It's been a minute since I've written a blog post. This one will be a little sappy I admit, but I want to explain the inspo behind my latest shoot with my Class of 2023 DOP REPS. And this one comes with a back story... two to be exact.
Part one of this shoot evolved from my constant preaching to "GET IN THE PHOTO."
Everyone always asks me how I got into photography, and I always start by saying that I was always that photo kid... the girl in high school who always carried around a disposable camera to document every event. Back then (oh gosh I'm old), we took pictures just to take pictures, not to post on social media, but to fill albums to look back on to remember a moment or event.
I have stacks of these albums in my living room cabinets, and I still look back at them quite often. And I'd be remiss if I didn't say that my mom also has stacks upon stacks of albums in her cabinets, so maybe the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If you didn't know, 5 years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers. We've used all those photos taken over the years to remind him of better times and to help him remember those most important to him. Those photos are really his only memories now. They also help our family remember who he was in his younger more vibrant days.
Let's give it up for the horrible quality of these photos of photos and those amazing bangs I was rocking in my teens.
I'm not writing this post for sympathy or anything, but my dad honestly became part of so many conversations with clients this year. Oftentimes at the end of a senior session, I ask if mom or dad wants to jump in for quick photo. Most times, I get an answer like, "Oh gosh, I'm a mess" or "I'm not wearing any makeup and haven't showered since the gym this morning." I found myself reiterating my sentiments above. I think sometimes we think that every photo needs to find a home on social media and therefore needs to be picture perfect. Well this is your public service announcement to GET IN THE DARN PHOTO!
There's another piece of the puzzle related to this shoot and that hits on the idea of appreciation. We're oftentimes so busy running and grinding that we forget to give thanks to those who matter most. My dad was the silent support system for our family (I say this loosely, because if you knew him he was NEVER silent - again, apple doesn't fall far haha). He worked over 60 hours a week to provide for our family. But you know what? He NEVER missed one single cheer or dance performance of mine. He was always in the stands screaming and videoing every 8 count. I'm sure I thanked him for all he did, but I sometimes wonder - did I thank him enough? Did he know how grateful I was for his support? Now that his mind is long gone and he's barely verbal any more, did he know?
As I started to plan out the balance of my shoots for the Class of 2023 DOP REPS, I got to thinking about all this. Senior year is so focused on the senior - their senior homecoming, their college applications, their senior photos, their senior prom... the list is pretty long. But what about the people who helped them get there - where's their photo session or their celebration?
This year I wanted to come up with a way to celebrate those who sometimes AREN'T in the photo. I wanted to treat them to a day of pampering and cap it off with a photoshoot to document their special relationship... one that will likely change in the next year as one heads off to college and the other stays back home.
I titled this shoot my "THANK YOU" shoot. I instructed each rep to think of someone who has been an inspiration in their lives... someone they wanted to thank. Some brought moms, others brought sisters, some brought cousins. Everyone was treated to makeup by my incredible make-up team (Rachael Wontrop, April Kenney and Sarah Slater) and then a little mini photoshoot.
This was probably one of the most fun shoots I've done with the group all year, probably because they got to share it with someone they love and admire! Everyone was everyone's hype girl and everyone left feeling a little bit more comfortable in front of the camera. THANK YOU to my entire CLASS OF 2023! Thank you for choosing me to document this huge milestone and be a tiny part of your story! Remember me in 4 years when you check off that next big milestone :-)
Thank you for being the best friend and dance partner I could ask for.
Thank you for always making me laugh.
Thank you for always having my back.
Thank you for always standing by my side.
Thank you for everything you do for me.
Thank you for always believing in me.
Thank you for being my best friend through everything.
To the strongest, most incredible woman I know, thank you for everything you do for me.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for being my biggest supporter and being there for me no matter what.
Thanks for always supporting me through everything.
Thank you for always helping me through difficult times.