Courtney's Graduation Session

No matter how many portrait sessions I have in the future, this one will always stand out to me.  Everything seemed to go wrong, but it's the one that made me laugh the hardest, and it made for some of my favorite Clemson senior pictures in the end.

After having a few weekends of portrait sessions, I had to take a weekend off because I was going to Arizona for a week.  I rented a wide-angle lens to take with me for some landscape shots, and decided to bring it back to South Carolina with me for my next portrait session with Courtney, since I didn’t have to ship the lens back until the day after that. I now have this lens and I'm excited to get wide-angle shots like these again. My new photography friend Jacob came to shadow me that day. 

 This is one shot I took with the wide-angle lens before things started to get crazy.

This is one shot I took with the wide-angle lens before things started to get crazy.

 At my last session before Courtney's, two weeks earlier, I had taken some pictures like this one with some beautiful spring flowers in President’s Park.

At my last session before Courtney's, two weeks earlier, I had taken some pictures like this one with some beautiful spring flowers in President’s Park.

 Somehow, to my disappointment, these flowers had all died before Courtney’s session, and all those lovely bushes were just gone.  This is Courtney sitting in a shady patch of mulch with the last remaining bush of flowers in President’s Park.  That was the first of many bumps in the road during that session.

Somehow, to my disappointment, these flowers had all died before Courtney’s session, and all those lovely bushes were just gone.  This is Courtney sitting in a shady patch of mulch with the last remaining bush of flowers in President’s Park.  That was the first of many bumps in the road during that session.

 After we finished this shot and Courtney moved, a group of LARPers with swords took over the amphitheater, so there was no going back for another picture there.

After we finished this shot and Courtney moved, a group of LARPers with swords took over the amphitheater, so there was no going back for another picture there.

 We discovered that the Reflection Pond had been drained, like it is at the beginning of every spring exam week. Since I've already graduated, I don’t really think in terms of semesters anymore, except for when it comes to graduation pictures, so it didn't occur to me that this would happen and I didn't have enough time to figure out how to pretend the background didn't look disgusting.

We discovered that the Reflection Pond had been drained, like it is at the beginning of every spring exam week. Since I've already graduated, I don’t really think in terms of semesters anymore, except for when it comes to graduation pictures, so it didn't occur to me that this would happen and I didn't have enough time to figure out how to pretend the background didn't look disgusting.

 This is Jacob’s picture of me looking sketchy in the grass between the empty pond and the LARPers, trying to find an angle that could hide how gross the empty pond looked, and laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation was.

This is Jacob’s picture of me looking sketchy in the grass between the empty pond and the LARPers, trying to find an angle that could hide how gross the empty pond looked, and laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation was.

 I told Courtney to put her hand on the railing, like I do with all the other seniors.  Then we realized that there were chiggers on it, so she put her hands like this.  I was happy with how it came out and she didn’t get eaten by chiggers.  And I just love the light on her hair!

I told Courtney to put her hand on the railing, like I do with all the other seniors.  Then we realized that there were chiggers on it, so she put her hands like this.  I was happy with how it came out and she didn’t get eaten by chiggers.  And I just love the light on her hair!

 We had to wait to take this one because there were two high school guys at the gate posing weirdly for pictures for several minutes. The lighting hit the "Clemson" bleachers perfectly!

We had to wait to take this one because there were two high school guys at the gate posing weirdly for pictures for several minutes. The lighting hit the "Clemson" bleachers perfectly!

 Fun fact: since I was in Arizona for a week and didn’t have any sessions the weekend before, the entire sit-in on the steps of Sikes took place between two of my portrait sessions.   

Fun fact: since I was in Arizona for a week and didn’t have any sessions the weekend before, the entire sit-in on the steps of Sikes took place between two of my portrait sessions.   

 As many obstacles as we ran into that day, the three of us were able to laugh off everything that was going on.  I ended up having a wonderful day with Courtney and Jacob, and these pictures are some of my favorite portraits I've taken at Clemson.

As many obstacles as we ran into that day, the three of us were able to laugh off everything that was going on.  I ended up having a wonderful day with Courtney and Jacob, and these pictures are some of my favorite portraits I've taken at Clemson.

I think a good way to describe that day is from Pete the Cat and his white shoes: “No matter what you step in, just keep walking along and singing your song, because it’s all good.” 

To see Jacob’s pictures from that day, visit his website at jacobathompson.com.