A Once-in-a-Lifetime Portrait in 17 Photos

A few weeks ago my wife, Taren, asked me if I’d do some Senior Portrait type headshots of her daughter, Emily, for her graduation announcement. She just wanted something simple, but nice and well done. So, we started researching Senior Portraits to see what kind of inspiration we could come up with.

Today, I’m going to show you how we captured Emily’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Graduation in a really creative Portrait using only 17 images.

I have to admit, when I was asked to do Emily’s Senior Portrait for her graduation announcement, I started sweating. You see, there’s almost nothing in the world I hate doing more than Traditional Portraits and especially traditional Senior Portraits. There’s nothing wrong with those types of Portraits, but it’s just not for me and I find them rather boring to do.

I told my wife, “I’ll do Emily’s Portrait, but we have to do it my way. Photillustrator Style!”

That said, let’s take a closer look at the making of “Room 4 Rent”.

The Story Behind “Room 4 Rent”

You may be thinking, “How in the world do you come up with your ideas for a portrait?”

Your Creative Portrait, just like the one here for Emily, starts with getting a clear understanding of your likes, interests, hobbies, loves, and careers, which we discover through our Uniquely Different Photillustrator Process.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the process of creating your Portrait.

composite photography senior portrait of emily pratt by portrait photographer in dallas

For “Room 4 Rent”, my wife and Emily talked about what they’d like to see, then we sat down and talked about it, and then like I do with every Portrait, I changed things up and added a whole bunch of stuff to make it AMAZING.

NOTE: This is the place I usually share the Concept Sketch for the Portrait I’m talking about, but for “Room 4 Rent” there was no Concept Sketch created. It all came together in my head.

To be honest, the Concept Sketch is more for you than it is for me, so you have a better idea of what your Uniquely Different Portrait will look like, rather than go in 100% on blind faith.

The original idea for Emily’s graduation picture, the idea presented to me, was to have her walking down the sidewalk with her robe flying off and waving goodbye, while her mom stood in the background sobbing.

While that’s a fine idea, it’s really just the start of something really Uniquely Different.

So, with that scene in mind, I started thinking and adding details that would not only personalize this Portrait to Emily but also add energy and excitement to the scene.

For starters, I hate even numbers so we had to add a third person to the image, which was ME!

Why 17 Images?

In Traditional Portrait Photography, the photographer will take one picture of you and produce a quality Portrait. We’re all familiar with these types of Portraits, but they are extraordinarily limited in the story you can tell, the personalities you can express, and the emotions you can portray.

With that one Traditional Portrait, you’ll look back at it and say, “Oh, look at little Johnny. Doesn’t he look nice?”, or “Oh, look at little Billy. Didn’t he look so cute back then?”, or “I looked so young back then. My Gosh, what happened?”

One image captures a likeness, not an Experience.

Through the magic of Composite Photography, your Portrait can say anything or be anything you can imagine. It can tell multiple stories about your life, all within one single image, without the limitations of Traditional Portraits.

composite photographer breakdown of senior portrait of emily pratt

1. Emily
2. Emily’s Leg
3. Emily’s other Leg
4. Taren
5. The Photillustrator
6. Dingo
7. House
8. Honda CRV
9. Sidewalk

10. Bags, Ball, & Trophy
11. Bag with Clothes
12. Clothes on Ground
13. Sky
14. Southwest Plane
15. Birds
16. Dr. Pepper Fizz
17. Graduation Cap

A Look Behind the Curtain

To give you a better idea of where your Uniquely Different Portrait comes from, here are some Before and After’s to compare.

before and after of emily pratt composite photography senior portrait

before and after of taren ulsrud composite photography

before and after of the photillustrator composite photography

composite photography before and after of dutch shepard dog

That’s a Wrap

Traditional Portraits are nice, but for those Once-in-a-Lifetime Moments in your life, don’t you want something Different? A Portrait you will look back on in 20 years and remember your story, the people, the personalities, and the emotions behind that Special Moment?

Don’t you deserve a Once-in-a-Lifetime Portrait to capture your Once-in-a-Lifetime Moment?

If you want something DIFFERENT, something that truly sets you apart from everyone else around you, then a Creative Portrait by Photillustrator by Jason Ulsrud is perfect for you.

What is your favorite part of Emily’s “Room 4 Rent” Portrait, and what fun details would you put in your Uniquely Different Portrait?

Comments (2)

I just found your site and can not tell you how happy I am. You are doing what has been rolling around in my head for years. I recently retired and decided to get back into photography after a 20+ year hiatus. Getting a kick out of reading all your “Once in a Life Time” stories. I love composite photography and plan to begin working on my “real fantasies.” Great work!!!

That’s Awesome! It’s never too late to create. I was a photographer way back in the early 90’s then decided to get out when the digital world began to take over. I then became a Chiropractor for 15 years, not touching a camera even once. Then 3 years ago, I decided if I was going to be so unhappy, I might as well do something I love, so I picked my camera back up and began the journey that has led me to right now. Good for you for being brave enough to express yourself!

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