parkys pics senior experience

Vianney's Southern Sunny Humboldt Senior Session

Vianney and I met in Southern Humboldt for her senior session. There are a couple of different reasons that I love to shoot in the southern end of Humboldt County. 1. The weather is almost always nicer than it is northern Humboldt. 2. I know of many great locations, all within a small radius of one another, so you can get many different looks in one shoot! We spend some time shooting in both Redway and Garberville and I think we got some great shots! : )

How to Dress for Your Spring Senior Session

Throughout your four years of high school many pictures are taken, capturing fun filled moments you will remember for years to come.  Out of all the snapshots you will take and memories you will make, there’s one kodak moment that will stand out more than the rest, one that is so meaningful, it will last a lifetime.  Your senior portraits.

Senior portraits are treasured photos taken by a professional photographer, they capture the pure teenage innocence and freshness, as it’s poised on the brink of adulthood, ready to enter college or begin a career.  Because senior portraits capture such a precious moment in your life, you will want to knock this photo session out of the park! Here are some helpful tips on how to dress for your spring senior session!

Plan on bringing more than one outfit.

You should arrange to bring at least 3-4 outfits to your photo session in a variety of colors, not just your favorite hue.  When choosing which outfits you want to bring, include different styles, such as casual, semi-formal, formal or outdoors. By having a variety of styles this will give you an opportunity to get creative and allow your personality to shine through!

Professional photographers have a great eye for color and lighting, so don’t be afraid to bring an array of different hues.  Having a variety helps see what colors of your outfits stand out the most, depending on the location of your photo shoot. For example, if you are planning on having your photos taken in some of Humboldt County’s Redwood forests, wearing an outfit with a deep purple hue in contrast with some green redwood sorrel in the background can make for an exceptionally beautifully vibrant photo!

Remember to bring accessories for all of your outfits, from footwear to jewelry and hair accents.  Since several full-body images are also taken, make sure to check your socks and shoes! You will want the right shoes for the appropriate outfit and also want to make sure your socks match! You never know, that full body shot might end up being your absolute favorite pose.

Check your clothing prior to the photo shoot to make sure it isn’t spotted or faded, and be sure to transport your outfits (you can wear one when you arrive), on hangers to prevent unnecessary wrinkles.

Visual simplicity with your clothing is important.

It’s important to not bring outfits with words or designs, stripes or pictures, except possibly your school logo.  You want your face, eyes and true expression to be the focal point, not the words on your shirt.

Color is important.

Solid colors are highly recommended for most or all outfits of choice.  For outside pictures, think of spring and summer colors of sky blue, pale green, watermelon and dark peach to complement the outdoor setting.  Again, depending on the lighting and where your desired location is for your photo shoot, colors may vary.. Bringing a variety of different hues will help you and your photographer make the best selection of an outfit, for each destination location and photo op!

Help accentuate your best features with your clothing.

If you have a more slender build, spaghetti straps and short sleeves will accentuate that feature.  Turtleneck tops tend to look best on people with longer necks. If you have more of a round or square shaped face, square-neck tops will look great!  Thinner faces tend to look great with rounded-neck tops.

Be selective with the jewelry.

Try to avoid wearing attention-grabbing jewelry.  You want the photograph to accentuate your face, eyes and personality, not draw unwarranted attention to your jewelry.  Also, Jewelry can date a photograph very quickly. Classic jewelry pieces are best.

Apply natural makeup but with a little flare to it.

I know it can be tempting to get very “glam” when having pictures taken but this could very well make you look like a complete stranger in your senior portraits.   Be sure to apply some of your makeup as you normally look on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to keep “who you are” conveyed in your photos. Adding a little additional makeup to dress things up and compliment who you are, is also okay and can really tell the story of “who you are” to “who you are becoming”.  Just try to find the balance of keeping your true self in your photos.

Be comfortable and confident.

Last but not least, be comfortable and confident on the day of your shoot!  Your outfits should reflect who you are and your style. Don’t be afraid to be bold!  Feeling good about yourself is key to an amazing photo session! When we feel great about who we are, that is the energy that gets put out into the universe!  Positive, happy, confident, feel good energy gets portrayed in photographs through your smile, your body position and poses. Let your personality unfold and create snap-shots you will look back on and smile for a lifetime!


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?!


How to have a great Semi-Formal Experience!

Semi-formals are one of the special high-lights of the high school experience.  I remember all the chatter in the halls at school, all the talk and excitement everyone felt, girls talking about the latest dress styles, how they were going to do their hair & makeup and of course, who their date was going to be.  It’s a night full of fun, laughter, time spent with friends and of course, dancing! There are moments in high school you won’t forget, and a semi-formal dance, is one of them! Here are some important steps to take to help make this a night you simply won’t forget!


Plan your Appearance


It’s all about the dress.  Set a time and a date ahead of time with friends to go pick out the perfect dress.  It’s best to start looking a couple of months before your semi-formal. There are various styles and types of dresses you might want.  Be sure to choose something that you love and that you feel the most confident and comfortable in. You want to feel great in what you are wearing!


Find the perfect accessories to match.  It’s a great idea to choose accessories to go along with your dress, after you picked out the perfect one and the shoes to match!


Will it be a tuxedo or suit?  Tuxedos tend to be more on the formal side and traditionally worn at evening events.  A suit is more casual and is considered appropriate for both daytime and nighttime occasions.  If you know who you will be taking to the dance, you might want to check in with her and ask what color her dress is.  You can add a little color and flare to your outfit by adding a few colors to match her dress.


Hair do’s & dont’s.   Decide first who you want to have do your hair.  If you are going to create your own style and do it yourself, start thinking of how you would like to have it. Once you’ve decided on a hairstyle, buy any products or supplies needed (hair spray, clips, curlers etc.) ahead of time, and start practicing so you get your desired style dialed in!  If you want to have a hair stylist do your hair, be sure to book your appointment in advance to secure your spot. Don’t dye your hair right before the dance because you never know what could go wrong! It’s always best to dye your hair a couple of weeks before so you have time to fix any mistakes that might happen.


Decide how you want to do your makeup.  Look at makeup styles online that you like and buy the makeup you will need to perfectly execute the look you are going for.  Practice before the dance so you have it down on the day of. Be sure to only wear the amount of makeup you feel comfortable in.  It’s your choice if you want to go with a lot of makeup, a little or even none. The most important part is that you feel comfortable and beautiful on your night!

Get Ready with your Friends


A little get together.  What better to get ready for the big day then to be surrounded by your friends!  Spend the day talking, laughing and helping each other look your best! There’s nothing like being around positive energy and creating memories you won’t forget!


Dates to the Dance


Your date.  You don’t need a date for a formal dance, but if you want one start figuring out who you might want to take in advance.  If you don’t have a significant other, think about a friend you could ask to go with you as your date or who you think might ask you.  Choose someone who you think you will have fun with!


Going with a group.  Whether you go with just your friends or with a date, go to the dance in a group.  Plan your group a few weeks before the dance. Ask your friends, your date’s friends, and their dates if they want to go together.  It makes doing all of the pre-get together and after activities a lot more fun!


Take pictures


Decide where to take photos.  Once you have your formal group determined you can then decide where you want to take photos before the formal.  There are many different places in Humboldt county you can take some great photos: a backyard, an elegant staircase, a garden full of flowers, on a hilltop overlooking a valley, or along the bridge near the Benbow Historic Inn just to name a few.


What’s for dinner?


Plan where to have dinner.  Have dinner somewhere that everyone in your group likes before the dance.  The restaurant should be near where the dance will be held. Once you have all agreed on a place, make reservations ahead of time because the popular restaurants fill up quickly!


How are you getting to and from the dance?


Figure out your transportation.  There are many options for getting to formal, depending on your budget and what you are wanting.  Taking a limo is definitely a fancy stylish way to arrive to the dance, but may not always be in everyone’s budget.  You can always select a parent or two to drive!


Make a plan afterwards!


What to do after the dance is over.  What you do after the dance is entirely up to you.  Have an idea in mind of what you want to do. A group of your closest friends over for the night is a great way to end an evening!  You can stay up late reminisce about your favorite memories from the dance around a bonfire in the backyard!


In the blink of an eye you will be graduating and your high school years will be over before you know it.  Take moments like the semi-formal dance, and make memories you won’t forget!