Health magazine contacted me a few months ago about their “I Did It” section. They had a weight loss success story to feature from right here in Virginia Beach. If you’ve been following my work for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I love working with women to create an opportunity for them to feel beautiful – from high school senior portraits to maternity sessions and boudoir sessions. So this photo shoot honoring Barbara’s successful weight loss journey was right up my alley.
Barbara shared her weight loss story with us while she was in hair and makeup and left each of us motivated to eat better! She kicked 53 pounds to the curb and looks amazing! What I also love is that she’s kept the weight off over a year and now she’s set even bigger goals – including running half marathons! The magazine wanted a beach backdrop, so we headed to the north beach area in Virginia Beach and were lucky enough to photograph on a beautiful warm afternoon despite the chilly spring.
Samantha Joyner, who I have had the pleasure of working with every week for almost a year now on boudoir sessions did a gorgeous job creating a natural look for Barbara’s makeup. Sam Serf from Behind the Veil Studio also gave her a natural hair style with lots of movement and volume.
Congratulations on being featured in the “I Did It” section for the June issue of Health magazine, Barbara! You are an inspiration and I’m so glad we got to meet you!
Sometimes inspiration comes from someone you’ve never met and a location you just can’t stop thinking about. A few months ago I’d had the chance scout out a local horse farm in southern Virginia Beach for a photography session. The long driveway with beautiful trees lining it on both sides just kept calling me back. I knew I wanted to do a more stylized spring session there with a high school senior portrait feel. I knew I wanted someone with that girl-next-door beauty and when I saw Miss Megan’s photo on the Stevenson’s Modeling fan page on Facebook I could not get her gorgeous smile out of my head!
I am so grateful to Darlene Stevenson for taking a chance on me and connecting me with Megan. It was such a pleasure working with her on this session. She was a trooper. From having chickens above her head ready to poop at any moment to spending the day in our hand-picked spring wardrobe despite the fact that the weather decided it was still too early to quite be spring temps – Megan did it all with a smile on her face.
We started the day with makeup and hair with two talented artists – Samantha Joyner and Krystal Valdepena – who took Megan’s natural beauty to the next level. Then it was off to Hunt Club Farm – where again they graciously welcomed us and let us wander amongst the petting zoo visitors and party goers.
I’m in love with the look on this little guy’s face in her hands.
The gorgeous driveway that inspired it all! The next three images were shot on film – this was a hybrid session shot on both digital and film. As I move back into shooting film again I’m reminded of the simplicity of film. (It’s not easy to shoot – it’s slower and requires more equipment ie a light meter, etc. but the outcome seems simpler.) The details are caught in the highlights and not blown out as easily as with digital. And though some might quickly point out that film is typically not as tack sharp as digital, when I look at it I’m reminded of the qualities of a softer (perhaps quieter?) beauty that accompanies film as a result of its imperfection.
I can’t say that I prefer one over the other because with every session in which I shoot both film and digital there are times when each of them seems to be best suited for a particular situation. It depends on the light or the shadows or time of day. But they each have their strengths and I love mixing film in with my digital work.
Just for fun: first image set below, left is film, right is digital.
This Willow tree in full leafy goodness is going to be magical! I can’t wait to go back and photograph more sessions underneath it in the summer.
I love the next two – they feel more fashion than traditional senior portrait session but that’s one of the things I set out to do with this shoot – I wanted to mix up my own ideas about what a senior session was “supposed” to look like. Megan did a great job at rocking not only a girl-next-door high school senior vibe but also an edgier vibe.
I’m going to apologize now but I’m in love with barn light. So we did several series both in and out of the light. And all of the images below are a mixture again of film and digital.
Thank you to this horse for giving me several laugh out loud moments while editing this session. His ear positions were all over the place thanks to someone off camera calling his name to keep him interested and engaged for his big photo debut!
There are more coming from this inspiration session in Part 2 – so be sure to check back on the blog next week! This location has several more gorgeous and surprising spots that you don’t want to miss.
Let’s work together to come up with a truly unique and beautiful high school senior portrait session. I’m now booking for high school portrait sessions for the Class of 2013 and 2014! A professional makeup artist is included with every session to bring out your natural beauty. There’s also unlimited wardrobe changes (within reason!) and help styling your session, so you can be sure your photos stand out.
Contact me using the form on this website or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a welcome packet with details on the Amy Sandoval Photography Senior Portrait Experience and take the first step to booking your senior portrait session today!
Model | Megan Cameron from Stevenson’s Modeling Agency
Makeup| Samantha Joyner
Hair Styling | Krystal Valdepena (AOC Salon, Norfolk) & Samantha Joyner
Photography Assistant | Samantha Joyner
Locations | Hunt Club Farm & Cypress Creek Stables
There’s a line in the last Twilight movie (shutup! I watch it for the good music, haha!) in which Edward says something about always underestimating Bella. I can really relate to that sentiment. I vowed from the time Olivia was young to do my best not to limit her by my own worries, fears or judgments. I wanted to be sure that I gave her the space and confidence to try new things. But sometimes I underestimate her or worry or want to protect her and she never ceases to prove me wrong!
She told me she wanted to sing in the school talent show, I encouraged her and we set out together to find a song for her to sing. However, as much as she loves to sing – she won’t sing by herself if she thinks anyone is listening. So this whole talent show thing was a pretty big breakthrough. She picked “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood to sing and I said no. I couldn’t imagine her picking a harder song, not to mention one that was just a little mature in terms of subject matter. One afternoon I asked her to sing several options to me along to the karaoke versions of the songs (not always easy to find!) and I was dumbfounded to discover that she could indeed sing Blown Away.
Once again I’d underestimated her. This child who didn’t dare sing a note in front of us (though she loves singing with the school chorus group!) could indeed sing this complex, breath-control-requiring song. So while I wasn’t quite sure about the mature content of the song, I decided to trust that this kid knows what she’s doing.
And sure enough, she got up on that stage – Act #26 out of 60 (wowsers! God bless the saint of a lady who organizes the show every year!) and she sang her song with a smile on her face and seemingly no fear in her heart. And before she left the stage she gave a little flirty wave, laughed and even a little bow as instructed by the director! There would be no Taylor Swift love song or rendition of the popular “Cups” song (there were three performances of that at the show that night!) for this girl’s first public singing night. She sang a big country ballad about the power of overcoming domestic abuse.
I tell you all of this with great hope that she keeps this fearless streak alive inside as she gets older. I think it’s hard for girls sometimes. We’re hard on ourselves – and Olivia is definitely a perfectionist at times. She’s also petite – she’s typically the shortest in her class as I always was and still am the shortest in any given setting. I try not to let it slow me down but sometimes it does make me more of a wallflower than it should.
And when we’re not tearing ourselves down we fall prey to the way we tear one another down. And before you know it that fearless streak is harder to find. It gets buried a little deeper than it should. I’m not sure I ever had the confidence that Olivia has to take risks. It wasn’t something that girls were encouraged to embrace in our generation (am I right moms over 30?). But I hope that these girls bring this confidence with them into adulthood.
The next time I talk myself out of trying something for fear of not being good enough, I want to have a Blown Away moment of my own. I’m trying to take more risks even in how and what I’m shooting with photography, even in recognizing that the pursuit of the perfect image is not always the pursuit of the most storytelling image.
I recently got these posters for Olivia’s room to remind her to keep taking risks and stay fierce!:
All dressed up and ready to sing Blown Away!
Still smiling on the stage, Act #26!
When a client hires you the first time it’s always an honor. When they come back a second time it’s that much cooler because it means they really like your work. But when they come back year after year it’s an absolute honor. I don’t mean to play favorites but this family is a favorite to photograph because they are so easy going and photogenic and the boys are always happy AND they bring such great ideas to me. At our session last FALL, she began talking with me about a spring session under the Yoshino Cherry trees at Red Wing Park. As our session date approached this spring, it was clear that the cold spring temps were going to delay the blooming dates. Leilanie nervously watched the bloom schedule websites and they even scouted the blooms while I was out of town. I love her dedication!
Their oldest was a tiny little shy thing when we first met almost three years ago. We met up again when his baby brother was born and I began to see the ham he was becoming under that shy smile! It’s been such a pleasure watching them become a family of four.
The first few images of the trees are film.
Such joy on the boy’s faces!
Not shy anymore. In fact, a little bit of a ham!
And you may remember this sweet set of three shots of their youngest waking up during his newborn session:
It felt right that I caught another series of three shots of him with his dad!
A few parting shots of the blossoms. So beautiful.
Thank you Leilanie for introducing me to this gorgeous spring experience! Your gallery is coming your way very soon!