Not gonna lie, shooting my first senior session of 2019 in New York City was pretty awesome!
And to not only get to shoot a senior in my favorite city, but to shoot a senior that is also a legit ballerina - mind blown! Anneliese is a 2020 senior at Lincoln Southwest in Lincoln, Nebraska but she had been studying ballet in Russia for the past 6 months prior to us meeting in NYC. When her mom saw my post on Instagram on how I would be in NYC for a workshop and was looking to book a client for the trip, she reached out to inquire about the dates. It just happened that the first day of the workshop would be the day Anneliese would be flying into JFK airport. So her whole family made a trip out of it and hopped in a car and headed to the Big Apple to surprise Anneliese when she arrived back in the states!
Now, she did know she would be photographed in her favorite city for her senior pics by me, but she had no idea her entire family would be there too. When she got off the plane around 12:30pm EST she was met by her family and then rushed back to their hotel for her to get ready for our first day of shooting - can you say pro?!? By the time she was ready to go, we were in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I was so excited to get to shoot her with the lights of New York City behind her and the images, well, they speak for themselves. Anneliese was actually wearing broken shoes as ballet dancers go through many shoes. On one hand it was great they were broken because it didn't matter if they got dirty, but for her to pose was a little difficult, but like I said before - pro. :)
That first night was magical and while we were shooting little girls would come up to Anneliese to give her a hug and get a selfie with her. She was a real life ballerina princess!
On day two, we started after lunch and headed first to the east village. This area of NYC can be a little more grungy so we utilized the streets of this unique neighborhood for awhile and then we headed uptown to The Met and Central Park. At this point, we were still a group of 5 photographers, 5 models and parents carrying bags of clothes, shoes and any other kind of accessory needed for the day. So it was fun for the parents to watch together and visit with the other parents plus the girls made some new friends from around the Unites States. Most of the clothing that Anneliese wore for her NYC session were from either her ballet closet or our workshop guru Thomas Nguyen who had an amazing array of clothing that he brought along for the models. With Anneliese being in Russia and literally dancing all day, she really didn't have much time for shopping. Her mom was able to get a few things for her, but she loved to get to dress up in some of the outfits Thomas brought as well.
There was a point in the day as we were at the fountain area of Central Park where the jet lag hit Anneliese and it hit her hard. She was pretty much done and wanted to go back to the hotel to sleep. With a little coaxing from her parents and a promise if she would stick it out just a little while longer she wouldn't regret it. Again, she's a pro and she was able to stick it out. We shot a little more in Central park with just her and also with her sister. We then walked out of the park on the street of 5th Ave. I thought we were going to just get out of the park and find a quick spot to shoot a night street shot, but with NYC every street has some sort of scaffolding somewhere. So we walked and walked and walked and walked AND walked to a perfect spot to catch Anneliese in the middle of the crosswalk with headlights behind her. The NYC cab made it even better!
NYC Behind the Scenes shot by Ivy Towler
As you can see, it's hard to get a shot like this alone. Thank you so much to the three phenomenal photographers Susan Gietka and Kara Zollos who held the ice lights and to Ivy Towler for getting this bts video plus saved our lives each time we were out there by counting down the crosswalk timer!
Both Anneliese and I wanted to photograph her in the NYC subways. So on day three, that is exactly what we did. We found ourselves at the West 4th subway stop and as we would wait for trains we would talk about what pose she would do and where I would stand to capture it. For some we would shoot a couple trains, but mostly we were able to get the shots within one train.
Being a former professional stage manger (still hold my equity card) and have lived in NYC these three days of shooting with amazing photographers who all happen to be friends from all over the U.S. and doing a workshop with Thomas was just a dream come true! I have been lucky to get to photograph high school seniors in California, but NYC just holds a special place in my heart. I think both Anneliese and I were giddy through out those three days!