Basketball Sr. Pic

On Taking My Niece’s Senior Pics, or I Hope I Don’t Mess This Up


Hillary letter jacketMy niece asked if I ‘d be interested in taking her senior pictures and I agreed. Like most decisions in my life, I didn’t really think it through.

My niece, Hillary, showed me a series of poses she saw on the internet and as I initially looked them over I didn’t see any issue in pulling them off. I warned her that I am not experienced in indoor shots with flash, and that I’d feel better outdoors.

Naturally, we headed to the basketball gym and started with indoor pics with flash. Hillary is a 6-foot-tall high school basketball star (who signed to play for D-1 Oral Roberts University next year) and she really didn’t want any photos in a dress or anything – she only wanted basketball photos. We went out on the basketball court and I took another look at the photo samples she had on her phone.

“This is what I want,” she said. “The rest is up to you.” She then dribbled a basketball and swished a three as I sat there looking at the photos wondering what I’d gotten myself into. Without any backgrounds or external flashes, I suddenly felt really nervous. I hope I don’t mess this up, I thought.

Although I couldn’t pull off a few of the photos, with the help of my sister, mother and 3-year-old niece, I think we did a good job.

For session two, we went to an old mansion on an overcast evening where I could use natural light with a bit of fill-in flash – this was more in my element. Hillary had to wear pretty clothes, so it may have been awkward for her. We shot photos with a basketball as a prop, of course, but also used the Bible, some confetti and the Harry Potter books. The mansion and nearby buildings provided some nice backgrounds.

What started out as terrifying and intimidating was actually quite fun and I think I’d like to do more of this. If you’d like to book me for your senior photos, family pictures, quinceanera, Bah Mitzvah, cat photos, dog photos or baby photos, I might be available. Drop me a line.


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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

33 thoughts on “On Taking My Niece’s Senior Pics, or I Hope I Don’t Mess This Up”

  1. Adventures in Kevin's World says:

    You did do well, congrats. I like the pics from the 1st session better.

    I loved shooting senior pics, they were my fave type of paid photography back when people actually paid me to do that stuff.

    • I can see that Sr. pics would be the most fun. There is less pressure than kids and weddings! Those first batch turned out pretty good I thought for my lack of experience. I had a good model! That is the main thing.

  2. Definitely some great shots of a beautiful young lady! My favorites are the first b/w from the first session and the 2nd shot of the second session. Way to go and congrats to her.

  3. What an honour for her to ask you to photograph this major milestone in her life. I love your captures Jeff, I can see her beautiful spirit in so many of these shots. Well done!

    • Thank you Lynn. It was a lot of fun taking those shots and I’m glad I got to do it. I was home for 1 week and she got her braces off the day before, so the timing was perfect!

    • Thank you Joanne. I feared that if I messed it up she’d miss the deadline to get photos to the yearbook! 🙂

      • Is that how the school yearbooks are done now? The students arrange for their own photos and then submit them for the yearbook?

  4. Todd Duffey Writes on Things says:

    Well done, Mr. Bell! As an actor always looking for new head shots, I can attest that those photos will at least get her a sports agent! From there, I think it’s all in Annie Leibovitz’s hands.

  5. that traveling nurse says:

    Diversifying eh? Good job! You pulled it off. I could never do photo sessions with people as I don’t have the patience to tell them what to do or to smile or pout or not. Just not comfortable giving directions. I tried on kids one time and it was super hard! 🙂

  6. Mechelle Andrews says:

    She’s such a nice person as well as pretty. I know that these pics will be even more special because you took them for her. Job well done!

  7. Artsy and some of the best senior pics I have ever seen! And my fav is the one before your fav – the b and w – but I like your fav too – oh and other top ones are the basketball in the hands and the long straight leg in the ledge shot!

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