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Meet Alyssa, she’s one of a kind.   She wanted her senior pictures to reflect just that. She wanted to show her classy side, her sassy side, her spunk, her love of fashion, independence, and I wanted to show off her beauty.  Here’s what we came up with!

Outfits from Free People, Anthropologie, Sherri Hill!!!!!



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Fashion is a statement, say something important. Savannah wanted her senior portraits to reflect her love of fashion, mixing high-end brands with vintage pieces, her car,  and her mom.  

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Haley Turner is planning her dorm room decor for freshman year at UK, but we can’t forget every single image we shot together, because they were perfect!  Here are some of my favorite editorial studio shots, along with outdoor locations and even prom.

Want to hear what Haley had to say about her session?

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In order to show how I shoot for competition, I thought I would show how this session unfolded and my editing and thought process for conceptual photography with a child.

I was inspired by the art work that hangs in all Fazoli’s restaurants.  They have giant canvased of kids eating pasta and I LOVE pasta, so an idea was born.  I made a pinterest board of kids eating pasta.  I found an adorable toddler model, Presley, and invited her to my studio.

I called Frances’ Diner in Hazard, KY and asked Frances to make me some spaghetti noodles.  They loved the idea and were glad to help.

These are some images that led up to my finished product.

Step 1.  It took us about 5 minutes of coaxing just to get Presley to pick up the fork.

step 2.   We then decided her hair needed to go up in pig tails.

Step 3.  Presley was thinking,   “Are you kidding me?  You call this a photo shoot?” Step 4.  The editing process began.  I knew this was the expression I wanted!  YES!

But it needed to be flipped horizontal in Photoshop so the composition would be stronger!   Then began the arduous editing process.  I re-exported her from Light Room, color corrected, straightened the crop and realized the NOODLES were out of focus!  CRAP!  Back to the drawing board.

I called Frances’ Diner again, got more noodles and did a reshoot of the noodles.  Yes, I’m insane at this point. 

Ok, back to Photoshop . . . I added some “in focus” noodles, painted and basically created Presley some “in focus” fingers, softened her skin, burned down the bowl, painted her hair, eyes, sharpened and softened until I came up with the finished result.   Voila!     This image scored a 96 at SEPPA  and made the Loan Collection in 2016. 

Thanks for going on this Spaghetti journey with me!

~Shutter Suz




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This is an awesome camera body ( He reminds me of George Clooney. I prefer to call him George rather than Mark).  He’s been good to me but he’s getting a little gray around the edges and will have to be upgraded soon. Sorry George.  This is the one exception to “men grow older more graceful than women.”

Canon 5D Mark II  as backup ( This is a younger version of George, but he got too big for his britches and started going all crazy on me and went out of focus all the time so I traded him for George III.

50mm f 1.2

I love my 50mm 1.2 because it’s as fast as a race horse, tack sharp, durable (I have dropped it many times and had it repaired) and dependable with fast kids on the move.  It allows me to get close to my subject, connect and direct poses easily.  It’s awesome in low light and great indoors with a flash or window light.  I love it for group shots and candid family gatherings. It’s my go-to lens for a newborn session.

85mm f 1.2

This is the lens that stays on my camera 90% of the time.  It’s a beautiful portrait lens, fairly quick and very sharp.  It has some beautiful effects on foreground and background when shot wide open, below 2.8 for me.  I shoot it at 2.8 for a single subject, most of the time and more shallow when I’m being creative and haven’t had too much coffee (camera shake).

100mm macro

I use this lens for detailed shots of babies and senior details like hair, makeup, closeups, etc.  You need tons of light to make this baby work through it’s focus points though so if you aren’t using flash or don’t have a ton of daylight grab another lens.

Canon 24-105mm

This lens is great for wide angles, wide people and beautiful sun flare.

135 mm 2.0 

This is the first lens I fell in love with after I realized there are other lenses available besides the one that comes with the camera! It forces me to hang back, let a scene unfold, be a watcher, not so much a director of the shoot.  I love this lens on a bright, sunny day, I love it on a dark, cloudy day. I love it in the morning, I love it in the evening.  I love it in the summertime.  The bokeh, or blurred background effect is absolutely DEVINE.  I am certain God made this lens and winked at me when he did.  

{ I have two of these , one for home and one for the studio.  This is the lens my family knows to bury me with. It’s my favorite piece of equipment I have ever owned. We have a special love affair and I rarely cheat on it.  When asked what I would bring to a deserted island, this is it . . .  🙂   }


There you have it!  That’s what’s in my camera bag, along with a few filters, batteries, memory cards, lipstick, and bug spray.

I hope this has helped someone starting out.  I did NOT buy all this at once, but kept investing in better lenses every time I sold a wall portrait my first year of business!

The Marks and Georges will come and go but the lenses remain the same.

Yours Truly,

~Shutter Suz





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