I was recently hired to shoot senior photos for a family in the Cleveland area at Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. The shoot was somewhat short-notice and so we didn’t want to drive to multiple locations to find different scenery and backgrounds. I only knew of some forested areas with large rocks in the Willoughby area, but the family knew of Squire’s Castle and suggested it. I looked up photos of Squire’s Castle and was thrilled! I never knew such a place existed in northeast Ohio that is open to the public.
We wanted to start shooting at 9:00am on a Saturday morning because I wanted to take advantage of the better morning light, but mostly because I knew that this place was going to be packed with people if we waited until later in the day.
When I arrived at 8:30, there was a gym setting up it’s workout equipment around the castle so I talked with them about the shoot we were going to do and we agreed on their placement of equipment so it didn’t interfere with the photos. I spent about 20 minutes walking around the building and surrounding landscape looking for good shooting angles and ideas for lighting. Since I use off-camera remote lighting for many of the portraits I shoot, I was able to bring light into the somewhat dim interior of the building. Using my experience as a photographer, I’m able to make the light come in at pleasing angles and light the area in ways that you wouldn’t be able to see unless I pointed it out.
When the family arrived I had already set up my equipment and we walked around the area, showing them my ideas for different locations.
They liked what I had to say and we started shooting immediately. My subject was a natural at posing beautifully, and she gave a wonderful, warm, genuine smile throughout the session. Her family was willing to help me hold different lighting equipment and was really wonderful to work with. It’s always so helpful when mom or dad is happy to help me move reflectors, speedlights, etc. It keeps everybody engaged, speeds up the process, and they come up with some interesting ideas throughout the shoot.
We used different window and door openings as locations, as well as the lawn, forest, and great hall. I’ve never seen a location with more variety in such a compact area. It was our goal to keep the entire shoot at around an hour and we met the goal. By 10:00 there were three other photo sessions going on in and around the castle as well as families exploring the grounds and another gym was performing their workout on the lawn. Had we waited until later in the day, we would never have been able to get these beautiful images.
If you would like to talk about senior photos for your teenager or family photos at this wonderful location or any other, get in touch with me. My senior portrait packages are quite affordable and I offer both prints and digital copies of the photos we shoot. Also, if you’d like to share this post I’m always thankful for it.