Seniors

Nathan Senior Portraits | Olympia, Washington Senior Photographer

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Jordan Senior Portraits | Olympia, Washington Senior Photographer

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How I Started Living My Best Life Every Single Day

This saying has popped up in the last few months (or maybe it’s been around a while and I’m just catching on?). It’s meant to build you up, to help you live life to the fullest, but it's vague and full of unrealistic expectations. I mean, how can I possibly live my best life every day? There’s no way I could skip work and just adventure all day; no matter how much I might want to. How do we even know when we are living our best life? I stress out about everything and anything, so of course, this idea of living my best life stressed me out, until I was in Hawaii.

We went to Hawaii for a full week. It was the only time where I truly put work on pause and took a REAL vacation. Not a trip for work that included having fun, but a fun-only trip! I was floating on my back in the warm ocean on our third day there. We had just swam out to where the waves broke in the distance, the sun was beating down, I could feel my heart beating hard from the swim. I became intensely aware of the way the warm water danced on my skin and engulfed my body. I took a deep breath in, and time stopped right in its tracks. I finally had the thought, “This is me living my best life”.

But here’s the thing: my best life isn’t in Hawaii. Because, despite my efforts to convince my husband to move to Oahu, that isn’t my real life. I can’t always be on vacation. I realized at that moment, floating in the Hawaii ocean, that I was living my best life day-to-day. Each day that I woke up and got out of bed, I was winning. Every time I laughed with my husband and was cuddled up next to him, I was winning. Every hour I put into my business, I was winning. My best life looks like me laying on the couch at the end of the night binge-watching Parks and Rec for the 5th time through. You see? Your best life is right where you are!!

We find our best life when we put down our phones and let go of unrealistic expectations, we find it when we soak in the moment (EVERY MOMENT!). We have the chance to make each day our best life, and if today doesn’t work out, we have tomorrow. But tough days don’t mean we aren’t living our best life. We are allowed to have bad days; what really matters is our attitude towards them and how we use those days to make ourselves better.

Don’t wait for someone else to give you validation in your life; live your best life today. So what if the dishes go one more day in the sink if you got to spend 20 extra minutes snuggling your littles? If you sat behind a computer all day and sacrificed so it meant you could help provide, you’re winning. Your best life is where you are. As soon as you realize that, you can start living it.

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Three Ways to Use Your Graduation Pictures

We all love to see graduation pictures because they represent something so incredible, and such a huge accomplishment. But when you're spending money on those cherished cap and gown photos, you want to get good use out of the finished product! Here are my three favorite ways to display your graduation/senior pictures:

 

1 | With your graduation announcement

This is obviously a super popular way to share these photos, other than just on social media. You can share a photo collage and display a lot of your graduation photos or keep it classy and just share one big photo with the word "graduate" across the front and the year you're graduating. I think it's really important to commemorate your huge achievement and share the news with family and friends all over! Be sure to mail these babies out before commencement, and hopefully you'll get some fun presents and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

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2 | On mom/grandma's wall

You know who are your biggest advocates? Your parents. And grandparents. And significant others. Let them cherish you and your wonderful accomplishments by displaying a proud photo of you in your cap and gown. Parents and grandparents especially love to brag and they will love the gesture of you sending them a special print just for them to keep.

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3 | Use as headshots

One thing I try to always do at my graduation shoots is to get a couple pictures of the graduate in their nice under-the-gown outfit that they can use as headshots with a resume or on their LinkedIn profile or something. I think it's a great way to show professionalism, and even if you end up using one of your cap and gown pictures on an online profile, it shows your dedication and recent achievement.

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Don't let your graduation photos or senior pictures lay unused in future years - put them to use and proudly show off one of your biggest achievements!

 

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My Three Favorite Shots to Get for All Graduation Sessions

I hosted graduation mini sessions a couple of weeks ago and they were an absolute BLAST! I had so much fun chatting with all the USU soon-to-be graduates and hearing about their future plans and hearing fun memories from being in school. I'm also going to be graduating here soon, and it's all getting so real!

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite poses and shots that I like to get for all my graduating seniors. You (usually) only get one graduation photo shoot, and I want to make sure everyone gets those special moments and feelings captured!

 

The graduation cap close-up

Everyone needs that signature shot, if not just so their moms have something to frame on the mantle. These shots are great for your graduation announcements, too. 

I was surprised by how many of my clients hadn't heard of this trick to make your grad cap look better in photos: simply fold the front under (about in half), and then bobby pin it at an angle at the back of your head. This way you can still see it and it doesn't cover up your forehead. This trick helps you look like a cool graduate, like you know where you're headed in this world!

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The landmark shot

Does your high school or university have any classic features, like a famous building or walkway? Make sure you get some of those classic landmarks in the background to commemorate your time spent in school!

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The celebration!

My favorite poses to do (because you know I'm all about capturing that real emotion) is the cheering and victory shots. You've worked SO HARD to achieve this, and I'm so happy for you! I want to make sure we document that accomplishment so everyone else can be proud of you, too.

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I'm so proud of all my fellow graduating USU students!! Can't wait to celebrate with you on May 5th!

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