HELLO!

 

If you’re looking for Fabulous Senior Portraits, you’re in the right place!

Here’s where you can find all the info you need to schedule YOUR perfect session:

Facebook: This is where I post my most recent sessions, photos of my beautiful products, and announce any specials or events that are happening. Go ahead, click that LIKE button!

Email: If you’re wanting to set up a pre-session consultation or receive my 2016 Product & Pricing Guide, just send me a quick email and I’ll get back with you usually within 1 business day. There’s also a handy contact form right in the menu tabs. My email is combs6@mac.com.

Galleries: Click on my Galleries tab up in the menu to see a sample of my Senior Guy and Senior Girl portraits.

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Shooting In The Barn – My New Obsession

I knew the second I stepped in the barn that this would become my new shooting obsession.

The shadows…the rich color tones…the patches of light. It was Glorious. 

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My daughter had been begging for horseback riding lessons for about a year, but hey, we’re a soccer family! Then a friend of hers told us about where she takes lessons and I finally gave them a call. Turns out there is a fabulous farm only about 10 minutes from our house and it’s the perfect place for Sienna to learn all about her new passion…and for me to get creative!

I purposely didn’t take my camera for the first lesson since I wanted to just enjoy watching Sienna. She was beyond excited! But for the next lessons…I couldn’t wait!!

I am truly obsessed with the patches of light sweeping in thru the open barn doors…all the gold and tan tones…and the textures everywhere are fantastic!

I really wanted to capture some images of her getting her horse ready and doing all the prep work. But I didn’t need the details, I was more concerned with capturing the mood. I embraced the shadows. I kept my ISO at 4000 (which is kinda high but still kept the photos dark) and set my aperture to 2.8. I used my Tamron 28-75 2.8 lens. I rarely use this lens but it was perfect for getting the wide shots in the arena and the 2.8 f-stop helped keep the soft feel I was wanting in the images.

Getting Lila ready…

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It’s tough work to get the saddle on…

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I love all the textures and colors in the barn…

 

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This guy never gets excited about much…

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Allison, Sienna’s trainer, is AMAZING!! 

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Sienna and her new friend Lila…

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Lila got a special treat that day…Sienna braided her hair. Cause every girl needs a good hairdo, right??

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If you’re looking for lessons or want to buy or sell a horse, check out Galerie Farm in West Chester. It’s a family owned farm and the owners are so nice! I’m so thrilled to that my daughter is a part of this new adventure. It’s going to be FUN!

 

Wanda Jolguera-Benitez

Love you Galerie Farm my daughter took lessons from Valerie for 3 years, then she decided to do Gymnastics for 5 years and now she is an Awesome volleyball player ;-)

barn light is the best light <3 I grew up riding horses, too!!! Be careful…. the horse crazy stage can last a lifetime and it ain't cheap :D

Valerie Neal

Love the photo’s…can’t wait to see so many more this summer! Looking forward to Senior Portraits too….

Jamie Zawila

As usual your shots are amazing!!

Sharon McAninch

How awesome! beautiful photograph and fabulous memories

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5 Tips To Help You Choose Your Senior Portrait Photographer

I’ve spent a lot of time with families of Seniors the last few years, and one thing I’ve learned from them is that Senior year is BUSY!!

There’s deadlines and tests and college applications and decisions to be made that you’re just not ready to make yet.  It tends to get a bit stressful. I get it.

But I always tell my clients that your Senior portrait experience should be the least stressful part about that final year. In fact, I think it should be one of the most anticipated events of Senior year! It’s finally a chance to celebrate all that they’ve become…and also to get those precious glimpses of what will be.

I strive to make my Senior Portrait Experience a stress-free zone for all my models and clients, helping them every step of the way from the styling to the ordering.  But I realize that sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to even know where to begin in choosing your photographer.

Here’s a few questions and tips to consider when choosing your Senior portrait photographer, that I feel will help you make the absolute best choice for your family.

START LOOKING EARLIER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO!

I can’t say it enough…it’s never too early to start thinking about Senior portraits. If you’re not sure who you’re going to choose, then I highly recommend that you start researching your options at least during Junior year.  Most photographers, including myself, book Senior sessions months ahead of time.  When you do find your perfect photographer, it would be a shame to miss out on your preferred date due to lack of availability.

If you’ve got a few photographers that you’re considering, it’s a smart idea to give them a call as early as possible and see when they start booking.  If you’re wanting a session in the summer between Junior & Senior year, you may need to book a potential date during spring. I always recommend that summer is a great time for Senior sessions.  Not having to schedule around homework or school activities is a big plus

If you’re thinking you’d like to wait until Fall, you still need to get a date reserved as quickly as possible, since Fall dates tend to fill quickly. Here in Ohio, the months between August – October are crazy busy with sessions since parents have suddenly realized “I’ve got a Senior!”.  Inquiring during the spring or summer months about available dates for the Fall could really save you some headache later on.

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WHAT STYLE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Every photographer has a “style”, so it’s important that the style you’re wanting for your portraits matches the style of your photographer.

Are you wanting traditional, studio portraits with a clean look to them?  Do you want portraits that are “out of the norm” with a distinct edgy feel to them? Are you looking for more of a fashion inspired session?  It’s important to ensure that the vision you have for your final images…or what it is you’re expecting your images to look like…match up with the vision and the skills of the photographer.

There’s a few different ways to make sure you and your photographer are on the same page:

1.  Check out their website and their social media sites. For any professional photographer, you should see a similar look and feel to their images.  That doesn’t mean they all look the same! It simply means that some photographers have a soft, romantic feel to their images.  Other photographers might use dramatic lighting or bold colors.  If you take a little time to look thru their galleries you should get a good feel for which images you’re drawn to and start getting some great ideas for your own session.

2.  Meet with the photographer in person for a consultation.  Most professional photographers will gladly meet with you in person or at least have an in-depth conversation with you on the phone about your expectations. Discussing wardrobe choices, locations, products and budget should all be a part of the conversation.  After talking with the photographer you should feel comfortable if they understand what you’re wanting to accomplish with your portrait session.

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WHO DO YOUR FRIENDS RECOMMEND?

A great referral from a friend is priceless in any situation. So be sure to check around with previous Seniors to see who they recommend.  Not only can you see up close how their images and products turned out, but you can get the added advantage from the parents to hear how they describe working with the photographer.

A few important things to ask about is the communication, if their expectations were met (or hopefully exceeded!), how smooth the ordering process was, and the quality of the products they received.  Friends are usually more than happy to tell you about a good, or bad, experience with any business.

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WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR PORTRAITS?

It’s a very simple question, but it’s funny how many clients I have that really seem surprised when I ask this question.  “What do you want to actually DO with your portraits?” When you have an idea how you’ll be displaying your favorite images, that helps you narrow down your choices for a photographer.

If you’re wanting some impressive products to display your favorite portraits, you’ll want to make sure your photographer offers those.  If you’re only wanting a few small prints for friends, then you may look for someone that only offers a CD of files you can print yourself.  If you’re dreaming of custom items such as Graduation Cards, Keepsake Albums, and unique printing options, then a boutique photographer is probably best for you.

Most photographers have sample products for you to look at before you ever have to commit to a session.  Even if you think you’re only wanting “this or that”, take a look at everything they have to offer and you may find some great products you didn’t even know existed!

Top Row: Keepsake Albums Middle Row: Brag Books, Metal Print, 4x8 Accordion Albums Bottom Row: Keepsake Image Box, 4x8 Accordion Album

Top Row: Keepsake Albums
Middle Row: Brag Books, Metal Print, 4×8 Accordion Albums
Bottom Row: Keepsake Image Box, 4×8 Accordion Album

WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?

Yep, it’s a fact of life.  Our budget will often determine our choices for things.  You’ll want no surprises when you choose your photographer so be sure to get all the pricing information before you make any commitments or sign any contracts.

Studios often have minimum purchase requirements, booking fees, or product packages in place for Senior sessions.  If you’re able to have a clear picture of what you’ll be spending for everything you’re wanting, it makes it so much easier to plan and budget.

It’s also helpful to find out about payment plans and timelines for payments thru out the experience.  For example…Is full payment due upon ordering or only a partial deposit?  Is your preferred credit card accepted? Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you can think of concerning pricing, or anything else, before you make your final choice.

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I hope these tips help take a little bit of the stress out of this super busy, super special, Senior year.  Good Luck!

 

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Brad – Middletown Christian High School Senior Portraits

Anytime I get the opportunity to shoot a portrait session in a creek, that’s a good day!

Brad’s family had recently moved into their new home, which was on a beautiful property.  They had gardens, big trees, lots of room for their dog to run, and a great creek that ran right thru the center of the backyard. I always encourage my clients to shoot on their property if they’ve got the room, I think it’s so special.

I was walking the property before his session to find the best spots to shoot at, and of course I knew I would definitely be putting those cute rain boots of mine to good use in his creek! I have a feeling that Brad thought I was a bit weird when I asked him to head into the water, but he went right along with it and I’m so glad he trusted me. I fell in love with the deep colors that we got shooting in the creek with very little light streaming in.

Here’s a little fun fact about Brad’s wardrobe…I was styling his outfits with his mom and noticed there were lots of clean and simple options with his clothing.  About every solid color shirt you could imagine! I mentioned that if she was able to find a suit vest of some sort that may help add a little texture to his clothing choices…just something to mix it up a bit. I told her there was no need to go buy something new if she didn’t want to, maybe she could even borrow one from somebody.  I don’t want my clients to feel like they have to break the bank with their clothing for Senior portraits. It’s more about showing off the personality than the clothes. 

Just a few hours later she texted me and said that while she was out she found the perfect vest for just $1.50! We just added it over one of his outfits at the very end of his session and I’m so pleased with how it just gave that extra touch of dimension to his portraits.

I’m so honored to have been able to photograph Brad for his Senior portraits.  He’s such a charming guy, so smart (he’s actually graduating a year early) and, as you can see by his photos, quite a cutie! I’ve actually known his mom since I was a teenager so this was a very special treat to take a few family photos too while I was there.  Best Wishes Brad!

Here’s a few behind-the-scenes shots and then the fantastic results.

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