Saturday, August 1, 2020

Where to do Senior Pictures - Dallas Arboretum - by Flower Mound Photographer Lisa McNiel

Great options for senior pictures abound in Dallas and Fort Worth... Which ones to choose? Here are examples from the Dallas Arboretum with Flower Mound Marcus grad and future Baylor Bear, Morgan!


Follow me on Pinterest here: DallasPhotographer 

To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 
DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.


We went in the Fall around Halloween and Thanksgiving so they had all the pumpkins out and Fall colors, and Morgan wore burgundy to coordinate.


This is something you need to know! They don't allow you to change in the rest rooms, so dress in layers, or bring a sheet or something to change behind in a non-crowded area.


You'll find columns, walkways, beautiful leading lines, and gorgeous colors.


A little something from her mom, when I asked her to describe Morgan and give me a look at how she was a child and growing up!

From a young age, we knew Morgan had a big heart to serve others and a big voice to sing! She has always been kindhearted, smart, generous and very outgoing! Even in her kindergarten class, Morgan was the student that her teacher looked to in order to bring unity and togetherness among her friends. She was a born negotiator and could smooth over any conflicts and restore peace. This innate trait will serve her well as she pursues a career in Human Resources.
As a little girl, Morgan loved to watched musicals and was mesmerized by the High School Musical movies. This led her to sing all the time and eventually to join choir in school. Morgan has a strong, beautiful voice and has an amazing stage presence. She enjoys performing in the Marcus Choir, in Marcus Theater productions and for her HS a capella group, Dually Noted. Morgan has been received numerous awards for singing in choir competitions, both as an individual and in a group.
As they say, Morgan is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She has a heart for serving others demonstrated by her caring for 2 year olds at Valley Creek Church every Sunday and teaching VBS in the summers. She was elected President of the National Charity League, a mother/daughter community service organization, and has served 100+ hours while helping many local organizations like Young Lives, CCA, Rosewood Assisted Living, FM Senior Center and Keep Flower Mound Beautiful.
I have no doubt that Morgan will be a huge success as she starts the next chapter of her life; she will major in business at Baylor University and will continue her to serve those around her.


If you are really into nature and flowers, this is a good option. It's more manicured, so not the "wild flowers in the field" look, or the urban look, but the beautiful, manicured garden look, with architectural elements. 


As you can imagine, there is a LOT of walking, so if you want to wear heels, stuff them in your purse and just put them on for the pictures you want. A little black dress - LBD - is a great choice with hot pink shoes!!!


Stone walls, steps, and the backdrop of  White Rock Lake all make for great posing sites. You really have to watch time of day and where the sun is because light is so important!



Some of my favorite spots were where the vegetation was positioned in a way to frame Morgan's face.


Her lovely mom was her clothing assistant, and my lighting person for the day!  This can be a wonderful memory to make together when you schedule senior pictures.


Don't forget your letter jacket, if you have one, props, interests, and future plans, like school T-shirts and banners when deciding what to bring.

Best of luck and blessings to sweet Morgan as she continues her musical and academic path at Baylor in Waco, Texas!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

7 Mistakes Parents Make When Hiring a Senior Picture Photographer


7 mistakes parents make when hiring a Senior Picture Photographer

7 mistakes parents make when choosing a senior photographer


Mistake #1. Going with the school photographer

I'm not saying don't get photos made with the school photographer. You absolutely need the tux or drape and pearls photos and I liked all three of my kids' images, but I didn't consider them Senior Pictures, just Yearbook Photos. 

I know you are asked to bring props and they will do extra poses in hopes of selling you a package, but they are required to do the same angle, lighting, and poses every time, and literally no experience or passion or creativity is required. This is a screenshot from a page answering questions about what it's like to work for a well-known major school portrait chain: 
Did you catch that? "No interview, hired on the spot when I went in to ask about open positions. They just want you to pass a background check."

Mistake #1 going with the school photographer

Mistake #2. Skipping senior portraits... 

A. Because your son or daughter doesn't want them...

This is an emotional and hormonal age for many teens. I didn't give my children a choice just like my mom didn't give me a choice. My parents have had 16x20 inch framed portraits of my sisters' and I on their wall for 35 years. When I teased them about us not looking like that anymore, my mom said, "That's my life's work on that wall and I've very proud of all three!" Also, it was great fun to see my daughter when she was about that age standing in front of my portrait.



B. Because there's not enough time...

There's never enough time to do what you're unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Contact a good photographer and he/she will help you prepare and guide you through the process, including what to wear, what to bring, good locations, suggestions for hair and makeup experts, posing, etc. I can tell you that the only time I'm really bossy is when I have that camera in front of my face! I'm constantly talking and watching and seeing what works and what doesn't, seeing if my model is comfortable or not, has their own ideas that I can go with, etc. Part of my education is in communication and this is one of the ways in which it is very helpful.



C. Because money is tight...

I get it. I do... HOWEVER, you can never go back. You could not pay me enough money for pictures of my parents when they were young, or my husband and me, or my own children. This is an important time in life. If you can only afford one or two prints, or only school portraits, at least do that. Ask a bride what she would do differently if she were to do a wedding all over again, and it usually has to do with hiring a cheap photographer. Trinkets and styles come and go, but pictures last forever.


D. Because she already has lots of selfies...

Unless you want your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to only have bathroom and car selfies of their mom/grandma, this isn't a good option. Keep the best ones, absolutely! Candids are great, but that's what they are, candids.

Mistake #2 Skipping senior pictures because...


Mistake #3. Going with the cheapest option

I'm just going to let these two memes tell that story.





Mistake #3 Going with a cheap photographer


Mistake #4. Choosing from a website that advertises "10 best photographers in your area" - like Yelp, Thumbtack,  Fash, Photosesh, - those are sites that you pay to be on. Seriously, just say no to those sites.


Mistake #4 using yelp, fash, thumbtack, or photosesh

Mistake #5. Failing to research a photographer's work

   How long in business?

This tells you a lot, especially if it has been full time or part time. Approximately how many sessions have they done total? 

   See many examples of their work.

You should be able to see many examples of their work, on their website, on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on a blog. You want to see that they can replicate good work again and again.

You should be able to access my Pinterest Page Instagram Facebook, and other blogs from this blog, and here are examples from my website:

Senior Boys


   Are they a good fit?  

Their "about me" page should allow you to see their face, read a little about them, and see if you think you would feel comfortable with them.


   Do they offer professional products?

Right now you think you just want digitals, because yes... you need digitals for announcements, yearbook ads, sports and activities ads, banquets, social media, and small prints that are not going to be displayed for long. But photographers have access to printing companies who won't make automatic adjustments to the photos, or will do adjustments based on skin tones if they're working with portrait photographers. Also, eventually you will want Wall Art, and Albums are my most popular item. You may not realize it until you see one, but you'll want an album.











   Have they won awards? Been published? Have client endorsements?

Awards show that they have technical skill as judged by their peers. 

Here's where you can see Awards - scroll down on my home page.

Being published shows that they have technical and a "wow" factor that grabs attention.

Features and Publications are on this link.

Client endorsements show that they care about making the experience a positive one.

I need to update my client testimonials, but they are spread out on Lisa McNiel Photo home page.


 Do you like their style?

This is probably the most obvious, but sometimes it requires research.
    
   Do they use professional lighting and/or understand lighting?

Light is everything to photographers. Sure, we talk about locations, styling, color, posing, editing and on and on, but what we all swoon over is lighting... And you probably do too, whether you can put your finger on what it is you like about the image or not.



To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 

DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.


Mistake #6. Not booking in advance.
Most months you should be able to get an appointment, but dates before the yearbook ad deadline in the Fall, and April in the Spring are always busy. Those times need to be booked in advance.



Mistake #7. Clicking on ads instead of organic google results or taking referrals that people are getting something in return for - for example - do they get an extra print or a % off for referring people? 


Mistake #6 Not booking in advance #7 Clicking on ads


I hope this was helpful, and that if you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area and have a teen, you'll look me up. If you're in another part of the country and need a photographer, I might know somebody. Feel free to contact me!

To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 

DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.





Sunday, July 19, 2020

What to Wear for Senior Pictures - Blonds - Flower Mound Photographer Lisa McNiel

What to Wear for Senior Pictures if you have Blond Hair 


Emily has gorgeous long blond wavy hair and her color choices for photos were right on point. She wore a soft pink prom dress that showed off the pinkish undertones in her skin, yellow high-waisted pants with vertical stripes and a white top, which emphasized her long legs and worked well with the golden highlights in her hair. A light baby blue dress played up her blue eyes and soft tones in her skin and hair.




Emily's favorite memory was getting to photograph the JROTC field trip for Marcus High School's newspaper. She rode in an air force helicopter and went on a tour of the DFW area.

Her favorite quote is "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

She's planning to go into photojournalism, travel photography or wedding photography after she graduates from Brigham Young University - Idaho. She starts there this Fall.

In high school she ran track, was the editor of the newspaper and was involved with Circle of Friends.

As a senior model rep, she got to do extra shoots during the year so you'll see her in an American flag pictures for Independence Day, a special prom dress shoot in a super cool location, some Texas flag photos, because... Texas, a Carnival session in Grapevine with her best friend. You can see those images and the other senior model reps in  "Be a Senior Model" and Dallas Senior Model Team

To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 

DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

My favorite 2020 grad! Senior Pictures of a Flower Mound Dancer by Dallas Photographer Lisa McNiel



I don't like to play favorites, but I have lived next to Abby Welke's grandparents for 23 years and they are the BEST!!! If you grew up driving around looking at Christmas lights in Highland Village and had to head down Lake Haven Ct to see the "Christmas House" and Santa waving in the window, then her family contributed to your childhood. 


This brunette beauty entered the world with a big brother and a family legacy of volunteering, serving, working, playing, and giving it your all. She quickly followed in their footsteps with honors classes, dance classes, church activities, fund-raisers, and a warm hug on the rare occasions that I got to see her. She was a well-loved Marcus Marquette and a spark of fun and playfulness on my Senior Model Team. 

To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 

DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.



Her leaping photo in front of the lake at sunset earned her a feature on Inspiring Teens on Instagram. 


As a senior model rep, she got to do extra shoots during the year so you'll see her in an American flag pictures for Independence Day, a special prom dress shoot in a super cool location, some Texas flag photos, because... Texas, a Carnival session in Grapevine with her best friend. You can see those images and the other senior model reps in  "Be a Senior Model" and Dallas Senior Model Team


She's headed to Stillwater in the Fall (if they have in-person class this year) to become an Oklahoma State Cowboy! She plans to pledge a sorority so if you're an alumnae, give her an endorsement!

We did some of her senior session with her beloved chickens who definitely know her voice!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fresh, Natural Volleyball Beauty - Senior Pictures by Dallas Photographer Lisa McNiel

variety of poses of pretty teen girl in vintage town



I'm going to let this fresh, natural beauty's photos speak for themself... She was on my Senior Model Rep team so she had plenty of experience before her photos shoot and it showed! We did vintage/urban pictures in Denton and then finished up in a field with great light. 


Payton Janse was an award-winning varsity Volleyball player at 6A Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. Her favorite quote is "Take the risk or lose the chance," and her favorite memory was seeing her favorite band (Twenty-One Pilots) for the third time.

She's a stylish happy girl and always shows up on time and ready to roll!

I'm excited to see what the future holds for her at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and beyond.

As a senior model rep, she got to do extra shoots during the year so you'll see her in an American flag pictures for Independence Day, a special prom dress shoot in a super cool location, some Texas flag photos, because... Texas, a Carnival session in Grapevine with her best friend. You can see those images and the other senior model reps in  "Be a Senior Model" and Dallas Senior Model Team

To see more photos from senior photographer Lisa McNiel, click Dallas-Photographer or follow 

DFW-Senior-Photographer on Facebook or Senior Pictures on Instagram.

collage of senior pictures in vintage bookstore


variety of poses with lights  and bokeh

collage of girl posing by graffati wall

variety of poses in country natural setting

girl in variety of poses on antique bridge

bright colored carnival with girl in senior pictures

pictures of teen by variety of walls in urban setting

teen girl with American flag

collage of poses of girl with college shirt