Niklas Jumlin is a father and photographer from Sweden. He began taking photos of his daughter early in 2014 and hasn’t put down the camera since. His aim is to capture truly enchanting, storytelling photos—all from authentic moments in natural light.

In this post, Niklas shares the story behind his very first ‘senior portrait’ shoot, a super simple shoot done entirely hand-held without any help from a reflector or assistant. Remember that when you see the final results!

To see more from Niklas, give his 500px account a follow, check out his website, and Like his page on Facebook.

Tomorrow May Never Come by Niklas Jumlin on


I planned this shoot quite long before it happened, about when the summer began here in Sweden. I had some ideas about how I wanted to capture it, and I began looking around for someone to model for me. Luckily I had met a few models through some friends, so finding someone wasn’t too hard. I contacted Beatrice and told her about my idea.

I hadn’t really shot any senior portraits before. The majority of my past work consists of candid portraits of my daughter, a few other children, and some candid portraits of my partner in life. Since I couldn’t share with her any example senior portraits, I showed her my current portfolio of child portraits. Lucky for me she loved them and agreed to model for me!

My idea was quite simple: I wanted to capture the feelings of summer, including the warmth and tranquility of it all. For me, summer is all about taking one day at a time, enjoying each day as if it were the last. This is what I had in mind while I composed and shot these portraits.

Follow The Sun by Niklas Jumlin on

Location Scouting on the Fly

We didn’t really have a set plan of where to shoot. We went out about 30 minutes before the sun was going to set. Not ideal conditions—next time I’ll plan the location better. We went searching for a wheat field that wasn’t too flat, and one that also included a nice background as well as trying to keep the sun in the right place.

Fortunately, we found one after about 15 minutes of driving. The sun was already about to go down so we had to hurry to get to the field and capture the shots. You’d be surprised of how many great shots (including initial test shots) we managed to capture in only 10 minutes or so—which was about how much time we had left of the sunset.

Twilight by Niklas Jumlin on

Fields of Gold by Niklas Jumlin on

Everyone Has Their Own Story by Niklas Jumlin on

Beatrice is a very skilled model, so working with her was a breeze. I can’t really say that I’m used to giving directions, since most of my shots are of children, and they won’t listen anyway, haha! So I let her pose by herself and only gave a few requests, like directions on where to look or where to turn, etc.

Technical Considerations

For clothing I wanted colors as close to nature as possible, making sure they weren’t too bright. I usually try to keep my photos to one or two main colors and the rest in the same tone. Kind of like black-and-white photos except with a lot more colors to choose from.

My setup included the Sony A7 II with the Zeiss Batis 85/1.8. All the shots taken in the field were shot against the sun. For this, I had to consider a few things: like where the flare would end up so it wouldn’t cover my model, and how I should best expose my shots so my model wouldn’t become too dark or too bright, while simultaneously maintaining a good exposure for the background.

I choose to expose for the highlights on her hair and allowed the face to be a bit darker than I’m usually comfortable with. The reason for this is that it’s always easier to recover shadow details in post-processing than it is to recover over-exposed highlights. Having to do too much shadow recovery also introduces more noise, so I had to be careful not to under-expose too much.

I actually did bring a reflector that I never used. The reflector would have helped me here, but I couldn’t manage to hold both the reflector and the camera. Next time I will consider bringing an assistant 🙂

The Beginning by Niklas Jumlin on

Twilight By The Lake by Niklas Jumlin on


To sum up my post-processing, it included recovering the highlights in the sky, recovering shadow-detail on my models face and body, some skin retouching, sharpening, background blur, noise reduction, clone-stamping away the flare, and, lastly, a few tweaks to the colors and white balance.

I try to keep my post-processing simple, taking care not to overdo things because I prefer keeping my photos looking natural.

This will definitely not be my last senior portrait session, in fact I’m already planning my next one!