Tag Archives: lighthouse

One of my favorite things is when girls from out of state contact me for senior pictures. Beautiful Isabelle from Neuqua Valley High School in Illinois found me on Seniorologie and decided to have me meet her family in Grand Haven, MI for a lakeside senior session. Congratulations on your graduation from NVHS, and good luck next fall at New York University!

I had the pleasure of spending a sunny afternoon with Matthew and his family at a marina in Holland Michigan for a Family Memories photo session. In between family shots, we were able to capture a few senior pictures for Matthew. What a handsome guy— and bright and talented too!

Everything about Amanda’s senior session was bright & sunny— the beach at Holland State Park; a field of sunflowers in full bloom; Amanda’s smile— Michigan summer at its best!

As those who follow my senior photography work know, I specialize in fashion-styled photography for senior girls. My senior girl sessions include professional hair & makeup and elaborate styling. They are awesome, but they are really not for the guys. And yet, I get frequent requests from guys who want top-notch senior photos too. So here’s what we do:

Instead of having separate sessions for senior guys, we schedule a photo shoot with the entire family (see my family session details here, or request my family magazine), and we carve out some time during the session to capture some cool shots of our senior guy. This typically works out perfectly— mom & dad get beautiful photo canvases for the wall at home (or a keepsake album), and we knock out our senior photos at the same time. I love it when a plan comes together!

Here is an example of exactly this kind of family session. I met the Greydanus family out at their cottage for updated family photos for their walls and Christmas Cards, and at the same time, Matt handsomed-it-up for the lens.

Here’s a quick rendering of the Nelson’s extended family panorama, as printed on a 60 inch x 20 inch Canvas Gallery Wrap. Perfect fireplace complement, don’t you think? Because the completed image is a 250 megapixel panorama, we can achieve this size and still have razor-sharp details. Hooray!

click here for a bigger view…

On July 1, I was blessed to be invited out to Holland State Park by The Nelson Family to help document their family reunion. What a heartwarming experience to see so many families all honor their shared legacy by coming together on such a grand scale. This doesn’t happen without there being a real patriarch and matriarch at the head of the family. Well done, Paul & Ruthie!

Now on to the photography…

One of the big hopes for this session was to capture a massive full-family portrait out on the beach near Holland’s lighthouse. But there were some challenges to overcome:

40+ people. Babies, kids and oldies. Full-on sunshine. 90° temps and humidity. Yikes! How in the world do you manage this?

Don’t try this at home.

The typical solution for the mega group shot is to assemble the whole “marching band” into one big clump, try to squeeze in tight, hope not to obscure faces, and live with the fish-eye effect of a wide angle lens. Predictably, these group photos make for lousy wall art and keepsakes. The best you can do is hope that everybody’s eyes are open. Usually, the camera is so far away that you can barely tell anyway. If only there were a better way…

Panorama to the rescue!

Since this was such an important shot, I pulled out a favorite from my bag of tricks. The panorama below is a composite of 23 (!!!) separate exposures, stitched together to get an otherwise-impossible shot:

click for a larger view…

The resulting image is an amazing 250 megapixels in size (compared to 16 megapixels in a typical single exposure). In addition to a far better composition and the opportunity to select the best photos for each subject, we get a ton more detail. See for yourself in these magnified sections:

Conventional single exposure photo:

Panoramic composite:


Is planning and constructing a panoramic shot like this a lot of extra work? You bet. Is it worth the trouble? Absolutely!