Natural light and Senior Portraits: Bright Vs. Moody

Parents (and photographers) often have different opinions about how graduation photos should look. Some folks want a standard posed cap and gown on a colored studio background, others like a more natural portrait with candid moments woven into the set. I say let the school handle the boring studio stuff; let's go on an adventure! Virginia has beaches and mountain ranges, forests and concrete jungles; there is no reason to be stuck inside under studio lights when they are all trying to mimic the summer sun. But as a photographer, I appreciate the time and effort that goes into correct lighting, posing, and all the editing that the best of those studios can create that a single person just can't. The big delima that I have when working on Senior Portraits is how to edit them. Of course the graduate wants them to look cool and modern, but their biggest request to me is for them not to look like the photos they take at school. The parents I've dealt with trust their kids to make these decisions, but also realize that their families want wallet sizes and Facebook feeds full of Bright images of smiling young adults. So I'm caught between two aesthetic choices.

Of course, I'm always true to my style. Still, you have to know your audience. That's why I do both!

Here's a Moody look that's more akin to my editorial and fashion photography. the shots below are based on some tribe archepelago presets.

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And here's those same shots a bit brighter!  These are based on the portrait 400 pushed presets from mastin labs.

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I love a black and white image, as well. for me they make any location more Moody and yet still classic. 

 

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here are some brighter shots from some of those same locations.

 

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Normally a customer will get a combination of all these types from me; usually I send multiple edits of the same shots, so they can decide which look they like the best. Of course, each client is different and I also have to take skin tone, size, and camerashyness into 2ccount. Most of the grads I've worked with so far are naturally photogenic, animated and open when the camera comes out. Also, it doesn't hurt that I've known them for years and have worked with them before! 

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