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  • Writer's pictureBL Gilleon

2023: The Highlight Reel, Pt. 2

Updated: Feb 14

Rather than another introduction (which was covered in Part 1), let's jump right in on a month from which it was nearly impossible to choose which session to feature!


July

Summer was on in Ohio and it was HOT, so clients, friends, and I spent a lot of time in the water that month. I had a shoot at a tucked away, beautiful waterfall here in Columbus. My bestie and I took a road trip to Cleveland, where she dressed in her best painter's dropcloth and we did a Little Mermaid photoshoot that was all of my childhood dreams come to life! But the one I'm bringing to this post was one of the first sessions of the month. This one was at Alum Creek Beach, where I had just photographed some moody waterside photos a couple months earlier. Columbus natives may be familiar with this location, which is nobody's definition of a tropical getaway - but let me tell you: I would host every dang session I book up there if I could. Everything I've shot there has turned out absolutely magical! For these, I was paying special attention to horizon lines, trying to place them in different ways to frame Ashley against the water and the sky. She so enthusiastically went along with it, and these are another couple of my favorites of the entire year.



August

This month was a little trickier, as it was really busy with family visits and vacations and I didn't shoot as much as I normally would. We went to Florida, and that extreme heat & humidity really has a way of keeping the camera indoors. My husband, son, and I did get out for one late evening, where we raced against the setting sun and dripping sweat to get a couple of golden hour portraits. No tripod on this trip, so for the pictures of me, I dialed in the settings on my camera and handed it off to one of the boys. They did pretty well!



September

Oh, September... Historically, this month has almost always been a catalytic one in my life. If I sat down and made a timeline, there would absolutely be a spike in moves, job changes, and big decisions made in the month of September. This one was no different. This time I made plans to leave my previous full-time job and took the first real steps toward my goal of becoming a small business owner. I also did a lot of pre-spooky season shoots, and choosing among them would be hard - except that there is one clear standout. Earlier in the year I had ordered a pair of handmade bat wings from Ukraine, and the second I bought them I knew exactly who I wanted to photograph in them for the first time! My friend Yana is the sweetest soul, loves to do punk, dark, unique styles and she was so excited when I told her what I had in mind. We met up in Dayton for the shoot, and she emphasized over and over again how awesome she felt in this look. It's hard narrowing this down to one favorite!


Portrait of a woman dressed in bat wings and a long dress.

October

As you can probably imagine, October is typically a big month for me in terms of creative photography. People are excited for the turn of the season, there's a charge in the air, and many of us are so stoked for Halloween! That being said, I really got a lot of my spooky sessions done in September instead, so October is a little light on them. That month I did stay at an AirBnB with my bestie Laura, and the entire weekend was a photography blitz! While there, we did our second annual spooky shoot together, so once again, I dialed in the settings and handed my camera to a third party, doing my best to direct while posing. These were so much fun to do!



November

Senior season! Fall being one of the most beautiful times to be in Ohio, November in particular is a great month to be outside and a fantastic opportunity for those outdoor portraits. I took my own senior to downtown Columbus one evening, where we ran around looking for interesting shapes & colors to place him against. Photographing your own kid has its own rewards and challenges, such as an acute awareness of how rapidly they grow and change. I'm thankful for it, but it is definitely bittersweet. In any case, I love the photos we made, in particular the low perspective shot that makes him look like a giant!


Portrait of a high school senior, photo taken from a low perspective to emphasize the student's height and relation to the buildings around him.

December

For a month so full of things to be done and people to see, I have managed to get in a good number of sessions, as well as some self-portraits. My favorite, though, was an experimental shoot. The intent was to take Becca and a studio light to a park decked in Christmas lights, so we could try balancing flash with colored lights. However, a different setup in a nearby alley is what really caught my eye, and because black & white portraits will always have my heart, I wound up choosing these as my favorites of the night instead.



And here we are! Another year down, and so many excellent photos to look back at. I am so truly thankful for all the people who have worked with me, either as clients or creative collaborators, and look forward to seeing you all and meeting new people in 2024. Cheers!


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