Senior Portraits Can Be Terrifying… Even if the Photographer is your Dad. Here’s How I Overcame My Fear
Written by Victoria Stewart
“I was the type of girl who could tolerate a group picture but if someone tried to catch me in a photo I would RUN and duck for cover.”
For some people a Senior portrait may be one of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life. It is a milestone that shows you finally reached the top and when you step into this photoshoot you can’t help but think to yourself “I made it!” While it may be true that I was excited to start my last year in high school, I could not say the same the when it was my turn for the camera to point on me. I was the type of girl who could tolerate a group picture but if someone tried to catch me in a selfie I would RUN and duck for cover. Which is a little embarrassing when you are the photographer’s daughter. And the dreaded moment came for me to switch from holding equipment to being in the spotlight.
I attended Pompton Lakes High School in New Jersey and though it is a cute little town I wanted to look somewhere else to do my shoot. While discussing senior photo ideas my dad and I decided that it would be a great chance to take pictures while we were at our family beach house and get some shots by the shore. The day before Dad asked me to come out on the porch and take some practice shots. My nerves were already flaring up but I agreed to his request, part of me wanted to see what I was capable of as well. We did simple poses like leaning against the wall and just standing in certain angles. He called me back to look at the pictures on his camera and when we looked down at the screen we both saw a common theme: I couldn’t smile! Are you joking! I was hoping it was because I tilted my head the wrong way or maybe because there was a dirt spot on the lens and somehow refracted my face but it was 100% model error and I had the face of a crocodile waiting to eat someone.
My dad told me not to worry about it but my worries only grew more and more overnight until the next morning, and it was showtime. I woke up early to shower, get dressed and pack my other outfit for later in the day. I put on my makeup which if you ask other members of my family could have been a grave mistake but I managed somehow. I met my dad, mom, and older sister upstairs and we rolled out for action. I could not help but rewind yesterday’s tragic events in my head and sooner than I would have liked I already found myself standing on the pier.
He had me lean against the wall just like before and I tried to give my best smile but my dad stopped me and said, “No, it’s okay. Just try smiling with you mouth close.” And I looked at him with bewilderment, I have been to a lot of photoshoots with models and engagement couples who all had dazzling smiles but this was the first time I ever heard him say those words. I looked at him in disbelief but decided to trust him and did as he said. Though I was not sure it was a good idea, having that worry off of my chest was such a relief that I started to actually relax. So much so that he even captured me in these bold poses that I never knew I could do. After a couple of rounds he smiled at me and called me back to look at the camera. I could not BELIEVE what I saw on the screen and was so shocked that I almost asked if it was another girl in the camera.
“He took my weaknesses and strengths into consideration and from them took these photos that left me astounded.”
Being on the other side of the camera made me appreciate him in a different light because he took my weaknesses and strengths into consideration and from them took these photos that left me astounded. And the greatest surprise was when we went downtown and while my sister was cracking me up my dad caught it, managing to sneak in that golden smile into my album and is still one of my favorite pictures to this day. So if you are on the fence like I was about having awkward senior photos, know that though it may not be something you are used to, this photographer is a kind man who is going to help you through it and amaze you just like he did with me.