I met Raven through her sister, Noel.  Noel was in my first period class my last year of teaching.  She gave me the nickname “Grumpy Gramps.”  What can I say?  I am not a morning person.  Coffee or no coffee.  Noel and I have kept in touch since she graduated so she is pretty well versed in my ambition to be a world renown wedding photographer.  In fact, she will be the assistant/second shooter at my first official wedding in August.  One day in April, I was pleasantly surprised when Noel asked if I would photograph Raven’s senior pictures.  I may want to be a world-famous wedding photographer extraordinaire, but at this point in my career I am seizing every opportunity to shoot a living, breathing human being.  Who knows, maybe my destiny is to become the world’s best senior portrait dude.

So I accepted the gig.

The nice thing is that Raven left everything up to me and my expertise.  The bad thing is that Raven left everything up to me and my expertise.  Senior pictures, as far as I remember, are taken in a studio with a couple of props.  But it seems now that senior shots go outdoors and are more like modeling shoots than just standard senior head shots.  I sat myself down at the computer and started researching the current trends in senior portraits.  I had long ago come to the conclusion that being a professional photographer was more that just “get yourself a business card and go shoot,” as some people had told me I should do.  (Perhaps that is why there is so much lousy photography and unhappy customers these days.  But that topic is for a different blog on a different day)  Today, I am not the photographer I will be tomorrow, but my clients deserve to have me be the best photographer I am on the day I shoot their session.  So a little research time for Grumpy Gramps, a little bit more practice on my camera, and it will be off to Raven’s session.

The shoot took place at Saguaro Ranch Park in Glendale.  Raven told me to pick a place, and this is the place that came to mind.   Saguaro Ranch Park is a dry and dusty place with old buildings and rusted out farm machinery.  In retrospect, I know I picked it because it was close to everybody, no charge to get in, and I figured Raven is going to be the star and she will make anything look good.  Ah, the hazards and pitfalls of inexperience.  Note to self, pick better places to shoot, doof!  Aside from my poor location choice, the session went wonderfully.  Raven and Noel’s mom showed up to the shoot and helped direct Raven in her poses and outfit changes and hair upkeep.  Noel also showed up to add her advice to the session.  Afterwards, we went over to their house to upload the images.  Mom and I spent the time talking about Apollo High School.  She had gone to school at Apollo at the time I started teaching there.  I never had her in class, but we knew the same students and the same teachers and the same rumors and stories about the school and had a great time reminiscing about those days.  And in spite of the less than ideal location, the session provided some very nice shots for Raven to choose from.  Also, as a result of posting some of these photos on Facebook, I have had some interest from other seniors in booking a session.  I have concluded that Senior Sessions are a wonderful addition to my business.  I can see the plaque now: “Grumpy Gramps:  The World’s Best Wedding, Birthday, Baby Shower and Senior Portrait Photographer.”  Just get some engagement and maternity sessions under my belt, and I could rule the world.

Blog note:  When I blog I stick in my earphones and go to my Itunes or Youtube and find some inspirational music to play loud, so that everything meets in the middle of my brain.  Crowds out distractions and helps my motivation and creativity.  These last two days I have been listening to the B-side of  “The Twain Shall Meet” by Eric Burdon and the Animals.  Bagpipes and sitars.  A great combination.




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