BrianRicePhoto Pic of the Day: Marianne, Senior Portrait

Hey everyone. It’s been a bit longer since my last blog entry than I expected, but I’m happy to be back with today’s BrianRicePhoto Pic of the Day featuring Marianne Michaels. Back in October of 2015 we had a great senior portrait session out at Antioch Park in Shawnee.

I’ve known Marianne’s father John for some time, having shot his band Buck Rogers. Marianne herself is an aspiring country music singer who I’ve worked with before, doing a publicity photo shoot last spring and shooting a music video for her single “No Surrender”. I was happy to be able to take her senior photos, as well.

This photo shoot was so prolific because we got so many great photos, with her in three different outfits. I could probably do a month’s worth of Pics of the Day just featuring different photos from this session, because they’re all so unique and stand out. I picked this one because I think it’s the most striking, and it featured a lighting technique that I’ve quite honestly struggled with in the past until now.

I really like to go for unique looks in my photography. I do my fair share of “typical” photography that everybody expects from a senior shoot, including from this session. That doesn’t mean I think “typical” is bad, but when you can create something that stands out it does so much more for the photo and the subject.

In this photo, I spotted some vegetation and remembered a shoot I did a long time ago with a friend’s daughter (see below), so I decided to revisit that approach. I posed her in the middle of those stalks and was just going to go for a backlit look like this:

Marianne Michaels Senior Portrait at Antioch Park (backlit)
Original idea for Marianne.

Since I was shooting without an assistant and I didn’t want to use any off camera lighting, I only brought a couple of Lastolite Tri-Grip reflectors, one translucent and the other a silver and zebra striped (gold striped with white). While I was happy with the backlit version, I decided to see if I would have any luck using one of the Tri-Grips. Now, I’ve never had what I felt was success using reflectors in portraits. For some reason I just couldn’t get the look I was going for. Maybe because the size of the reflectors I was using were too small to cover the subject effectively, or maybe because the effect is so subtle that it’s hard for me to see it in the moment. But then I had Marianne’s mother Marla hold up the Tri-Grip with the zebra side reflecting the late afternoon sun directly back onto Marianne, and it was perfect. I was so happy at how great the light was. As usual, I shot with the Nikon 85mm 1.4D lens that’s my go-to lens for portraits, paired with the Nikon D750.

Thanks for reading. Here is the photo of Faith I shot from 2011 that was the inspiration for Marianne’s pic. Similar look, only Faith is lit from the front by an Alien Bee B800 through a covered umbrella.

Faith, Sunset, backlit, near Shawnee Mission Park bike trail
Faith, October 2011. The inspiration for Marianne’s senior portrait.

Shameless plug: I’m currently booking Senior Portrait Sessions for this Spring! Please contact me or pass on my info if you know somebody who’s senior is ready for their photo session 😉

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