Referrals are a good thing, especially when they're prefaced by a statement like, "I have a friend who's looking for a photographer for her son's senior pictures. She's seen your work and she loves it. I think this would be a really fun shoot for you!"
When I plan a senior shoot, I'm pretty meticulous about preparation and being familiar with the person I'm photographing. For a lot of teens, this is really the first time they've been photographed outside of sporadic family photos in a studio, and this is a completely different experience. It's usually a one-time event, and for me, it's imperative to capture everything that makes this person special. That means getting the details right, otherwise, you could just go anywhere on a whim for senior portraits, right? I set the bar here for my work: If Mom cries when she sees the images for the first time, I did my job well.
Blake had an amazing private estate at his disposal for his senior pictures. He showed me around at his pre-shoot consultation, and he had some really unique spots he wanted to be photographed at. The property was a photographer's dream (I'd love to shoot there more, we worked for three hours and barely scratched the surface), and every where we turned there was another spot that would be perfect for photos. Blake is outdoorsy, athletic, and has an authenticity that you don't expect from a 17 year old. We discussed some ideas that I had, and he was game to try just about anything - including setting his bat on fire (that's right, ON FIRE). He wanted unique images that captured his love for sports, hunting, and a few favorite spots, while his mom was hoping for a few images of Blake dressed up (I kind of talked him into it, and I hope he's happy that we took those, they're fantastic).
When we started our shoot off, the weather was pretty overcast and cloudy (disappointing - I wanted a fantastic sunset), but someone upstairs was watching over us, and the sun slowly made an appearance, giving us a really nice variety of natural light to enhance our location lighting. We ended the evening in a large field with the sun setting behind him, bat ablaze. What a note to end on, huh? I had a fab time working with him, and have to give kudos to his mom, C., for being a wonderful photo assistant. She and I have a date in the future for a few pictures to commemorate her own journey. :)
You can view Blake's entire gallery HERE.