Maggie – The Senior Portraits

One of the great collateral benefits of marrying my husband was the immediate influx of first cousins I inherited. Among the 17 of them, Maggie is one of the cutest and sweetest. Since she was starting her senior year of high school in Spokane this year, her family hired me to shoot senior portraits of her while we were in Canada last month for the family’s annual reunion. This meant that we would have a spectacular landscape as the background of our photo shoot — Canadian Rocky Mountains, glacier-fed lakes and streams, a stately hotel perched on a high bluff. We had several wardrobe changes. And we could not have had more fun. We even had a deer wander into the frame in a couple of shots!

Lots of my clients ask what they should wear for their portrait shoots. I usually suggest that wardrobe choices be guided by comfort and by a lack of competing patterns. In other words, a husband and wife being photographed with their new baby should not separately choose plaids and stripes for their clothing. I can’t say that I would have ever thought to recommend bright orange and turquoise as a combination. But with her own sense of style — and a fashionable mom who is more than a little familiar with the sales racks at Nordstrom — Maggie showed up with trunk full of fabulous options.

Here are a bunch of my favorites from our shoot:


Maggie’s stylist — also known as her mom, Bridget — runs over to assist with wardrobe troubles.


If it looks like I was laying on the ground in the middle of the road here, that’s because I was. Fortunately, with rolling straight-aways in either direction, we had lots of warning when a car was approaching and plenty of time to scurry off to the side of the road.


Wardrobe — and location — change…10-MBulger_205-084blog11-MBulger_082bw-041blog13-MBulger_038-019blog14-MBulger_024-011blog

So I wanted to have a little splashing fun in this mountain lake where we were shooting. Maggie’s first attempt kicked up so little water that it was clear she was trying to keep me dry. So I waded in and showed her what I was looking for. Her second attempt (below left) yielded so much water that she screamed in obvious horror at my drenching. No worries. Let’s dry off my camera and try again. The third time (below right) was the charm…


We wanted to use these fantastic canoes on the lake. But the one we liked best was full of water. So we put Bridget in the canoe at the opposite end to tip the water away from the spot where I wanted Maggie to sit. Clever, eh?16-MBulger_129-047blog17-MBulgerblog3blog18-MBulger_192bw-077blog

And off into the woods we go…19-MBulger_242-096blog20-MBulger_263-108blog21-MBulger_258-105blog22-MBulger_246-099blog23-MBulgerblog4blog

So I’m shooting and moving around when I eventually notice that there’s a deer wandering toward us. I quietly tell Maggie about our visitor and wait until the deer strolls close enough to be in the frame. Just then, Maggie’s mom — who was standing a ways away on the edge of the woods — notices the deer. “Oh my gosh,” she hollers, “you guys, there’s a deer there. Watch out. There’s a deer coming right toward you.” Maggie and I could barely stop laughing. It’s so surreal, though, that it almost looks like Maggie went to Sears and picked their backdrop with woods and a deer.


After shooting in the overcast forest for a while, we ran right for this gorgeous peal of sunshine that streamed into the woods when the clouds suddenly parted.


Back on the road…29-MBulger_487bw-216blog

How great is her smile?


These two show the contrast that I love about senior portraits — capturing teenagers flirting with adulthood while still embracing the kid inside themselves.



Our last stop: the Prince of Wales Hotel, a magnificent structure with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Waterton Lake. The hotel serves a traditional British high tea each afternoon. After another wardrobe change, that’s where we finished our photo shoot.



Maggie, looking gorgeous and all grown-up.38-MBulger_610gts-271blog

Thanks, Mags, for such a fun senior portrait shoot. And congratulations on your last year of high school!


  1. Carol

    What a beauty! The wonderful variety of photos really do her justice. They are lovely.

  2. Maura Cooney

    Thanks for the good cry! You definately caught the true essence of Maggies personality along with her beauty, and I so agree with the part about her fashionable mother- Well Done!

  3. Gerry Bulger

    Fine portraits of a beautiful young woman. She is the brightest girl I know. We are so proud of her and so thankful for your superb work. Thank you.


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