Senior portraits are something we don’t get the chance to do that often, but they are FUN. Especially when you get impressive seniors and they can teach you things like how you should engage your core while climbing on dangerous playground equipment in order to take their photographs, and how you should also probably stabilize your feet better. Karen came all the way to Sante Fe to have her senior pictures taken with us! Well, not really, but kind of? She came with her sister Anna to visit their Uncle Glenn and Aunt Kathy. And Aunt Kathy happens to be Kathy White Swope, who works with the always amazing Sally Oakley to form an unstoppable team of wedding planners here whom we love very much. So Aunt Kathy recommended us to do Karen’s senior portraits and Karen was on board and the dream was born. And by “dream” I mean a plan was hatched to have a place where Karen could hang upside down while I took her pictures.

Karen is in the circus (!!!) and also does fencing (!!!) and is generally impressive and fabulous. She can climb and hang upside down and has a lot of upper arm strength and obviously a stable core accompanied by good foot placement. She also has a great sense of humor (as does Anna, Kathy, and Glenn) and we all had a bit of fun running around Pullen Park in Raleigh (and later in Mordecai, where Kathy and Glenn were married). We also took pictures of Awesome Younger Sister Anna, who had no qualms about sitting in tree caves or trying to get her older sister attacked by ducks (as a younger sister who has an older sister who is also nervous around fowl of all types, I did find this humorous). And we also took pictures of Uncle Glenn and Aunt Kathy because of COURSE since they set this up and accompanied us and helped immensely. It was a good time. Sparklers were lit but not by Kathy because she deserves just one day off from lighting sparklers and she actually got to use them for once instead of trying to give a bunch of wedding guests directions and trying not to get caught on fire. It was a grand ole time. We were so lucky to be able to work with this whole crew, and we wish the best of luck to our outstanding senior Karen – Class of 2018!

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