It’s GRADUATION time (well almost) and we’ve got a few tips to make the most of your LAST few weeks of high school.

Oh EM Gheee. You’re just about DONE with all things high school. That’s kind of crazy, and exciting! But graduation feels busy, and hectic, and are you missing anything? Well, we’re here with a quick check list of a few fun additions to your graduation festivities….

  1. Grad Swag… 2020 took a lot of things from us but it also gave us a few things and a favorite of mine is grad swag. Yard/door/decor swag that is! We use our yards to celebrate political candidates and the folks who mow our lawns or paint our houses so why in the heck are we not using our yards to celebrate our grads?!!? Well, from now on, we are!

And new this year we’ve got 10 packs of signs so you can share the love with grandparents and celebrate and show off your senior from the beginning (go on, send over those baby photos!).

Oh, and front doors too…. these 3×6′ banners can include 1-4 images and are the perfect party decor. They include 4 grommets to make hanging easy. Having your party at an event center? We’ve seen seniors hang these horizontally in the yard to make finding your party easy and exciting for your guests!

2. Grad invites (but wait, don’t forget the thank you cards & stationary too!). It’s true, we usually think about and plan for graduation invitations or announcements. And those basics are key but what about custom thank you cards or even better, envelopes and return address labels. I LOVE making your cards a complete experience for everyone you receives them!

3. Cap & Gown Images! It’s a milestone, ya’ll. We have FREE cap & gown sessions available at the studio May 10th (BOOK HERE) and more availability with Lisa (bookable here) for just $45. Plus, all grad sessions include up to 50% off digital & small prints.

4. Party snacks. Ok a good party (and celebration) can’t be all about the swag, I know. So today I’m also sharing with you my two favorite party dip recipes. One, that’s literally two ingredients for a last minute addition and one that you’ll be snacking on before it even makes it to the table.

First up, when you’re out of ideas and need just something else on the table (or just aren’t a cook) you cannot go wrong with Harry & David Onion and Pepper relish over cream cheese. This ‘receipe’ is about as simple as it gets… 1. spread 1 tub/package of cream cheese all along bottom of plate/platter/bowl. 2. spread jar of onion and pepper relish on top. DONE

Next up, onion bagel dip! OMG I’m salivating just writing this. What you need (this one is a bit more involved):

  • Everything or Onion or Plain Bagels (cut into 1in ish pieces – for easy little dipping triangles)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo (whatever kind you like)
  • Accent Seasoning (measure with your heart but taste along the way because it’s SALTY)
  • Chopped green onions (I like a lot – measure with your heart too)
  • 1 jar of dried beef (the single hardest thing to find at the grocery store for the one time you make this each year… not with the meats… tiny glass jar, blue lid, good luck)

Mix all that up, try not to eat it all before the guests arrive.

| Class of 2022 Senior Model Feature: Claire |

Today kicks off the first of all our Senior Model feature posts and starting with the lovely Claire! I’ve gotten to photograph her so many times over the past year or more and today you’ll get not only a look at her first senior session but also the fun we had at pop-up sessions leading up to her own session(s).

Starting with her very first session in front of my camera……..

And a few from our adventure to Starved Rock. I’d wanted to shoot there really since we moved to Illinois over a decade ago but it’s so VAST and a lot to explore/hike into so I had never taken the leap but this was the time to do it. This shoot was an extra surprise treat for our models and even our preteam models.

Illinois weather…. unpredictable at best! And while this can sometimes keep us on our toes for your senior session date (no one wants ALLL their senior portraits done in the rain or in 20-30 mph winds after all) but we try to have some fun with it with our models each year with sessions in rain/shine/sun and SNOW. Plus, we had some fun in the creek this spring and sunflowers this summer!

But the real deal happens for her senior session(s)… hair/makeup done (by the ever-talented Bre at Dali Bliss!) and all her personal style with a variety of outfits and locations for senior session day one!

And we’re not done yet! More pop-up sessions coming along soon for our 2022 models as well as another full senior session for Claire this fall (at SUNRISE which is going to be beautiful)!!

| Courtney’s 2 Years as an SJP Senior Model / Influencer |

I really cannot believe that I’ve finished up sessions for our class of 2020 senior model/influencers. This class has been phenomenal and so much fun to work with and my favorite part is how many of them have been in the program for, not one, but TWO years.

One of those early add-ins to the group was Courtney and it’s been a real pleasure to create her photographs over this time and to get to watch her really blossom in her last few years of high school right in front of the camera. Ok I’m getting mushy but I swear these girls become young women right in front of my lens and it’s really such a wonderful part of my job that I get to be a part of that.

Alright, on with the images!!! Let’s take a look back at Courtney’s time over the past two years and a look inside her album which is now being beautifully printed and hand-bound and will be headed our way in just days.

Congratulations on graduation Courtney, I know you’ll do great in the next chapter too.

| Folasadé’s Custom Senior Session at her Family Home |

Folasadé’s session is my third at her family home and I love the chance to create images at a place that’s important to her to close the chapter on her childhood as she begins her journey as an adult. Plus… Winston! I swear this pup is the most chill and is constantly unphased by me and it makes me giggle. And he’s huge and just handsome as heck. And, obviously, Sadé is stunning!

And for some variety, we headed downtown for a more urban look too. I’m so excited the loved so many of her images and I’m a big fan of her final album design! The class of 2020 really was a fun class to work with despite all these curveballs at the end of their year.

Ready for your senior portrait experience? Learn more and book our most popular session directly online HERE.

| Megan’s Year as an SJP Senior Model & Influencer |

Today on the blog we celebrate the lovely Megan!!! This girl is seriously always a joy to be around. She’s just the sweetest and reminds me SO much of myself (way back when). She just lights up on camera and made my job so easy and fun creating with her at all of her sessions this year.

Good luck in all the things you do after high school, Megan I cannot wait to see where life takes you!

If hanging out with us and the entire model & influencer team for a year (or more) filled with portrait sessions sounds like fun (it is!) don’t miss your chance to join us. You can learn more and apply now HERE. Virtual interviews are starting NEXT week so that we can be photographing you guys by the end of the month, you’re really not going to want to miss this.