Category Archives: Senior Portraits

Senior Pictures – 5 Reasons You Need Them

I don’t have time to get senior pictures.

I don’t want to get senior pictures.

Why do I need senior pictures?

story, senior-portraits, senior-pictures, your-story, geneva-illinois, portraits, brand-photograher, small-biz, sycamore-il

Obviously I’ve always thought senior portraits were a big deal and I have a 29, okay 30, reasons why you should have senior portraits before graduating high school. I’ve got my first senior in the house for 2020 and that means we’re looking at colleges this summer to find her next home-away-from-home. After our latest college visits I’ve added another reason {that makes 31} for taking time to plan those senior pictures into your crazy-busy schedule.

Let me tell ya a story about Elizabeth.

We had a one-on-one tour with ‘Tour Guide Elizabeth” at one of the campus’ we toured in Washington.

Elizabeth “lives” in Arizona.

I put “lives” in quotes because she doesn’t really live there anymore. She’ll be going into her junior year next Fall and she’s decided to stay and work on campus + take a summer class. I asked her if she was going home over the break and her response was hit me – like a sucker-punch to your throat – kinda hit me!

“I’ll go home for a week to get the token-mom visit.”


Those two words were the monologue scream in my head. What I said out loud to her was,

“What does ‘token-mom visit’ mean?” Trying to sound nonchalant about it, but not so sure I pulled that act off.

She said her friends, job, and classes are all on campus now and there’s not really much for her to do at home anymore except see her parents. After a week she’s ready to get back to her life. Totally get it + we want that for our kids, but holy moly that was another peek into how much life is about to change.

So there’s reason #1 why you need senior pictures – a REALLY BIG REASON

  • \Reason 1:: Things are about to change BIG TIME and we don’t get to go back to the land of “all under one roof”

True, they may come home during their holidays or be heading to community college for a few years, but after heading onto campus they start their next adventure and for the most part – it’s without us {am I the only one who’s feeling their chest tighten?}.

  • \Reason 2:: This will be their last ‘formal’ portrait until their wedding

Let reason #2 sink in for a sec. With everyone clicking their smartphones these days some think they don’t need to take time to plan an actual photo session anymore. There are big moments in life way before your wedding day that deserve formal portraits. Graduating high school and leaving home is like being born again {stick with me}! So much is going to change and when our 2020 seniors head off on their own for school they’re going to be experiencing so many things {like a baby discovering things for the first time}. Don’t give up this chance for your senior – WITH YOUR SENIOR!

  • \Reason 3:: It’s fun!

So many seniors are under a lot of pressure and senior portraits is a day for them. A day for Mom’s. A day to HAVE FUN! We plan the wardrobe together, talk about your style, I make the playlist, organize our locations and what to include so the most important pieces in your life RIGHT NOW, in this chapter are captured forever! Take an afternoon to celebrate with portraits that you can look back on just before + after her wedding day.

  • \Reason 4:: We want them to freeze time that speeds by like Danica Patrick on race day.

How many times have you looked back at the baby pictures, baby book, or have baby pictures on your wall? Senior pictures are one of those milestone moments that only comes along once and if we let is pass without the photo memory it’ll fade way too soon. Freeze their last year of high school just like those newborn, toddler, Baptism, family portrait moments. We aren’t getting a do-over on this one.

  • \Reason 5:: Summer Sunset Sessions

I’ve been writing a lot about how I’ll be going through the 2020 school year of lasts with my baby girl + how I’ll be making it extra special to celebrate it! Going out to my Sparkle Notes Friends next week is the first way I want 2020 to be an extra-special school year for all of us. So if you haven’t jumped into Sparkle Notes – this is the time! I only send out e-mail once-a-month and THIS MONTH is a goodie! They’re all good each month, but this one is better than drinking a glass of lemonade while getting a foot massage.


It’s that good!

Don’t let this big chapter pass. Take the time to schedule your senior session and have that piece of the story captured forever. And yes, even if I’m not the photographer for you, I’m still begging you not to pass this chance up before it vanishes. POOF! GONE! Just like that!

Cheers & Sparkles!


PS – Here are a few other pieces that might help you out too::

Senior Portrait:: 4 Tips

10 Reasons to Love Senior Year

And those Sparkle Notes

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

    Whad-da-ya mean!?

    I got THAT card in the mail! Whad-da-ya mean we have senior yearbook photos this week?

    In all caps at the top of the postcard was, “YOUR APPOINTMENT TIME IS BELOW”

    Juniors have barely finished their finals and they’re already shuffled back into school for their Senior yearbook photos. No rest for the 2020’s yet.

    But, DID YOU KNOW you can schedule the Basic Package to go in and take your photo for the yearbook and be done? See, some high schools require you to take the yearbook photo with the school’s company, but you can get your senior portraits with ANYONE YOU WANT.  If you want more than a snapshot to celebrate your unrepeatable year, then get your yearbook photo taken at the high school and then schedule your senior portraits – THE FUN ONES!

    2020 is a year of lasts for your high school days and so much can change after graduation. Senior year is a milestone that you’ll want to look back at 10, 20, + 30 years from now.

    “Whoa Mom, that’s some big hair!”

    “WOW Mom, I didn’t know your hair was so curly, did ya get-a perm?”

    via GIPHY

    Two questions my kiddos have asked when they saw my senior portraits at Nonna & Papa’s house. Senior portrait sessions have changed since then, but we still have the memory to look back at, remember, and yeah, for my kiddos to laugh at. But isn’t that part of our best memories? Looking back at life, before adulthood, before college, marriage, kids… It’s all a piece of family history that should NEVER be left to the memory inside our heads.

    Memories should be photographed + shared for years and years.

    And before this senior year flashes by with all the other stuff that’s gonna need checked off the list, you need to make this senior year a memory everyone can look back on {and laugh with you when you’re looking at all the fun you had on


    batavia, batavia-photographers, batavia-il, senior-season, senior-portraits, senior-pictures, senior-photos, sycamore-il, illinois-photographers, st-charles-photographers, st-charles-il
    sycamore-il, sycamore, sycamore-illinois, senior-pictures, portraits, senior-pictures, senior-season, senior-photographers, Shining-Moments-Photography, SMP

    If you don’t know much about me, you can start here:: Who is Shining Moments?  Here are a few other resources to see if you wanna hang out + get more information…

    SMP Experience Guide

    Senior Collections

    Interested, but not quite ready to reserve your session? I offer so many free resources to help you 25 Tips for Senior Portraits, Camera-Ready Makeup, or 6 Tips for Your Best Head Shot.

    If you have a question or want to reserve your date, drop me a line.

    Life’s too short not to HAVE FUN – MAKE PHOTO MEMORIES – AND DANCE!

    Cheers & Sparkles


    PS – Stay beautiful – be you – dance like nobody’s watching

    PPS – Even if I’m not the right senior photographer for your moment I really – really – REALLY hope you capture this last high school memory!

    Add a comment...

    Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      Summer Bucket List Top 12| Sycamore Photographer

      Summer is here & that means it’s time for the SMP SUMMER BUCKET LIST!

      Aurora_IL_Photography, Illinois_Photography, Aurora_Central_Catholic_High_School, Teen_Photographers, High_school_senior_photographer, Photographers_Sycamore, Dekalb_photographer, Northern_Illinois_Photographers, Sycamore_High_School, senior_photographersSummer never lasts nearly as long as I think it should and there are a lot of things to do before heading back to class. Each summer I collect ideas for my summer bucket list.

      This year I’m sharing 12 with you.


      Make some memories this Summer! And snap those photos along the way so when Father Time steals these moments you can always look back and HAVE THEM FOREVER!

      1. Drive-in Movies

      Bring back the past + introduce your teen to Summer Fun by packing up the SUV with pillows + blankets and heading out to see a blockbuster in the open Summer air. Check out the Rte34 Drive-in.

      2. Have you started a Bullet Journal? 

      I just read about this one myself and it was a big hit last summer with teens, which is why it made it into Seventeen Magazine. At the end of the article they give you a video tutorial of how to set one up. Bullet Journal

      3. Farmer’s Market Day

      Do you like fresh fruit + veggies? Do you like to cook? Farmer’s Markets are everywhere during the summer. One day this summer head out to your local market and pick up fresh ingredients to make dinner. It’s fun + different and it supports local small farmers/businesses. Sycamore Farmer’s Market | Dekalb Farmer’s Market | Geneva French Market

      4. Netflix Movie Marathon

      Is there a series your friends told you about? Now’s the time to binge-watch! No homework or after school practices, so it’s the perfect time to get some friends together + a whole series or a movie trilogy. My daughter & I watched a season of Sherlock and now I’m hooked. There are only 3-4 episodes per season, but they are an hour-and-a-half each.

      5. Spa Day + creating fun nail designs that you can do yourself

      I love changing up my nail color and painting different designs. It plays to my creative brain. Send me a photo of your design, love to see! Pop the popcorn – Paint the nails – Turn on Netflix so you can watch, while they dry 😉

      6. Book Club For One

      Reading books that you WANT to read, and not required to read. I ask for recommendations all the time. My current book crushes are by Shauna Niequist {more for my Mama’s out there}. I just finished Present Over Perfect and now I’m cooking my way through Bread and Wine. Ask your friends what their favorite read is recently, grab a copy and find that comfy chair in the back of Starbucks and get lost in your book. 🙂

      summer-fun, bucket-list, starbucks, teens, sycamore-il, st-charles-il, batavia-il, geneva-il

      7. Volunteer

      What cause do you support?  Where can you do some good?  Who could benefit from your time?

      8. Fun Photoshoot with Friends

      You know I’m all about capturing moments, and Summer Fun is most definitely a moment! If you’ve just graduated you’ll all be going to your different colleges and things may change over the next year. Even if you didn’t graduate yet, things change every year, so grab your friends and capture these moments!

      9. I Grant You a Pajama Day

      10. Go Hiking

      11. Do a Color Run

      These are really fun! We’ve done these on the 4th of July when we visit family and it’s one of my best memories. We make t-shirts for everyone to run in and by the end we have a whole new colored shirt! Color Run

      12. See a Broadway Musical

      One train ticket to downtown Chicago please! Go catch a musical that’s passing through. They never disappoint. Broadway Chicago  or Paramount Aurora both have Summer shows happening.

      Add to the list in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas!

      Each week I post my blog posts to my Facebook Group, SMP Shine. Request to join so you don’t miss helpful portrait tips, bonus’, makeup tips, + all  that sparkles!

      Do you prefer e-mail?  I send out my Sparkle Note newsletter once-a-month where I release available session dates, blog posts, recipes…

      Past posts for more Summer Ideas::

      Last Call

      Ready For Summer Fun

      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

        Time To Say Goodbye…

        …to the class of 2019!

        You senior mom’s have planted some great seeds in my head over the years and now I’m pulling them all back out for 2020.

        2020 is the year I become a “Senior Mom” and one of my biggest challenges will be keeping my tears + camera in check for Emma’s benefit.

        I’ve gotta share some Senior Mama advice with you just in case you’re like me + walk around in a fog checking off the

        Senior Checklist.

        “From the very start of his senior year there was always something we HAD TO DO to finish senior year, for graduation, for testing, for college… We didn’t get to just stop and enjoy senior year.”

        HOLY CRAP! {no really, stop and let her words sink in for a sec}.

        Her words sit on a bright pink post-in note in my office because I’m one of those people who feels accomplished when I check stuff off my list. If I hadn’t stopped to think about what she said,

        I mean really




        I’m pretty sure I would have gone through 2020 checking off all the stuff she needs to get done before graduation without stopping to fully ENJOY IT!

        I’ll try and tone-down the camera clicking at every single last event {I said TRY}. I’m going to TRY and just enjoy the moment and not worry about what has to be done next. I’m going to TRY and not feed off of her stress + adult better to keep her calm during college applications and that dreaded FAFSA application, and, and, and…

        I’m so grateful to you post-grad-mom’s + you’re little wisdom-nuggets that you’ve shared with me over the years of doing senior portraits. I may have forgotten to say, “thank you” or showed that I took it to heart, but I did.

        THANK YOU!

        Parenting is something we don’t get to do-over. Yes, if we have multiple kids we can do things different with the next one, but it’s never a complete do-over because none of our kids are exactly the same.

        To all you 2019 Senior Mama’s I hope it’s been a memorable year!

        2020 Senior Mama’s let’s STOP + ENJOY their year!

        PHOTOGRAPH as much as they’ll allow!

        And if you’re a cryer like me…hope we don’t cry our way through 2020…THE YEAR OF LASTS {but that’s a pretty big IF}.

        graduation, senior-portraits

        She’s been a great sport over the years humoring me in all the photo-moments I’ve asked for so far, so I’m hoping that her last year of high school will be THE BEST PHOTO YEAR YET!

        CHEERS and SPARKLES Graduates + Graduate Mom’s


        Add a comment...

        Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

          Your Grad Party Checklist | Sycamore Senior Photographer

          Your Grad Party Checklist | Senior Photography

          Senior’s want a grad party to remember! You want family + friends to come relax and hang-out one last time before Summer fun and college prep begin.

          But you also want it to be a stress-free experience…you have a ton of things to juggle when senior year is ending.

          That’s where I come in.  I have some simple ideas to make your party planning a little easier, and if you have an upcoming senior I have your GRAD PARTY PLANNER download to start helping for next year.

          Create a Theme:: This doesn’t need to be complicated, but a theme can help things be cohesive and really pull your ideas together.  I love simple color themes, and you can even use the colors of your high school, or your soon-to-be college home.  If you’re heading to nursing school, or planning to play a certain sport, those are good themes too.  Also tells guests what’s coming up in your next chapter.

          Plan a Photo Booth:: I love this idea because it not only gives your guests something fun to do, it also helps you remember who was at your party + preserves your memories.  You can set up a simple backdrop with something you purchase (lots of ideas on Etsy + Pinterest), or you can make it even easier by having someone come in and set up a Photo Booth your guests will love.  If you don’t hire a photographer, be sure to ask a family member to take photos for you.

          I’ve said it a 1,000 times… you don’t get this moment back so make sure you capture the memories!

          Senior-photographer, Sycamore-Illinois, senior-graduation, senior-pictures, graduation-partyCreate a ‘Words of Wisdom’ jar with pieces of paper + pens for guests to share or have it magazine style, which SMP creates for you. Compact & easy to take with you, no matter where your party is!

          Decide if you want an OPEN-HOUSE or a PARTY::  With so many graduation parties happening this time of year, having an open-house style opens the doors to allow guests to party hop and make an appearance at more than one.  A party is a set time and usually discourages drop-ins. Depending on when you have your event, consider one or the other.

          Going beyond snapping pictures, I’m here to make you senior experience more fun + a memory that shines FOREVER!

          Juniors + Parents of juniors, grab my GRADUATION PARTY PLANNER so you remember every detail effortlessly!  #GoingBeyondSnappingPictures

          Your Sycamore Senior Photographer || [email protected]

          Add a comment...

          Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

            Shining Moments Photography | Sycamore, IL | 815.751.2247