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Headshot photographers capture senior farewells

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Amelia Davis / Thresher

By Jennifer Liu     4/16/24 10:04pm

As the demand for senior photos escalates towards the end of the semester, Rice’s student photographers find themselves at the forefront of commemorating significant milestones for their peers.

“From now until April 22, I’m booked straight every day,” Kelsea Whiting, a Brown College junior said. 

Whiting, who runs a portrait photography business, said she first got into photography by taking landscape photos when her dad got her a camera at fifteen.



 “I moved into portraiture two months after I got my camera, just taking photos of family members to start,” said Whiting.

Now, Whiting finds herself in high demand both on and off-campus, doing one or two portrait sessions daily.

“Around this time, when it comes to senior season, it gets really crazy,” Whiting said. “I’ve been going pretty consistently since the middle of March.” She added that she will be taking a trip back to her home state, where she also plans to shoot portrait sessions. 

Other campus photographers share Whiting’s experience of having a packed schedule. Gazi Fuad, a senior at Will Rice College who does freelance photography, said he had to work photoshoots around his schedule before graduation.

“The demand is pretty high right now … especially right after Beer Bike as people start to get these things on their mind,” Fuad said. “Especially in these last few weeks … I make sure to not carve out time that I don’t have.”

Zeisha Bennett, a Baker College junior who does professional portraits, said she agrees with the need to balance her photography commitments with other responsibilities.

“I treat my contract and photo submission deadlines the same as my assignments for class,” Bennett said. “Whichever is due first gets the priority, but there are definitely times when I prioritize my clients over class things.”

Beyond the logistical challenges of managing a packed schedule, these photographers find a sense of fulfillment in their work.

“Being able to just be creative in this format is really fun … I’m having to push myself to find new spots that I haven’t shot at before, so that not everybody’s photos end up looking the same,” Whiting said. “The street right in front of the health center that has all the trees overhanging, that’s one of my favorite spots.”

Other photographers are equally eager to share their favorite shooting locations.

“My two favorites are a person’s own residential college, just because they’re all unique and each have their own sign, and by Skyspace, especially if it’s around sunset on a sunny day because the light works really nicely,” Fuad said.

These student photographers highlight the unique connections fostered during photo sessions as the thing they enjoy the most about taking photos.

“It’s a lot of fun, I get to meet a lot of new Rice people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Whiting said. “That’s probably my favorite part.”

Bennett echoed a similar sentiment.

 “I love learning about the wonderful things they’re up to or the relaxing or exciting plans they have for the summer after leaving Rice,” Bennett said. “Actually most of all, I adore the luminous smile that appears when I show them photos mid-shoot … Those are the moments when I remember why I do what I do: to make people smile.”



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