Senior Inspiration – {Mango Mahalo Photography}

March 01, 2012
This is a girl after my own heart! She loves one of my favorite things in the world…Nutella!  And what a great way to incorporate her love of both Nutella and Ballet!
Michelle Anderson of Mango Mahalo Photography did an excellent job showcasing this seniors loves!  According to Michelle, this senior had her own idea for her shoot and definitely wanted to showcase her skills as a ballet dancer.  I love the black tutu!!
To see more of Michelle’s work, click here and be sure to check out this session below!  Thanks for sharing Michelle!!
What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?  This senior is a ballerina and she wanted to have pictures of herself in her tutu and pointe shoes.  Both she and I were inspired by The Ballerina Project… a set of photos of ballerinas in urban settings, but composed on film cameras.  Our goal was to design her own “ballerina project.”
Where did this photo shoot take place? This shoot took place in downtown Redlands, California.  We shot in alleys, on fire hydrants, in front of an old warehouse, in an orange grove and at a charming local mom ‘n’ pop market.
Did you collaborate with this senior on the wardrobe for the session?  The wardobe essentials (tutu and pointe shoes) were put together by the senior model.
What camera, lens and equipment was used in this photo shoot? Nikon D80, 50mm/1.8 lens, natural light.
What time of day was this shot?   The shoot was almost re-scheduled because of non-stop rain the night before and the morning of the shoot, but we waited it out and found some clearing skies. We started shooting by mid-morning.
Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing these photos? All images were shot in RAW and processed in Photoshop Camera RAW/CS5.  I am a true fan of Michelle Kane HeARTy actions.  I love how her actions can bring a richness and brilliance to pictures.
What is your favorite thing about these photos?  My favorite thing about these pictures is how they are unique and true to the model.  I have known her for several years and to photograph her as a ballerina was a chance to see her “in action.”
What do you want these photos to convey about this senior and about your photography business? These pictures showcase and honor the style and interests of this senior.  I have no dance background myself, so all the poses were what she felt comfortable recreating.  I took her to different locations and let her “style” her poses in front of the camera.  This is what I love about photography… the potential for collaboration between photographer and client.  I knew where I wanted to take her pictures, and she knew what poses she wanted.  In my photography business, I strive to be different than many of my peers — I love the preparation work and all the consultations to conceptualize and design a shoot.  In some cases, I spend more time scouting out locations (based on lighting and time of day the shoot will occur)  than I spend taking the pictures.  It does help to arrive on location with a list of what pictures need to be captured, and then move on to the next location.  I have become more streamlined with this process and it helps me maximize my typical 2 hour session time.
What is one tip about senior portrait photography that you can share with other photographers? Get to know your senior and what inspires them (hobbies, style, etc.) so you can be true to them in their pictures.   I was fortunate to have known this senior and her mother personally.
Tell me a little about you…Where are you from?  How did you get into photography?  What is your favorite thing about photographing seniors?
I grew up in the busy and desirable Orange County, California but for the past six years I have lived about an hour away, in a quiet city called Yucaipa.  Most of the past six years I have spent at my primary job — being a pediatrician.  It was when I was having my business picture taken that I met my now very dear friend (she was my photographer).  She has been my family photographer since, shooting everything from maternity, delivery, newborn, and family sessions.  She had inspired me to buy my first DSLR and to jump into the world of photography.  I have learned so much during all the time I would spend with her (when I was not seeing patients).  I could always depend on her honest and constructive critique.   In no time, my passion for photography grew.  As my three children made their way into my life, I was fortunate to cut back at work and spend more time at home.  Now I have started my own business, Mango Mahalo Photography.  Originally I thought I only wanted to shoot babies and maternity sessions.  But I have a new thrill and passion for senior shoots because of the originality, freshness, style, and attitude that comes with teenagers.