Preston and Nick were McKinney High School Seniors who were in the theater department. I had the pleasure to photograph them for a local Eldorado magazine in the “black box” at McKinney High.
For a local magazine feature, I headed out to meet with the two of them to discuss ideas at the High School. Preston told me about his involvement not only in the school theater department, but that he also lead a lot of the school spirit events with sports and things like the school talent show.
At McKinney, they get to write and direct their own plays. Preston and his friends wrote a skit set in the 80s, almost as if it was coming from a John Hughes Movie. This shoot was going to be right up my alley.
Obviously, we didn’t have a big production budget to take over the high school, build sets and a film crew, so we came up with an equally fun idea for these McKinney High School seniors.
Vanity Fair is a magazine that I pull a lot of inspiration from. Each year Mark Seliger, a famous photographer, does a portrait series at the Oscars. He builds a set and the actors come by to take part in that year’s theme photo shoot. You can see the 2019 Oscar Portraits by going here.
So my idea was, how can we do this? McKinney High School has something called “the black box”. This is an amazing practice room that I would have died to have back when I was at Bangor High Schoool back where I grew up. It’s just like a stage but more of a classroom environment where they can practice their plays.
They also perform the one-act student-written plays in there to prepare for UIL competition. I know this was it! So with a look inspired by Seliger and also the exposed backdrop look and celebrity portraits by Annie Leibovitz, we were all set.
I think when we asked the theater teacher about shooting there, she had no idea the type of production I bring along. This is a fun photo that shows off the black box practice room but also shows you a little bit about what it takes to light my work with McKinney High School seniors.
You can see to the left that there are pre-built stairs that go to a part of the practice set. I wanted to work that into the backdrop of the photos as well as the well-worn flooring. It all worked perfectly to lend to the space of the portraits.
This was a 3 light setups for Prestons photo, and you can see more of the finished photo below. Each light serves its own purpose in making the final image.
I knew that Preston and his friends were a lot of fun just from meeting them and that they shared my passion for movies. One of their favorite shows is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As you can see, we used that for a little inspiration in the title photo. So I wanted to play around with the props that were around the stage and see what fun things we could come up with.
The photo on the left is from a. series of photos where I asked Preston to just start jumping in. the air, knowing that something fun would come from it. The photo on the right was a prop sword. I loved the idea of mixing the seriousness of the suit with something fun like you see with the sword. I think we definitely accomplished the fun that we. were going for.
There was a series done by Annie Leibovitz of famous directors with some of their favorite actors. I thought this would be a neat idea for this photo since Preston was the director and Nick was one of the actors.
I think doing a few photos with your close high school friends is something that a lot of places do not think to do, especially for guys. But what a great way to remember your high school years. As you go off to college it’s a. great reminder of. all the fun that you had. together and something that you will remember for a lifetime.
Nick really had a swagger and look to. him that photographed great. I love this lighting on him below that you see of a slightly harsher light coming from above. It lights his hair nicely and. gives him a bit more of a rugged look. He looks a little like Heath Ledger in these photos.
Guys, a simple black suit goes such a long way, with a nice slim fit.
Inspired by their favorite TV show, it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, at the end of the photo shoot we took some really fun photos of all 3 of them. Nick standing in a. garbage can, Nick with an umbrella and his friend with a sword. The Hawaiian shirts sealed the deal.
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I would love to create something this creative for all of the McKinney High School Seniors.
As is with our entire website, student-athletes who are shown here do not represent an official endorsement or promotion of our company. All student-athletes have paid full price for their sessions and have not been given any special privilege or deal not available to all students. Thank you