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.

10 Reasons Why You’ll Fall Head over Heels in Love with Senior Year

My heart is always a little bittersweet as I get ready to send off my 2018 seniors!

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Although it’s always a little hard to see these amazing young people become adults, my emotions are ALWAYS overwhelmed with excitement more than anything else! I’m a mom myself + feel that tug of these seniors leaving the nest, which leaves me excited and anxious at the same time. Senior year is amazing and filled with last memories.

All of your school moments that you’ve experienced – from bummer to breathtaking – have brought you to this year. This is your year of lasts & it’s time to celebrate it! True, there is also a lot of planning to be done, college applications, {and I have a checklist to help with that}, take the ACT one more time…but TODAY, in this moment, there are 10 reasons I want you to fall in love with your senior year!

You can make THIS year outshine the rest!

1. You’re finally at the top

You’re finally a senior which is great! You have a lot going on, but remember those first years, + help out that lonely or confused freshmen. Those at the top shine brightest when they lift others up

2. Your brain is not a day, week, month planner…It’s time to get organized and start making a list of what needs to get done

Whether it’s a paper list or app, NOW is time for Organization 101 – it relieves a lot of stress. I’m the queen of stress…and also the queen of lists. Don’t leave your high school halls still writing with a Sharpie on the back of your hand #whatpaperisduetoday

3. Remember that every game, concert, play…is your last as part of the student body – don’t sit home all year – go out and enjoy a few of the LASTS! Yes, study hard, but also make time for the fun stuff!

4. Get those senior pictures done. I know, shameless plug, right?

…But even if I’m not your senior photographer {I know, crazy talk}, GET SENIOR PORTRAITS! Seriously! It may be the last formal portraits you have taken until your WEDDING DAY

And for the guys, I know it may seem like the worst day ever to go get senior pictures, but it makes us Moms over the moon happy – if not for you, do it for your Mom.

5. Careful what you post on your social media

I’m sure you’ve already heard this a 100x, but whenever you put something out on instagram, facebook, twitter and the next big social app – it becomes PUBLIC for anyone…including a future boss and college admissions boards. Keep things clean peeps.

6. Be real!

I am as guilty as the next person of being attached to my phone, but when you’re sitting in a group of friends – BE WITH YOUR FRIENDS – you may not see many of these people ever again once you toss your grad hat in the air on graduation day.

7. Work hard + play hard

Yep, your grades, clubs, extra curricular’s are all important, but equally important is having fun with your friends & family. Keep stress in check!

8. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye

When one door closes, another one opens is a phrase that rings true:

This is a year of LASTS, so yes, it’s a big year. But moving out into a new chapter is exciting too. No need to be scared of it, look at it as your next great adventure.

9. If there have been things you’ve been scared to try – this is the year to try it!

You’re still at home + have your family near if it fails and need someone to lean on…which brings me to my next point

10. This is the time to appreciate your family

It might seem like you just want to leave and move on to college, but don’t forget to love and appreciate the people who helped you on your life journey so far! Make time to take your siblings to ice cream, or to write your parents a note. It’s a great skill to learn to appreciate people who have been there for you.

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You have Some Senior Sparkle – Shine On & Shine Bright

Shining Moments Photography | Your Senior Photographer

 

 

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Nailed it! | All in the Details | St Charles Senior Photographers

School’s started and Fall Senior Portraits are underway!

We don’t have much time, so let’s get down to the details!

NAILS!

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Our nails are often forgotten in the string of important details. But these little babies can make a powerful impact in your senior pictures, both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE! I get it, you don’t have time to go get your nails done or paint yourself and sit around and, “watch the paint dry.”

Ask yourself this,

How often will you have your high school senior portraits taken?

A. Every year of high school

B. ONCE IN A LIFETIME

You chose ‘B’ right?  I hope you chose ‘B’ 😉

When we talk at your senior consultation I give a checklist {yep, guys have one too ;)} to each senior, or Mom. It gives you the exact timeline for what + when to get things done. I do all the hard, boring stuff for you so you get to have fun and

✔︎ Check

✔︎Check

✔︎Check

to be ready to show your story on session day! NAILS are on that checklist {yep, guys too}

You see the painted finger nail images scattered in this post of all the pretty Fall colors + designs, but if color isn’t your thing,

A SIMPLE CLEAR COAT is all you need for your portrait session.

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Finger nail polish is like another accessory to your wardrobe, but it’s also a piece that gets overlooked a lot of times. Who will notice my fingernails in my senior pictures? Believe me! We see your nails! My senior sessions aren’t all sitting perfectly posed. We move, we may dance, we use props to tell YOUR STORY, and hands get into the groove too. Now my sport-teens may be thinking the last thing they want to make time for is painting nails, and that’s fine. As long as they are fresh + clean you’re good to go.

However, I love sports of every kind, played-um, coached-um, + watch-um, but I also like a little glam too 😉 It’s not an all-or-nothing deal here. Be you – Do you!

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Plain or colorful is all up to you. You can get a lot of great ideas on Pinterest for your nails, hair, makeup, + wardrobe. I have boards ready and waiting to help you. We also go talk + plan once you reserve your senior session experience at Shining Moments Photography. I’m here to capture the FUN of being young and tell your story through portraits.


Other SMP Blog Posts To Help You::

4 Hacks to Help Your High School Success 

4 Tips to Tell You When To Schedule Your Senior Portraits

HELP! Graduation Party Planner to the Rescue


Shining Moments Photography | Showing the World Your Kind of Beautiful 

#LIVELAUGHSHINE

 

 

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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.

JUNIOR YEAR CHECKLIST

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!

-Andrea💖


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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