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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You get one shot at life. Live it with vision.

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!

Summer Gold

Heather and Frank were referred to me by a photographer I used to work with when I was a reporter. On Sunday, we met up in Venice Beach for an engagement shoot and had a fantastic time. Fun people, golden sunlight, crashing waves...what more do you need? I'm seriously stoked to shoot their Marina del Rey wedding next month. 

And yeah, I know...there's a bit of a gap between this post and the last. I've been a little busy this year getting married, and enjoying life and travels with my wife, and building up a backlog of images I never blogged.

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.

Voices raised as one

"Fight, fight until the end."
The voices of many, echoing in a canyon of concrete, glass and steel. Protesters crowded outside the Turkish consulate in Los Angeles this afternoon, demanding Turkey finally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Old and young, crying out for justice.

Have you passed through this night?

One of the great things about working in journalism is getting to meet interesting people and hear (and share) their stories. Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Renee Firestone, a Holocaust survivor who has remained tireless in sharing her story and raising awareness of ongoing oppression in the world. You can read that story here. When it came to shoot her portrait, I was working quickly, and wanted to keep the composition simple, a bit somber and with a bit of shadow. 

Small Steps

Last Saturday, I had a great time shooting some promotional photos for Starting Small Fitness, my friend Stacey's foray into personal training. It's always a welcome challenge shooting something a little different than the usual (In this case, fitness photos). It was also a fun exercise (pun not entirely intended) in using off-camera flash to counteract the harsh early afternoon sunlight.

A great way to pump up (ok, that pun really wasn't intended) action shots is to use a slow shutter speed with your flash set to rear-curtain. That way you get motion blur, but still with your subject in focus.

Positive negatives

While digital is my primary form of image capture, I still like to shoot film every now and then. In a society saturated by immediate results, there's something satisfying about capturing an image and having to wait to see the results.
All of these images were shot on a Vivitar V2000 with either a 28mm or 50mm lens. In both cases, the film was pushed, resulting in the graininess. Pushing film can yield some interesting tones. In this case, most of these images had a slight reddish tint. Some of the images have some dust spots. I wasn't going for technical perfection. I knew what I wanted to achieve, and I feel I met that goal.
This first one was Kodak Gold 400, pushed to 1000. I made slight levels adjustments in Lightroom, but otherwise this is straight out of the camera. I love the bokeh on the Vivitar when it's wide open.

This one was from the same roll, but I converted it to B/W in Lightroom. Reflected in the windows of the new LAPD headquarters is the classic Los Angeles City Hall.

This was a film capture from shooting a set of images for my friend Perla (see that post here). Again, pretty much straight out of the camera.

Bare branches in wintry northwestern New Jersey. Kodak Gold 200 pushed to 1600.

Manhattan's Flatiron building, also Kodak 200 pushed to 1600.


I had a great time last month shooting some headshots for my friend Gary Hoffman, host of the Sunday morning news on KFI-640AM in Los Angeles, and all-around good guy with a cool retro vibe. Will a casting director please put this man in some 50s-era films?

Grainy and not super-sharp, but I love the vintage feel of these last two.

2010 Retrospect — Part 2

Here we go. It was tough narrowing down some of my favorite images of the year. Every shoot brings something special. Everyone brings something good to the table. Here's a little bit of the goodness.

Wendy hired me to shoot some professional headshots, but this is hands down my favorite image from the session. It's candid, relaxed and smile-inducing.

I love the classic, vintage vibe of this image of Katie. Nice soft lighting; good expression. And despite the simple background and good lighting, it wasn't shot in a studio. It was shot in the decaying, weather-beaten shell of a house on the shores of the Salton Sea. The light was courtesy of a hole in the roof.

A more candid moment from a family session I did earlier this year. Proof that good portraits don't always require people look at the camera.

I met these two couples at a charity photoshoot in Malibu. I only had about 15 minutes with each of them, but it was enough time to create some warm, romantic images.

A chance moment after a baptism.

The next few images are from the wedding of my friends Teague and Jenni, last spring at an almond grove in Moorpark. It was a great day from start to finish. Simple, romantic and a fantastic celebration.

This pretty much sums up the reception.

I enlisted my friend Sarah to help me test out a new lens. It was also good practice in looking for easily missed good backdrops.

I had an absolutely fantastic engagement session with Jordan and Jess as we walked around Fort Tejon and the Tejon Ranch property north of Los Angeles. The hills are peppered with majestic old oak trees.

In September I traveled to Washington, D.C. to help my friend Christine shoot a wedding. There were lots of great moments to be captured, among them this chance moment between Emily and her flower girl, and Emily and Scott sharing a kiss in a veritable cathedral of greenery.

Sheridan, Jade and I had a fantastic time exploring Descanso Gardens near Pasadena and creating some awesome engagement images. We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to their vintage-themed wedding.

At yet another charity photoshoot, I met engaged couple Tim and Tara and had just a few moments to capture some images. This was one of my favorites.

I've been doing a lot of freelens shooting lately, and this is one of more favorable results, captured during a shoot with Perla in downtown Los Angeles. It didn't hurt to have plenty of light bouncing off mirrored office buildings.

I've shot engagements, weddings, families, newborns ... but this was the first time I was hired to photograph a group of roommates. We got plenty of great images, but I love the classic, "band photo" look of this one.

Blogged just a couple days ago, this is from a series of portraits I did for my stylist friend Josh. Using the mirror as a framing device, I wanted to capture and image that said "vision."

In addition to shooting photos of Josh, I also did some photos for the homepage of his new website. For this image of Chad, I went with more of a high-key lighting feel. A bit of a change from my normal style, but I like the results.

Capping off this blog of epic length are two images from a recent shoot I did for my friends' hair and makeup portfolios.

So that's it, 2010 in review. Thanks for reading! If nothing else, come back in 12 months for more greatness.

the sweet part of the city

A had a great "just because" portrait session recently with Perla, who beforehand I had only known through Facebook. It was great fun wandering downtown Los Angeles and working with light, lines and textures. There's so much great bounced light in a city if you just look for it. A perfect example is this first image, shot in St. Vincent Court.

Lately, I've been experimenting with freelensing. It's tricky, but when you nail it the image has a wonderful, lo-fi tilt-shift effect.

Like I said, bounced light is all over the place in cities; you simply need to look for it. Look at the great light illuminating Perla, courtesy of a massive mirrored skyscraper a couple blocks away.

There's also no shortage of great, grungy alleys peppering downtown L.A. They smell bad, but look great.

love that conquers

i can't think of a better time than thanksgiving to post some of my favorites from teague & jenni's engagement session. so much thankfulness is embodied in an engagement. she said yes. a man finds someone with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, and she reciprocates. marry for love and nothing else. i am so happy for the two of you as you begin this new chapter in your lives, and i am thankful for the opportunity to capture the magic of your wedding day. a wedding is one day; a marriage is every day after. but the wedding day is a sweet point of demarcation.

as if love was a sword.

i did a bit of experimentation with a tilt-shift lens recently, and was quite pleased with the results. it doesn't hurt when you've got models as laid-back and photogenic as megan and melissa. overall, i do like what a TS can do, though i'm not sold enough to buy one. it's a hefty investment, and i think it's becoming overused in the realm of portrait photography. but it's still a fun effect. the less that can be done in photoshop versus in camera, the better. 

sing tomorrow's praise.

July and August were great, busy months of capturing some fun images as part of my 30for30 promotion. Everyone brought a different personality to the table, and I had the pleasure of capturing some moments I feel really reflect who these people are. Thanks to everyone for braving the SoCal heat, dodging security guards, standing in the midst of fire ants, and generally letting me tell you what to do. Here are just a few of my personal favorites. And keep on the lookout for an upcoming holiday photo special, and if you are (or know) a graduating senior it's time for some relaxed and natural senior portraits. You only get one shot at life. Live it with Vision!