I'm probably not the first to mention it, but summer is just about over and school will be in session again in just a few weeks. For folks who don't have kids or those whose children are grown, it's no big deal.
For parents who do have kids going back to school, they know it is a very big deal, especially for two certain groups of students - those who are entering kindergarten and those who are starting the 12th grade. Both are major milestones in life. You might forget about all the grades in the middle, but you don't forget your senior year or kindergarten. I'm pretty sure if someone asked you to provide a story or picture about your experience in school it would most likely involve one or the other.
Why are these two grades so important? Because they are both memorable times of excitement and mark major changes in a child or young adult's life. The student might be scared, but most likely the parents are even more scared. So what do you do when you are scared and something exciting is going on in your life? Take a picture of course to prove it really happened.
Senior portraits are something that I specialize in and I get more excited about photographing seniors every season. We all know it is not my first day on the job and you might wonder why seniors are so much fun for me. One of the advantages of being a small town photographer is that I've photographed these students since they were kids and have watched them grow over the years into adults. This week I photographed a young couple for maternity portraits, both of whom I have known since they were kids and photographed their senior portraits. It is terrible how all these kids get older and I don't.
Another reason I like photographing seniors is because they are into everything - bikes, guns, cars and any kind of sport or activity you can imagine. Everyone has different hobbies and interests and that's what challenges me most to come up with creative ideas that are unique and tell the story of the senior. Senior portraits can be very emotional, too. I've frequently witnessed what I call the "senior eye roll." That is when a senior's mother has messed with the senior girl's hair one too many times. It is not unusual to catch a parent quietly wiping away tears during the session and most of the time it's not because of the price.
I would like to be the first to wish the class of 2012 good luck with the upcoming school year. To all my readers who are starting kindergarten, be sure to have fun and take lots of naps; but don't be surprised when you wake up to find yourself in 12th grade.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer and past president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)