Annabeth Meisel, left, and Natalie Johnson are taking senior portraits free of charge for students who have been impacted by COVID-19. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Annabeth Meisel, left, and Natalie Johnson are taking senior portraits free of charge for students who have been impacted by COVID-19. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Hometown Heroes: Local students offer to take free senior photos due to pandemic

TJHS seniors Natalie Johnson and Annabeth Meisel want to help every student feel celebrated amid COVID-19 uncertainty.

Two local seniors are making sure the pandemic doesn’t take away the high school tradition of senior photos.

Thomas Jefferson High School students Natalie Johnson and Annabeth Meisel recently started their own photography business called Punctilious Portraiture. As the pandemic set the end of last school year and the start of this year on a surprising new course, the two decided to help their fellow classmates.

Johnson, the editor-in-chief of the TJHS yearbook, said she often hears about students who are unable to afford high-quality senior portraits.

“While this alone makes it difficult for low-income students to feel celebrated and recognized for their efforts in school, this year the portraits have become even more of an issue as many families have lost wages and are wary of photographers because of the fast-paced spreading of COVID-19,” she said.

The two started earlier this week taking socially distanced senior portraits free of charge for any local high school senior as a way to help the community, uphold traditions and capture this historic time. Johnson and Meisel are the Mirror’s Hometown Heroes for July.

Johnson said her goal is to make sure each student has at least one additional photo of themselves in the yearbook, besides their standard school photo.

“It just seemed like a good time to use my photography skills and help out with their senior photos,” Johnson. “It feels important to do it right.”

Of the duo, Johnson is the photographer and photo editor while Meisel keeps track of the images, finds and schedules clients, and makes sure health guidelines are followed during the shoot.

Only one student is allowed to be photographed at a time by appointment only, but “we are sure it will make a difference for each student,” Johnson said.

Eventually the two hope to expand their business to family portraits or possibly put together a photo album of people during quarantine.

For more information, visit punctilious-portraiture.business.site, Punctilious Portraiture on Instagram at @punctiliousportraiture, or call 253-486-7905.


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