I love taking Senior portraits, but when you actually know the Senior, that makes it even more special. Our family has known Jonathan DeChalus for 10 years, going back to CP baseball days. At the age of 8, Jonathan was a head taller than just about every kid. We gave him the nickname Johnny Legs, or JL for short. Johnny didn’t bat an eye when I called him that during our session! What a kid!
When Jonathan’s mom, Karen, asked me last year if I’d take her boy’s Senior photos, I was honored. Like I said, it’s more meaningful if you know the person you’re photographing. We broke our session into 2 parts – I took JL’s formal yearbook picture last summer and his fun, relaxed and casual shots a few weeks ago. In that time span, Jonathan’s braces were removed and I swear he grew another 2 inches!
We began our session on the Shen campus to get some cap and gown shots, then headed to Clifton Commons and the basketball courts. No more baseball fields for Johnny Legs, folks. I love when Seniors bring their sporting gear to change into/hold. Johnny Legs came alive much more so in his shorts and sneakers than wearing his Polo shirt and khaki’s! And having the basketball in his hands was just so natural – spinning it on a finger, dunking it and just passing it back and forth between his hands.
Lets not forget shots with your pet either! The DeChalus’ King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie, was the sweetest dog ever. The bond between a boy and his dog? Totally evident on Jonathan’s face while holding Charlie, and the same could be said of Charlie! He snuggled right into Johnny and ‘smiled’ for the camera the entire time.
Last, but definitely not least, we took some family portraits. I had given Karen and Bernard fair warning that this was going to happen. I’m not sure when they last had pictures taken together, but a high school graduation is a huge milestone and deserves a family portrait! Prior to the session, Karen told me she was going to cry. Watching her boy don his cap and gown; wearing his college T-shirt (Binghamton); sticking ‘2019’ on his basketball; holding Charlie; the thought of family photos. None of us got teary though because, A. It started to rain as we were taking family shots at the high school and we had to really whip through them, and B. It was such a natural progression to add Karen and Bernard in with Jonathan and Charlie at the end, that no one had time to think about being sad!
I know for a fact that Karen will be crying already when I send her this post. She was so sweet when I sent the online gallery, calling me in tears and she’d only seen the cover image of Jonathan! Johnny Legs will go far in life, and do so well at Binghamton, due to the love and support Karen and Bernard show him. Not to mention extended family who look up to him (literally!) and love him to death! Best of luck this Fall at Binghamton, Johnny!! Love you and your family, and Charlie too!!