“The session I am submitting was shot with one of my seniors, Molly, whom I met Molly while photographing the plays and musicals at our local high school. Not only is she obviously beautiful but she is a riot as well. So much so that I had been looking forward to working with her since she was a sophomore in high school.
I love working with all the theater kids and Molly is someone very special. We shot in the studio for about an hour then took a forty minute ride to a location where I grew up. Her session yielded over six hundred images so choosing eight here was difficult.
Molly started singing in elementary school and performed in shows whenever she had the opportunity, and was one of the leads in Aida – which is her favorite to date. Once she graduates in 2015, she will be pursuing a career in business and finance and her top choice schools so far are Northeastern, George Washington Univ, and Boston Univ.
For our session she created her own personal clothing style by mixing trendy pieces with basics.”
Joey’s Photography Tip:
You need to have a genuine interest in the kids.
My career has never been just about taking pictures for money. There is a purpose to my work.
I’ve often been asked to do workshops or teach on a PPA level but have always refrained because my work or personal style really is generated from my relationships and conversations with my seniors (I am very much a conversationalist) and I don’t know how to teach that other than explain that it’s just my personality.
I am genuinely interested in every kid that I get to work with. I photograph young adults who are nearing the end of the comfort and safety of their childhood. I want to know everything about them. Their family dynamics, what their plans for their future are, how are they doing in school, who their friends are, crazy stories about their childhood, etc.
I don’t consciously look at it as a goal to make a new friend, either; rather, my goal with every session is for my subject to never feel as though they are being photographed, but rather more like they’re just hanging out with a friend. We then become good friends in the process.
I can relate to every ‘food group’ of kids too – jocks, nerds, burnouts, and non-conformists. I’ve been told I can have an intelligent conversation with a tree.
The way I see it, I have a responsibility not only as a photographer but as a mature adult (and a dad myself) to give the best experience and images to the kids as well as have a genuine interest in the well-being of the kids for their parents and our school community.
Because I’m neutral and non judgmental (not a teacher nor their parent), the kids will open up freely in conversation and truly express themselves. I will never take that responsibility for granted, and my images show it. Not only that, but the kids know it, and so do their parents.
Here is an example of what one of my seniors, Amanda, wrote about her session recently:
Joey and I had worked together previously, as he photographed most of our shows at Cheshire High School. It was amazing and fun to work with him, but I could never have imagined the level of awesomeness I experienced. My session was an absolute blast. Joey has an easygoing way about him that made me feel as though I could be my honest self around him, and that’s what makes his portraits so real. He captures the essence of everyone’s unique beauty and makes you feel like more than just a high school senior. In fact, I never felt like a senior. The portraits express my character and tell a story of who I am. They are worth a thousand words and more. I could never thank him enough.
When you reach that point where everyone knows you genuinely care about them (and you’re getting reviews like the one Amanda left me above), you’ll create a following and you will never have to market yourself. Your clients will do it for you.
Joey used a Nikon D3 with a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, a Nikkor 50mm lens, and a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to capture these images.
Want to watch Joey in action and see how he interacts with clients? Joey is one of the lead shooters at the 2015 Seniors Ignite event, which means that event attendees will get a chance to work with Joey directly.
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