Oh my goodness. Like wow. wow. wow. WOW for good measure. Sit down and have some coffee, water, or gator-aid – this senior is wicked cool.

There is no surprise that my website has many band students featured on the website. My children were in the band, so I started photographing their events which led to photographing their friends who were also in the band. Drums, tubas, flags, flutes, you name it – they carried it, I photographed it.

I have photographed band seniors from Chaparral, Ponderosa, and one from the University of South Dakota (my daughter), but most band seniors come from Legend High School. And when I get to photograph a Drum Major (Trevor ’14, Trey ’12) or an Assistant Drum Major (Lewis ’14, Matt ’15, Amanda ’18, Hayden ’20) – not going to lie, it’s like getting asked to prom! Enough of the former Drum Majors – let’s talk about the 2024 Legend Titan Marching Band Drum Major.

Sam. 2023-2024 Legend Titan Marching Band Drum Major

When his mom discussed with me what he wanted from his senior session, she mentioned he had a love for Prince. You know… 80’s Prince. Dude. I like this senior! He wanted to bring a few of his favorite Prince albums (vinyl records are making a comeback!) I was “Let’s do this!” And till we meet at the session, I usually will think out a few cool visuals so that I am ready to go. What I was not expecting that night was dark, ominous rain clouds.

Now, if you have read every post on every senior I have photographed over the years, you know that cloudy, overcast days are my thing. No squinting of the eyes from the senior means the weather is a little cooler, and if the wind doesn’t pick up too much, I can post-edit and bring out the best of the best fake sun there ever was. I try to control the light, and not the sun control me. But on those cloudy days, there are big odds that we are trying to get through the one-hour session before it drops the big rain on us. I’m sure a few former seniors are chuckling about the rain we have been caught in right about now.

And this is what Sam, his parents, and I had. We are talking wicked dark skies. Probably skies that I should have said “Hey, maybe we should reschedule…” but they were game, and I was “Let’s do this!” – and we did. I saw off in the distance the rain was coming. Thinking instantly of the song Purple Rain, we got Sam, his Prince albums, and his jacket into position, and I snapped the shot. Nothing overly creative there, but I knew when I sat down later to edit it – that this would be the Prince shot.

We go through the rest of his session; the wind picks up, the skies get darker, and lightning strikes here and there. Just as we are wrapping up, it starts raining. That’s how a Susan B. Photography session goes. That night, I edited the image, and with the help of Photoshop, I made the sky go purple and added some lightening, some dramatic dark editing, and made sure Sam stood out in the image. Talking with his family later, he said the image went viral at school and it went viral in my little bubble too. I also entered it in the Portraits Masters Image Competition at the last minute and found out this week it earned a bronze!

This is one of those sessions that I will remember for a very long time, and the thrill of how it all turned out so amazing. See some of Sam’s favorite images from his session – and the ‘Prince’ shot, that started it all.