“Students want an experience more than just pictures.”—That’s the gist of what Kristin Jones, owner of Any Angle Photography, has learned in the six years she’s been a photographer in Maple Grove. In an industry flooded with competition, her attention to detail and focus on her clients’ humanity are perhaps what set her apart.
Jones started her career by happenstance after signing up for a photoshopping class, so she could create better flyers for her church’s activities. At the class, it was recommended that she purchase a better camera, which Jones did to help improve the results of her photographic endeavors. “I was just having fun,” she says. “Then some friends asked if I’d take their students’ photos.” An ultrasound tech for 25 years, she was more comfortable taking photos of people’s “insides,” but taking photos of their “outsides,” Jones says, was a revelation.
“I thought, ‘This is fun!’ It just sort of … happened,” she says.
After transforming her basement into a studio, Jones launched Any Angle Photography. In addition to formal studio work, she’s built the business around capturing what clients—many of them seniors in high school—like to do and where they like to go. The result? Photos that reflect clients’ unique passions and personalities.
What to Know about Senior Photo Sessions
Jones offers several kinds of packages—of various price points and quantity—some of which accommodate multiple wardrobe changes or the inclusion of the family dog, a friend or props. Students start booking sessions as early as January, but come August, the schedule gets pretty tight. For the best selection, book early.
Jones shares a helpful What to Wear Guide with all of her seniors. She also conducts a style consultation, either in-person or by video chat, two weeks before the photo shoot. “We talk about the outfits they’re thinking about, what works and what doesn’t. It makes a huge difference,” she says. Location ideas are also explored.
Pick a Location
Jones has a few go-to spots up her sleeve—like the nooks and crannies around the Maple Grove Public Library, for instance. Decide on a vibe, and dream up some ideas to express it. If the client appreciates nature-focused backdrops or wants the shoot to have an urban feel, those preferences should be communicated to the photographer, so everyone is on the same page ahead of time. Remember: the location and time of day might influence outfit choices.
Solid colors (for anyone) and a timeless statement necklace for gals or a classic watch or tie/bow tie for guys won’t overpower a photo, and they’ll still look great in the yearbook 20 years down the road. Clothing that’s too tight—or too baggy—can look bad on-camera. (Consider the proper skin-tone undergarments to ensure the camera flash or natural lighting don’t highlight unwanted areas.) And for guys, “sleeves are your friend.” Jones says. Consider: Heels lengthen legs; sleeved shirts make arms look slimmer; solids draw attention to the face; and iron everything.
Layers can add versatility to an outfit and help accommodate unexpected weather during the photo shoot. “But there is a fine line between looking dapper and not being able to pose comfortably because you can’t put your arms down,” Jones says. “Try on your layers together before the session to make sure they work.”
If wearing a crisp white shirt, take a few photos with the sleeves rolled up and a watch or a funky bracelet peeking out. If taking a photo in a rocker T-shirt and ripped jeans, try throwing on a blazer or leather jacket in a contrasting color or pattern to change things up a bit. Those classic-meets-edgy photos might turn out to be the favorites.
Depending on the photo package, Any Angle shoots include two to five outfit changes. It’s good to have a lot of variety to choose from in final photos—a casual photo in a basketball jersey might be great for Instagram, but the one in a collared shirt is a better fit to send to family or include in a job application, email thumbnail or LinkedIn profile. “And the worst thing you can do is bring all of the same type of outfit—like if you’re comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans, so you bring five different T-shirts and pairs of jeans. The different aspects of your personality won’t come through,” Jones says.
Bring Groupies and Props
Jones asks that seniors bring at least one friend or parent with them to their photo shoot. An extra person helps put the senior at ease, and they can also help carry props or changes of clothes from spot to spot or fix a wonky necklace or an unruly piece of hair. Props can help showcase interests, talents and personality. Think: hats, musical instruments, sports equipment or items from a hobby.
There’s another reason why Jones prefers that students think through the details ahead of time—it allows them to be present and enjoy the photo shoot. “I want the process to be self-affirming for students,” she says, recalling a recent time when she was on the other side of the camera. “It was so transformative to have someone do my hair and makeup and take photos of me,” she says. “I still have happy memories of that. I truly want students to see how beautiful they are through this experience.”