2017 has been a fabulous year, all because of my amazing clients. As I look back on 2017 with gratitude for my wonderful clients and pride in the work that I have done for them I also look forward to what 2018 has in store. In 2017 every senior portrait session that I photographed was unique and a creative joy. In trying to narrow down to 17 of my favorites it was an incredibly difficult process. What made it difficult was that I have favorites from every session, I love and value ALL of my clients, and because I am proud of all that I have created with my clients this year. I started out this post with a narrowed down galley, but I couldn’t help myself….there are more than 17. Here’s a a heartfelt “Thank You!” to my clients this year and best wishes for a wonderful 2018. Enjoy!
Emily – Assateague Island
Hallie – Snow Hill, MD
Fallon – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Ryan – Assateague Island
Allison – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Sydney – Berlin, MD
Madison – Pemberton Park
Jeremy – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Ryane, Katelyn, Kara, and Emily – Salisbury, MD
Liz – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Brett – Newark, MD
Maddy – Assateague Island
Caitlyn – Lewes, DE
Lauren – James Seip Photography Studio, Salisbury MD
Abby – Roaring Point
Kara – Bordeleau Vineyards
Hallie – Snow Hill, MD
Kara – SU campus
Zoe – taken at her home in MD
Lauren – Byrd Park, Snow Hill MD
Kennedy – MD
Katelyn – Roaring Point
Alison – Baywood Greens DE
Ryane – Private property in Nanticoke, MD
Logan – Ocean City, MD
Sydney – Assateague Island
Kennedy Bishopville, MD
Ryane and Katelyn – Salisbury, MD
Laney – Oxford, MD
Katelyn – Tyaskin, MD
Virginia – Pocomoke Forest
Hallie and Emily – Pocomoke Forest, Snow Hill MD
Jeremy – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Hallie and Emily – Pocomoke State Forest
Dara – Pittsville, MD
Katelyn – Isle of Wright, Berlin MD
Ryan – Assateague Island
Hannah and Shelby – Downtown Salisbury, MD
Bailey – Assateague Island
Liz – Downtown Salisbury MD
Sarah – Assateague Island
Emily – Assateague Island
Mariah – Assateague Island
Kara – Bordeleau Vineyards, Allen MD
Sydney – Assateague Island
Kennedy – Fenwick Island
Allison – James Seip Photography Studio, Salisbury MD
Sydney – James Seip Photography Studio, Salisbury, MD
National dance day comes but once a year and that’s sad when you have such an exceptional dancer in front of your camera. I got to spend a lovely afternoon with Liz as she showed me around her dance studio where she does Ballet, tap, and a few others types of dance. She is graceful and so fun to photograph. The natural light poured in through the large windows in this historic building in the heart of downtown Salisbury. It could not have been a more delightful setting to capture her senior portraits. I love getting to capture my seniors doing something they love and this girl loves dance…I hope that comes through in these images. Enjoy the sneak peeks….can’t wait for your beach session in a few weeks.
I recently spent a lovely afternoon at the beach with most of my 2018 Senior Team for our surf themed shoot. It was one of the best beach days this summer and the company couldn’t have been better. We borrowed some surf boards from friends of mine, Alison and Bobby, who brought along their lifted surf van for the shoot. We set up on the beach, got the bonfire ready, the hammock up(which was a complete experiment on my part), but it worked and the girls loved hanging out in it while we were not shooting. We spent the afternoon by the water and towards sunset we headed over to the “bay” side of Assateague for some cool portraits with a lovely sunset. Hallie drifted off on the flamingo floatie and was rescued by Emily. We wrapped up our session as the sun dipped below the horizon and then headed back to the beach to enjoy some hot dogs and s’mores over the bonfire on the beach. All in all and fantastic day and lots of fun. Enjoy!
I love working with my Senior Team during the year and this girl is one of the jewels of our team. We spent the evening out at one of my favorite spots on the shore, Bordeleau Winery, capturing her portraits. I also love when our seniors incorporate things into their portraits that have special meaning to them. Kara’s Grandfather has a 1926 Chevrolet truck that he and his father restored. Many hours, lots of handmade craftsmanship, and tons of love were poured into restoring this amazing truck. It became a great backdrop for Kara’s portraits on the grass near the vineyard. We wandered around the vineyard and property capturing lots of different looks and outfits. It was a beautiful evening and she rocked her portraits.
I recently read that Maryland has made another top 10 list. This list isn’t one to brag about. Our lovely state apparently is ranked number 4 in the top ten list of most depressed states in America. The list is based on tweets and you can find the original study here(CNN Twitter Based Study). I have a problem with this study because I believe it doesn’t adequately represent those of us who live on the Easter Shore. We live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country; pristine golden sandy beaches lie to the East and life is definitely not as fast-paced or hectic as it is across the bay bridge. If you love the outdoors I feel it is almost impossible to live in such a beautiful part of the country and be sad about that. Granted, geography probably does not have much to do with how we feel, but a long relaxing day at the beach, surrounded by good friends is hard to beat and does wonders for your countenance and soul. There is something about the salty air, the thunderous roar of the waves, the gentle breezes, and the feel of warm sand between your toes that can take the grump out of almost anyone.
This is where I get to call home and where I get to spend many of my working and leisurely nights during the year. The only thing better than the beautiful scenery is being able to photograph two equally beautiful young ladies in the midst of that scenery. The other night we found ourselves in the marshes of the Isle of Wright. No bugs, no tourists, not even another local to distract us. It was delightful. We also took some time to photograph around a wooden bridge near a popular golf course in Ocean City, again we were the only ones seemingly out that night. I wasn’t quite sure the feel or the look I wanted from these images, but it became evident early in our shoot…..PEACE. There is a serenity to these images and it marked our time together. It was relaxed, quite enjoyable, and filled with good conversation. I am so thankful that I get to do this and that I get to spend time with these amazing girls that are part of my Senior Team. So, if you are a bit frazzled or hectic today, take a moment and scroll through these images. In a minute to two you will begin to feel something wonderful….quite, peaceful, and Eastern Shoreish; just a taste of what we experience just about everyday here in this little slice of heaven on earth. Enjoy!
Over the years I have had seniors that I have photographed that have had “special” moments with celebrities. I think of Hannah getting to shake hands with Taylor Swift, Sydney getting to hang with George Cloney, and now Alison, who apparently had a moment with the Biebs at a recent concert that her mom took her to. As he was on stage he locked eyes with her and then tossed her his water bottle. Unfortunately the moment didn’t last long. As the bottle was soaring towards her outstretched arms some other crazed and confused fan intercepted it from its intended recipient(Alison). As he grabbed the bottle the contents spilled all over Alison, ruining her makeup. So in honor of that “moment” we had Justin Bieber blasting on the studio speakers, backgrounds and lights set up and ready for a fun fierce shoot with her! She arrived at the studio ready for a session in which we wanted to capture some black and white images that showed her beauty AND her power and ferocity as a young woman. She wore a simple outfit with black jeans, a loose spaghetti strapped white shirt with a cool cut out geometric design on the front, paired with a leather jacket and open black high heels, a lace choker, and pearl earrings. She is tall, beautiful, and has an incredibly strong look to her.
We laughed, we played, and we captured. I am so excited that she is on our Senior Team this year and that she will get to create memories with her other friends on the team. This was our first shoot together and it won’t be our last. So, as you look forward to the weekend enjoy a few of these sneak peeks from Alison’s fierce shoot.
Have you ever been to Lewes, DE? It is one of the hidden gems of the East Coast. Growing up in Pennsylvania I barely knew that south of our large state lay the wonder of Delaware. Yes, Delaware is actually a state and not just a small town or a river. It is know as “The First State” apparently. When I arrived on the Eastern Shore all those year ago I did not know that Lewes would hold a special place in my heart and in my destiny. For in this small town I would meet and fall in love my beautiful wife, Jen. I, like so many others, mispronounced Lewes and it was a dead give-a-way that I was from out of town. I learned quickly how to pronounce what would become such a pivotal place in my life. Lewes, for those of you following along, is pronounced like Lewis, not lose. So remember that little piece and it will save your some embarrassment when you come to visit this small slice of heaven.
One of the young ladies on my Senior Team this year lives in Lewes, DE. We coordinated a shoot recently and I was super excited to head back to the town where I met and married my wife Jen, so many years ago. To get to Lewes I took the back roads that I had grown so familiar traveling when my wife and I were dating. It’s quite an enjoyable drive, through farm land, little towns, and then the bustling thoroughfare of Route 1. During the summer I will avoid Route 1 at all costs because it is packed with outlet and beach traffic. Being mid-April I expected an easy trip, yet RT 1 was jammed. I traveled down Savannah Road, past the historic Presbyterian church that Jen and I were married in. I reminisced for a few moments on the beauty and absolute “perfectness” of that May day. A few more turns through town and I pulled into the parking lot at the Canal Park and shut off the engine. I got out of my car and began to walk around a bit surveying one of the locations for our shoot that evening. Some modern elements of stone and wood contrasting with the gentle flowing water of the Lewes Canal and sprawling grass of the park. There is a life saving station situated on the grounds and an old light-ship anchored in part of the canal. I circled back towards the car with a good idea of where we would photograph, now just had to wait for Sydney to arrive. She pulled in as just I was returning to the car and we chatted for a few minutes then started to wander around photographing in the park.
I am no fashionista so I will let Sydney describe her outfit for us: “Keeping it simple! My go to, out of town outfit would be my overall dress, it’s super easy to throw on and it’s so comfortable and laid back. I paired it with a white flowy off the shoulder shirt that i recently stole(borrowed) from my moms closet! Since the shirt already brings attention to my neck I kept it simple with my bar necklace that I wear everyday. Because it was so simple up top I added a chunky bracelet to give the outfit some pop!”
She is a natural in front of the camera and needs little direction as far as posing. We shot around the concrete steps leading down into the grass expanse of the park, then headed over to the life-saving station and the light-ship. The light-ship was a mobile light house, with a large light fixture on the main mast. It is now a museum and is docked in a berth cut out of the canal. The ship was closed for the evening so we photographed a bit around the museum building that looks like a pilot house. It’s the building with the red strip running along the ship-lapped wall and has this awesome dark stained oak door. We then made our way to the edge of the canal and photographed on the rocks and among the reeds that Sydney had once played in as a small child.
Her boyfriend arrived, we chatted, and got acquainted a bit. We still had daylight and the weather was quite amazing so we took a short drive down to the beach past the Dairy Queen and parked in a somewhat deserted parking lot. The beach was mostly ours, only a few people were lingering about. In the misty distance the Cape May-Lewes Ferry was pulling in to its moorings, ready to disembark its cargo of vehicles and passengers. We climbed up on the dunes and photographed with the sun dipping behind us. One of Sydney’s good friends randomly pulled up and even jumped in a quick photo with her. As the gorgeous spring sun began to sink into the horizon I hurried back to my car to get my lighting set up that I love to use for this exact time of day. The light had such a warmth to it and Sydney looked right at home in the amber glow of the setting sun. With her toes in the sand and catching the last bit of golden light, surrounded by some good friends, we ended the evening on a great note.
When I first moved to Salisbury from Northeast PA(near where The Office was filmed), I wasn’t immediately won over by the flatness and the lack of variety of the terrain. I had grown up among the Appalachian mountains and near the rushing waters of the Delaware River. Little did I know, and would soon discover, that the Eastern Shore is one of the most beautiful places on this earth. It may not have much to offer in terms of elevation, but the scenery is to die for. From the salty sea air and powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean, miles and miles of pristine beaches, little streams, marshland, and dense forests it is a photographers dream. Since moving here I have fallen in love with the beach and count this area my home. Not much beats a kayaking trip through the streams and lush marsh lands or an evening bonfire on the beach surrounded by good friends and good food. This is the place I get to call home and where I get to work. Everyday that I photograph a client is often an adventure into a breathtaking spot that you would be hard-pressed to discover anywhere else.
As a photographer of high school seniors one thing that makes me unique is my Senior Team. Every year I have the privilege of working with an exclusive group of beautiful young ladies. We spend the entire year playing together and photographing in many of these locations I have been talking about. We often meet for special shoots to showcase a theme or take an idea that the girls have and bring it to reality in coordinating and photographing them. My aim is to not only capture amazing portraits for my clients but to tell their story. Over the years I have shared many images knowing that those images would tell their own story. And I believe they have. Yet I have also wanted to deepen that experience for my clients this year, not only in the images but in the story telling of their sessions. This blog post is a starting point for me in that regard. This first post may be a little rough around the edges, but I want to convey what it’s like to work with me and, in a sense, have you come along with us on the shoot.
Recently, Hallie, Emily and I trecked into the Pocomoke Forest on an unusually warm spring day. You know, one of those perfect days where it hasn’t been warm enough for the bugs to become active, yet warm enough to feel the sun on your skin and a cool breeze through your hair. As we wandered through the woods Hallie and Emily chatted about prom, life, and friendship. They giggled at inside jokes, at me tripping over some fallen branches, and the sheer enjoyment of them being together and creating a memory that would deepen and add another facet to their friendship.
The tall majestic oaks, the gently unfolding branches of the maples, straight as an arrow pines, and the spindly reaches of speckled dogwood trees became our backdrop for the afternoon. The springtime sun hung low in the sky creating that perfect backlight and giving the images we created a wondrous glow. This part of the forest is unique because it not only contains dense groupings of trees but areas where natural reeds and tall grass abound. I do not know what the grasses are called but they are pure honey amber color, waist to shoulder height and sway gently in the breeze of the afternoon.
I brought along my old Nikon F4 loaded with the last roll of TMAX that I could find in the studio. I am planning on ordering some more and doing more personal work with film(but that is another story and another blog). We stopped on the graveled road and I handed the F4 over to the girls and they enjoyed an impromptu photo session as they used us the last few frames on the roll of film. As you can see they had some fun and Emily looked right at home with that camera in her hands. They commented on the cool camera strap, which is older than both of them put together. It felt great knowing that I have something vintage that resonates with them, after all I am somewhat vintage as well.
I am not a fashion expert by any means, usually just a jeans and t-shirt guy(or whatever my wife dresses me in), but I loved the jean jacket and simple outfit Hallie wore. Anytime your outfit moves people to see your face and your real beauty I think that is a winner. Emily got her overall skit at American Eagle and I must say, it was absolutely adorable…another win. They both wore some great accessories to round out their outfits(bracelets, leather choker, rings, and the shoes…never forget the shoes).
Emily and Hallie…thank you for joining me on such a beautiful day. Thank you for trekking through the woods and the briars for these portraits. I am beyond excited to work with you this year. You inspire me as all of the Senior Team has been doing this year and I look forward to more amazing experiences with you and of course capturing more images. I hope that you loved this session as much as I did, you both rock!!!