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SENIOR PICTURES:Transitioning Into Adulting

Photography is the story I fail to put into words… -Destin Sparks


Transitions have been clearly abundant this past year. From fall to winter, and onto spring, the always changing seasons gently and quietly reminds me that we are supposed to grow, and we are always guided to do as such. Each moment so different, and so unique depending on the space we are in when transition arrives. Transitions are gifts, and they can arrive in packages, even sometimes with big red bows. Those are the gifts we accept, the ones that look easy. They seem momentarily fulfilling and yet, that joy ceases so quickly.

Transitions are not always easy, but being mindful of them as they are brought to our attention is a gift. I can feel when one of my seniors is deep in transition. We talk a lot during their photo shoots about their goals, and aspirations, and feelings around growing up. I always tell them to do what makes them happy. No matter what the transition, if we are quiet enough, we can see the gift within the shift.

My class of 2016 senior representatives are my girls. We have spent a lot of time together and I want them to know that I will be thinking of them and sending light through their transition into adulting.  You have all outdone yourselves at each photo shoot, and you remind me to have fun and to be creative, and honestly, I love doing senior pictures because it reminds me that transitions are a good thing, transitions provide opportunity for growth  I appreciate each of you.

I love you.



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“Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and sympathy.”-Unknown

It isn’t often that I blog about a particular photo shoot, or highlight a client, but I wanted to take the time to talk about one of my seniors that I was honored to meet a couple of years ago.

Kania, she is one of the sweetest and kindest souls I have had the honor of meeting. She was on my wife’s basketball team and after games the parents and a few of the players would hang around, and as my wife would say we would be, “shutting the party down.” Kania was pretty quiet, she composed herself well on the court, and it wasn’t until talking with a parent that I found out how sensitive she really was. In the dictionary under caring is a photo of Kania. We would laugh as we held our hearts at how she would foul another player, help them off of the floor and sincerely apologize, because that is who she is. I hope I am not embarrassing her for calling out her kindness, but it takes a special type of player to conduct themselves in such a respectful way on and off of the court, she is what other players should strive to be like. She was awarded the Athena Award from her school this year too, well deserved.


Kania, we know you will go on and continue to be a role model and by being yourself you will effortlessly change people around you to see the good in people, to be kind, and to be giving.


We are so proud of you.

















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SENIOR PICTURES: Top 10 Important Tips for High School Seniors and Parents

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”— Paul Caponigro


Truth be told, I LOVE shooting Senior Pictures. There is something special and magical about such a huge transition in a young adults’ life. Seniors, you are the stars of the show, you are bravely going into the world with faithful hope, and unlimited dreams, and I wish we were all a little more like you. I love that you take bits and pieces from your past and combine them with your future and show up to shoot with me with intention. Each Senior has their own unique style and vision for life and it always spills over into our photo shoot, it is true brilliance.

I have come up with the Top 10 list for you and your parents to stick to when getting ready for your big photo shoot day. Each step is as important as the other and we want to create photos that you are still proud of in 10 years! Let’s roll!



Seems obvious right? Get…some…sleep. This is usually a pretty easy task for a teen (we  have three of our own). Sleep refreshes you, it can assist with relaxing your nerves, and it is your time to let go of your day and rest. The night before you shoot with me, GET SLEEP! This will get rid of bags under your eyes, it will balance your energy and it will help prepare you for your photo shoot. This is a biggie!



If you have already done a photo shoot with me, you probably remember me asking you to send me pictures of your outfits, hair and make-up styles you like, and to tell me all about yourself. It is so important to me that we create photos that represent who you are. Sometimes this can be a lot for seniors to pick out what they want to wear, to pick a location, but I am here for that. Please ask questions like, "Do these look good together?" Or, will this hair style look good with this outfit?" And the obvious, do you know where they have red barns, waterfalls, horses, tall grass, mirrors, and graffiti?" Every question is important and I will always make time to answer them! 


The day before your photo shoot be mindful of how much water you drink. Not pop, not juice, or coffee, just simple and pure water. This is your best friend for giving your skin a beautiful glow. It will also prevent bags under your eyes. Drink plenty of water the day before your photo shoot as well as the day of. Trust me, water is your bff.


Snack, snack, snack. Please snack the day of your photo shoot. Stay away from eating large meals that may leave you tired and wore out. One of the little secrets to getting though a photo shoot is to eat snacks. I always have some handy for my photo shoots, and parents you will appreciate the extra half hour or hour that your Senior spends with me because they have enough energy to get through. Snack on items such as protein bars, little cute packets of almonds, fruits and veggies, a peanut butter sandwich, but please stay away from the junk, it will fill you up and leave you tired and hungry all over again.


This is for everyone. Take care of your little toes and your fingers. The day before your photo shoot take a little time and pamper yourself with painting your nails, getting old nail polish off, and clean them well. It adds so much to a photo to show that you have taken care of your nails. If your preference is to not wear nail polish then just take a couple minutes and clean them up a bit. This is something that should not be done the day of the photo shoot.



Please don’t act like you don’t take selfies! Everyone does it, and I love that because it gives you practice. Posing for your photo shoot is such an important piece to getting the right shot. I will be giving you lots of direction as well as my assistants but we need you to feel comfortable with your face and your body. If you are wearing special shoes, put them on a couple days before your photo shoot, throw on Pandora and work! Get moving around and even ask a friend to take some cute pictures. Sounds cheesy, yep, I know, but it really does get you thinking about how your body moves and works and you will know exactly what I mean when I ask you to pose a certain way, or to bring your chin down. Practice makes perfect!


What are your favorite things? Your pets? Your skateboard? Maybe to paint, draw or play basketball? (We are a basketball, dance  and volleyball family!) Think about what you really enjoy doing and incorporate that with your photo shoot. Seniors have brought everything you can imagine to their photo shoots with me.  I want your pictures to be about you. This is your time to show your best self and it really brings out your personality to bring items that you care about.


This is the most asked question by both seniors and parents. What am I supposed to wear? This is what I suggest, look in your closet and pick out your favorite items. I want you to feel comfortable with what you are wearing and sometimes it feels weird to try a new style. With that being said, I shoot concept Senior Pictures all of the time. Bring your prom dress, or your tux, let’s shoot in a water fountain or a beautiful pool. The more creative the better and this will be planned out well in advance of your photo shoot. I always ask that you text me the outfits you have picked out, and the more the better! This is such a big part of the photo shoot because I know a ton (literally) of locations and I am good at styling the photo shoot to what you are wearing. I can see an outfit and know right away where your location should be. P.S. I adore cowgirl hats and boots, just saying!


The day before your photo shoot get all of your outfits and accessories and props together. Get everything ironed or steamed, and put them on hangers. Again, lists are such an important tool to keep you organized. Write your outfits down. Put down what shirt, or dress, with whatever shoes and accessories. This will save you so much time. Put everything together sorted by outfit and we will be able to spend more time shooting than getting organized during your session. The time before your photo shoot can easily be organized and well thought out. Seniors, remember, this is a big day! You have worked very hard for the past 12 years to get to this point. Take an hour the day before and set everything out in one area so you can see what is missing, or if you need to add anything to your items. Lists are invaluable, I use them for everything. Make a list, check it twice, and give yourself the gift of being prepared.



Get your hair and make-up professionally done. Yes, it is important. I would say almost 100% of my clients get their hair and make-up done professionally before their photo shoot and there are a couple reasons. This is a special day and you deserve to be pampered and to be stress free when it comes to getting ready. It should be fun and exciting! Teens are experts at doing hair and make-up, however, when you are doing a photo shoot, your make-up needs to be done in a way that is complimenting you for the camera. I work with a professional hair and make-up artist and she is fabulous. I can’t say enough about how creative she is and she makes a world of difference to my work. If you are getting a hair cut before the photo shoot and your hair is short, do it at least the day before the photo shoot to get rid of some of the redness from the clippers and to give your hair a chance to settle down. I don’t recommend coloring your hair or trying a new style right before your photo shoot. I want to ensure that you are comfortable with how you look and it just isn’t the time to try new adventurous styles. Let my hair stylist come up with something creative for you if you are looking for a change in a few of your photos.



Senior pictures are so much more than hair and make-up, your pictures are timeless art that exhibits your personality, your ambition and the way you see the world. Follow this list and you will be very prepared, and you will have fun, because in the end it’s all about you.


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PHOTOGRAPHER: A Means to an End

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”— Susan Sontag

This quote can have many different interpretations. I tend to connect to the one that I can most relate to, the inspiration that speaks to my current emotion, thought or interest. To think that everything exists to end in a photograph is a little unsettling. As a photographer I work hard to photograph things that people have not seen and as they are experiencing my work for the first time I want them to feel emotion. If everything exists to end in a photograph, it is up to us, the photographers, to allow the viewers to experience life through our own vision and intention.

When everything exists to end in a photograph, there is an unsaid contract between the photographer and the one who experiences the photo. There is an expectation to be moved, to feel and to be satisfied. I work hard to maintain this contract, and with every click of my shutter there is intention. When I am working with clients it is always invaluable to concern myself with the outcome of a photo. I intend to produce a certain style of photo, which my clients and supporters are used to and expect. My niche is that I am a connector. I am able to talk to and relate to just about anyone, including animals and places, and I am able to exhibit this through my work. Let’s face it, clients hire me because I know how they want to feel and what they want to experience during the photo shoot. I am good at reading them and delivering certain emotions on a platter in the form of a photo.

Photographers are a means to an end. By this I mean that we are tools to show you things that you could never put in words, things that you connect with everyday such as your family and friends. I am able to capture relationships and bonds between soul mates and you never have to guess how someone is feeling when you see my work. I am a go to for saving an emotion that you want remembered. This can only happen, as it always does, during a certain era of your lives while you have the wonderful intention of love. Clients hire me to photograph what they value.

When your intention is to book a photographer that will capture moments that you forget to see, remember my worth. As you look at your senior in high school, know that I will embrace their personality and it will own the photo shoot. Know that I value each client, each moment, each emotion, and that is why I am a photographer. I know how important it is to be present and mindful and to produce work that will make a tear fall and take your breath away.

In my world, I wish I could photograph each moment, each new thing my kids learn, each time my family finds a place to eat in our small kitchen, in order to share a meal together and to laugh and enjoy time. So yes, I do believe everything exists to end in a photograph, whether your priceless experiences come through my camera or not is up to you.

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NEW YEAR: New Adventures

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” –Amelia Earhart


Every New Year’s Eve I develop new goals for my life. I create a list of new adventures I would like to experience, all of them enhancing the way I feel about my work, my marriage and my family. I have a vision board that I made a couple years ago that I recently put next to my bed. My wife and I were looking at it the other day and noticing all of the things I had asked for and brought into my life. There was a new car, a new bike, a camera and lens, all these things I took pictures of and placed onto this board, with intention of bringing them into my life. As of right now, everything on the board, with the exception of two things, is in my life now, through the law of attraction and power of intention.

Sometimes I forget how powerful it is to create, to bring new things into my life, to move forward with adventures of new emotions and memories. I lose touch with the idea that whatever I want, I can have. In the past I had scared myself out of having and doing and being, because of the velocity in which it would be delivered, and the impact that it would make on me and my family’s lives. I deterred myself from making it happen because of comfort, awful and staggering comfort. One thing I learned is that with each uncomfortable emotion that I feel, comes new. Uncomfortable brings new feelings, new things, new friends, new love, new money, new experiences and new adventures.

I write a lot about manifesting, and worth, as well as love and compassion. These things you can see in my work. Every year I try something new and every new adventure leads to a new love for me that is in some way connected with photography. A couple years ago my family and I were in Alpena, South Dakota. We drove past my great-grandmothers house. At the end of the road was a horse. I was amazingly excited and begged my wife to pull up to the fence so I could explore with my camera. My kids and I got out of the car and were able to touch it and blow in its nose. I began taking pictures and there was this feeling that came over me. You know how you ask the Angels, Stars, God and the Universe for a sign? It was clear. After that moment, whenever I heard about horses, I wanted to be a part of it. I would ask people if I could photograph their horses, and was put off every time. But that did not stop me. I knew at the right time I would be able to begin equine photography. I created this by talking about it, even when eyes rolled and people criticized, I continuously intended to bring horses into my life. I knew I was meant to be around horses since I was very young, and this was my connection.

The power of intention and attraction is real, and I am continuously reminded and amazed. I love to photograph horses. This year I am dipping my toes into fine art photography. My wife says I am more of a diving Aries, than a toe dipper, and I accept that, because each splash is a new adventure, a new photograph, a new experience.


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