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Senior Portraits with Olivia at the Bel Air Mansion

A high school senior with glasses and purple hair is leaning against a tree.

Photographing Olivia’s senior portraits at the Bel Air Mansion in Bowie, Maryland, was more than just a regular shoot; it felt like a reunion. I first met Olivia when she was just a child, and seeing her now, on the cusp of college life, was something special to me.

The weather, a cloudy sky with intermittent rain, set a mood that was unexpectedly perfect for the day. The choice of Bel Air Mansion was practical for this express session, but it was Olivia’s unique style that really set the tone. Her look, a blend of punk rock and grunge from the 80s and 90s, brought a vivid splash of personality to the setting. Dark purple hair, signature thick glasses, and a casually worn flannel shirt made every frame distinctly hers.

We began behind the mansion among a cluster of trees. We didn’t make the mansion the main focus, as it didn’t really align with the vibe we aimed for. Olivia’s outfit, a stark combination of heavy boots and a flowy vintage-style dress, along with her eclectic bracelet jewelry, reminded me of my own youth, hopping from one basement concert to another every weekend.

Our session was dynamic, with Olivia trying different poses and expressions. Initially somewhat reserved, she soon warmed up to the camera, giving way to genuine smiles, especially noticeable in the close-ups on the mansion’s steps.

Moving to the front path, I encouraged Olivia to channel a catwalk model, a concept she grasped instantly, thanks to her brother’s theater background. This part of the shoot highlighted her striking boots and the unique flair she brought to the scene.

As we wrapped up, I invited Olivia’s mom for a spontaneous shot. This photo, capturing their bond, was practically the perfect conclusion to our session. The entire experience, from start to finish, was a reflection her one-of-a-kind spirit. Each photograph not only showcased her style but also immortalized this transitional phase in her life. I loved it.