The Snider Family

Better late than never. I didn't have time to blog this great session with the Snider family before my wife and I went to New Jersey for Christmas. I had a fantastic time with Andy (who just relaunched his blog!), Pam and their family capturing some images here in Santa Clarita. Here's a few of my favorites.

It's always the right time to schedule a family photoshoot.
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October Love

Frank and Heather's October wedding at the California Yacht Club was, how do I put this...awesome. So awesome I have way more images than the typical wedding. Which explains the length of the blogpost you're about to dive into...

(click any image for a pop-out image viewer)

DJ Matthew Rubino of Project Slate did an awesome job of pumping up the jamz.

Frank and Heather, it was an honor and an absolute pleasure to document this day in your life together!

Hand in hand

One of my college roommates, Jon is just an all-around great guy. Super genuine, deeply creative, and adventurous. So it was a joy and an honor when he asked me to capture some images of him and his fiancee, Sarah. The two of them make a great couple, and I'm excited to see them start this chapter of their lives together.
With the late afternoon sunlight in its full golden glory, we had a great time walking around Huntington  Gardens and the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

Separation clarity

So, I've been in the process of going through image after image, culling and narrowing down my portrait and wedding portfolios as I prepare to launch the long-overdue in the next few weeks. I won't lie. There have been moments, as I've started to go cross-eyed from staring at photo after photo after photo, that I've mused "It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if I just 'accidentally' lost all the photos on my hard drives and started from scratch, would it?" It can grow wearisome, cycling through past work, trying to decide what best represents you, while functioning as your own worst critic.
And then I stumbled across this image of my friend Megan, shot more than two years ago in a fire-blackened Southern California canyon. I somehow completely bypassed this image while editing back then, and last night saw it with new eyes. A horizontal crop, a few minor adjustments, and I sat at my desk feeling better about a lot of things.

I'm finding it sometimes takes that distance, that time away from things, to provide clarity and freshness to get back on track with more vigor than we had before, when perhaps we were muddling along attempting to keep up a flagging energy. I've been feeling that a lot over the last few months, reminded that sometimes we simply need to step back, take a deep breath (literally or figuratively) and take stock of things. And just maybe, that's all it takes to find our way. I know that sounds terribly reductive, and really has nothing to do with this photo, but it's the truth.
What do you need to step back from?

New lens and neo-noir.

In addition to seeing some much-missed friends while in Southern California last week, an absolute highlight was getting to shoot with my friend Sarah, who has a knack for looking effortlessly in home in front of a camera. It was a rollicking good time of messing with lighting, gritty backgrounds and moody expressions (and putting my new 50mm to use).

This next photo? An absolutely happy accident. It's a little soft, but still...after an accident like this, I can pack up and go home.

Nerd note on this one: Backlit with a Canon 580, fill light provided by an iPhone 4.

When the pressroom goes quiet

(Given recent developments, I felt it was a good time to share some images I captured several years ago.)

My first day on the job, a fellow reporter gave me a walk-through of the paper. Where the bathroom was, where the break room was. The tour capped off with the cavernous pressroom, that she described to me as a good place to blow off steam now and then.

Over the next few years I would blow off a lot of steam in that room. Sometimes I'd wander back there mid-day when it was quiet. It was like a hushed, industrial cathedral, the only sound my steps and breaths, inhaling the incense of ink and paper, afternoon light pouring through the windows. Sometimes I'd stalk back there late in the evening, at the tail end of a tiresome shift, when the room was alive. The hulking old machine whirring whirring whirring and pressmen shouting their conversations.

I certainly believe that newspapers must adapt. The methods of news gathering don't really change all that much, but the methods of delivering it to the public certainly do.

But I couldn't help feel a pang of nostalgia and loss when I heard of the paper's recent decision to outsource its printing to another location.

Change can certainly be a good thing. Physical newspapers will probably continue to be phased out. And that will have certain benefits. But there is nothing quite like seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling a product through from start to finish — from the haggard reporter on the phone culling facts, to papers coming off the press to be prepped for delivery, all under one roof.

The day after.

It's the day after an all-day wedding shoot (see previous post). What do I do? Relax by the pool? WRONG! Gear up and shoot more awesome images. I had a great time working with some of my favorite people on Sunday night, capturing images for hair-and-makeup rock stars Lola and Lovy. Here's a few I picked out today.

As a side note, Michelle felt a bit apprehensive before the shoot. I don't know what kind of experiences she's had with photographers in the past, but by the end of the night I was thrilled to hear what's become my favorite compliment from clients (aside from "great photos!"), that she felt really relaxed.

This next image is another in a series of happy accidents in my journey as an artist. I simply asked Scott to stand there while I tested the lighting. What I wound up with was an image I love. (Note to self: consider a collection titled "Perfect Mistakes.")

And finally, an image of Sarah, one of my favorite people to photograph. She's got killer eyes (which, of course, you can't see in this image) and makes posing seem so effortless.

Wedding bliss

That image right there pretty much sums up the feeling ALL DAY for Rachel and Mario's Malibu wedding. Their deep love for each other was so evident, no one was stressed out and everyone was having a good time.
I had the pleasure of capturing their engagement photos earlier this year, and had a blast shooting the wedding. I've many images to sort through, but here's a (big) handful of initial favorites from Saturday.

Rachel and Mario elected not to see each other before the ceremony. From a photographer's standpoint, that's sometimes a little bit of a logistical headache given the frequently detailed nature of wedding-day timelines. That was nowhere near the case with this wedding. It all worked out perfectly.
These next four images are also a study in looking for backgrounds in unlikely places. The first two were shot at the edge of a dusty parking lot, the third was down at the base of Pepperdine University's iconic Theme Tower, and the last was shot in an empty classroom lit by nasty fluorescent lights.

I don't think I've ever photographed a wedding where either the flower girl or the ring bearer didn't cry.

The Pepperdine chapel is just a little bit amazing.

Late afternoon light? Check. Veil? Check. Couple very much in love? CHECK.

There was a lot of this at the reception...


I had a great time Sunday with Mario and Rachel, who are getting married this summer. We spent some time at Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu Pier, making the most of the clear skies and golden, late afternoon sunlight. There's more to come, but these are a few initial favorites.

Fun fact: I shot engagement photos last fall for Rachel's sister, Jessica. Click here for one of my favorites from that session.

The winter palace

This past weekend, I packed up the cameras and warm clothing and headed north, through rain and snow, to spend a weekend with two good friends in Yosemite National Park. About a foot of snow fell Friday night, and we woke Saturday to a sugar-coated valley. It was a great time of photographing, hiking and breathing pure, crisp mountain air. Here's an image of El Capitan. It doesn't do justice to El Cap's size, but it does capture a little bit of the moment. Want to see more? Click here and head over to my Flickr page.