Behind the Scenes Senior Portrait - Michael Gabhart | Emily McGonigle Photography

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of getting to work with Lisa Gabhart again, creating senior portraits for her son, Michael. I met Lisa two years ago when she first contacted me about senior portraits with her daughter Emily Gabhart, so I was thrilled when she got in touch about working with Michael. He is the second male high school senior I've gotten to work with, since moving to Nashville, and my first male senior model representative! I'm so glad I'm getting to work with more guys!

When Michael and Lisa arrived at the studio on Sunday, we hung all of Michael's clothing, chatted about which pieces we wanted to photograph Michael in, and then got him into hair and makeup with the lovely Cheslea Blair.

While Chelsea worked with Michael, we snacked on pretzels, Cheez-Its, Dr. Pepper... and I attempted to make coffee, but... there was none. (I know... it was a tragedy, but spoiler alert:  I survived).

I ALSO learned during this time, that the lead singer for Alabama Shakes is a FEMALE.

I had no idea.

I just know I really love their "Don't Wanna Fight" song and I always thought it was a dude. Whoops.

While we were at the studio enjoying music and air-conditioning, the mini-machete extraordinaire, Matthew Simmons, was at the shoot location, hacking his way through brush that had overgrown since our last visit to scout the location.

There was a particular set of stairs that I wanted to use, but there was so much new overgrowth when I went to check out the location again the day before Michael's shoot, that I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

But Matthew bravely volunteered, risking sunburn and poison oak, to go ahead of us to clear out the stairs so they would be usable.


He did an awesome job clearing out the area. I was (and still am) super appreciative of all his help.

Back at the studio, Chelsea finished up with Michael and then he changed into his first outfit.


Once Michael was changed and ready to go, we packed everything away and meet up with Matthew at the shoot location.

Michael was a natural. From the first frame, all the way to the end, he gave his best modeling efforts.

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

[Photo: Matthew Simmons]

Here is one of my favorite images from Michael's session. Just look at that smoulder! ;)

Thanks again to Chelsea and Matthew for all of their help on Michael's session! And if you're ever in need of a hair and makeup artist, be sure to give Chelsea a shout! You can check out her site at:


Emily McGonigle Photography is a Nashville Portrait Photographer, and can be contacted for booking inquiries here.