Posted on Mar 17, 2018
Posted in Creative, Seniors, Teens

Fashion Shoot with Shop Stevie and Dani Boutique

I affectionately called them my “Stylish Seven”! I’ve been working with most of these ladies for at least a couple of years and I’ve been amazed at how they’ve grown and developed into amazing young ladies both in front of the camera and in their schools and communities.

I’m all about partnering with local boutiques to highlight their styles and give my models and the studio local exposure.

This occasion was no exception. Danielle Lazaro of Shop Stevie and Dani boutique is a friend from way back. We met for the first time at a photo shoot, have spent many a shoot together, her as my makeup artist and even my model in some shoots. We’re besties forever and of course I jumped at the opportunity to highlight her newest venture of her online boutique.

There’s nothing more powerful in your home market than highlighting a boutique’s styles with local models, particularly active young ladies with deep social media connections.

We quickly developed a plan and shoot schedule to highlight some of Danielle’s current styles and of course my Stylish Six models were more than up to the challenge.

DJP Studio was up and firing on all cylinders for this shoot and we came together and made magic! These girls are beyond amazing and I’ve seen their comfort in front of the camera and in their own skin improve dramatically through the years.

Check out the results. All of these looks are available at Danielle’s online boutique. Click HERE to shop and enjoy.

Posted on Jun 18, 2015
Posted in Seniors

So the other week I started a 2-part series addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about having your senior portrait made. Summer is the PERFECT time to have your senior portraits made, so class of 2016 seniors check out this 2nd series of questions and answers about how to have a killer senior portrait experience.

If you missed Part 1, Click HERE to read it.


Can I include other people in my senior portrait session, like my boyfriend or sister?

Absolutely! We have different sessions that allow for more or less time. Choose a session package that allows enough time to include friends, pets or anyone else that is special to you.

Marie and Quinn Couples Senior Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC

What comes with your packages?

All Senior Portrait Session Packages include everything you need to create amazing images and have memories for years to come.  We include in all of our packages:  

  • Professional makeup and hair application (or shave/style for guys),
  • 3 digital images for social media sharing and a digital yearbook photo for publication.
  • A generous print credit to get you started in creating your own custom portrait package.
  • Some packages even include beautiful custom photo album or graduation invitations

Kendra Smith Album Cover Photo Shoot Class of 2015


If it rains, do you have a studio to shoot at?

I sure do! You’d be amazed at how I can convert my home space into a cutting edge portrait studio. I’ve had some outdoor session rained out and we improvised and took it indoors to create amazing studio images.  You may also want a variety of studio and on location images. We can absolutely accommodate your creative vision for your senior portraits.


I’m shy. Won’t it be awkward having my family stare at me while the shoot is going on?

My job is to help make you feel like a superstar, so I’m pretty good at helping my clients feel absolutely comfortable during your session.  Don’t worry, I normally put everyone to work – holding a reflector, fixing a stray hair – so they’ll all be too busy to stand around staring at you! LOL! And look at your family as your cheering section. They’ll be there to encourage you and cheer you on as you make some amazing images. If you’re really concerned about your family making you feel awkward, I’ll have a little pep talk with everyone before the session.

Kuria Carr Senior Portraits in Rock Hill, SC

How will I know how to pose?

Don’t worry about a thing! I spend a lot of time studying to learn the most creative and natural poses to make you feel and look great. Also, we’ll take time to meet and talk about you and your likes so I can start to learn a little bit about your personality and who you are as a person. That will help me select the poses that will make you look great. And I’m always open to my senior giving me a great pose that they thought about. It’s a partnership with a common goal – EPIC senior portraits!

Monet Mackey Model Shoot

What other location options do you suggest?


Charlotte and surrounding areas are full of amazing locations for portrait sessions. I spend a lot of time on the lookout for locations that will compliment different personalities and clothing options. We’ll talk about your personality, your attire and your total look and then decide on a location that will compliment and enhance your final look. I did a blog post some months ago highlighting some of my most favorite locations in the area. Check out that post HERE.

Senior Portrait Session



So now that you’ve got some of your questions answered, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW? Give me a call and let’s talk about senior portraits and schedule a time to meet in person.

You may not have a senior in the house but you may know someone who does. Forward this blog post to them and maybe they’ll become a happy client of mine. And guess what? You get rewarded for referring clients to me. Learn all about my DFP Referral Program HERE.

Until next week!


Posted on Jun 04, 2015
Posted in Seniors

Senior Portraits with DJP are designed to an unforgettable experience for each one of my clients. I’ve collected some of the most commonly asked questions and provided detail answers. Here are a handful of questions and I’ll do a few more FAQ blog posts over the next few weeks.


This is my first time having professional photos taken. What should I expect?

You should expect a very custom experience that will make you feel like a rock star. I’m proud to say that I spend a lot of time with each of my senior portrait clients to give them not only amazing images and products, but an experience that you’ll be talking about all year long and beyond.

Octavia Sturdivant Senior portrait session

I don’t want the same photos as everyone else. Can you make mine original?

Absolutely! Unfortunately most seniors and their parents just settle for the school’s contract photographer. He or she is great at what they do but they’re not set up to deliver a custom and creative portrait experience for you. This is where your professional photographer rocks! We’re going to sit down before I ever take one photo and talk about YOU! I want to know what you do for fun, your favorite color, your style of dress and more. We’ll design a unique portrait session that allows you to be your best!

Dasia Toole senior portrait session in Uptown Charlotte

I really like the country, rural look, but I’m not sure where to go for the location. Can you help plan out the locations based on the type of look I want?

I sure can! When we talk and start to plan your portrait session I can’t wait to hear your personal vision for your portrait session. We’ll talk about your vision and discuss not only location but also your attire and how it all ties together to create the final look you want. Don’t worry at all about not knowing any good locations that fit your vision. As I’m driving around town I’m always on the lookout for cool locations that fit different styles and looks. There are some beautiful rural areas in the the cities for sessions!

Senior portrait session in rural location

When is the best time of year to schedule my session?

The summer of your rising senior year is the prime season for senior portraits! So Class of 2016 students, the time is NOW! The weather is amazing during this time of year and there are so many creative options for  your session. If you’re not able to have your senior portraits during the summer months, don’t worry! I’ve created portraits for my past seniors in the Spring of their senior year, but by far the summer months are best!
Mandy Wilkerson senior portrait session on Winthrop University campus

How do I go about securing my session?

Just give me a call and we can talk a bit so I can learn more about you and what you’re looking for in your senior portraits. I’ll want to talk to your mom next so she’s on board and excite about your senior portraits. We’ll meet face to face so we can get to know each other and we can start planning your session. If everything looks great and you and your mom and ready to book a session, we’ll take care of a little business and then you’re all set. We’ll start getting ready for your epic portrait session!

Aaliyah McCall Senior Portrait Session

I’m not really good about applying makeup but I want to look glam for my session. Can you help me out with that?

Yes! My Beauty Team is AMAZING!! These ladies help take your natural beauty to the next level with expert hair and makeup styling. My Beauty Team members have over 25 years of combined professional hair and beauty experience and they are my right hand ladies to help make your senior portraits amazing. The best part is their services are INCLUDED in all of my senior portrait sessions. No extra fees for beauty and makeup. You choose a package and be comforted in knowing that you’ll have one of my talented ladies on set working for you. And don’t worry fellas, we haven’t forgotten about you. Guys can enjoy the same “prep” service as well with a shave and style included with every senior portrait package.

Kourtney Owens Senior Portrait session in Charlotte, NC


Be on the look out for Part 2 of this series next week where I’ll be answering more Frequently Asked Questions about a senior portrait experience with Derek Johnson Photography. You may not have a senior in the house but you may know someone who does. Forward this blog post to them and maybe they’ll become a happy client of mine. And guess what? You get rewarded for referring clients to me. Learn all about my DFP Referral Program HERE.

Here’s Part 2 of the FAQ

Until next week!


Posted on May 28, 2015
Posted in Seniors

I’m so excited to share another amazing senior portrait session with the beautiful Kourtny Owens. This was our second time working together. I met her late last year as she is a good friend  of one of my Premier Senior Models Monet Mackey, and they both helped me create a Winter Style Guide. I had sooo much fun photographing Kourtney on a chilly but sunny Sunday afternoon.

With a beautiful location and an amazing senior, making these amazing images was easy. Many thanks to my makeup artist Tiffany Tyson who helped to create the perfect model for creating these images.


Check out Kourtney’s images from her session and please leave a comment below!

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Posted on Apr 02, 2015
Posted in Seniors

I’m super excited about this new E-book that I’ve developed just for my prospective senior portrait clients. Even if that isn’t you, I’m sure you have a friend, acquaintance or family member with a high school (or college) senior who may be looking for the right photographer.


Well let me share some valuable information with you to help you avoid 7 costly mistakes most people make when selecting a photographer for their senior portraits.


See this is not a “close my eyes point to a number on a listing and go with it” type of decision. You child’s senior portraits can be so much more than just a few awkward poses in front of an impatient photographer. You’re child’s senior portrait session could turn out to be the experience of a lifetime, part of those epic moments that will define her senior year.


I want to give you some information that you can use when shopping for a great photographer. Of course I would love for you to choose me as your child’s senior photographer, but even if you don’t I want to make sure you are armed with the right information to make the best decision.

So please share this information with someone you love and by all means contact us soon so we can talk more and possible set up an epic senior portrait session for your child.



So hopefully you found the information helpful and it has empowered you to go out there and find the best photographer for your senior. If you think that one could be me then let’s chat right now. You can find out how to contact me HERE.

If you’d like to learn more sign up for my free periodic newsletter where I send out great articles like this one as well as all the latest offers and other great information on portrait photography and life in general. Sign up below!


Posted on Aug 28, 2014
Posted in Family, Seniors

If you’re reading this blog post you’re more than likely a current or past client of mine and I say THANK YOU for your support of my dream. I love creating beautiful images of families and high school seniors for my clients and giving them something to relive and enjoy over and over for years to come.


The best compliment you could ever show my business is your referral! 


We all enjoy sharing a great experience and I hope you are eager to share your positive experience with the people you love.

As a way of saying thanks I want to make sure you know about our amazing Referral Program. Click on the link below to be taken to our program summary page. You’ll definitely want to check it out and start sharing your great portrait experience with family and friends.

One of our amazing portrait products that is perfect for showing off your past family portraits is our Custom Mobile Photo App.

It is a very neat app that loads directly onto your smartphone or tablet and allows you to show off your images from our session together. HERE is an example. If you don’t already have a custom mobile app from our past portrait session, contact me today and request a complimentary app ($150 value). And if you’d like an updated set of images to enjoy your app, give me a call and let’s set a session date!

To read all about our Referral Program, click HERE.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from your family and friends and seeing you again!

Derek Johnson, Photographer



Posted on Aug 13, 2014
Posted in Creative, Family, Seniors


I’m so excited about the first annual DFP White Portrait Event!

read more

Posted on Jun 26, 2014
Posted in Seniors

My senior portrait session with Samaria Candelaria was amazing! I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful young lady back in May for her prom portrait session with Brandon Simpson.  We hooked up several weeks later for her senior portrait session and with her being such a natural in front of the camera her images were crazy good.

read more

Posted on Jun 12, 2014
Posted in Family, Seniors

I wanted to pull the curtain back and show you some behind the scenes action on how I achieve a white background finish for studio portraits.  There’s nothing cleaner than a beautiful portrait on a white background. When the accompanying elements like chairs, boxes and other props are in harmony with the subject, it all comes together in a beautiful and finished product. This very simple, almost sterile look isn’t for everyone but it’s a perfect alternative for a fun, modern portrait session when the very warm outdoors of the summer is not your cup of tea. read more

Posted on May 29, 2014
Posted in Family, Seniors

I had the awesome pleasure and opportunity to lend my photographic services and provide prom portraits at a day prom at the Pendergrass-Fairwold High School in Columbia, SC. This amazing school educates and nurture children with special developmental needs. read more