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  • That Photographer Jenn

uw-madison grad shoot

Picture this: you're driving through the Wisconsin countryside. The morning sunshine is golden. You're sipping iced coffe and listening to the new Taylor Swift album. You're on your way to shoot a graduation photoshoot. Life is good. Lol. No, but really! That was how I kicked off this beautiful Sunday morning. I was headed to the capital of Wisconsin - the city of Madison. I had gotten a message from a woman whose daughter I and my sister swam with in grade school/high school. Her daughter and her daughter's friends were graduating with their bachelors degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When they asked if I could take some portraits for the gals, of course I eagerly said yes!

As I walked around the massive capital building, I spotted at least five other graduation portrait sessions happening. 'Tis the season! I stumbled upon a group of young ladies, all dressed in white. Now THESE were my subjects! I couldn't wait to get started. It was 10:30 in the morning and there was bright sunshine bounding around the curved roof of the capital building. The air had a slight crispness to it, but the sunshine was warm.

We began with some group shots on the steps of the capital building; thankfully, with the sun to our backs. When working with groups, it's always interesting to see the dynamics - if someone takes charge and directs or suggests what the group should do. Not this group. I was pleasantly surpised that all the ladies were very laid back and were game for anything and everything! We tried various combos of wearing gowns, stoles, and just the white dresses. After, we shifted to individual portraits with the capital building as the monstrous backdrop. The sun proved to be a bit difficult with these, but thankfully, the capital building was behind us - along with the sun.

After some individual portraits, the north side of the capital building was in the shade. We gathered our things (including 7 bottles of champagne), and made our way over. We waited our turn as one of the other graduation shoots wrapped up. I could see why someone had beat us to this spot. It was full shade! We took some more group shots with gowns and caps before taking some individuals with the girls sitting up on one of the stone rails.

Then it was time for a champagne pop! The girls really wanted to it all together, so I had them all line up prior to any opening. I got them all into position, scooted seven feet back, and coached them through how to safely cork their bottles. Thankfully, we got through the corking process without any black eyes! Then they let them rip! These were some of my favorite photos of the shoot!

Once we wrapped at the capital building, I hopped in one of the cars the girls had come in and we made our way to the UW-Madison Union. You know, the one on the gorgeous lake? By the time we arrived there, the sun was overhead and cooking. There were sunbathers and fishers all over the shoreline. We took some more individuals along a brick walkway, where I was able to angle away from all the sunbathers, lol. We finished with some more group shots in front of the alumni building and a final champagne popping.

This shoot definitely challenged me in terms of lighting and editing. But I am so grateful for the opportunity and a chance to see the beautiful city of Madison. I will be back!

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