Category Archives: Senior Portraits

The fun and easy way to preserve your high school memories forever. Time never stops, but the memories we preserve in this once-in-a-lifetime moment will be there always.

Hey Juniors! I’ve got your checklist for school | Senior Photographer | Sycamore IL

Hey Juniors! This One’s For You!

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I’ve been helping my 2018 Seniors prep for their college days coming up, and giving tips to Senior Mamas, but today I’m here to help out the class of 2020.

Are you ready for your checklist of goods?

Junior year, you become an “upperclassman” and things really get rolling. You need to keep track + keep up.

I’ve got 10 TIPS to keep you on track + relaxed as you start your junior year.


1/ Check on your high school course plan : Make sure you’re on track for graduation

*Required credits differ between colleges, trade schools, and universities

2/ Take AP, IB, and concurrent enrollment classes to prepare for college + gain college hours

3/ Research colleges : Make your top 10 list of colleges that interest you

*”Schools I’m Thinking About” list

4/ Attend college fairs and sign up for college visits to your nearby schools on your school holidays

*Be sure to sign-up/register in advance with the college

5/ If you’re not already, get active in clubs + extracurricular activities {take on some leadership roles}

6/ If your schedule allows, think about a part-time job or pursue an entrepreneurial idea

7/ Update your résumé worksheet so you have everything together so far.

*If your high school offers a Naviance account this is an excellent way to add as you go

8/ Prep for and take the SAT/ACT {Fall registration is open now}

*On average you can raise your score 2-4 points each time you take the ACT {I know, not fun to take more than once, but it can be worth it}

* And don’t bail out on the extra writing portion. Not all colleges require it, but it would be a royal bummer to go through the test again, just to add the writing portion

9/ Make your list of teachers, coaches, club sponsors + others to write your letters of recommendation

10/ Do meaningful community service

*Log hours on your “volunteer page”, Naviance, or college folder

This is the BEST TIME to start a college notebook or folder so that you add to it all in one place. Organization is the key to your sanity 😉

Your life is full of activity! I’m not just here to capture your BIG MOMENTS, I’m here to help you with the BIG PICTURE too {no pun intended…okay, maybe a little}. Don’t miss more of the good stuff to help make high school smoother, preparing for college less stressful, and yes, hopefully seeing if we can capture your senior portraits together. I do like to show a few images now and then 😉

JOIN SPARKLE NOTES with one of these FREEBIES and get more great tips::

25 Tips for Shining Portraits 

or my

FREE Camera-Ready Makeup Guide

Cheers & Sparkles to your week!

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Let’s Go Urban | Senior Portraits | Geneva Illinois

She had a very specific request and I was doing a HAPPY DANCE when she asked me!

Maxine’s mom contacted me about setting up her daughter’s senior portraits before she left for college. Yep, she’s off to college this Fall. Sometimes life gets moving PRETTY FAST, and things don’t fit in when you want them to. Senior portraits were important to Mom and Maxine + they wanted them done in an urban setting.

This is where I insert my HAPPY DANCE!

It’s no secret that senior portrait stories are my absolute favorite, and adding in a downtown backdrop with fun colors, buildings, cars going by {and of course honking}, and all the energy, adds to the fun-factor. Add in Maxine’s fun personality and we had a great mix! So don’t let Maxine’s stare-down trick you into thinking she doesn’t know how to play in front of the camera. She was up for all my ideas and relaxed in front of my lens in a FLASH.
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In my Senior Portrait Collections I ask seniors to fill out a questionnaire before we chat about their location, wardrobe, + style ideas, so I can start to create the session that fits their story.  Maxine’s questionnaire gave me some great starting points, and then after talking I found out she uses her sunglasses more as a headband during the day than glasses 😉

YEP! Gotta use those in her senior story! It’s the “LITTLE” details that help make the biggest memories, so don’t be shy about opening up when we meet at the consultation with all the little, + big, details that are YOU.senior-portraits, senior-photographer-near-me, professional-portraits, senior-pictures, Geneva-IL, Geneva-IL-photographer

Maxine has a lot going on this Fall with her volleyball team + focusing on her engineering goals. She certainly has no shortage of ambition! Since she’s a college athlete, I thought I’d start her practicing her “Game Face” early. I love her smile, but she’s also got a pretty good game face too, don’t you agree?

The last tidbit from our session is what I learned. We’re never too old to discover something new 😉  I put together a playlist for all my seniors based on their favorites. Maxine chose songs I’ve never heard before, so it made creating her playlist all the more fun.

Have you heard of “All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers or “Float On” by Modest Mouse? Maybe you have, could be a generational thing, but I found a new genre that I’ll be exploring on Spotify.

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The FUN comes in planning the details, and that’s exactly what I do with each individual senior. These moments come & go so fast, and having these images to look back on are a BIG DEAL! Up next, Mom and I are meeting to design + get Maxine’s beautiful self into print to complete this chapter of her story.

If you’re interested in creating your final high school story and showing the world YOUR KIND OF BEAUTIFUL, let’s chat and plan your Senior Session before all the Fall dates are gone.



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  • LeslieAugust 8, 2018 - 12:46 pm

    These photos are beautiful! We have been so happy with your service and attention to detail. Thank you, Andrea! ReplyCancel

    • AndreaAugust 8, 2018 - 2:35 pm

      Thanks so much for searching me out Leslie! I had a great time with you both! Happy college days to your Sweet Girl!ReplyCancel

  • SusanAugust 8, 2018 - 12:29 pm

    Gorgeous!  So happy my friend asked for a recommendation once she saw Sophie’s Senior Portraits! ReplyCancel

    • AndreaAugust 8, 2018 - 2:41 pm

      Thank you for recommending my photography, Sue! It means so much💖ReplyCancel

Attention High School Mama’s! | Batavia IL Senior Photographer

Hello my High School Mama’s!

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Our Summer is quickly slipping away and it will be time to start prepping for another school year.

Our kiddos are another grade older.

And another step closer to graduation.

We are enjoying these last few weeks of Summer at our house + fitting in my teens summer list of ideas. I wrote my Summer Bucket List post using some of their ideas. If you’re looking for something new to finish out your summer have a peek at that post.

And now, a few bits of advice from past Senior Mama’s that may help you settle in this coming year. Yes, the tips focus on high school seniors, but as a Mama of a junior this year I’m already looking + researching.  Junior Mom’s don’t count this stuff out for you too 😉

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“Spend as much time as you can with your senior! Everything changes the moment you drop them off at the new school, everything is different. They aren’t your child anymore, and even though they still need you and miss you, it’s never in the same way. And the house is never the same again either. So enjoy this time. Really cherish the moments and do things with them, even if your tired or stressed or just overloaded. Step back and put everything aside for whatever they are asking you to do. Love them and hug them and spoil them for one last year before they go away.” -Stacy {Mama to 3 Graduates}

“I had a college binder with tabs for each school so we could keep track of scholarships and information all in one spot. Made it easier to make the decision on where to go.” -Ashley {Mama to 2018 Graduate}

“Try and do applications and essays during the summer. Even if they finish them later, after school starts, it will be less stress while managing school too. Check dates and follow up that everything is being received by the colleges. There’s usually a portal that tracks that info at each university you apply. Just breathe it’s going to be an emotional year.” -Julie {Mama to 3 Graduates}

“Try to savor it. So much of Senior year is focused on what they will do after high school, and it goes by really, really quickly. Reply to all the schools you think you might want to go to early. Lastly if you’re going to apply for scholarships, I used a manila folder for each one and wrote the due date on the outside of the folder along with what needs to go with the application so you can check the things off as you get them done. (Requesting transcripts, letter of reference etc.)” -Kammy {Mama to 2018 Graduate}

“If you are going on college visits, check out all the dorms. The newest dorm complex may not be the best. Even if you decide to stay local, a dorm may be the best place for them to stay, that way you’re not arguing about the car or paying thru the nose for a parking permit!” -Katie {Aunt to 2016 Graduate}

Scholarships!!” -Megan {2017 Graduate}

A lot more to come with your very own High School Checklist to help you navigate these last few years of high school. Coming this September I’ll have a High School Checklist for Juniors + Seniors. If you’re not already in Sparkle Notes, best to sign-in now so you don’t miss it. Only comes to your inbox once-a-month so I’m not clogging up your e-mail 😉

Cheers + Sparkles to your Week Mom!


I’m here to make your high school days easier + Show the World Your Kind of Beautiful

If you’re looking to get a head start on your senior portrait ideas, start with my 25 Tips to Senior Portraits FREEBIE!


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What’s Next? | Sycamore Portrait Photographer

What are your dreams for the future?

dreams, senior-portraits, portrait-story, senior-pictures, high-school, graduation, life-goals

You’ve been walking your high school halls for four-years now and then


You toss your graduation hat into the air and a whole new chapter in your story is about to begin. It can be unsettling, for Grad + parents. You’re going to be okay. I’ve been there. True, it’s been awhile since my high school graduation {okay, a looong while} but I’ve started my career over THREE TIMES and each time I’ve been scared, in tears, scared, excited, scared…you get the point.  But I kept dreaming, worked my tail off, and found success {there’s also been failure mixed in there too}.

Here are a few other seniors who were once in front of my camera and maybe just as scared to start their next chapter, but they’re working hard, maybe failing at times, succeeding, but always adding to their life story. And if you’ve read this far into my post, I hope you take this to heart most of all,

We learn MORE through our failures than we do in our success. Can’t remember who coined the phrase, but they’re right!

I’ve been afraid of failing most of my life, and the times I took the leap over my fear was probably the best experiences. When you’re feeling alone or like you’re the only one going through a rough patch reach out to family or friend. Go to coffee {or donuts, tacos, smoothie…}  and talk to get a new perspective, to vent, or get advice.

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It’s been 4 years since we did Jason’s senior pictures. He’s running more to finish his degree than on the track these days, but I hear he still fits in some running + biking on the side. He’s earning his engineering degree and added a medical twist into the mix.senior-pictures, portraits, high-school-senior, be-kind, encouragement, chicago-photographer

Mary has always amazed me with her mathematical mind. At the college level you can’t use the word “easy”, but with her laid-back nature she makes it look easy 😉 I love seeing more and more girls breaking the mold. senior-pictures, portraits, high-school-senior, be-kind, encouragement, chicago-photographer

One of my most recent senior graduates, Miss Kayla, is always pushing the limits. Her CP doesn’t hold her back and she’s contacting companies to make one of her dreams a reality. She reached out to the organization, Changing the Face of Beauty and hopes to be a part of their mission of getting teens with disabilities seen more in the media. She’s told me about a few roadblocks so far, but she is pushing through them. I can’t wait to see how her story changes in the future!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve got to spend time with Jodeci, but I keep tabs through her social 😉 She is all graduated and teaching our young minds to appreciate the arts – literally art.  She is a glorious artist and she sharing her creative passion with her classes kiddos, showing them how to appreciate their creative side.

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Following her creative side too, Bella picked up a camera, learned the techniques of video and building a business on her terms. Another creative soul working for her dream.

Make your dreams come true. I don’t know all the pitfalls my graduates have taken, or will take, to achieve their version of success, but never be scared to try. Try it, you just might like it! Life isn’t set in stone, you can always pivot in a different direction 😉

Cheers & Sparkles to my past – current- and future high school Grads!


And for my MOM’S…

Next week’s post will be all about helping you through senior year, so hope you’re coming back!

You can get blog recaps to your email once-a-month through Sparkle Notes.



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Are You Ready? | High School Senior Portraits

Are you ready?

The summer before senior year means scheduling + heading over to the high school for your last yearbook photo.

Did you know 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’re interested in more than a snapshot and want one last SMP Senior Experience to celebrate your unrepeatable year, take a look at the remaining Fall dates and let’s chat!

If you’ve never heard of 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…

When you reserve one of these Fall dates I’ll start us off with getting a date to meet, chat  + give you a copy of my SMP Experience Guide

Curious about my Senior Collections + what a few other past seniors thought?

Here are my remaining Fall Dates – Reserve one before they are gone!

Monday, 3rd {Labor Day}
Friday, 7th
Sunday, 9th
Wednesday, 12th
Saturday, 15th
Sunday, 16th
Thursday, 20th
Sunday, 23rd
Wednesday, 26th
Sunday, 30th

Tuesday, 2nd
Sunday, 7th
Wednesday, 10th

Saturday 13th

Sunday, 14th
Wednesday, 17th
Sunday, 21st
Sunday, 28th

November dates are weather pending {think warm thoughts;)}
Sunday, 4th {Daylight Savings}
Wednesday, 7th
Saturday, 10th
Sunday, 11th

Your deposit reserves your date on my calendar and puts me into action planning your amazing last high school moment. Let’s get booking!

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Interested, but not quite ready to reserve your session? I offer so many resources to help you + get to know me a little bit better 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 and I’m happy to help!

Show the World Your Kind of Beautiful



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