Senior photography sessions - concept to delivery

Senior photography sessions - concept to delivery

Senior (graduates) photography is just dang fun. The youngsters are full of energy and eager to express who they are, and who they are becoming. Well, most of the time. I have had one or two in the past that made me feel on par with a trip to the dentist, but normally this is not the case. This was definitely not one of those times. 

I thought it might be helpful to those photographers looking to start, or do more, senior sessions if I outlined the entire process – from concept to completion. I’ll cover the essential pieces that have been helpful for me to create successful sessions and also to ensure that I actually enjoy doing them! Yah, that’s important too, right?!

In this post, I'll cover the thought process, planning, gear I use, lighting tips, workflow outline, software and presets, how to make the fun animated GIF in Photoshop, and how I make use of plugins for cool services to automate getting images online and shareable as fast as possible.

This session was extra special because...

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She told me about this lighting combo, and it's great!

She told me about this lighting combo, and it's great!

A customer of ours just let me know that she got a new Stella Light, which is a unique LED battery powered light source that emits a broad, even light. She immediately mated it to her LunaGrip light modifier (on sale right now for $99!) and loved the results! I thought I would share that combo, and some other great LunaGrip pairings, with you here.  

Why use a LunaGrip?

If you want a soft, flattering portrait light, then you generally want to diffuse it. Large soft boxes have always been a first choice for this, but they aren’t always easy to pack, or set up and take down – especially when you consider an ideal size for portraits is about a 40” box. I developed the LunaGrip after 20 years as a busy wedding and portrait photographer. I wanted something that would be easy to pack in my camera bag, work with my speedlights, be light and fast to setup, and give me the most beautiful portrait lighting possible. Westcott, the brilliant lighting company, partnered with me to develop the LunaGrip, a unique handle and mounting system that pairs your flash with a pop-up 5-in-1 reflector/diffuser to softly diffuse the flash, not bounce or reflect it (although it can also be used that way).  

The LunaGrip has several advantages:  

  • You have a versatile tool that can be used in several different ways for various lighting needs.

  • In its primary diffusion mode, it produces the beautiful light quality of a 42” softbox, but at a fraction of the cost, weight, and space.

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Alycia White makes dramatic senior portraits with LunaGrip

 Image by: Alycia White using the LunaGrip from Westcott and Kevin Kubota.

Image by: Alycia White using the LunaGrip from Westcott and Kevin Kubota.

Do you want to see how easy it is to take your outdoor lighting up a notch? Here's a fun video featuring Alycia White, showing how she uses a single speedlight, and her LunaGrip, to create dramatically better portraits than she could with just natural light. One of the key reasons to use flash outdoors is to balance the light on your subject with a very bright background. The problem is that simply hitting your subject with flash usually results in very flat, snapshot looking lighting. 

In this video you'll see how the simple addition of a unique flash modifier, moved to the appropriate position, can drastically improve your results. Alycia's kind of a goof too, which makes it all the more enjoyable ;-)

Details on her camera and flash settings can be found at the end of the video, or here.

Alycia White uses the LunaGrip and a single speedlight to show how easy it is to get dramatic, beautiful lighting outdoors.

If you have any questions on her setup or settings, feel free to ask in the comments and we'll fill ya in.