My name is Nikki Shipley and I own Shipley Photography. We are based out of West Michigan. We LOVE West Michigan due to the beautiful scenery from Lake Michigan, as well as our many fields and green landscapes. Our location is a dream for many photographers.
I started Shipley Photography 5 years ago this month. When I started, I decided to make Senior Photography our main focus. Yes, we do photograph families, engagements, newborns, boudoir, headshots, and the occasional wedding. But seniors is where our hearts are. One thing that I work so hard on with my seniors is making sure that they know that their senior session is supposed to be about them. Their session is supposed to reflect what represents them the most. It's not about the photographer, their friends, or their parents. It's supposed to be all about who they are.
When I was given the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Basic Invite, I was told that I could show my two most favorite senior sessions. 1 male and 1 female. Let's be honest though, how can a person choose a favorite. I always come away from each session with such happiness from getting to know each senior and taking their photos.
The male senior that I chose was Chad. Chad is an all around good kid with his eye on the future. He chose to do his pictures at the beach, his high school, and the ice rink. He loves the beach, but is also an athlete that has lettered in 3 different sports. One of the things that I enjoy so much about photographing males is their desire to stay in front of the camera even if they feel they could be finished after just one photo. They know that these photos mean so much to their parents, and are willing to spend the time needed to capture them. The thing that stands out so much with the time that I was able to have with Chad was not only getting to know him more, but also that his parents were so involved. They had visions of photos in mind that would help capture their son best. His parents not only wanted photos that would be nice for his yearbook and for family, but also for the emotions behind having their child as a senior. For example, a photo of Chad above his school mascot paw in the ice rink locker room. For Chad, this encompassed 4 years of being a Varsity hockey player for his school (go Jenison hockey). As I stated earlier in my post, the session was supposed to be about the senior. His parents made this entire session about him. Chad was involved in each decision that was made with his photos. Even though I do not have a favorite session, this will always be a session that I will look back at as one that I loved.
The female session that I chose just happens to be of my daughter Eimi. I chose her because I waited 4 years for her to be a senior since opening up my business, and one of my greatest joys was being a part of it with her. One thing I like to do is find different locations that are special to the seniors, as well as what props they would like, if any. Well, Eimi is a dancer and plans on pursuing dance in college. We made sure to add a few dance photos into her senior session. Eimi also loves the beach, the fall colors, and visiting Kentucky where she was born. We made sure to include all of these into her session. Since she is my child, we decided to take a few pictures while visiting Kentucky for the summer. We were then able to make it to the beach and a beautiful scenery filled park. Her session was not only special to me but also helpful with my business. I was able to be on both sides of the senior aisle and can now better understand what parents go through when having a senior, as well as what helps seniors and parents better prepare themselves. Let's be honest though, it's very emotional having a senior. So many firsts are remembered, and so many lasts are happening. Going out with Eimi was so special, yet so hard as we closed such an important chapter in her life.
COMPANY: Shipley Photography