10 Most Meaningful Posts of 2018: #1

Lizzy

Lizzy

When your daughter tells you that you will be taking her senior picture, well, you better prepare, and I did. From the summer of 2017 when Lizzy gave me the heads up until August of 2018 when I captured this image, I watched Youtube videos, completed LinkedIn Learning courses, and studied the work of Chris Orwig - a natural light portrait photographer from California.

Lizzy wanted her senior portrait to be in a sunflower field so we paid attention to the weather and when a beautiful sunset was forecast at Coppal House Farm in Lee, NH, we took advantage. There were hundreds of others taking pictures, but with 5 acres of sunflowers there was plenty of room to find our niche.

I took more than 500 images of Lizzy that afternoon. She brought and changed into different outfits. We shot in front of sunflowers, stonewalls, trees, and paths. Some standing, some crouching. Some with the sun behind her, some with the sun behind me. A lot of the images were junk in part because we were testing locations and poses, some because I screwed up the settings. But, in the end we landed on about two dozen worthy of consideration.

This particular image is my favorite (and one of hers). To me, it captures Lizzy perfectly. Young, vibrant, beautiful and wonderfully carefree with her entire world ahead of her. She is growing into a beautiful adult, one that we are incredibly proud of and I am incredibly thankful that Lizzy told me I would be taking her senior photo as it challenged me to broaden my skills and take on a new genre of photography. For years I had basically shot mostly landscapes, real estate (which can be similar technically) and my kids’ sporting events, but I really resisted shooting portraits. Lizzy, who will go to college to be a teacher next year, taught me an important lesson: to keep challenging myself to learn new techniques and new genres, to use new equipment (an off camera lens was used here), and that photography is a craft that requires earnest study and practice. I’m a better photographer today, on January 1, 2019 than I was in the summer of 2017 when Lizzy told me I would be taking her senior portrait.

This blog series was about the “most meaningful” images of 2018 and there is no doubt that this image of Lizzy (which also represents the thousands of images I took of Lizzy and others as I practiced for her senior portrait) was the most meaningful image of 2018. For teaching me to continue to grow as a photographer (and the many memories we made), this image was an easy choice for my #1 most meaningful image of 2018.