Taryn is one of my 2020 senior reps. Not only is she at the top of her class at Fortuna High School, she is also super sweet. We traveled down to one of my favorite river locations in Southern Humboldt and shot some beautiful shots in the sunshine. The river is always nice and warm at the end of a long summer day, and I absolutely love being able to get my feet wet while I photograph beautiful seniors. It doesn’t get much better!
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!
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!
As a professional photographer, I often get asked for advice on how to feel confident and comfortable in front of a camera. This has also been something I have struggled with in the past and has taken me awhile to feel happy with someone taking photos of me. I mean, we all agree its awkward right? You just standing there, trying to look cute and pose naturally, all the while feeling as though everyone is staring and judging you. It can be downright nerve racking to say the least! Since I have been in your shoes and have experienced this first hand, I thought it might be helpful to talk about a few tips I have learned in how to feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera!
Get to Know Your Photographer
Before your photo shoot, try to get to know you’re photographer. Take some time to check out their website and social media page. If they have a blog, take a few minutes to read what they write about and share with the world. Once you can get a feel for who your photographer truly is the far less intimidating they will be! If your photographer is going to be the one shooting your wedding, it’s a great idea to have an engagement photo shoot with them before your wedding. By doing a shoot prior to your big day, it helps make you and your partner more comfortable in front of the camera, as well as makes a great opportunity to get to know the person that will be capturing some once in a life time moments! Some photographers will offer package deals with engagement and wedding shoots, so be sure to ask for additional details!
Wear Something You Feel comfortable In
If you’re not naturally comfortable in front of the camera, I highly recommend choosing an outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in. I have worked with clients before that have picked out a more “daring” outfit that was out of their comfort zone. When we took a look at the photos the client did not like how she looked in what she had picked out and the way she had posed in it. She stated to me she had felt uncomfortable and lacked confidence. By choosing an outfit that you absolutely love and feel really great in will allow confidence to naturally shine through! When you feel great about how you look and feel in something, your smile becomes so much brighter and your body will pose more naturally!
Know Your Angles
Speaking of posing naturally, do you know your best angles? Obviously it’s my job as a photographer to know what angles compliment the best, but you knowing how you like to look really helps with confidence in front of the camera! Taking a few moments to stand in front of a mirror to see what angles you prefer on your body is really beneficial before your photo shoot! Take a few pictures of yourself, pose a little, get creative and review what you look like. Trust me, once you get used to this it will make it much easier when someone else is taking photos of you!
Understand the Light
If you have ever worked with a professional photographer before, I am sure you have heard them go on and on about evening light. I know it sounds strange that we always seem to want to photograph in the evening on a warm summer night, but it’s totally normal. The light is far more flattering and soft when the sun is setting. By having your photos taken midday when the sun is at it’s highest peak in the sky, leads to unflattering and harsh shadows on your face. Be sure to stick to the golden hour. We want the glow of the radiance you have within, to be what shines brightly!
Ignore the Rest of the World
All too often it is so easy to let the little voice inside take over when you’re having a photo taken. It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by a lot of people or in the middle of nowhere, just you and me, doubt will start to creep in. You may feel concerned about what others are thinking of you but in reality, most of the time, people aren’t even noticing that there is a photo shoot going on. Most photographers won’t mind if you are shy either, it’s their job to help make you feel more comfortable! So try to forget about the rest of the world and who is around you and just enjoy the moment at hand!
Similar to above and ignoring the rest of the world, it is so important to try and have fun while you’re being photographed! As a photographer I do my very best to try to keep the mood light, entertaining and comfortable. I may not be the classic comedian but I’ve learned a thing or two about making people laugh and loosen up! The more relaxed you are and can let yourself go in a photo shoot, the more confident you will feel and the nicer the photos will turn out!
I hope these pointers will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera and help build your self-confidence! Put on that perfect outfit you absolutely adore and work your best angles! Photography is meant to be fun and creative so enjoy the experience!
I was so excited When Cassidy asked me to take Cody’s senior portraits. He was a student of mine when I was teaching PE at South Fork High School. He was always very respectful and polite, and was also an awesome three sport athlete. I love being able to reconnect with students and see where how they are doing and where life is taking them. Cody’s mom wanted to have his senior pictures taken at the Benbow Inn which I think was the perfect choice. We finished up the session at the South Fork High School Football Field with some football images.