobs for the teens are almost as hard to find as for the older folks.

AubrieAnne said...

I've been to Plato's Closet a few times and always walk out with at least 2 bags full. It's great when 20 bucks will buy you 4 shirts and 2 pairs of jeans!

I feel her pain as far as a J.O.B. It took me a while to pick up even a part time job while I was taking my college courses. Sadly, waitressing has been the best way to make money.

djpr said...

Ugh how well I know. I've always had a "regular" job and when I lost the last one about five years ago, I did the waitressing thing, it's HARD the older you get, I swear I found muscles and bones I had no idea were in the human body. Kitty is holding out for a job at GameStop, she's next on their hire list and that's where she really wants to work, but she's applying other places too just in case it doesn't work out.

Matt Dimitroff said...

GameStop is always the first place I apply to. I've never held a job there, however.

djpr said...

Well she put in another application at a different store today and has an interview next week, so hopefully (fingers crossed) this one will work out for her!

AubrieAnne said...

I love GameStop. I think it would be a fun place to work. I hope she gets the job!

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