Category Archives: Senior Portraits

2020 Bucket List

It’s that time of year again! I’ve made my 2020 Bucket List + sharing the ideas with you to get us all ready for summer…outdoors…where we can see people again…socially distance…


Have you watched “The Bucket List” with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson?

It’s a good one in my Siskel & Ebert reviewing opinion. And it’s where I got the idea to start my own bucket list each Summer. I’m not on the Nicholson budget, but I’d totally be his Morgan Freeman sidekick anyday!

Before getting into this year’s list I’m linking a few of my past ideas to really get you excited for making your own this Summer::

And if you just want a list with 10 different ways to see people {outside your family}, be with your people {other than your kin}, or hang, air hug, dance, or coffee dates in the parking lot, that’s totally awesome too!

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2020 Bucket List

Even though this Summer may look outta-sorts from Summers past, I’m moving forward with planning. I’m making memories + capturing moments with my family before Emma leaves for college in the Fall. Yep, still optimistic we’ll have a safe plan in place so she can start her college chapter.

Sure, we might have to alter or push a few off to Fall break, but that’s why it’s a checklist. We keep them handy to remind us it’s still in the queue to happen.

Make it Happen

  • 30 Days of Yoga::
    • If you’ve seen my Instagram Stories or other blog posts you know I started up yoga after back surgery. But I’ve never done it everyday straight. That’s begging for a bucket list add right?
  • Volunteer::
    • It’s been easier to enter my debit card than enter my time. One reason is not wanting to miss one-minute of Emma + Nick’s events, but the other is putting myself out into something new. That intro-extrovert definition from GirlBoss has my name on it.
    • Easiest place to look is our church… ✔︎signed up
  • 2020 = 3-Million Steps::
    • I use my iWatch to track steps. This year I want to hit 3 million steps {about 8,200 steps/day}.
  • Watch the Sunrise::
    • Not being a morning person, this one falls under the challenge category 😉
  • Summer Trip::
    • We should be on Emma’s graduation trip. After having to postpone that trip I REALLY want a family trip before college life begins {fingers + toes crossed}. We need to do our part to help rebuild the economy right?
london, bucket-list, travel, summer-bucketlist, shining-moments-photography
  • Road Trip::
    • Visit someplace new by car or, dare I write it, by RV {Brian’s jaw dropped the first time I said that}
  • Dessert for Breakfast
  • Write down 3 things I’m grateful for each week for 52 weeks
  • Rent a Boat for a Day:: Paddle boat, row boat, kayak…
  • Do 5 Random Acts of Kindness this Summer
  • Hiking for a Day
  • Play BINGO at a bingo hall/church
  • Eat a Raw Diet for a Day
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Family Tandem Bike rides::
    • One of my Summer FAVS!

Some people turn it into a game.

Make it a game, or call it your resolution or goal list. But give yourself something to look ahead too, something to focus on, something to CHEER about this Summer!

Give it your best college try!

YOU DO YOU + what fits your lifestyle.

Follow me on Instagram and tag your images as you check off your Summer bucketlist #SMPbucketlist

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Family Moments Are Irreplaceable Moments

Until next week’s SMP post…


💖Andrea | Shining Moments Photography

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    Are You Senior Photo Ready?

    Are you senior photo ready for all your upcoming pictures? I’ve collected five SMP blog posts that will get you prepped and ready for every photo event in the final time of senior year.

    Facts are facts…We can’t have a professional photographer to take every picture with you + your family {but that would be pretty cool in my opinion}.

    I’m here for you in the big memories & the Shining Moments!

    high-school-senior-photography, photographers-illinois

    I’ve been photographing + writing photography tips for years to help my clients take better photos during the times I can’t be there to capture your big moments.

    And this week, while many of us are preparing for the LAST high school moments, I wanted to put some of my most popular posts all in one place for you.

    These are a collection of blog posts to help you capture memories::

    • Graduation Day photos
    • Prom pictures
    • Graduation party day photos
    senior-photo, graduation, high-school-senior

    Prom season happens all throughout April + May. Most girls have been planning their hair, makeup, after-prom plans for weeks, okay, maybe months too. Here are 8 quick tips you may or may not have covered.

    And no worries, it’s a quick scan for the 8 tips if you’re short on time.

    8 Tips for Prom Photos

    Now when it comes to makeup I’ve had seniors who have a gift for showing up with ‘picture-perfect’ makeup {a little cheesy, but totally true😆} I wrote this next piece to give you pointers on using a makeup artist or new color palette ideas + brands that show well in pictures.

    Makeup Brands that SPARKLE

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    They are tiny and don’t get enough attention. But your nails are a detail most people forget. We don’t want them to steal the photo, but when we do show our hands we don’t want those tiny polish chips to get all the attention. This next post is all about those nails.

    Nails 101

    When you choose to host your graduation party I’m ready + here for you! This next post covers your graduation planning.

    SMP Graduation Party Help is Here

    This last blog piece shows you 5 tips to capture the last of the lasts

    5 Tips To Capture This Last Shining Moment

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    And one last resource to help with your senior photo lasts is through my Pinterest Boards. I’m adding new ideas with the changing trends every week.

    We only get this moment once!

    Capture the memories now, before leaving to live your best life soon!

    Cheers & Sparkles to your senior memories

    💖-Andrea | Shining Moments Photography

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      Cap Off This Year

      Cap off your high school chapter with graduation photos in your cap and gown.

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      It’s almost here!

      And although it’s not the ‘Cap’s off’ graduation moment we were hoping for it’s still a memory to capture. Cap off this year with cap & gown photos to end your high school story.

      I have a 2020 senior too and her Cap and gown were delivered last week and that meant snapping that tassel to the right side of her cap and prepping for her cap and gown memory.

      But if you have a senior who’s saying…

      What’s the point?

      My answer is YOUR story is the point.

      I totally understand the sad, the royal bummer, and full-on freak-out days during this last moment of senior year. We’ve all had our bad, stressful, bored, sad…days, but not capturing pieces of this memory will be something you’ll miss when we’re long past 2020 and COVID19.

      “You’re a senior photographer, of course you’d say that.”

      Maybe so, but I’ve been keeping photo memories long before….WAYYYYY before I became a photographer.

      Yes, I offer Cap and Gown sessions for the graduating seniors, but even if you don’t hire me or any other photographer, I hope you don’t let this last moment pass by without getting memories you can look back on some day.

      It’s a memory, a legacy, a piece of history, and having photos to go along with the story. So cap off the year by putting on your school colors for the end of your high school story.

      Photos write our autobiography…

      Without writing any words at all.

      It’s your unique story that’s told by YOU. And I really and truly hope you take the time to tell this LAST piece of your story!

      cap-gown, graduation, seniors
      CLICK image to Contact

      Cheers & Sparkles Class of 2020

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        A New One Coming!

        Spring is Spring-ing and with it I’m Spring-ing a new Senior Collection into the SMP session line-up.

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        I’ve heard from Mom’s, mostly Mom of boys that they want their senior memory captured but their son “isn’t that into it”.

        Oh boy do I get it!

        senior-portraits, illinois-photographer, senior-pictures, portrait-photographer

        For my Spring 2020 seniors and Fall 2021 seniors I created a new mini-senior-session to test + see how it goes. I’ve launched it to my Sparkle Note Subscribers {my e-mail subscribers get everything first}.

        Fall is the most popular time in Illinois. The weather is kind to us + the Fall colors are stunning {and yes, in a masculine kinda way too ;)}!

        And true, you can’t see them in the black + white images, but you’ve seen Fall and you’re envisioning your senior in front of those bright orange, yellow, and red trees right now aren’t you?

        I add the black + white for

        • the spice
        • the drama
        • the mystery
        • the intrigue

        Which one of those words describes your senior? There’s a story there to show.

        senior-pictures, senior-portraits, Geneva-Illinois, Batavia-Illinois, highschool-senior-photography

        We all have different stories to tell and all different ways to tell that story. As a boy-Mom I know exactly how “FUN” it can be when you really want to capture the memory forever, but raise your hand if you have a son that looks like he ate a bowl full of lemons when you say, “We’re taking senior portraits”.

        I want to help make it a win-win for both sides. My new Senior Collection captures your teen in one short + fun shining moment!

        If you’re not already on my Sparkle Note list, click and sign up today to get my monthly e-mail to your inbox. {REALLY! I only send it once-a-month with good teen + Mom stuff…pinky promise}

        Seriously, this one-Mama-small-biz doesn’t have time to send out more than one newsletter a month. ☺️

        This last high school chapter ONLY HAPPENS ONCE, it’s a big deal, and it gives us Mom’s a memory to look back on forever!



        P.S. If you missed the monthly Sparkle Note CONTACT me and I’ll send the new Senior Collections to you now.

        P.P.S. As long as we’re sharing new stuff, if you have a book or series you love to read, I’m in need of a new one. I’m almost through my current reads ⇣⇩⇣

        Currently Reading:: I’m almost finished with the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and I’m looking for a new Fun Read – Any ideas?

        Currently Drinking:: Do you like caramel? Vanilla? If you’re a white-coffee-drinker like me, I found a new creamer by Chobani to try. 3 ingredients {yes, one of them is sugar, but lets treat ourselves☺️} A little splash of sweet to start the morning!

        Current Makeup Find:: Without sounding like an infomercial…if you like a suntan without the sun damage then you’re going to love my new find in Tan Luxe for face. I add 2-4 drops {depending on time of year} to my serum or moisturizer.

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        Click to get your Sparkle Note

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          18 Ideas For the 18th Birthday

          Ya Say It’s Your Birthday – It’s My BIRTHday Too 🎶🎶

          It’s milestone 18 tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate!

          Tomorrow marks 18 years for my sweet + a little snarky, baby girl…Who’s now an ADULT! And this week I’m sharing 18+ gift ideas I collected to celebrate her step into adulthood!

          Senior-Photographer, Senior-pictures, 18-birthday,

          It was a sunny Spring morning in Plano, Texas 18-years-ago. I scheduled my regular check-in visit between track practice and my first class of the day. My prenatal visits were more frequent after being put on bed rest with this little bundle. About 5-minutes into the appointment Dr. Farmer says, “We need to get you upstairs, you’re in labor.”

          “I’m sorry, what!?”

          Two-weeks of bed-rest, 2 hormone injections {to develop her lungs} to get us to 36-weeks and that’s all Miss Emma was giving us – She was ready to see the outside world on March 5, 2002!

          At least with the bed-rest I had my long-term sub plans finished and waiting in my desk. All the teachers reading this know the “fun” of getting all that prep ready to go for six-weeks. She surprised us 18-years-ago-tomorrow and surprising us too many times to count since then {good thing I like surprises}.

          birthday, my-girl

          A lot of us have our first 18-year-young, or coming up on that birthday, so this week I thought I’d give a quick run-down of birthday ideas for this milestone birthday in case you’re lookin’.

          18+ Ideas You Can Do Now + Gifts To Celebrate Birthday 18

          1. Register to Vote {Print the form to wrap up}
          2. Join military {Wrap up a few of those old green army guys you keep stepping on in your basement}
          3. Lottery tickets {Is it too much to hope that one of them wins enough to pay for her first semester’s tuition?!}
          4. They can sign legal docs {a pen will do the trick for this one}
          5. Get a tattoo {Emma hates needles – think I’m safe here |Temporary or Henna ones are fun though}
          6. 18-$1 bills {every $1 counts}
          7. AMC theater gift card {You can see whatever movie you want now}
          8. Matchbox car {I bought her one that said “Taxi” because all her car restrictions have been lifted}
          9. You can change your name
          10. You can Skydive
          11. Sign yourself out of high school
          12. Get a 10-year passport {I wrapped up her old one to remind us to get it done soon before her exchange}
          13. Get a Costco card {but what 18-y-o needs THAT MUCH toilet paper?}
          14. Drive a taxi {but still can’t rent a car 🙃}
          15. Give blood or donate an organ
          16. You can apply for credit cards {I pray we’ve given her enough financial sense for this one 🤞🏼}
          17. Buy a car
          18. Buy spray paint {odd but true}
          19. Rent an Airbnb {but can’t rent a car here – have to head to Europe for the car + place}
          20. Use a ride share scooter {Lime or Bird}
          21. Give medical consent/docs office on your own
          22. Move out of the house
          23. Birthday cake {we’re NEVER too old for cake!} I’ve made a lot of cakes in her 18 birthday’s, but her Dear Evan Hansen request this year needed a professional {thank you Karen Keicher of Better with Sprinkles}.
          18, birthday, 18-birthday, senior

          I got an early start on this blog post because I like birthday’s and the 18th falls into that BIG NUTTER ONE category {quote by Emma at age two}. The birthday parties have changed over the years, but some type of celebration ALWAYS happens in my house because I want them to know that no matter how old they get…Their BIRTHday will ALWAYS be one of the best days {+ blessing} to me💖 The cake, gifts, playlist, and little surprises are all ready to go! More fun photos coming soon to the Instagram near you {if you follow @ShiningMomentsPhotography 😉}

          cap-gown, graduate, 18, senior

          Let’s Celebrate!

          CHEERS & SPARKLES to your celebration!


          senior-portraits, senior
          💖I look back at photos a lot and 18 came faster than I thought it could💖

          And with all my posts, some ‘current’ events in case you’re looking for something new. {Since #readacrossamericaday was this week I asked for new suggestions over on Instagram. I have a whole new list coming soon😃

          Loving:: Celebrating with the new adult in our house!

          Reading:: Book three of the Red Queen Series by Victoria Averyard + Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun

          Watching:: Skinnytaste video recipes on Instagram {#obsessed for new recipes}

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            Shining Moments Photography | Sycamore, IL | 815.751.2247