Photographer brings senior year into focus

Senior Delaney Tate pushes a strand of auburn hair behind her ear and puts her eye up to her Canon 6D digital camera, twisting the lens to bring her subject into focus. She squints as she patiently waits for the perfect combination of backdrop and lighting to come together.

She takes a breath and snaps the photo.

Tate has a passion for photography. Seeing the world through her camera lens, she captures stunning moments through her work. Photography is a large part of her life. Her weekends and school nights are occupied by photo shoots. She photographs both models and herself, experimenting with makeup and lighting to portray her artistic vision.

Recently, Tate’s passion to take pictures has evolved into something both new and exciting: a business.

Tate had done a couple of photoshoots for engagements and graduation parties in the past and found that it was a great way to earn some extra cash while doing something that she enjoyed. Many of her peers suggested the idea of taking senior photos, so this school year, Tate decided to take on the challenge.

“I love to create interesting and beautiful things. I’ve always loved art; in fact, I planned on being an illustrator until I took my first photography class. I really felt like I had found my calling, and I was happy to be challenged and to challenge myself,” Tate said. “And I think my senior photo services are different from what you would normally get because I am a student, and I’m always learning, but I am dedicated to every single one of my clients to making their photos unique, beautiful and personal. I will always try to go the extra mile for my clients, because I truly believe they are also my friends.”

Tate currently has 25 clients. She charges $100 for a one-hour shoot, $180 for two hours and $200 for a three-hour shoot. However, she has worked with students to make sessions more affordable because she knows that not everyone can cover the cost of the photos.

“I think having having senior photos is really special because it allows you to have nice photographs of yourself at an important time in your life, that you can always have. I think everyone should be given the opportunity to feel good about themselves and feel the same as other students who can afford to spend $200 on senior photos.”

Tate also ensures that her clients have as much time as they need to make sure that they get the shots they would like.

“I don’t put a time cap on sessions; it really depends on the weather, how long I’m available, how long the client is available and if we get the shots we need,” Tate said.

One of Tate’s clients, senior Gina Mueterthies, explained why she loves to see a fellow student taking this kind of initiative.

“I think that it’s really cool for students to take their peers’ senior photos because it’s a good way to support your classmates in their passions. It also just made a lot of sense to me to have another senior take my photos because I felt like she would have a really good understanding of what I would want from my photos since she would also be getting senior photos done this year,” Mueterthies said.

“Delaney inspires me through her creativity and work ethic. She always had creative ideas for unconventional photos during our shoots that turned out really cool, and the turnaround between the shoot and when I received my photos was super fast,” Mueterthies said. “I am incredibly happy with how they turned out. Delaney took a wide variety of photos and made sure that everything I asked for was done. She was a very pleasant and comforting person to be around in a situation that can definitely feel awkward.”

Tate is shown an immense amount of support for her work by both her peers and her family. Her father, Thomas Tate, said he takes pride in seeing his daughter work so hard.

“I’m very proud of Delaney for shooting senior portraits this year,” he said. “She is a very talented artist and photographer, and despite her natural abilities, she keeps pushing herself to be better and do more. I’m so pleased that she is able to share her talents with her classmates in such an impactful and memorable way.”

Tate draws a lot of her inspiration from music. She said that she has “a very broad taste in music, and I think it shows in my photography. I’m very visual, so when I’m reading or listening to music, it really just fills me up and makes me want to be creative. I almost always have music playing when I do photoshoots to set the mood.”

While Tate does not wish to pursue a career in photography, she knows that her passion will carry with her for the rest of her life.

At a recent photo shoot, Delaney feels the familiar ridges of the camera under her fingertips and twists the lens slowly into focus. The corners of her lips turn up slightly, her fingers ready to capture the moment. The lighting is perfect. The backdrop is perfect. She knows that she is where she is supposed to be.

She takes a breath; and snaps the photo.

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