It was one of those perfectly crisp autumn afternoons when I arrived at an ‘off the beaten path’ location to meet with Louis and his parents. They decided that his senior portraits would be best done on their families land; a beautiful forest with a yellow and red laden pathway complete with full peak autumn foliage. It was every photographers dream.

We had decided ahead of time of some items to include in the portraits that were meaningful to Louis. 1. A classic car that he had built from scratch with his family. 2. His Baritone Saxophone and 3. His electric guitar.

He casually strolled up the pathway with this beauty, and we got set up with the lighting and began the session.

He sat down in front of the car, and this was the first image I captured. When I looked at the camera back, I knew I was in for an incredible session.

I also knew that as classic as Louis’s car was, that he himself was anything but standard, so we decided to get more creative with the lighting and the angles of the vehicle. One of his favorite past times is driving, and so we were able to capture that.

Next up, it was time to bust out the baritone saxophone. My dear partner, Remanu play trumpet in the local Fall Creek Brass Band, and so I have a sweet spot for anything brass, though I had admittedly never heard a baritone solo in action, (I’m more used to the sound of a soprano sax)

Louis began to play for me some songs he’s been working on through the Jazz Club in school, as well as his own personal band. I was amazed at how melodic a baritone can truly be. While I was snapping away at portraits, I also had to stop for a few moments to just take it all in.

Next we decided to change the scenery and clothing up a bit and headed over to a nearby field where I saw a clearing and some gorgeous back light spilling in. It was nearing golden hour, my favorite time to photograph.

After being serenaded for a good while, and talking all things jazz, we decided to switch up the vibes yet again and walked deeper into the forest to a place that Louis loves to spend his time. He showed me a pile upturned tree trunks that were speaking his language, and so we decided to have a go at using them as a backdrop.

His mother, in her initial inquiry to me mentioned that she also wanted to have images of her son that could also be used to promote his music. Given that I’ve spent over 15 years photographing bands and musicians both live and in their personal element, we were a great match. The tree trunks were idyllic and unlike any that I’ve photographed before in the area.

We ended this session on a great note with a super sweet leather jacket that was a favorite of his. We also set plans to meet one more time in the future to photograph a particular jacket that was extra important to him. A jacket that he had hand sewed a patch onto from his favorite tv show.

I got to show Louis some of my favorite tree roots on my land when he arrived, and we went on another hike into the forest and talked about Alien movie, which I had no idea had way more sequels than I ever imagined. We also got to talk about Prince, since he showed up wearing this epic t shirt. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the sky turned a peculiar shade of purple that afternoon as we were just wrapping up his session.

Finding new locations and helping my clients style their wardrobes in a way that tells their unique story is one of my favorite parts of being a senior portrait photographer. In this way, no two sessions are ever the same (even if they’re at the same location). Louis’s session was one of my favorite guy sessions from the class of 2019, and I’m grateful that his parents will be able to remember him for the amazingly dynamic, and multitalented person that he is instead of just settling for the standard senior portrait options offered by the school.

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