The Future is Female – Senior Portraits with Aubrey Johnson

Sometimes you schedule a session far in advance and when the day comes, the weather is hot garbage. Well, perhaps in this case, it’s better to describe the day as cold garbage because the temps were freezing and it was incredibly windy. To top it off, the pictures were being taken out of town in an area I wasn’t familiar with. Generally, this isn’t a recipe for success and I was truly worried.

I’ve heard adversity can create opportunities to excel and once I met up with Aubrey, my hopes were buoyed by her creative ideas and positive attitude. The terrible weather meant that any outdoor photos would have to be taken quickly and with the ability to duck back inside immediately. With this in mind we formulated a plan and did what any red-blooded American would do in uncertain times, head to Walmart.

Once we arrived Aubrey headed off to change and I wandered around, trying to come up with ideas. When she emerged she completely floored me by wearing a truly wicked, pink power suit. At that moment I knew the shoot was going to be fun! Given the strong Legally Blonde vibes, we searched high and low to find matching and contrasting colors so she would pop against the wall-to-wall shelves honoring capitalism. Amazingly, there were plenty of aisles seemingly dedicated to pink. God Bless America!

Walmart employees are the true heroes. These patient souls walk the store with a been there, done that countenance normally reserved for a military veteran. Us running around the store, laying on the ground, taking pictures and trying all sorts of dumb ideas was met with simple, steely gazes. Perhaps they’d seen it all, perhaps they were just apathetic, either way, they were extremely cool with us. Many thanks!

A quick wardrobe change was made before heading off to our next location but we couldn’t help but take a few photos before going back out into the bitter cold. We stumbled upon a Minnie Mouse bow while Aubrey was wearing her Mickey Mouse jacket. The cuteness couldn’t be ignored.

Do teens still go to the mall?

I really try to incorporate a senior’s personal interests and vibe into any photoshoot I do. The pink suit obviously meant Aubrey would have no issue taking care of the vibe but upon learning she was into gaming, we just had to go to the local arcade. The greasy-haired boys inside didn’t know what was in store for them.

Like any good mall, the food court was close to the arcade and with us feeling a might peckish, we sampled some of the finer treats Kokomo had to offer. Turns out, if you tell people you are doing a senior photoshoot, they’ll let you do just about anything! We got to go behind the counter for some extra “sweet” photos. Pun intended. The day just kept getting better and better, what can I say.

Let’s be serious here

When I was a kid, senior photoshoots weren’t meant to be enjoyed. They were meant to provide mom, dad and relatives with a few posed “awww” shots meant to embarrass our beloved teens in the not so distant future. With this in mind, I thought we had to shift gears and get some of the “classic” seniors done. Turns out, I don’t think Aubrey will ever be embarrassed by these though. Bummer.

Defying gravity

After rushing back into the warmth of the mall, Aubrey and I decided to see how far we could push the, “we’re taking seniors, would you let us do whatever we want?” idea. With Gravity Trampoline Park right next door, what was the worst that could happen?

Getting in touch with our feminine side

Next on the docket was a trip to Jo-Ann’s Fabric to find flowers to match a cute dress. A soft balance to the all powerful pants suits. We approached a kindly grandmother- esque employee with our plans to use some of the decor to create a few shots. Unsurprising to us at this point, she was all thumbs up and told us to use whatever we wanted. With our newfound confidence, we had no problem with the occasional customer walking through our set.

Downtown Portland Kokomo

One thing I did not expect was how cool downtown Kokomo could be. The initial plan was to go to Mo joe Coffee House for our first stop. They weren’t open when we first arrived, which meant we made the audible to go to Walmart. Aubrey insisted we come back and we weren’t disappointed. If there’s such a thing as a small town, Midwestern hipster, they’d get their caffeine fix at Mo joes.

It’s what it’s.

While driving to the coffee shop, I spotted a sweet vinyl shop by the name of Black Wax Cafe that I figured we’d return to. Turns out Mo joe isn’t the only cool spot for coffee in town. Half record shop, half café, half music venue and half antique store, it’s far more than meets the eye. Turning loose Aubrey in such a place was a mistake. The results speak for themselves.

So there you have it. What I honestly though might be a wasted day due to poor weather turned into one of my favorite shoots ever. It makes me wonder what we could have done with good weather though… we’ll never know. Or will we?

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