fortuna union high school

Senior Summer Sessions


The sun is beaming bright and temperatures are rising, summer is here and it is HOT!   This time of year often makes me feel like I am shooting in a sauna every summer when I head to an outdoor photography session with my high school senior clients.  Even on those scorching hot days where I can feel the hair on the back of my neck drenched with sweat, I am so thankful for where I live. Nestled in the heart of redwood country, I love the ever changing weather and climate variations of Southern Humboldt.  With having experienced the weather in all of it’s glory, I feel confident in my ability to adapt to any changes in temperature.  With that being said, having my clients feeling good and looking their best is important! Not to mention I don’t like spending an entire session feeling gross and sweaty either…  


I have put together a list of some of my favorite outdoor photography tips for beating the heat this summer!

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Schedule With Purpose.

If you check the weather channel and it looks as if it’s going to be hot on the day of your photo shoot, make sure you consider which times of day might be the coolest.  From my experience, early morning and late in the day work best because it’s not uncomfortably warm. The lighting is also gorgeous around these times. :)

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  Be Prepared to Hydrate.

When you have arrived at the spot you picked out, if it’s outside, chances are there’s no air conditioning or fully stocked fridge with cold drinks.  Bringing a cooler with lots of ice, water and your favorite drink is a great way to help you stay hydrated! 

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 Keep the Motor Running.

Even though you might not be able to duck into an air conditioned house on location, your car can help keep you cooled off it the heat starts to get to you.  Take a 10-15 minute break in between shots by sitting in your care with the air conditioner on for a bit. This is a great alternative for a quick cool down.

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 Plan the Itinerary Ahead of Time.

If your outdoor senior summer session includes a number of locations, a water attraction might make for a great final pit stop!  Squeeze in a fun and refreshing dip in the water somewhere along the Eel River.  Not only will this little adventure be sure to cool you off toward the end of your photo shoot, but  I will get the chance to take some jaw-dropping action shots of you in the water! It’s a win win!

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 Bring a Battery Powered Fan.

A battery operated fan can sure be a lifesaver on a hot outdoor session!  Not only will a fan provide air circulation and help keep your makeup from running, but it might just create that perfect wind blown shot with your hair dancing in the breeze! 

 

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How About A Cool Treat?

With senior summer sessions I sometimes love to incorporate ice cream into the session. It provides a quick cool down on a hot day and well… let’s face it.. Who doesn’t like ice cream!

 

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 Use the Landscape.

When you’re planning an outdoor photography session, it’s a good idea to think about how much the surrounding landscape impacts the temperature.  Wooded areas such as in Humboldt Redwoods State Park can be a cool backdrop for a very hot day.  The top of a hill is always several degrees hotter during the heat of the day, so be sure to save those locations for either very early or very late.    

 

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 Bring Supplies for Quick Comfort.

There are a lot of simple, inexpensive ways to cool down on a hot summer session. Cold, wet towels are great, especially draping one on the back of your neck during a pause between shots.  Pouring cold water over your wrists also gives your body a quick cool down. 

 

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Think Like a Boy Scout.

You want to make sure you’ve got all the essentials you’d pack if you were heading to the beach or out on a hike.  Sunscreen and bug spray are a must for an outdoor photography session and it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in the car and a little bit of perfume and deodorant, too.

 

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There are so many unique & fun images you can create with a senior summer photo session!  The landscape alone brings excitement and adventure to photo shoots. I highly recommend doing an outdoor photo shoot, the possibilities  are endless for capturing some of the most amazing photographs! Strike while the iron is hot and book your summer senior session today!  

 

 












Jaeden's Benbow Inn Senior Session

It might be winter in California now, but I am reminiscing about Jaeden’s fall senior session. I have been so excited to share her beautiful senior pictures on the blog. Jaeden is one of my amazing senior reps from Fortuna High School. . She traveled down to the Benbow Inn for her senior session, which is one of my favorite locations to shoot at. There are no words for how much I adore my clients, they seriously blow my mind at how amazing they are! Working with teen girls is something that I am so passionate about. I believe that a senior portrait session should be more than just taking pictures. It should be an unforgettable experience where they not only look beautiful- they genuinely feel beautiful, too. Their senior portrait session should be an experience that lives in them for a lifetime. These girls are just incredible and I am grateful beyond words to have the opportunity to get to know and work with them.

Jaeden, you are absolutely amazing! I loved working with you so much! Adventuring around the Benbow Inn with you was so much fun! Your beauty and light shines from the inside-out. I cannot begin to thank you enough for choosing me to be your senior photographer- I hope you loved the experience as much as I did! You are a dream client and I mean that!

How to be a Successful Student Athlete

High school is almost like a full time job really.  You arrive by 8 am Monday – Friday and spend your day learning and discussing details on new topics and discovering solutions to problems you may or may not have known existed.  The demands of the classroom can be overwhelming at times with daily in class work to complete, the never ending homework load, project deadlines and of course, studying for multiple finals that are right around the corner.  In a way, it feels like a juggling act.

On top of your busy daily routine you are also an active athlete, the kind that puts in 2 hours of practice each day, stays an extra half hour or so after practice, working on skill development and improving your game.  You are defined as a disciplined, hard working athlete.

After your first few years of high school experiencing that “full time job feeling”, and battling to put the time and work into being an asset to your sports team, it isn’t uncommon to experience a bit of senioritis when you hit your senior year.  With the pressure of juggling pretty much “two full-time jobs” it can start to weigh on you, leaving you feeling frustrated.  For some, the frustration they feel leads to a decline in motivation and performance.

So…How does one learn to become a successful student athlete?  Here a few tips on how you can work through these tough times when the going gets tough!

Work on time management.  Treat your life as a full time job, make sure you honor each commitment.  While you may enjoy athletic life more, putting the time in and respecting your classes is just as important.

Communication is key.  Keep lines of communication open between your coaches, teammates, instructors and fellow students.  If you have to miss a class or a practice, notify the right people and let them know your plan for making it up to them.  People really appreciate this, it shows respect for their time and shows you care.

Challenge yourself.  You might be well known as a talented athlete, but it doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in that box and stay there.  Be open, engage with different groups of people outside of our circle of teammates. Venture out and try an activity or two that’s out of your comfort zone.

Stay true to yourself.  Be sure to own who you are and keep the “brand” of you.  To know who you are and staying true to that, says a lot about your character.

Learn from your failures.  Whether it’s a loss on the court or a poor grade in the classroom, don’t let failures affect your goals and winning spirit.  Failures and mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace them.

Don’t ever stop learning.  Be an active reader.  Learn all that you can, whether it’s within your sport or in your classwork.  One of the best ways to keep growing, is to remain open to new knowledge and insights.  Trust me, this habit will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Keep the big picture in mind.  Your day-to-day life may be hectic, but really try to plan down the road as well.  Keep communication open with the key people in your life and never burn your bridges.  Continue to network, communicate and stay connected with people around you. These skills will help you in all areas of your life.

Good questions are important at student-athlete recruit meetings.  Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for in a school, ask relevant questions.  Some examples are: What is the retention rate of the school? What are some common majors among the current team members?  What is the team’s overall grade point average? Really determine what is important to you, and leave each campus with answers.

Plan A and a plan B.  You should always shoot for the stars and go after your dreams.  In some cases though, life takes us on a different journey or you might experience a few setbacks and bumps in the road.   It’s a great idea to have a well thought out plan and also good to have a backup plan if your first one doesn’t work. You just never know what life has in store.  So keep an open mind!


Being a successful student athlete isn’t easy.  It requires effort, hard work and commitment, demands dedication, discipline and desire.  But.. If you want it bad enough, you can have it! Get your game face on, put in the work and go out an earn it!  


So… How bad do you want it?!


Senior Sister Golden Light Session

I shot Becca’s senior photos a couple of years ago, so I was super stoked when Ginger asked me to shoot Baileys senior photos. Becca was getting ready to fly the nest and move to Texas so Mama wanted some photos with just the two sisters. They traveled down to Southern Humboldt to one of my favorite places to shoot which has the amazing combinatio of gorgeous golden light and an amazing view. The night didn’t dissapoint and we got some beautiful images.