Michelle Shi

Oakleaf High School

It all went so fast, like the speed a camera shutters. One-click after another, a milestone of my life entered the books. My photo album from Cady Studios sits on the white desk across the loft. The nostalgia flows in my brain, and a smile dances across my face. The memories I made at Cady are so unforgettable. A day full of smiles.

There I am, holding a wooden frame with the words “SENIOR 2023”. My eyes are pure of excitement, and my tri-colored earring is poking out. I remember my experiences like it was
yesterday. The day had started hectic as I was thirty minutes late and worried about my session being canceled. However, when I arrived, I was welcomed by my personal photographer and reassured by the Cady team. I had a thrill of emotions whirling through my head before entering the studio. I was never a “picture person” and never thought I would be satisfied with my pictures. But it felt all so real when I walked into the dressing room and saw the ambient lights. Anticipation flooded over me, and I was excited to get professional pictures taken for the first time! It was a process filled with memories that would last forever.

During the first scene, I felt rigid. My brain told my body to loosen up, but I could not execute the poses to my heart’s content. This kept up for a short time; my photographer started cracking jokes and guided me step by step through the poses. Behind all of this, my mom and grandma were in the background making silly faces at me, and it reminded me how long it had been since I had spent a whole day with them. After finishing up the outdoor scene, I felt like a kid again. I got to choose which setting I wanted next, which was comforting. Sometimes I find myself conforming to what I am told, but there was no pressure this time, and the day was all about me. A day Cady dedicated.

Next, I chose the scene, Emerge. Personally, this scene was surreal, as so many of my experiences came back to me. I sit on the stool and spin around as my photographer adjusts the
camera. My hands are spaced apart, and I am holding my sashes. This brings me back to a milestone moment. I participated in a pageant in my junior year and received two titles. While the titles and sashes were physical portrayals, my internal feelings were emphatic. I vividly remember the night of the pageant, and as someone who lacked self-confidence, my participation was a time of personal growth. Being able to showcase them always reminds me how far I have come. My heart flutters as I think back on my support from friends, families, and teachers.

Eventually, the cap and gown came along, and the feeling of the gown draped around my shoulders made me emotional. I knew I would be a senior one day, but it all happened quickly.
The sensation of holding the cap made me feel proud of myself and how I have battled challenging circumstances life threw at me. I can always look back at my photos and recap the moments that made me. These pictures will never fade away, nor will the experience that sparked my reflection.

The photo shoot undoubtedly represented me; all facial expressions were ‘me.’ While smiling, at one point, felt sore, it was worth it. Along with that, my photographer ensured that it was a fun time and fit any accommodations or requests.

Overall, the session allowed me to showcase my senior year and was a bonding moment for my whole family. I was able to keep my memories through pictures and retain them. My photographer also left words of encouragement and hoped I would make it into my dream college. After all, I may be a picture person now, and like Cady says, “Words are not our preferred medium. We prefer photos”. Ever since my experience with Cady, I have developed a deeper appreciation for photography.

A youthful picture faces me on the back cover, and the photo album now closes, but this is not the end of my album.

Overall, the session allowed me to showcase my senior year and was a bonding moment for my whole family.