Senior Inspiration – {Sara Welch Photography}

February 16, 2012

A connection between this senior and her beloved horse that she raised and trained herself was captured so beautifully by Sara Welch of Sara Welch Photography.  Sara says, “she lit up like a Christmas tree with him!”  And it really shows in these photos.

Not only was Sara able to capture the love this senior had for her horse but she also captured the fashionista side of this senior with a dual location session.  In addition to shooting on location with the horse, Sara took this senior to some fun downtown locations such as alleyways and little shops.

Read the interview with Sara below and be sure to check her other amazing work here.  Thanks for sharing Sara!!

What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?

Most definitely the horse and the seniors style.  When I spoke to her she said it was very important that we include her horse in the session…..she had visions of herself in a flowy dress on her horse.  She was interested in the fashion/editorial aspect of photography and was completely game for playing that up.  She was also very clear in describing her personality and her sense of style to me, and that really helps me out to figure out how to work with her and how to create her session.

Where did this photo shoot take place?

Downtown Lufkin, TX and nearby horse stables.

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?

I always ask my seniors about their sense of style and if there is anything important that we include.  She indicated she had a varied style, from skinny jeans and rocker tees to flowy lace dresses and heels.  That told me we could do just about anything.  And of course incorporating the horse was key.

What camera, lens and equipment were used for this shoot? 

Nikon D700 and my 85mm 1.8

What time of day were these taken?

I knew I wanted to catch a gorgeous silhouette of her with her horse and take advantage of the hazy setting sun.  So we started around 3:30pm downtown and moved to the stables afterward. We then shot into sunset.

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?  

I keep things pretty clean with my Seniors.   I do like a bit of rich contrast and tones.  I always clean up and smooth out skin, but since all my girls have their makeup professionally airbrushed there usually isn’t much for me to do!  I like eyes to pop so I usually add some contrast and sharpness to them.  Getting things right in camera first is SO key.  It saves you hours in post!

What is your favorite thing about this session?

Her amazing connection to the horse that she had trained herself.  It was bittersweet for her as she was starting to outgrow him and would have to sell him soon.  These images were not only her Senior Portraits, but also keepsakes of her and her friend.  I was so honored to be able to preserve that for her.

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?

This senior took initiative.   Not only did she truly answer my initial questions about who she was and what she wanted…She got on the phone with me and really let me know more about herself and her ideas.   Often times seniors are hesitant to voice too many opinions because they want to trust the photographer.  Its true you should totally trust your photographer, but it is also important to make sure the photographer understands who you are.  The photographers style and your style should mesh.  I want to capture Seniors at their best….you on your best day, elevated to your most fabulous.

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?

Find out what their passion is.  What lights them up inside.   While this senior totally rocked the downtown portion of the session, she became a whole other person when we got to the stables.  Her exuberance was pouring out of her and I wish we had more time to spend out there!  If there is something like that, include it!  If they are a serious and sweet, that should be evident.  If they are a jokester and always laughing, make sure you catch that.  It makes your session well rounded and complete.  It makes an outsider looking at the images feel like they know a little bit about who the senior is.