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Senior Session

Although I bill myself as a “commercial” photographer, I do a lot of non-commercial work – primarily headshots and portrait sessions.

Last week Katelyn, Susie, and my able assistant Kindera took to the streets and shores of Atlantic Beach (well, and Neptune Beach on the other side of the street too) for a senior portrait session.

Being a senior is something special. My daughter is a senior in college and knows the feeling as well. Although a lot of college football players leave early for the pros (generally a big mistake), those that chose to stay for their senior years experience something unique in their lives – you’re only a senior once. To a man they are glad they stayed.

Capturing this special time in their lives is important to me.

I admit to living dangerously with the horizon on this image of Susie.

I wanted to capture the color and vibrance of this community and the two girls who go to school here. My post-processing – other than portrait retouch and some background issues that needed to be eliminated – was fairly straightforward. I wanted to enhance the foliage and provide a very natural look. It seems, especially true with wedding photographers, that de-saturating and adding green tones to the shadows is all the rage. I wanted something that would stand the test of time. I’m already tiring of that “actions” or “preset” look. Especially if “everyone” is doing it.

I ended up using one lens – my Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4, shot wide open. I bought this lens specifically for environmental portraits. It’s about as wide as you can get away with for portraiture without adding distortion. It also has sufficient depth of field that even at f/1.4 I can keep my subject in focus while still rendering an out-of-focus background. Bokeh tends to be an issue with wide angle lenses (read: ugly), but again at 35mm it is pleasing enough to not detract from the image.

To keep the background from blowing out, I used flash – my Elinchrom Quadra with a Hi-sync head, which allowed me to shoot at higher shutter speeds than the camera’s x-sync (1/160 second). I went for fill rather than key shifting the background, so the flash was able to match the background exposure or bring them up slightly.

Details as ever on flickr

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