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tips to save $$$

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How to save for senior Pics

It’s no secret, professional portraits are expensive. No matter whether you are a senior commemorating senior year, a bride getting married or a family celebrating that stage in life, portraits are an important way to remember those times in the future and should be an investment. Especially if your photographer has years of experience and training. But not to worry, I’ve put together a few ways you can save up for pics, make a little extra cash or get discounts and credits towards pictures.

Use cash and save change

Give your debit card a rest and take out some cash to use for spending. Keep a pouch in your car and a jar on your dresser, any time you get change toss it in and watch it build up. It might seem silly but every penny counts and you might be surprised how fast it adds up.

DIY Mani/Pedis and Coffee at home

Skip the nail salon and coffee shop for a while. Add the money you would have spent at those places to your change jar. Painting your nails is fun and you might find that coffee made at home can be just as good as Starbucks

Have a yard sale

Ask your parents if there is extra clutter laying around. Go through your closets and find cloths to sell. How about those books you probably wont pick up again? You can even sell nicer pieces of cloths and jewelry on facebook super easy.

Hustle Hustle Hustle

Pick up a few extra hours at work or cover someone else’s shift every now and then. Do more babysitting or ask family, friends and neighbors if they need help with any odd jobs or chores.

Do activities with friends that are FREE!

There are so many ways to have fun with friends that don’t cost any money! Spend time in the out of doors; camp in your back yard, go for a beach trip, hiking, picnic or bike ride. Find free festivals or live music to attend. Have a movie night at home or host a board game party. Get creative and create memories that can save money for you and your friends. They’ll love you for it.

Thrift and Borrow

Need to update your wardrobe or get some fresh pieces for your session? Hit up the thrift store and find some high quality brands for just a few bucks. Or better yet, raid your friends closets. We all have that super stylish friend that can put together the best outfits. Ask them if you can shop their closet with the promise to return the cloths clean and in good condition. This is a great way to add a funky pair of heels or just the right jean jacket to your own outfits.

Follow your photog early

Find your fave photog and follow them on social media! Get in on early bird sales or giveaways. Find out if they have a referral program or a model team for discounts. Did you know that once you book a senior session with me you have the chance to earn referral credits if your friends book too? You get $50 towards order if your friend books and mentions you sent them. AND guess what?!? Your friend also gets $50 off their order. Word-of-mouth referrals are the best and any photographer would be grateful to have you spreading the word for them.

Thanks for reading through these money saving tips. I hope this sparked some ideas on how you can start saving for your senior portraits. My calendar is filling up fast, don’t wait to book your senior session and start referring your friends before they pick their senior photog.

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Senior Feature

Katie - Iowa City West High class of 2019

Katie chose the PERFECT time of year to have her Luxe senior portrait session; mid October can have some of the best weather and all the leaves have started changing. Not to mention that sun sets a bit earlier giving us the perfect timing to get the most amazing golden sunlit images for the grand finale. After hair and makeup at Zen Salon and Spa by Frankie we started out with some subtle Iowa Hawkeye vibes.

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After that we got a little more edgy with a off-the-shoulder top, army green pants and heels. We ventured down a grungy ally and found some bright red chairs downtown Iowa City.

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Sometimes less is more, so we looked for a simple urban spot to go with her all black outfit with pink heels.

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Next we wanted to look for a more modern location to go with her romper and cardigan outfit so we headed to a new hotel close to downtown. Since the Luxe session comes with 6 outfits that means we drive to a few different areas of town to achieve a variety of looks and feels for each outfit.

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And of course I had to take Katie to a parking garage. They are my favorite places to photograph and the blue tones compliment each other perfectly!

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And lastly we ended up in a field of super tall grass and trees while the sun was going down casting a beautiful golden light on the whole area. We saved Katie’s favorite outfit for this spot and it was EPIC!

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Katie - Thanks for an amazing senior session. You killed it and got some truly beautiful images. I can’t wait to see where you go in life. Good luck and congrats on graduation!

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Senior Picture Outfit Tips

Take a basic outfit to the next level

Putting together just the right look for your senior pictures can feel overwhelming. But it’s not that hard to add a few accessories to a really simple outfit and change up the whole look! I’ve put together a short video with a few tips on how to take an outfit from basic to BOLD.

Did you know that a couple weeks before every senior session we get together for an in-person styling consultation right in your own home? That means you don’t even have to worry about the details because I will be there to help you! We can go through your closet together and choose just the right pieces for the locations you like, or I can assist in narrowing your outfits down to your ultimate favorites. We will also go over hair and makeup ideas and talk about what kind of locations will be just right for YOU!

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to ‘Say Hi’ through the contact tab. I can’t wait to plan YOUR custom senior experience.

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Stylish Senior Guy - Iowa City

Tommy - City High class of 2019

Amazing senior portraits aren’t just for girls! I photograph just as many guys as I do girls and love finding just the right locations to fit their personalities. Tommy has such great taste, we had a blast getting him the styled look he was after. Not only did he get killer images but read to the end of this post and see some of the products he got too! First outfit was more formal so we started out at the U of I School of Music’s Voxman Building. Tommy is a performance artist, so what better place?

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If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I can’t get enough parking garages in my life. Tommy’s next casual outfit was perfect for just such a place!

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To add variety we looked for a location with a little more color. The sun was out so we just had to feature some great shades with outfit #3.

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Lastly Tommy wore a classic black sweater and grabbed a jacket to add part way through.

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Tommy and his mom chose some great products to display in their home. Pictured is a 12x24 metal wall art piece, two 5x7 gift prints, a couple 5x7 curved metal prints, a Signature Album with distressed leather cover and a USB containing all the full res files from his session!

THANK YOU for a great session Tommy! Good luck with all you do and CONGRATS on your upcoming graduation!

Class of 2020, it’s not too early to get your custom senior experience started! Contact me TODAY for a list of available dates. Spots are limited and sell out fast.

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Senior Girl - Iowa City

Drew - City High class of 2019

Right now as I’m typing this blog post there is a full blown snow storm going on outside. I know, sad right? So what better way to kick the winter time blues than to reminisce on a fun early fall session where the weather was warm and sunny. After I finished helping Drew with her makeup we walked right across the street from her house where the grass and trees we looking perfectly sunlit.

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Drew had the most amazing sequined dress and we wanted to show that off in a sleek location so we headed to Hancher Auditorium. Her dress looked awesome against the modern glass and then we added a denim jacket for a more fun casual affect.

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On the way downtown we stopped at the perfect spot for her casual romper. I love how the color of the romper is almost the same as the graffiti on the wall and contrasts with the ivy growing there too!

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Drew’s last two outfit were perfect for downtown Iowa City ally ways. One with an industrial vibe and one with a colorful mural. Rounding out the very end with some time in the middle of the street soaking up some sun!

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If you are class of 2020 it’s not too early to book your senior session! I am currently booking summer and fall sessions and Saturday spots are almost sold out! Fill out the contact form and I’ll send you a list of dates. I can’t wait to start planning your custom senior portrait experience!

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Senior Guy - Iowa City

Carson - West High Class of 2019

When I met with Carson and his mom to plan his senior portrait session I was immediately excited to put together an experience that completely matched his style. Each of his outfits were totally unique to one another and I had a blast partnering them with locations to finish the look. We started out with his most formal look at Hancher Auditorium.

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Next we found a more stadium-esque location for a more athletic vibe with his hoodie and shorts.

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After that we ventured to the downtown Iowa City area for a couple outfits. I like to take seniors downtown bc there are so many location options that add variety to the session. For a cool urban location I chose to match his black T and jeans with concrete and an underground parking garage entrance.

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After that we had to find some sunshine for Carson’s shades…so we ventured to a diff spot downtown with bricks and ivy.

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Fitness is a huge part of Carson’s life and something he is very passionate about. So we just HAD to get his weight lifting gear and head to a gym. We were able to get into the Liberty High School brand new weight room and it did not disappoint. I even found awesome window light!

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Thanks Carson, for an amazing session and having awesome style!

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Urban to Country Senior Feature

Megan - Highland 2019

From start to finish Megan's session was a so fun!  We met at Zen Salon and Spa where Frankie did her hair and makeup then we ventured into the back allies of downtown Iowa City.  Her first outfit was this edgy red crop top with jeans and a leather jacket.  Perfect fit for murals, graffiti and metal stairs.  

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Personally, one of my all time favorite things is camo.  Camo anything.  So I was super excited to see Megan's camo dress outfit with jean jacket.  I paired this look with another of my favorite things...a parking garage.  If you've been following me a while you know that I shoot in parking garages all the time.  I always find creative ways to photograph and interesting light patterns.  Plus Iowa City has so many great parking ramps to choose from!  

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For the next two outfits we went to the art building area of the U of I campus where we found two completely different looks right next door to each other!

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And now for something completely different.  Megan wanted a well rounded session from urban to country so we hoped on the road to her next two looks.  First stop...Highland HS softball field. By this time the sun was starting to set and the light was just dreamy!

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For the grand finale we grabbed a hat and moved into the classic Iowa prairie grass during golden hour.  What better way to end a session?  

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Iowa City Senior Feature

LAUREN - twenty nineteen

Lauren's Luxe Senior Session was amazing to say the least.  After hair and makeup at Zen Salon and Spa we headed out into the downtown Iowa City district for her first and most formal outfit.  Her classic black and white striped romper goes perfectly with the clean and modern design of the U of I Voxman Music Building.  A few of her friends even jumped in for  shot!

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Her next outfit lent itself well for bricks and ivy.  I love how her jacket pops against the greenery!  We even got a few shots of Lauren with her family in this outfit!

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Next it's time for something a bit more casual.  Lauren wanted to showcase her love for Iowa with a fun tee and we picked a funky mural to set it off.  On our way to change we can across some steps with the perfect yellow stripes and just had to stop and use them!

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After having some fun in the Iowa tee we ventured over to the Northside of downtown Iowa City where we found a backdrop to compliment Lauren and her sisters maroon outfits.  Aren't they the cutest sisters ever?  I couldn't resist getting a couple images of Lauren's sister Anna by herself as well.

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If you've been following me on social media you know that I like urban settings for seniors, however this more natural location might be my favorite of Lauren's session.  The light was AMAZING at the Fossil Gorge and we found a field of clover as well as those striking birch trees.

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As if this session wasn't epic enough we ended up at the Coralville Lake Beach for a grand finale.  The sun was starting to set giving us the sweetest light yet.  Lauren was even up for getting in the water!  Her bestie was right there with a towel as soon as we were done.  We even managed to escape stepping in goose poo!

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Senior Fashion - Summer Edit

Show Those Shoulders!

Planning your outfits for a summer senior pictures?  One of the hottest trends right now is off-the-shoulder tops, dresses and rompers!  Whether you're at the beach or in town there is a cold shoulder look to fit your style.  These Iowa City and Washington, Iowa senior girls aren't afraid to show off their summer tans with bare shoulders.

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Product Feature

Books and Albums

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Each senior I photograph is unique and so are their sessions.  Between multiple outfits and personalized locations they usually get to see from 40-60 finished images.  Needless to say, it's not easy for them to pick just a few favorites!  That is exactly why books and albums are a great choice to include in the order.  The Signature Album pictured above includes all the portraits from their session in a custom design that perfectly showcases the images.  There are so many cover options that there are countless ways to add their personal style from linen and leather to acrylic and metal.  

Another, more affordable option is a Book, the Signature Album's little sister, pictured below.  It includes up to 25 images from the session with multiple solid cover options.  It makes a great companion to it's larger counterpart, ask about a duplicate design discount!

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What to Wear for Senior Pictures

"What do I wear?!"

The most commonly asked question by seniors (and parents) after booking their senior portrait session is "What should I wear?".  Well that is an easy answer, wear your all time favorite cloths!  Picking outfits for your session is one of the best parts of your senior portrait experience, and with a little help, is easy too.  Don't stress!  Not only will you get a What to Wear Guide in your welcome packet to give you ideas and places to shop, but I can even help you put together the perfect looks during your in-home styling consult.  

The key to picking outfits for a well rounded session is variety.  Choose looks ranging from formal to super casual including different types of tops and bottoms.  Don't forget to accessorize.  Hats, jackets and scarves can switch up the whole look without having to change cloths, like two outfits in one! 

Emma's session is a good example of outfit variety.  She chose to start out with a classic little black dress paired with the cutest pale blue heels to put her own twist on the look.  

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Emma's next outfit was perfect for a more funky location.  Trendy and fun, this crop top and mini skirt went perfectly with the ally way graffiti for a more urban yet casual look.

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Everyone has a favorite pair of jeans, right?  Emma wore hers with a chunky sweater for that laid-back look.

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And finally we ventured just outside of town and into some prairie to show off her love for Iowa.  Most casual outfit yet; Iowa tee, oversized cardi and shorts. 

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CEDAR RAPIDS SENIOR PICTURES

JADE - XAVIER HS CLASS OF 2018

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Whoa, it's been a minute since I've blogged and way over due.  I am so excited to share this session with you.  Jade and I met a few years ago when she came along to her sister's senior portraits and has been excited for her senior portraits ever since!  We started out at the Cedar Rapids Public Library with an urban look.  I love the glassy cool tones of the background that perfectly set off her skin tone.  

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After this spot we ventured a couple blocks away to an old building with the most amazing blue garage type door.  I could not get enough of this location!  Her outfit looks KILLER against the blue and perfectly matches the color of her eyes.  

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From there we wanted to go for a more natural look with greenery so we headed out to Palisades Kepler State park.  Her floral dress went with the grass and trees perfectly and that last outfit in the sand....to die for!

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Thank you Jade for an amazing time during your session.  It was a blast and the images turned out amazing.  Good luck with the rest of senior year!

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For Photogs - Essentials for a "Photo-ready" Makeup Kit

Why offer makeup enhancement?

We all want to stand out in the photography field right?  That means finding something different to offer than the next guy down the street.  You might choose a different album company or have a totally unique post processing style, but it's not always easy to stand out in the crowd.  One way I differentiate myself among competition is offering a few different session types for senior clients to choose from.  I have a basic session that is fewer outfits and no makeup, usually guys choose this one.  I also have an "all-inclusive" session that has tons of outfits and includes pro hair and makeup for those that want a full on luxury experience.  But my favorite session, and the most popular by far, is a session that lands right in the middle.  Just the right amount of outfits and Photo-Ready Makeup Enhancement.

What is Photo-Ready Makeup Enhancement?

Just that...enhancement.  The senior comes to the session with foundation and concealer already applied and I do the rest.  There are tons of makeup trends right now that don't photograph very well, like shimmery highlighters and very nude lips.  These thing look great in person but for a photograph aren't the best choice.  You don't want your client looking like a shiny face with no lips right?  Don't worry,  it doesn't take much to give them a "no makeup makeup" look and it's easy and fun too!

Want to start your own makeup kit?  Here are some essentials...

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PROFESSIONAL BRUSHES.  You wont believe how much easier makeup application is with a good set of brushes.  Morphe and Royal & Langnickel both offer full sets at reasonable prices.

BLUSH.  Elf Cosmetics has these two blush pallets that include a color for any skin tone and are very easy on the wallet!

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DISPOSABLE APPLICATORS are a must!  Essential items are:  mascara wands, lip wands, sponges, makeup remover wipes and Q-tips.  You can get these and a variety of disposable applicators at Sally Beauty Supply

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MULTI-PURPOSE PALLET with matt contour shades.  I found this pallet by Smashbox at Sephora (online) and it includes a few things you don't want to be without;  two of which are contour/highlight shades with NO shimmer and brow wax.  It also includes a few nice eyeshadow shades and two brow filler tones.

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LIP COLORS.  Lips are the last thing to put the finishing touch on a makeup look.  Have a wide variety of colors available.  Some of my favorites are from ColourPop or you could get a pallet that includes colors you can use alone or mix for a perfect shade like this one by Anastasia Beverly Hills.  

Other things in my kit that I LOVE and highly recommend...

Morphe Eye Shadow Pallets

Covergirl Lashblast Mascara (bc it comes with a cap that's not an applicator)

Setting Spray - Urban Decay All Nighter or Elf

Victoria Secret Vanilla Lotion (bugs don't like it)

BandAids and Headache medicine

Hand Sanitizer

bathmat - for customer to sit on the back of my SUV

rags - for wiping brushes or just random cleaning of things

big floppy hat to protect hair and makeup from drizzle/wind while on or en route to location

 

*Please note that I am not a licensed Esthetician and have all my customers sign a waver that they are aware of that.  It is not illegal to apply makeup without a license in Iowa.  I do not have this service listed for sale on my pricing nor do I advertise that I am a makeup artist.  Thank You for stopping by, I hope this info was helpful!

 

 

 

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Iowa City Senior Guy

Nathaniel - class of 2017

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I would have to say that this photo shoot with Nathaniel was one of the most interesting this year.  He is super smart and surrounds himself with super smart friends.  I had so much fun learning about the dynamics of the group and aspirations of both Nathaniel and his good friend Valerie who came along to assist.  I truly believe they will do great things for our planet and the people who inhabit it.

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We ventured around the downtown Iowa City area looking for spots to compliment Nathaniel's personality and style.  Valerie was kind enough to do some snapping for me.  Make sure to add me on snap chat (je.photog) to catch BTS of other photo shoots and shenanigans

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Nathaniel, thank you so much for spending an afternoon with me.  I had fun talking with you and Valerie.  So much luck to you wherever you decide to continue your education!

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Senior Gal - Iowa City

Mikayla - Class of 2017

Mikayla's style is a little bit more simple and I love that about her.  We had so much fun looking for places in Iowa City to feature the fall leaf colors and talk about her love for books.  We hit the colorful foliage jackpot and I couldn't be happier with how her session turned out.  

Thanks for hanging out with me Mikayla!  Good luck with your freshman year at the U of Iowa!

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Iowa City Autumn Gal

Claire - class of 2017

Claire and I (and her mom) had such a fun day enjoying the warm fall weather.  I have been so lucky with weather this fall.  It is by far the busiest time of year for all photographers and if the weather sucks, it's not fun!  Claire picked out great outfits to compliment this season.  After doing her makeup we started out on a pedestrian bridge with a fun jacket.  Then headed into a nearby ally with some unexpected shooting spots.  So much fun exploring!

As you can tell I loved this brown leather jacket paired with the pinky/mauve dress.  I intended to take Claire to a spot with stones and trees, but the brick fit with her look so great I just had to stop and  pose her in the beautiful light.  We then ventured down the street a bit to find more of those beautiful fall leaf colors.  We used great foliage with both of her remaining style choices.

Thank you Claire for letting me create a great photo-ready make up look to go with all your style choices.  I had a blast!  Good luck with the rest of senior year and your freshman year at ISU!

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Iowa City Guy

Jarren - CHS class of 2017

thank you Jarren for a great time at your session the other day.  I can't wait to find out what crazy cool stuff you will do in the science field.  Good luck with the rest of senior year!  

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City High Senior

Kenya - class of 2017

I am so thankful that Kenya's mom showed me a brand new location right in the middle of Iowa City.  It has the coolest rocks and went perfect with her green jacket!  I just love the accessories this time of year.  Kenya had great jackets and scarves.  The weather was beautiful!

Kenya told me during her photo shoot that she aspires to be a pharmacist.  I can't wait to find out what kind of adventures she will go through reaching those dreams.  For the last outfit we found an old basketball hoop to focus on her love of basketball instilled in her by her dad. 

thank you Kenya for a fun photo shoot!  I'm so glad to have enjoyed a beautiful day outside with you and your mom.  Good Luck with your senior basketball season!

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SENIOR GIRL - IOWA CITY

Elaina - WHS class of 2017

Elaina loves nature and being outside and it was important to have that represented in her senior photo shoot.  We started out at a rustic bridge surrounded by the changing leaves.  Perfect for her casual and laid back style!

The second spot brings out the yellow in her dress.  I love the stone and yellow leaves we found at this spot.  You would never guess we were right next to a busy highway!

The Ivy in the third spot couldn't have been more perfect.  I love how Elaina's skin pops against the colors...and those eyes!

thank you elaina for a great time finding spots with nature!  P.S. really jealous of your "drug rug" ;)

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Senior Pictures - Downtown Iowa City

Abbi - West HS class of 2017

After starting out with some family shots of Abbi and her mom and brother we stayed in the rustic ally to get some of her in black dress.  The wind was a little out of control but blowing hair is never a bad thing!  We stayed in the downtown Iowa City area for 3 of her looks.

Abbi's looks were all so different and it's hard to pick a fav, but the third outfit might be just that.  I love how it paris with the sidewalk and greenery.  Even the twinkle lights in the background add just the right touch.

Thank you Abbi for a fun photo shoot with so many great outfits!  Good luck with your senior year and I can't wait to show you more from your session!

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