Ella is a high school senior and I had the privilege of photographing her senior portraits on an extremely warm (!) fall evening. She handled the extreme heat and the garden variety bugs like a champ. The light and the wildflowers cooperated quite nicely and we had a great time! Ella is sweet, passionate, fun, and loves cats and dogs (my kind of person). Her mother claims that she’s existed entirely on carbs up to this point (which I can definitely relate to), and we also have tuxedo cats and an older sister in common. She also loves pizza, but she’s a pineapple-on-pizza type of girl so I have to draw our pizza comparisons to an end there. She’s skilled at sports and played softball for most of her education, but now she’s looking forward to a profession in nursing in order to help people. I can’t wait to see what Ella does in the future! I grabbed a few shots of her sister Claire and mom Susan toward the end – such a fun bunch who came along to support Ella and give her reminders of mac and cheese as she posed.

I received my first e-mail from Tarsha back in August. A blog stalker, she wrote me an adorably flattering e-mail and asked if I would take her senior portraits this February. I was very excited to do just that as it would be my first senior portrait session. Tarsha wanted them at NC State where she had seen pictures I took there before and liked the variety. :)

Tarsha has quickly become my most special and meaningful session. Not only is she graduating high school, but she wasn’t supposed to. Two years ago, a tumor was found on Tarsha’s brain. Upon operating, they found that the tumor extended through her spinal chord. It couldn’t be completely removed, and her spinal chord was nicked in the process. What was supposed to be a few hours in the operating room turned into over 9 hours, and her parents were informed that Tarsha was unlikely to make it. In the unlikely chance that she did survive the operation, she would most likely not be able to walk, speak, or perform normal functions again… let alone graduate high school on time.

Miraculously, Tarsha survived her operation despite the doctor’s predictions and despite an infection in her brain that was a result of the operation. Not only did she survive, but through her OT team at the hospital, Tarsha was able to regain all of her functions and walk two months later. She has no noticeable outward signs that this ever occurred except for a scar and her therapy dog, Pastry. :) She is, despite every obstacle, graduating high school on time.

Her family (who tagged along for the session and who were AMAZING and have two ridiculously adorable pups) are so proud of Tarsha and everything that she’s accomplished. These pictures were very important to them to celebrate her outstanding and inspiring accomplishments. I feel honored to have been picked by Tarsha and to be honest, I was probably a lot more nervous than her. :) I wanted to make these pictures everything great so that she’d love them… and I hope I did her senior portraits justice. :) Here is some info on the gorgeous Ms. Tarsha… class of 2012. On time. :)

Favorite Band: The Beatles

Favorite Movie: The Hangover

Favorite Book: The Hunger Games Series

Plans After High School: Attend college at Appalachian State for business in order to open her own dance studio in the future (Tarsha does Modern dance!)

What She Loves About High School: English

What She Won’t Miss About High School: Math and waking up early