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High School Senior Turned Cover Girl

The best part about being a Beauty photographer is showing real women that they are every bit as gorgeous as the stars of fashion magazines.

 

When a young adult with a gleaming personality, an unforgettable smile, and an up-for-anything spirit crosses in front of my lens, you know there’s magic in the making!

 

Read on for the full story behind Katie’s senior portrait shoot or just enjoy her fabulous custom fashion magazine here:

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

Meet Katie. This is Katie’s graduating year from high school.

 

She’s the first born of three sisters (all with matching Rapunzel blonde hair and beautiful smiles). Katie has a fun sense of humor and a down-to-earth, humble personality. She’s also got a knack for seeing the world with a level head and mature perspective.

The coolest thing about her is that she loves to learn and is not afraid to be at the top of her class. Ashton Kutcher might be on to something with his now famous tip: be smart, be thoughtful, be generous. Katie is all of the above. And her beauty shines from the inside out!

 

Katie and her mom decided to celebrate this big Senior year milestone with a very special portrait shoot. They wanted to go beyond the standard cap and gown shots and let Katie step into a model’s shoes for the day.

 

Katie was psyched for the adventure. I was delighted to stretch my creativity. In this blog, I’ll share some fave highlights and the story behind the captures.

 

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

As you can see, Katie is a gorgeous teen right from the start!

 

Our fab hair and makeup artist Brittany did a great job keeping her look age-appropriate but with that perfect glam touch. Everyone loves the luxury of spending an hour with professional hair and makeup artistry. During that time, Katie’s mom and I got busy fine tuning the details of the day.

 

We plotted out a full day shoot with themes ranging from Grunge Princess to Woodland Fairy.

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

Nothing like a beat up, grafitti-ed warehouse to make an exciting backdrop! There’s so much I love about the shot above. I situated the crates (a fabulous rental from Sweet Southern Charm) right in a beautiful patch of natural light.

 

Katie sat down to lace up her boots and I said “OMG” (…yes, I speak in acronyms…) “Stop right there!”

 

There was something so lovely about the metaphor of changing shoes, changing roles, changing life. The heels are perfectly lovely and pretty, but the boots keep it real. During our wardrobe consultation, Katie had the great idea to pair these kick-butt boots with her denim shorts. I said “How bout with the dress?” and her eyes lit up! It’s juxtaposition like this that makes for exciting fashion editorial looks.

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

This next dress was an absolute show-stopper!

 

Katie looks like she just stepped out of a Vogue fashion shoot.

 

…Or maybe she just got lost in Frozen Arendelle.

 

All I know is that she’s gorgeous!

 

Want to know just how glam this setup really was…?

What you don’t see in this shoot was dutiful Brittany (camera right) with curling iron at the ready in one hand and makeshift fan (fashioned from cardboard) in the other, creating that fabulous whooshing hair. Meanwhile my assistant Deanna (camera left) came to the rescue by throwing the dress up in the air take after take after take. I squatted down low and tried to avoid falling in a puddle of stagnant water on the concrete floor. Katie kept her killer model face throughout and carefully followed every bit of my precision direction even as cars zoomed past, drivers scratching their heads at our ordeal and occasionally honking. We decided to take the honks as a compliment, thankyouverymuch, and carried on.

 

Honk if you love fashion!

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

Location #2 on our journey (3 if you’re counting our in-studio shoot) was downtown Fort Myers. Downtown is perfect for a range of scenes. We climbed steps, scouted out great light and crayola color walls, posed in front of funky doors, and took a detour for cokes and cookies at Subway.

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

Just in case you were worried we’d never show you that fab smile of hers, feast your eyes on the shot above!

 

We wanted to have lots of fashion takes but we also were sure to capture Katie’s soft side with honest, open, approachable headshots. This is a real expression and pose that everyone from school classmates to doting Grandma is sure to appreciate.

 

Megan DiPiero Photography {High School Senior Turned Cover Girl}

Finally, we rounded off the day with warm golden light and nature backdrop at Koreshan State Historic Park. Katie’s mom came to the rescue with a delivery of flowers from the craft store that we fashioned into a hair wreath. Just before this shot we did a candid running and spinning series which resulted in wild, unruly hair. Rather than tame those tresses, I decided to celebrate the woodland fairy spirit and directed Katie to try out some new expressions. The whole look came together beautifully and just in time too! (We made it out just before the park closed.)

 

Great images deserve to be printed in a very special way!

 

The perfect keepsake for this model-in-the-making is a one-of-a-kind fashion magazine, complete with Katie’s own words and reflections.

 

I designed a slick glossy magazine for Katie to share with her friends at high school (and soon college) and an heirloom quality album for the family to display at home. We’re proud to announce that this design has been selected as an upcoming AsukaBook “Book of the Month” for creative design and beautiful imagery. If you didn’t click it before, scroll back up and check it out!

 

Katie and Kristen, thank you so much for inviting me to create this adventurous day with you! I love how you said yes to every idea and brought your own ideas and contributions to the table too. Katie, I know you will do well in the years ahead. You are charming, bright, and a true joy to be around. Best of luck in college and beyond!

Thanks to all the readers for checking out this post and learning more about the fun Beauty shoots we have at Megan DiPiero Photography. Stop on over to Facebook to say hey or follow MDP on Instagram

 

Are you a Pinterest lover like me? I have lots of great inspiration images gathered on my pin boards from the glamorous world of fashion and celebrities. Come follow my Beauty boards. Happy pinning!

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Crop it Like It’s Hot {how to crop your portraits for modern fashion flair}

From time to time, a client will ask me: “Megan, what happened to the top of my head?!”

Megan DiPiero Photography {Crop it Like It

Seeing your picture with part of your head lopped off may be alarming, uncomfortable and downright disconcerting. It breaks the conventions we’ve come to know so well. After all, anyone who’s grown up in America and had their yearbook photo snapped year after year after year, knows that eyeballs go near the center of the frame and heads are left fully intact.

Check it out for yourself. Hop on over to your Google browser and image search the term “high school yearbook pictures.” I’ll wait right here while you give it a go….

See what I mean. That’s what a photo ought to look like!

…Or is it?

See anything else that jumps out at you about those pictures? Did your image search turn up a bunch of black and white photos?

 

The conventions of portrait cropping have changed over the decades. I’d like to think for the better!

In this blog, I’ll introduce you to the New Rules of portrait cropping and fashion cropping. I’ll tell you all about how modern professional photographers use cropping and composition know-how to enhance the way the world views your headshot or portrait.

 

Like so many trends, the bending of our portrait photography rules starts with the fashion industry. Let’s do a quick Google image search of “fashion magazine cover.”

Count the number of times that heads have been cut off to some degree.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Crop it Like It

These crops sure don’t resemble what we were used to seeing with our old-school yearbook pics. See how high up the models’ eyes are positioned in the frame? Notice how your gaze goes right to their eyes even with all the visual distractions of word overlays and big hair and fabulous fashion screaming for our attention.

What’s going on here?

Eye contact is a powerful thing. We are programmed to connect with eyes, not so much the tops of heads.

 

Let’s play good crop, bad crop. Look what happens when we move a portrait around within a frame. We’ll use the old school rules and the new rules of cropping.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Crop it Like It

Let’s say we wanted to show a close up of beautiful Jaime. Closeups lend extra connection and intimacy. If we were to show the entire head and bring the eyes into the center of the frame (a la Olan Mills), our image would resemble the one on the right above. Using the modified Rule of Thirds on the left (more on this soon), we create a very different look and feeling.

Notice how you respond emotionally to the two images.

In the image on the left, our model exudes power, confidence, assurance.

 

We are literally and metaphorically looking up to her. In the image on the right, with her eyes positioned lower, she seems submissive, smaller in the frame, even unsure.

The fashion world wants us to look up to our fashion icons. The higher in the frame they go, the more our eyes drift up, looking for that connection. Our clever minds subconsciously fill in the missing piece of the round head and we are left with the emotion of the image without the worry that our poor models have recently undergone lobotomies.

But what if you really, really want to see the top of her head? There’s a simple solution to that. Your photographer need only step back a few paces. The composition rules stay in place but the subject becomes smaller and smaller in the frame.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Crop it Like It

Notice how the eyes are neatly lined up along an imaginary horizontal axis? On the whole, I wouldn’t say that one image crop is necessarily “better than” the next.

But I will say that at this scale, the strongest, most intimate connection with the subject is the image in which her face fills the frame most completely, lopped off head and all.

Since 2/3rd crop and tight crops are the most popular lengths for headshots, they are also the images most notoriously missing part of your head.

 

“Okay, got it. Now tell me more about that Rule of Thirds, Megan.”

Thought you’d never ask.

The Rule of Thirds is an artistic concept of composition that you can see at work in many masterpieces from historical to modern times. The idea is that you would split an image into three columns both horizontally and vertically using imaginary lines. The most pleasing compositions are ones in which the points of impact in the image align with one of the points of intersection of the Rule of Thirds lines.

 

Remember, when it comes to portraits and headshots, the impact is in the eyes.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Crop it Like It

A classic example of a Rule of Thirds crop is seen at left above. The eyes are neatly aligned on that top third line and the points of intersection align exactly with her eyes. This would be a fine portrait crop as is. But rules are meant to be broken!

To get my beautiful subject Michele ready for a fashion magazine cover or a captivating headshot, I could take a page out of the fashion industry’s book and bring her eyes up just a bit into the top most portion of the frame. I also added a little extra visual oomph by tilting the image and going the teeniest bit asymmetrical on ya. Artist’s prerogative! The diagonal lines of her mouth, eyes, and flowing hair make for an extra compelling image. The only thing that’s missing is the top of her head and that’s a-ok with me. I suspect by now it’s a-ok with you as a viewer, too.

 

Now that you see the power of cropping, why not give it a try at home?

The next time you post a new Facebook profile pic, dare yourself to get off center. Move your eyes further up in the frame and see how changing the crop changes your emotional response. When shooting snapshots too, move your camera viewer around.

Center targets are sooooo 1950′s. Jump into the modern portrait scene and crop it like it’s hot!

I’ll bet the next time you spy the row of fashion magazine in line at the grocery store, you’ll nod knowingly at the chopped heads and appreciate your new insider knowledge.:)

 

Crop on, fashion friends!

 

Want to see more fashion-forward portraits? Head on over to our Beauty portraits gallery.

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Want to learn more RIGHT NOW? We have a “Tips” section on the blog just perfect for you! Here’s one of our most talked about how-to’s: http://blog.megandipiero.com/posing-secrets-of-the-red-carpet/ Enjoy!

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Headshots are the new handshake

When a stranger first sees your headshot, what do you want them to say? To think? To feel?

We help our clients put their best foot forward with approachable, confident headshots. Portraits that showcase them in their best, most beautiful light.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Headshots are the New Handshake}

This month’s Headshot Mini Marathon spots are going fast! Call Megan at 239-898-4112 to lock in your spot on March 31, 2014. When the next person sees your headshot, we want their reaction to be “wow!” You deserve nothing less!

Enjoy some of our favorite headshots in our headshot portfolio.  Check out what our headshot clients have to say about their experience.

Megan DiPiero Photography {Headshots are the New Handshake}

Megan DiPiero Photography {Headshots are the New Handshake}

Megan DiPiero Photography {Headshots are the New Handshake}

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