Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Self-Portrait | June 2012

I graduated from high school 20 years ago this month. Gasp! I know everyone says it, but I seriously have no clue how it has been 20 years since I graduated! It certainly doesn't feel like that many years have passed by since I walked across that stage and received my diploma, and I definitely don't feel like I am 20 years older. In my head I'm still 25 and I still look like I did back in high school.

In honor of this milestone, I decided to do something a little different for this month's self-portrait. I held a contest on facebook and asked fans to vote for which of my high school senior portraits I should recreate 20 years later as a self-portrait.

It was only after the winner was selected that I started to really consider what it was going to take to recreate the chosen portrait.  First, I was going to have to try to find some clothes that sort of resembles the outfit I had on in my senior photo.  Second, I was going to have to track down a chair.  Third, I was going to have to squeeze myself into it!

Obviously, I was never going to find the exact shirt I had on in the photo so I opted for one a similar color.  That part wasn't too difficult since blue is my favorite color and I have tons of it in my wardrobe.  Every pair of jeans I own is very dark in color with wide legs that I didn't think I'd be able to peg. But that issue wasn't too hard to solve by raiding my husbands closet and stealing a pair of his jeans.  I even still own the ring I had on in the photo, and dug that out of the jewelry box and put it on.  I wasn't about to cut bangs into my hair or get a perm, so I did the best I could to mimic my hairstyle with a curling iron.  And it just about killed me to take this photo with next to no make up on!  I didn't realize how little make up I wore back then until I was trying to copy the photo.

Next up was the chair, so I put a request up on facebook and luckily a friend offered to let me borrow a chair from her.  I knew there was no way I was going to come up with a solid white background for the photo, so I decided not to try and instead just took the photo in the backyard of our rental house.

And finally, I have to admit that the squeezing myself into it was a bit harder than I thought it would be, and I'm surprised that I don't look uncomfortable in the photo because I definitely was!  It kinda felt like I was attempting to fold myself in half to squeeze into that position and it was a challenge to resume it quickly enough after clicking the remote.

So, I give to you, Michele Whitacre


And then...

So, how did I do?

Honestly, I had a ridiculous amount of fun setting up this photo and bring everything together to make it happen. Although, it is a bit depressing to compare the photos side by side and realize that I don't quite look the same as I did back then no matter how much I wish I did.

Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jessi's Sneak Peek

I spent last Sunday morning photographing Jessi, and I have to admit that her session is one of my favs of all time! Sometimes everything just clicks to create the perfect photos, and this was definitely one of those times.

Jessi and I started chatting about the location for her session and when she suggested the photographer's dream area that I had discovered a few months ago I was sooo excited.  Once I knew where we were going to shoot, I mentioned to Jessi that she might want to consider wearing something that was a bright, solid color to set her apart from the art that we would be using as backgrounds, and I suggested maybe a sundress.

After her shopping trip she sent me a photo of her dress, and it was like she was reading my mind.  I couldn't have possibly picked anything more perfect! Then she shows up for her session and tells me that she brought some jewelry with her but she was wanted to know if it was too much. She pulled out that gorgeous blue necklace and I about fell over.  Too much?  Are you nuts?  It's sensational!

Jessi said that she wanted a photo with one particular mural, and when she described it I knew instantly which one she was talking about since I've been drooling over it since I first saw it. We had to improvise a teeny bit since most of the mural was in pretty harsh direct sunlight but we still managed to capture the mural in all it's glory.

So here you are Jessi, one gorgeous photo of you with the the stained glass mural!...

As this photo clearly shows, Jessi isn't afraid to get out there and live life and have fun.   Seriously, take a look at those shoes she's jumping in!  When I asked her if she thought she could jump in them she didn't even hesitate to give it a try...

There truly are not words for this one. Jessi, you look FREAKING AMAZING!!!...

This is one of my absolute favs from our session.  Of course, it helps that the background is such a gorgeous blue, which is my all time favorite color, but I also love Jessi's expression here.  I was trying to get her to give me a sassy pose with one of her hips jutted out to the side.  She was barely moving, but felt like she was getting crazy with it and was laughing at me over it...

After a quick outfit change, we were back at it to capture some more photos.  This second set obviously has a different look and feel to them, and allows a different side of Jessi to shine through.  And after getting to know Jessi during our session I learned that there are definitely different sides to this girl!  She went from art major to law school!  That's certainly something you don't run into every day, but I have no doubt that she is equally fabulous at both of them.

Jessi, you are gorgeous!...

Check out those stunning baby blues...

I cannot tell you how hard I had to work to get this photo! Usually when I do sessions, I have to work to get clients to have natural smiles for the camera. So, I spend a lot of time trying to get them to laugh so they look natural. Not Jessi! It is very rare to find this lovely lady without a smile on her face, and every time I was trying to capture a more serious expression she broke out into a huge grin before I could capture it...

Jessi really was a blast to photograph. She came up with a lot of her own poses, and kept asking if she could try doing different things, which I love! At the end of the day, I want the photos I take to be all about the client so it is great when they suggest things they want to try. This was just one of her many wonderful suggestions, all of which she pulled off perfectly. Except for looking gansta, she couldn't quite manage that one. She couldn't keep from breaking out into smiles as she was trying it. :)

I hope you enjoyed seeing Jessi's photos on the blog because this gorgeous girl will be back again soon for a few fun-filled family sessions.  So, stay tuned.

Jessi, thank you so much for allowing me to take your photos, and a huge thanks for getting up at the crack of dawn and braving the Phoenix summer heat.  It was wonderful getting to chat with you during our session and I can't wait to take more photos of you and your family soon.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BBL 2011-2012 | Try to Surf


Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

Every time I have seen surfing in a movie, or IRL, it looked like so much fun that I wanted to try it for myself.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

It was so much better than I expected! I thought it would be really hard to stand up and balance, but it really wasn't. I never expected to be able to stand up on the board, but I was able to get to a standing position from my very first attempt.

The details...

We opted to take surfing lessons for one of our excursions while we were on the island of Kauai.  The instructors started out by showing us how to stand up while we were still on land, and then we took our boards and headed off to the water.  (Only I'm such a wimp that I couldn't carry mine and one of the instructors had to do it for me!)  Then we took turns paddling out to one of the instructors, who would wait for a wave to come and then give us a push into it and tell us to paddle and then stand up.

I'm sure it would have been much harder without the instructors telling us exactly what to do and when to stand!  Even so, I'm sure that if I lived some place with easy access to an ocean, I would continue surfing.  I had an insane amount of fun, even if I did come home covered in bruises from the board knocking me over numerous times when I was trying to wrestle with it in the waves crashing along shore.

I was too busy learning to surf to take any action shots, but here is a photo of Kevin and I after we were all done with our lesson...

Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BBL 2011-2012 | Cruise Around the Hawaiian Islands


Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

Because it's Hawaii. Duh!

And because I've been fascinated with Hawaii for pretty much my entire life, but thus far the only island I had visited was Maui.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

A week definitely wasn't long enough to even begin to see and do everything that I would have wanted to, but it was wonderful to get a taste of the different islands. In general, the trip was a definite dream come true! But, going back to explore more that the islands have to offer will absolutely be on a future Birthday Bucket List.

The details...

Kevin and I, along with my family, took a 7 day cruise aboard the Norwegian Pride of America. The cruise visited ports on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, and back to Oahu. While we were there we did all sorts of fun things... we went snorkeling, swam under waterfalls, hiked through a rain forest, went kayaking, toured coffee and chocolate fields, went to a luau, went tubing, and toured Pearl Harbor. We also got to enjoy all of the typical cruise activities, like eating way too much and being amused by daily towel animals.

I didn't take as many photos on this trip as I usually do. In all honesty, I never even took my DSLR out of my camera bag! Since most of the excursions we opted to do were active and near water, I took most of the vacation photos with my point and shoot in its waterproof case. It felt a bit odd not to have a camera constantly in hand, but it was also great to feel like I was really engaged in the moments and experiencing the trip instead of worrying constantly about trying to capture the moments in photos. I'm very guilty of trying so hard to capture the prefect photos, that I often miss out on a lot of life as it is happening. I certainly didn't do that on this trip and it was a welcome change.

Of course, it is impossible to visit Hawaii and not take at least a few photos of the stunning scenery.  So, here is a peek at the amazing Hawaii landscape that I was lucky enough to experience while I was there...

Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.