This session was my second time photographing Maya for a graduation. The first time I worked with Maya was four years ago for her high school graduation portraits. Even then, she was a self-starting young woman, reaching out and arranging the session all on her own — which is rare for a high schooler. This time around, Maya has grown up and all that confidence is even more fully realized. She’s graduating from college and wanted to do portraits again.
We met at the Bel Air Mansion in Bowie, which is a fantastic location for photography. The late afternoon and early evening is the ideal time to shoot here because there is plenty of shade both in the front and back of the building. One of the best things about this location is that there are no permits required, and parking is a cinch. It’s a great spot for individual portraits, family portraits, and couple’s portraits. In our case, needing to arrange our session a little on the earlier side though, we spent most of our time working out front.
Maya had decorated her graduation cap with a classic saying, “She believed she could, so she did,” and she wanted to feature that in some of the images. We captured some great shots of her wearing her cap and gown, as well as some more casual shots of her in regular clothes.
Toward the end of the session, we tried popping a bottle of Champagne to get a cool shot of the spray, but it didn’t quite go as planned. However, it ended up making for some funny photos anyway. We finished off the session around the mansion’s historic stone archway that leads to the garden out back. Maya looked great in a sleek black dress and we were able to capture some beautiful shots of her in that setting.
Overall, it was a great experience working with Maya again. She’s a talented and confident young woman who knows what she wants, and I’m glad I was able to capture these special moments for her.