The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway....
It was a frigid 20 degrees, the ground was covered in snow, and the sky was a pasty, anemic grey for the last senior session of the season. Thankfully, Amira, a senior from John Marshall, brought her own sunshine and it led to an AMAZING session!
Amira arrived in great spirits, dressed in an outfit totally on trend this season: a fabulous tweed romper paired with a white blouse with black ribbon trim, a red beret, and black leather gloves with fur cuffs. Her black Ultrasuede boots with a clear lucite heel, were a perfect nod to the ice on the nearby streets.
We worked fast and then took a break to both warm up, and to change into her second outfit: a pink and black hounds tooth miniskirt pared with a black turtleneck and beret. Her outfit was accented with a string of mid-length pearls and a beautiful white faux fur. The picture below was the third from the last click of the day. Dusk was falling and I love the blue tones in the background.
I caught up with Amira a few days after the session and asked if she would be interested in answering a few questions about her session:
If someone you knew expressed that they were nervous about getting their senior photos taken, what advice would you give them?
If someone came to me feeling nervous on getting their senior photos taken, the first thing I would tell them is to relax. Go to the shoot feeling confident and having an attitude and mindset open for different poses and such. Work with your photographer because the bigger the connection you guys share, the better your photos will turn out! lastly, at the end of the day, just make sure you enjoyed your session because you will remember it forever.
What was your favorite part of the senior photo shoot?
My favorite part of the session was how understanding and open Kathleen was to my ideas and how I was for hers. We had such an amazing time even though it was freezing out! She gave me some wonderful tips on poses and showered me with compliments that made me feel comfortable and confident.
Where do you draw your inspiration for fashion?
I draw my inspiration from my fashion icons on Instagram. People dress up on Instagram and I see articles of clothing and I just think, "Wow that is so cute!" the outfit I wore for my senior picture photoshoot was all inspired by my love for tweed. I love tweed so much so, when I saw that romper in the store, I knew it was the one. I spotted the red beret too and I just knew I had formulated the outfit I was meant to see in the yearbook!
What were your favorite images from the session and why?
The images in the slide show below are my favorites from the session. I chose these photos because when I took them, I wasn't trying at all. Some of my other photos were forced because I was trying to smile perfectly or pose just right, but the photos that turned out the best were the ones where I was just being myself.
Ben's mom and dad -assistants for the night!
Ben is a Senior at Mayo High School who is active in Robotics, Science Olympiad and Band. He plans to pursue mechanical engineering in college. We recently had senior photo-shoot downtown. It was definitely one "for the books" as there was the downtown concert series going on called, "Down by the Riverside" and it featured the Gin Blossoms. What great background music for a senior session!
KMP: What advice would you give to a fellow senior who is soon to get their senior photos taken?
Ben: Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, and go into it with a good attitude.
KMP: How did you decide on your location(s)/what to wear?
Ben: Primarily I took advice about good spots from Mrs. Murphy and I looked at what my friends were wearing for their sessions.
KMP: What was your favorite part of the senior photo shoot?
Ben: I liked that I got to enjoy listening to music that was playing from Down By the Riverside during my session.
This looks like it is out in the middle of the countryside, but it was actually taken downtown right by the Civic Center!
KMP: What surprised you about the experience, or what was the most interesting part of the session?
Ben: I thought that I would feel more uncomfortable being in such an active public setting as downtown Rochester than I ended up feeling.
KMP: If you were to recommend this experience to your best friend, what would you say?
Ben: I would explain how Mrs. Murphy treats you as her subject. She not only takes great photos, but does a very good job at making sure that you are comfortable with the situation/scene.
Mom and Dad photobombing Ben!
Tina Fague - Mayo 2019
What are your Interests/activities at school?
I play softball and I really enjoy being a part of the school spirit activities like GOFA, homecoming and football season, prom, etc.
What are your future plans once you graduate?
I hope to head to college to become a probation officer or work as a child advocate.
If someone you knew expressed that they were nervous about getting their senior photos taken, what advice would you give them?
The professional pictures Kathleen Murphy took of me were SO much better than the pictures my friends and I take of ourselves. It was scary and seemed weird at first, but Kathleen made me feel at ease and comfortable.
How did you decide what to wear?
I chose my favorite clothes and the things I thought I looked best in. Since I am a simple girl, I chose two looks and two types of backgrounds.
What was your favorite part of the senior photo shoot?
None of it was forced. It was easy going. My suggestions were taken by Kathleen and she made my vision even better.
What surprised you about the experience?
It was easy going and not worrisome at all. Usually, for school pictures, I have a forced smile, but I was relaxed and so my real personality showed through.
How did you decide on your location(s)?
I didn't want the basic pastures, stereotypical pictures etc. I wanted something that reflected my personality more so I told Kathleen that I wanted urban, architecture, etc. and she knew just the places to take me. She saw things in a way I didn't.
What were your favorite images from the session and why?
I picked two pictures that showed me in a way I had never seen before. I loved the way I looked in them. (the two white outfits) and then I picked two that had an amazing composition. The foreground and background, were amazing, as well as the way I was framed in them. I really like art and photography, so seeing this was really cool.
Meet Caleigh one of my former high school seniors who returned in front of the lens for a creative shoot. She and I recently collaborated with my hair and makeup team from Lasata Salon and Day Spa on a photo shoot. Read all about Caleigh's experience as part of the creative team! Special Thank you to Makeup Artist, Elena and Hair Stylist, Jodi Lynn
KMP: Who would you say is your number one fashion inspiration?
I wouldn’t say there is any one person in particular that serves as my fashion inspiration. I usually am constantly paying attention to what people around me are wearing and when I see a look or piece that I like or interest me then I try and find something similar that works in my own wardrobe.
KMP: What is your favorite fashion magazine?
It really depends; I find that I read Vogue, Marie Claire, and Glamour. The three offer a good mix of couture, contemporary and trendy fashion that I get to see the full spectrum. In looking at all three its interesting to see the different takes there are for what “fashion” is at the same time in the world.
KMP: When you dress up and go out, what are your favorite "go to" pieces in your closet?
I have a large collection of black tank tops, the range from plain and simple to different fabrics and appliques, so on a given night out I would say that a black tank and jeans are usually a go to outfit with some jewelry and maybe a jacket if its colder out.
KMP: What thematic ideas were you initially looking at for your photo shoot?
There were several ideas that came to mind when planning out the shoot. One was a 20’s inspired photo shoot, another was Hollywood glam or possibly and Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O inspired shoot. However after looking at all aspects involved in the photo-shoot the ethereal came out as the direction we choose to go in. How did you narrow it down to the ethereal look? I think one of the big reasons for the photo-shoot was to play with angles and lighting, and the ethereal look offered the most room to play with that. We saw the potential to manipulate lighting to make some interesting and unique shots happen as well as take and artsy approach to portraits, which I think we achieved in some of the final shots.
The first dress was a beautiful mint green. We loved how it photographed in black and white!
KMP: Tell us about your hair and makeup experience?
The hair and makeup was something that was actually pretty familiar to me going into the photo shoot. As a former competitive figure skater I am used to some non-traditional hair and makeup looks so this was really no different. Although it was different to not know what the outcome would be going in and just watch it unfold, and while I was not totally aware of where the look was going it turned out to work really well in the shoot.
KMP: Tell us about the shoot? What is it like to model for the afternoon?
While I thought I had an idea of what it would be like going in I realized I was not as prepared as I thought. Having done senior photos not that long ago I figured it would be similar but really it was a totally new experience. Posing for artistic shots are a whole other animal, there needs to be so much more creativity present in order to get cool shots and just another level of physical ability to hold poses and positions for long periods of time. And while it fun it’s also so much more work than you realize. By the end of the day and two outfit changes I realized just how tired I was. And once I got home, I was beat, but eager to see if the work had paid off.
KMP: What surprised you about the experience?
TIME. We had so many ideas and plans going into the shoot and time just flew by. We were not able to go to several of the locations we planned and the session went to the very last available minute, even though we had ideas to fill up many more hours. It was crazy to see just how quickly several hours could go by,
KMP NOTE: The second dress we shot (pictured below) was actually an old prom dress that Caleigh gave new life. She added a pair of long opera gloves, attached some black tulle and draped some chiffon fabric to cover the flashy sequined top. A terrific no sew/low sew option! Add a crown and we had a completely new look-almost medieval. This old and cracked plaster wall was everything to the look and feel of the second half of the shoot.
KMP: What would you do differently if you had the opportunity to do the shoot again?
I think breaking up the session into two parts would have been helpful. It was a super hot day and right during midday so being in the sun that long did take its toll. If we had planned ahead of time to do a couple hours in one dress, then take a break and get some food and just hang out for maybe thirty minutes and do a couple more hours in the next outfit it may have produced some images we lost out on due to time and fatigue.
What is your favorite image from the shoot?
"I really like the lighting on this photo that was done in editing, this makes the vibe of the shoot really come through, I would make this the album cover photo!”
Any advice for someone who wants to plan a shoot like this?
DO IT! Although it may seem like a daunting challenge its really not. Kathleen is a great creative partner and helps to make the vision some alive, but also makes sure you are totally involved and your opinion is heard. If its something that interests you, then I would take the plunge. You will get one of a kind images that are one of a kind and will be glad when its done because the experience is almost as fun as the photos.
Meet Drew, a senior at Century High School. Drew and his mom arranged for his senior photos to be taken downtown on a Thursday evening. It was also "Thursday's on First" and for locals you know what that means!!! Our meeting place, usually complete with ample parking suddenly had a shortage! This led to yours truly standing in the middle of a newly vacated spot, saving it until they could snag it. Whew! Once that was settled, we took few shots down by the Zumbro River and then headed to another location to snag a skyline picture of Rochester. We capped off our tour of downtown at dusk, with twinkling lights behind him.
I am obsessed with the way light falls on a subject and how light can dramatically change the way we see things. From the age of eight, I have owned a camera. First, a Kodak Insta-matic; then I graduated to a Minolta 35 mm. Eventually, my dad, a great photographer with a fantastic eye for a good photo, gave me his treasured Nikon. I took classes to better develop my skills, learned to develop film in a darkroom, and while in college I interned at a commercial studio with my mentor, Tom Trammell. At the studio, I learned lighting techniques, as well as how to shoot fashion and commercial photography. Three Nikon's later, and I love photography just as much as the day I took my first photograph. As a former classroom teacher, I used to photograph my students as a yearly gift to their parents, (a teacher who did photography) but now I find myself a photographer who teaches. While I am on location, I am often explaining to my subjects how the camera works what light modifiers I need and why. Over the years I have had several students who have interned with me to learn a bit about photography. Once a teacher, always a teacher!
I have a wonderful husband and two amazing sons. We love to travel, grill out, and ride our bikes. We also love to make up funny lyrics to well known songs. If you are in need of a laugh, ask us to sing: "Just a Small Town Squirrel" modeled after the song by Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'" You won't ever hear that song the same way again...
Our legendary dog, named Ombre was not only famous for his talents of peeing "under" the refrigerator and for winning a "Cutest Pet Contest", but he also became an internet sensation back in 2015 when his photo went viral after we posted it to Reddit. It was picked up by an, "I Love Dachshunds" page on Facebook where he received 7156 "likes" and 602 "shares"
We lost our sweet dog in August of 2016, and we miss him like crazy.
Why have one poodle when you can have three? In September of 2017, Flynn's brothers joined him. George Windsor and Charles Lafayette (AKA: George and Charlie) are major fluff balls and still sporting their long puppy fur. George is a lover and constantly snuggles. He is also an Olympic jumper, nearly reaching our countertops! Charlie is a strategist and the smallest of all three, he is constantly using his intellect his to outwit his brothers who can play rough sometimes. Charlie often hides under the sofa to plot his next move. Charlie and George are recent graduates of Puppy School.
I photographed Mary back in November of 2017 for her senior photos. I saw during our November session that she easily embodied the quintessential look of "Hollywood Glamour" and invited her to take part in a stylized shoot to compliment the senior photos she already had. Mary and I set aside a date in late March. Then the fun of planning began!
Images were collected for inspiration to create three mood boards: Inspiration,Hair and Makeup.
I contacted my hair and makeup team at LaSata Salon and shared the mood boards with hair stylist, Jodi Lynn and makeup artist, Elena. They were excited to help create the Hollywood Glamour "look".
7:45 a.m. = Early Model call for Makeup and Styling.
Helpful Tip: Always wear a button up shirt so you can easily put on your outfit for the photo shoot without messing up your hair and makeup.
Come along on a 1940's Inspired Photo Shoot!
Erin's mom booked a high school senior shoot with me early last spring. Her mom and I discussed what her daughter was hoping for in a shoot and we reserved a day and time in August. Erin is in drama at school and hasa keen interest in period clothing, so I asked if Erin would be willing to do a special 1940's inspired photo-shoot after we completed her senior photos. Erin agreed and she and her mom began to assemble wardrobe items for the shoot.
A few weeks later, we met at La Sata Salon and Day Spa for Erin's hair and makeup Jodi Lynn did her hair in soft waves and Elena did Erin's makeup with the historical accuracy of the 1940's, complete with the orange-red lip!
Hair and Makeup at Lasata Salon and Spa 2014 Second St. SW
Elena, an esthetician and an Aveda Freelance Advisor, is a talented artist and generous collaborator. She takes time to research each era being photographed and makes sure the application of the makeup is accurate for the time frame. Elena has a gentle way of working with clients that makes them feel special.
Jodi Lynn skillfully and artfully designs a hair style that is not only reflective of the time period, but that it also one that compliments the model. Jodi Lynn has years of experience with creative hair design and researches hairstyles to make sure they are reflective of what the era/time frame. Jodi Lynn is a great conversationalist and puts clients at ease.
Once hair makeup and wardrobe were complete we headed over to the Porch Restaurant, (thank you Lee Ann Zubay!) for a few shots with her vintage suitcases; then we headed over to the Mayo campus. Once on the Mayo Campus we took some shots near the medical school building and the Plummer building, all known for their amazing architectural details that would easily lend itself to 1940's spirit. Erin was kind enough to write a few thoughts about her experience. Enjoy her reflective responses and gorgeous pictures. She truly embodies the elegance and class of the 1940's!
What was the experience like getting your hair and makeup done? Were you surprised by the look?
The experience of getting my hair and makeup done was really cool! I’d wanted to try getting my hair and makeup done professionally for a while, so I was really excited about this opportunity. Jodi Lynn and Elena were lovely and both did fantastic jobs! I kept my hair and makeup done for hours after the photoshoot because I didn’t want to stop looking the way I did. The look wasn’t what I had been thinking about, so it surprised me, but it was wonderful! I especially loved the eyeshadow and how great my brows looked! I kept thinking about Marilyn Monroe and Bette Davis when I looked at it. I felt like a movie star all day!
Tell us about your clothing choices...Where did you find your clothes? What tips would you share about picking out a wardrobe to inspire a specific era? Was there something you wanted to wear but didn't get a chance to? Tell about each ensemble.
My mom was really helpful in helping me pick out all the clothes. We both made Pinterest Boards of forties clothes and forties themed photoshoots that we liked (which I recommend to anyone doing a photoshoot, themed or not), and then we went through my closet trying to find pieces that resembled those in the pictures. I happened to have quite a few pieces that worked, so we didn’t have to go shopping. The mustard dress and blue coat, an ensemble we called “Mustard” both came from Savers. The blue shoes were also from Savers. My dad got me that red hat as a Christmas present from a hat store in San Francisco. It wasn’t originally supposed to go with this outfit, but when my mom and I tried the combination I fell in love with the primary color palette!
The polka dot dress came from Kismet—my mom and I actually bought it for my eighth grade graduation. We pulled it out of the back of my closet for the first time since then just for this shoot. I was very happy to find that it still fits! The red shoes were a lucky find at Kismet. We called that outfit “Minnie Mouse”.
There was one other outfit we put together that didn’t get shot that my mom and I called “French Resistance.” That was a polka dot shirt and skirt, with a belted brown blazer and a red beret. I would have liked to have had it shot, but I don’t think the wartime spy theme would have really worked with all the sunshine and fun art deco backgrounds. The thing that I really love about all the ensembles we put together is that they are regular parts of my closet, so I can wear them again anytime I want!
If you could only pick one image from the shoot and publish it, which image would it be?
There were several that I really loved, but the full-length black and white one in the polka dot dress is probably the photo I would publish. I think it looks really cool and classy, and the black and white of course makes me think of a 1940s starlet. Also, my dad said I looked like Winona Ryder in this picture, so I have to love that!
What was the hardest part of the experience?
I think the hardest part of the experience was trying to come up with new things to do with my face and arms for each shot. Ultimately I found that just trying to smile worked really well, and the photos make the sore cheeks worth it!
What would you say to anyone considering a stylized photoshoot representing a theme or an era? What tips would you have for them?
Like I said for the clothing, I would suggest making a Pinterest board of inspiration to figure out what you want to do with the photos, and then experiment with clothes. Put pieces from one outfit with pieces from another outfit. Mix and match and have fun! If you need/want to go shopping, especially for a period shoot, I would recommend looking around consignment and thrift stores. There’s a lot of great things to find in those stores if you look around! When it comes to the shoot, I would say to just relax and embrace the theme/era. Some of my favorite pictures are candid ones where I’m relaxed and laughing!
Behind the scenes in the truest definition is when something is away from the public view or secret. Let's take some of the mystery out of it so that when you book your photo-shoot you can be confident that you will have a great time!
I strive to make your photo session comfortable and relaxed, I only accept one appointment a day, so that I am not busy focusing on anyone else BUT you! Typically, a photo session runs very smoothly because you and I will have already arranged for all the important details regarding location, clothing, lighting, and style ahead of time. That makes it easy for me to focus on the actual mission of the day: capturing fantastic images of you!
No matter how well planned we are, there can be occasional "hiccups" to the process of getting those great images.
In this case, Mary, who had her hair and make up professionally done, (something I highly recommend), had a rare occurrence of a false eyelash begin to peel away from her upper lash-line. We were only 30 minutes into our shoot when we had to stop and fix it. Thankfully, her dad quickly drove downtown to meet us with a tube of eyelash adhesive!
Mary's mom, Lori, is seen below getting ready to apply the adhesive to the wayward lashes and moments later, we are back in business!
And as you can see the results were worth it!
You want to make sure your clothes show the best "you", so I will bring along some bull clips to grip your clothing and hold it in place when it needs it. I have some fantastic Mom's who come along to watch the session only to find themselves put to work as stylists!
As you can see in the photo above, some moms and dad's even stand off camera and hold the reflector! In this behind the scenes shot, we were scrambling to get the "good" backdrop before the sunset. We had to wait for joggers and cyclists to pass in between shots. But in the end we had fun. (see below) and got some great images!
What Should I Wear?
Your high school senior session should reflect who you are plain and simple. Although it is incredibly important that your clothing choices should reflect your personal style, it is also important to bring one outfit that would be considered classic, because you will want your pictures to be timeless; something you can enjoy for years to come. Wear an outfit that flatters you, and is clean and pressed. Make sure you take the time to remove any "fuzzies" or animal hair. Bring all your clothing choices on a hanger so that they stay neat. The more neat and tidy your clothing looks, the more polished you will look! Avoid stripes and plaids, especially near the face. Wearing busy patterns only takes away from you! Keep jewelry simple and complimentary to your outfit. In addition to your sports uniform and casual wear, men may want to bring a suit or sport coat with jeans, or a nice sweater; women should bring a dark wash jean and nice simple scoop neck or portrait top paired with either boots, heels or ballet flats, they may also wish to bring a beautiful formal dress. An A-line dress that is cinched at the waist goes with any body type and is very flattering in photographs. Additionally, a long flowing floor length dress can be quite dramatic in contrast to an informal setting. There are lots of ways to get a fancy dress for a shoot. Hit the sale racks, friend's closets, a second hand shop, or shop on line. There are places like, https://www.renttherunway.com where you can rent a designer dress for a fraction of the actual cost. Remember to bring coordinating shoes for each outfit.
Young women often ask, "Should I get my make up and hair done professionally?" YES! YES! YES! I would highly recommend getting your make up and hair done professionally. An experienced makeup artist and hair stylist will know exactly how to do your makeup and style your hair for the photoshoot. I work exclusively with a makeup artist and hairstylist here in town and I can arrange your shoot to follow an appointment with them. Just ask me for their information. If you want to see their work, please refer to the Paris inspired shoot: http://www.kathleenmurphyphotos.com/blog/category/paris-inspired-photo-shoot
If you want to do your own makeup, there are a number of things to consider: Avoid clumping mascara and spiking your lashes. Stay away from shimmery eye shadows and blushes. Matte, neutral shades work best. Avoid lining the inner rim of your eyes as that makes your eyes look smaller. When lining the eye, line just under the lash line and use a soft pencil. Line three quarters of the way, smudging the line for a natural look. Don't over do it. Less really is more. Talk to me if you have questions. I was a makeup artist for several years and can give you some helpful hints.
Don't overlook the details!
Be sure to moisturize your face, hands and lips well in advance of your session. Chapped lips and flaking skin are difficult to edit away. And don't forget the nails. Both men and women's hands look best when nails are neat and trimmed or filed. Women may wish to use a simple neutral or clear polish.
What should I bring to the session? For women-Bring a hairbrush, hand mirror, lipstick and powder for touch up. For men and women: Bring any clothing changes you need and props that help to show who you are and what you enjoy. You may wish to bring sports equipment and uniforms, musical instruments, ballet shoes, art you have created, etc... The most important thing to remember is that if you prepare in advance with the clothing you feel confident wearing, and the hair and makeup that flatters you, your pictures will be amazing.
Up Next on the Blog: Behind The Scenes, What is a Session Really Like?
I love my family, cappucino cake, family hugs, giggling babies and sand under my feet....