High school graduation pictures have evolved from the static studio look-off-into-the-air-with-no-expression pictures, to creative photographs that capture the essence and personality of the high school senior.

Images that feature sports, music, theater and outdoor endeavors are effective in showcasing the guy’s (and girl’s!) interests outside of school.

But if the photographer really gets creative, he or she can capture that special something beyond the posed looks and terrific lighting.

Such was the case when I photographed Jacob for his high school graduation pictures.

He and his mom had wonderfully creative ideas for his images. And I think we captured them, and captured them well. By the end of the shoot, at a beautiful farm location and with all of the check marks ticked, we were ready to head home.

And then we heard rustling from a pole shed. Forty little eyes, from twenty little piglets, stared out at us from the shade of the building. Jacob had worked with farm pigs for years. I couldn’t help it. I asked if he could pick one up.

I watched as he carefully, quietly scaled the wall into the pen. I could hear him talking softly to the unsure little drift. Clearly, he had done this before.

When he emerged from the darkness of the shed, he held the smallest pig. The one that was a little slower than the others. The one that probably wanted me to take him home.

The pig nestled into Jacob’s arms, and I captured what was, to me, the image of the day. It immediately brought to mind one of my favorite childhood books, Charlotte’s Web. Not at all your typical high school graduation picture.

This was Jacob.

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Jacob, 2015 BHS Senior