Strike a pose: Celebrity photographer Tim Boyles volunteers time to shoot senior portraits

“Everyone, who wants to be, should be represented in the yearbook and have a professional documentation of who we are at that time in our lives,” professional photographer Tim Boyles said.

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Ben Blackie

Say Cheese! Tim Boyles crouches to take a students picture. Boyles has been offering the opportunity to get free professional portraits taken for two years.

Ben Blackie, Editor In Chief

Taylor Swift, Idina Menzel, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Savage, Kevin Costner and Nik Wallenda.   Names you don’t usually see listed in the school newspaper.  However, several seniors can now brag they have been photographed by professional photographer Tim Boyles whose portfolio includes images of these celebrities and more.

On March 4,  Boyles offered to take free professional senior portraits. Twenty seven students signed up to take advantage of the opportunity. Three journalism students worked side by side with Boyles that night and were able to not only witness him in action but gained advice on their photography and potential future careers.

This is the second year Boyles has come into the school and volunteered his time.

“There were many more students this year who signed up.  Last year we had about eight students and this year there were 27.  This year students seem to be paying more attention to email communication, and I think they saw what an opportunity this was to be photographed by someone of Tim’s talent and have that opportunity free of charge.  I also think some students missed school photos and knew this was the last chance to have a photo in the yearbook,” yearbook adviser Wanda Vanish said.

This year, many seniors weren’t able to get their senior pictures taken either because of financial issues or Covid-19 concerns.

It was a great experience to have this generous offer because I know that there are copious seniors among the student body that may not have had the opportunity to get their own pictures taken. It’s quite expensive for a lot of people.,” senior Jacqueline Ertwine said. 

This year, hundreds of students didn’t show up for their school pictures.

Pullquote Photo

I want them to remember who they are and that their roots are important now and always.  I also want them to remember who they were at this time in their lives, what they looked like, what they dressed like, how they smiled.”

— Tim Boyles

“Everyone deserves a senior portrait.  I still have my 1977 yearbook and have looked back on it many, many times over the years.  High school is a defining moment in all of our lives whether we want it to be or not.   Photographs help tell that story now, and as the heirlooms of our lives.  We are a community of people, all trying our best to make it though this atrocious virus.  My heart breaks in so many ways for the young people whose lives are severely impacted.  This time in your lives is when joy and exploration and growth should be the only focus,” Boyles said. 

It means a lot to me because I really appreciated the opportunity to get these photos done quickly and free. It was a very quick and enjoyable experience, and I’m very glad it worked out. I also think the photos turned out great,” senior Caden McMaster said.

In additon to taking headshots, Boyles took a few candid photos for each student.

It meant so much to me to get my pictures taken for free. I love how I even got to incorporate my gymnastics into my pictures. It was such a fun experience,” senior Makenna Taddy said. 

I really appreciated it because I wasn’t planning on taking senior pictures until I heard about him coming. The experience was very fun and I enjoyed being photographed because it brings a sense of confidence,” senior Carolyn Dumm said. 

Boyles has been a photographer for 37 years.

“I think it will affect them differently, but I also hope there are common threads in their reactions.  Mostly, I want them to remember that everyone has something they can share with others out of love and community and caring.  Help those who need and want it.  You are never so big as when you kneel to help others,” Boyles said. 

In addition to taking senior pictures, Boyles also gave advice to two aspiring photographers: junior Trey Boore and senior Ben Blackie.

“It was an honor getting to meet Tim because of the years of experience he has and the people he worked with. I’m fortunate that we got to talk a lot. He talked me through the whole process of how to make photography a career and gave me a bunch of tips for the road,” Boore said.

“I’ve been interested in photography for awhile, and I hope to be able to continue it in the future. It was really helpful to get tips from Tim and to get advice on what else I could do. It was also really flattering to get complemented on my photos, especially from a professional,” Blackie said.

Boyles first started photography when he joined the military in 1984.

I joined the U.S. Navy with a guarantee that I would receive photojournalism, writing, broadcasting and PR training and work as a journalist covering news around the world.  It was undoubtedly the best decision I ever made.  I’ve been in journalism one way or another ever since,”  Boyles. 

Boyles has had many celebrity clients, has worked for Getty Images and has been Nik Wallenda’s personal photographer for the last 9 years.

I’ve had so many great moments with celebrities over the years, it’s hard to pick one favorite moment.  Being Nik Wallenda’s personal photographer for the past nine years has brought me some incredible experiences–taking my father along on a four-day shoot at the Grand Canyon with Nik in 2013 and shooting Nik as he walked a wire over an active volcano in Nicaragua in 2020.  How do you top those kinds of experiences?  It’s hard to do,” Boyles said.