On October 29th, I was privileged to photograph one of my wonderful track seniors. Marissa is also in band with my daughter and a great all around student (and person).
We met about a week and a half before the shoot so that we could iron out where to meet, the kinds of outfits to bring, and props that were going to be needed. We decided to do the shoot at a local conservation area with some open fields, some forest paths, and some limestone bluffs. We also decided that we were going to try to do 4 outfit changes. One would be a nice fall dress. One would be a nice fall casual outfit... like jeans, sweater, scarf. One would be her cross country uniform. The final was going to be some regular clothes and her letterman jacket. I know it sounds like a lot of outfit changes, but by ordering them in the correct way, she really only had to do a major change out of the dress and into her cross country uniform, and then we could layer over the top for the other choices.
The day of the shoot arrived and we had one major issue... the conservation area was closed for a youth hunting day. Luckily I had arrived there early and could call Marissa and discuss a change of venue. Martha Lafite Nature Sanctuary is one of my favorite places to go and photograph birds, so I suggested it as our alternate location. She agreed and we headed there.
The first setting that I had planned was Marissa dressed in her dress and seated on a chair in a field. We tried several test shots and test poses before I had all my settings dialed in and we began the shoot. My wife was there to hold the reflector and it worked amazingly well to get images of Marissa backlit, or sidelit and have the reflector shining light back onto her face. We also had some images done of her with her oboe. The chair, dress, oboe, field, lighting, and fall colors really came together for some wonderful images.
After the shots in her dress, Marissa changed into her cross country uniform. We moved down the grass path through the field until we found a nice area we could use as a background and ran through several more poses. One of my favorites was one where she was seated and surrounded by all the old shoes that she still had. We also did several with her holding her spikes. The light was again really good and we were able to use the reflector well to light her face and get a catchlight in her eye.
The third outfit for Marissa was a fall outfit. She was able to just slide the outfit on over her cross country uniform so the change took very little time at all. We continued to follow the path until we were in the woods. We took several different poses along the path in the woods and eventually came to a wooden bridge. We used the bridge for several different poses. Standing, squatting, sitting, and laying down were all able to be captured from the bridge. We did run into one problem that appeared in a couple of the shots... after laying on her stomach, I had Marissa roll onto her back. Once she did, we realized that there was A LOT of sawdust on the bridge still, and sadly on Marissa as well. We tried to get her cleaned up as well as we could before the final couple shots, but some sawdust was still visible.
The final outfit was some plain clothes with her Letterman jacket. We found a nice place where we could capture some poses. We worked through the first few, then had to begin rushing. Since we started late, the park was going to be closing soon. I was feeling rushed to get everything done that I wanted to get done. There were even several images where I would have like to capture a smile and a serious face, but we only ended up capturing one of them instead. I hate that the shoot was ending like this and tried to refocus to get things done right.
On our way back to the cars, my wife put her hand in her pocket and found a string of Christmas lights. I had seen some images done with Christmas lights held in between the model and the camera to create some neat bokeh (or out of focus areas). We stopped right where we were, posed Marissa, and I snapped several images. I held the lights differently every time so that they would make a slightly different pattern. I like some of the outcomes from what we got, but again we were in a hurry so I forgot to tell Marissa to smile. So all I have are serious face images. They turned out nice though, and I'll have to try again on my next shoot.
It was a fun day, filled with good times, and many misadventures. Thank you Marissa for allowing me this time with you!
Song: That's What I Love About Sundays by Craig Morgan