family

Back To Back Photo Sessions

Here is a behind the scenes video of the photos taken with Kelsey, her husband, Rachel, and her two children!

We met up around 6:30pm and the sun light was just amazing.  It is a real pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group.  They were all easy going and very comfortable in front of the camera.  Here are a few of the photos taken at Lake Balboa Park.

As a photographer have you ever booked back to back photo sessions?  Let me know in the comment section below. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. You can follow me on Instagram as well links located above and remember to like if you liked this, and share this post.

A Santa Clarita Maternity Session

In this video see behind the scenes while I talk about my shoot with @megasourus_rex.

Included below are a few of the images we captured while out a the Wiliam S. Hart ranch and museum in Santa Clarita, CA.

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Have you taken photos using a handful of locations for your clients? Do shoot at the same places or try to find new ones for each session? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Pictures in the Park w/the Langston Family

Summer photo session with Anthony, Christy and their yellow lab Jack

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Driving towards Newbury Park on a warm Saturday afternoon we were met with the wonderful surprise of a ten degree difference in temperature.  Given the heat that we have been living with this summer it was a welcome change.  When scheduling photo sessions in the summer season Its good to check the weather ahead of time to be sure it isn't too hot out.  The heat can cause a lot of discomfort for a client and that discomfort will show through in the photos. On the 101 freeway as we drove toward our shoot we even caught a glimpse of a fire burning off in the distance.

We met on location at 6:30pm.  The sun was still far from ready to set but the light we had was great none the less.  Christy, her husband Anthony and their dog Jack are close friends of my fiancee.  Christy and Anthony were a pleasure to work with. Their dog Jack was full of energy like most labs but when it was time to take their photos he was very well behaved.  My fiancee and Christy have been friends for almost ten years.  When Christy asked to have her photos taken it was just about setting a date.  

The park Christy selected for her photoshoot was just a few steps away from their new home.  I try to do as much research as possible before shooting at a new location. This helps me plan the path we will take through our photoshoot and ensure we get the photos we want. In this instance I wasn't able to make it out to survey the area prior to the shoot.  I relied on Google maps and screen shots taken by others who have visited that park before.  I find it helpful to use Instagram when doing research on a new location.  More often than not I find a large amount of photos taken by others who are familiar with the best angles to photograph from.

Since the sun was still rather high in the sky we began our shoot posing under a tree.  The shade helps to prevent harsh light and shadows from being cast on a persons face. One thing I learned to watch out for is light spilling through the branches.  It can create a hard light spot or spots on a person that isn't easy to edit out in post.

From there we moved into the clearing while still remaining covered by the trees shade.  I tried a few different lenses to incorporate the grand landscape in the background.  Having started out taking landscape photos I like to incorporate the surrounding area whenever possible in my work with people.

Have you had your photos taken on a hot summer day? Also what do you do to manage harsh sunlight? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

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Capturing wildlife at Balboa Lake

Taking the camera, and baby out for a walk around the lake is a highlight to the end of the work day.  Having a baby definitely changed my routine after work as well as my views on places to live.  Before our son was born we lived in the Woodland Hills area with the Westfield mall and other local hangouts just a short walk from our place.  It was a great area to live as a couple however as parents I feel more drawn to quiet neighborhoods.  Having the lake close to us is great.  We take our son out for walks and as his attention grows so does his consumption of the beauty in the park.  I took this shot with my 85mm prime at ISO 400, f/4.0, and 1/5000 of a sec. Looking back it was a really bright day, and I could have shot it at ISO 100 with a slower shutter speed. I think I had forgot to check my settings after taking some photos indoors. In the end I got the shot I was going for and all in camera with no cropping in post.

Where do you spend your time unwinding after work? Also if you have a little one do you prefer the busy city life or a quieter neighborhood? Let me know in the comment section below Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

The Nintendo 64 (twenty years later)

The Nintendo 64 was the system that introduced my brother and I to the frontier of 3D gaming.

It was Christmas Eve in the Campoamor home. We had just come back from spending the holiday with family, and as was tradition in our house we were ready to open some gifts.  We had all but finished when our mom asked us if we were ready for our last gift.  She went into her closet and returned with one small box.  She said that this gift was to be shared between my brother and I.  We eat took one end of the box into our young hands holding it ever so gently so as not to damage the contents within.  We were like Charlie and Grandpa Joe in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory just before opening the Wonka bar.  After months of Nintendo commercials, and dozens of magazine articles, this was it.  This was the moment we had been eagerly awaiting, this was the last few steps before the summit.  My brother wiped the sweat from his brow and carefully began to tear back a corner of the wrapping. What happened next was a blur.  I've been told that my brother and I fell into a frenzy. Like two ravenous dogs feasting on a fresh kill.  When we fell back to reality we held in our hands Super Mario 64! At this moment we were pumped and filled with excitement that the next give would be the Nintendo 64.  If I told you that our parents went back and brought that box out for us to open I would be lying to you.  In fact it was the first time my brother and I learned about supply and demand. The rules of the world was at our door step that night and the flicker of childhood innocents in our eyes was replaced with a mile long stair of a spartan warrior.

Over the next few months we spent a lot of time reading the instruction manual included in the games box.  My brother would even take the cartridge outside and run around the yard with it as if he was in the Super Mario world jumping on goombas, and flying through the Mushroom Kingdom. Once the second shipment of consoles came in our parents took us to pick it up.  I am reminded of how we handled the situation though.  Given that we were pretty young and not getting a gift that you might really want can seem like the end of the world at that age. Our parents talked to us about what is valuable in life.  How they work hard to provide a life for us that they didn't have growing up.  That gifts are a kind gesture, that we should ever feel entitled to.

The christmas we got a game without a console became a story we would tell often in the years to follow.  Each year the tale would become even grander than the last.  It always brought happy memories, and filled our home with laughter.  Twenty years later the Nintendo 64.

What memories do you have of the Nintendo 64?  Let me know in the comment section below Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Portrait session with @Laurie Love

Laurie is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner serving the people of Santa Clarita/Valencia, and providing education on how to protect health & prevent illness.

I meet up with Laurie and her husband Donald around mid morning in Santa Clarita, CA. For today's shoot the goal was to get some awesome portraits for Lauries' website, and finish the session out with some photos of both her and Donald.  We began with a traditional behind the desk shot. Whenever I work with someone new I like to go through a few simple poses to help with becoming comfortable in front of the camera. Lauries office was heavily backlit by the natural sunlight coming in from the morning. This is where knowing your camera really helps. I knew that the dynamic range my camera could capture was pretty good.  I wanted to play it safe though so I shot this photo slightly under exposed to prevent blowing out the background in camera. When it comes to editing its a good rule of thumb to preserve as much data in the image as possible. If you blow out the light or crush the black point that information is lost and cannot be pulled out in Lightroom.  Its nice to have more to work with when editing anyways. I shot my indoor portraits at ISO 640, f/4.0, and 1/400s

From there we moved outdoors for more candid photos. A few yards from the office were some trees and a nice hill covered in green plants.  The shade helped to soften the light while the hill provided a nice backdrop.  When taking portraits I like to offer a wide range of looks. I feel that a good portrait is determined by the client. I may have a selection of images that I really like but more often than not the clients tend to have a very different list of favs. The outdoor portraits were shot with my 85mm prime lens ISO100, f/4.0, and 1/250s

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Winding down toward the end of the shoot Donald got some camera time along with their two little pups.  In the beginning of my photography career dogs were my fist models when learning to take portraits.  So I love whenever I can get a chance to work with both people and their pets.  Working with both Laurie and Donald was a lot of fun. They are a great couple, and I got to learn a lot about them both during our photo session. The final images were shot at ISO 400, f/4.0, and 1/320s with my 85mm prime.

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Be sure to follow Laurie on her Facebook page (here) for helpful tips and advice on living a happy and healthy life. Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

A Bakersfield Engagement Session

Making a day trip to Bakersfield for some Engagement photos

A few weeks before deciding on plans for the memorial weekend my fiancé was contacted by an old co-worker who had recently tied the knot.  She had gone through the process of planning her own wedding and didn't book any engagement photos or wedding photographer.  Her Husband owned the tux worn on the wedding day and her dress was still in immaculate condition. Instead of trying to re-create the day we decided on taking very formal (dressed up) engagement photos.

One of the things I enjoy about photography is the ability to tell the story you want. The audience viewing your photos doesn't know if you took the photos before or after your wedding making an engagement session something that can happen at any time.

Before meeting up at The Park at Riverwalk in Bakersfield CA we made the day into a family road trip.  With the car loaded, and all batteries charged we set out from Van Nuys on a short one hour drive north.  Being the lightweight that I am when it comes to driving our first stop was McDonalds for some iced coffees.  Now were off and cooking.  With caffeine in my system I was charged and ready for the rest of the day.  Traffic on the road was really light given that it was a Holliday weekend. Once we hit Bakersfield we took some time to stretch our legs and give our son a break from his car seat.  The outlets at Tejon served that purpose for us.

After a brief break from the drive we were back in the car and off to meet our couple for their photo session.  The park was packed with lots of locals all with the same idea to cool off and enjoy some BBQ and ice-cream.  Taking a short time to survey the area I knew I would need to focus as much on my couple as I would on what or who is behind them.  Any random person, cooler, or BBQ pit could easily take away from the focus of the photos. 

To start out I had them standing in front of a stone pillar.  It adds some texture to the background and we started our shoot a little early so we had a little time before the sun would be offering premium lighting conditions.  This pillar was located at the front of the park and offered time for all of us to get comfortable with taking photos around such a large crowd. 

From there we moved to the water.  Kids were swimming in the background so again I adapted to the surroundings and positioned my couple accordingly so as to not have anyone interfering in the background.  By now we were all settling in and becoming comfortable.  This is the time where I break out the posing ideas.  My fiancé carried her phone with a few photo poses but I find its one thing to tell people how to stand or position themselves and its another to make them look natural or comfortable.  Here is where I provide the internal monologue for them as they pose.  I suggest what they might be thinking or what they might be looking at off in the distance.  Anything that breaks their concentration and gets a laugh or moment of relaxation.

By the end of the shoot the sun was offering some amazing light.  I shot this entire session with my 85mm prime lens and got some interesting lens flare with it.

Have you ever had your engagement photos taken after your wedding? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Family Photos with Johanna and Her Boys

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring our mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society

My fiancé has known Johanna for over twenty one years, and has watched her boys grow from tiny babies to young men.  We met up for out shoot on Saturday and went over to Balboa Lake in Van Nuys.  The lake is a great place for photos here in the city.  With plenty of trees, bridges, and water to work with. It was slightly overcast this day so we went to the lake two hours before sunset just to ensure we had good light to work with.  

Our first location was by a wood fence around the perimeter of the lake. I picked this spot for a few reasons. First it was farthest from where we met so as we made progress through our shoot we would also be making our way back to the car, and secondly I think people relax more when they can sit or lean on something.  Walking between locations helps with small talk and getting to know each other if your working together for the first time. This helps ease people I work with into getting comfortable in front of the camera. If the people I am working with are up for a little walk on our shoot I recommend comfortable shoes. Being able to move around to different locations provides a diverse collection of photos by the end of our session.

Johanna and her boys were great about walking to each place at the lake. It was during those walks between shooting that we got a chance to catch up with her boys to hear how they are doing with school and what plans they have for summer vacation.  

Before heading out on a shoot I take the time look up photos of where we will be on google and even Instagram.  This helps me decide where we can meet and unless the client has a specific place they want to shoot, I will have a few places picked out ahead of time. When searching a locations photos online the first to come up are usually the most popular spots. I like to save those for the end of our photo sessions because it takes time for people to get comfortable. Also the light tends to get better near the last half of the shoot if you time it right. 

Have you recently had your family portraits taken?  What was your experience like, and did you shoot at multiple locations? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Our Engagement and Family Photos

With our wedding on the horizon, going over final details, and checking off the list of things we need to book. We took some time to meet with out wedding photographer DeeDee Stolz for our engagement photos.

We met at Shell Beach on a quiet stretch of sand located along the central coast of California. This was very windy weekend to shoot outdoors but fortunately for us the rocks provided a natural wall dampening the harsh winds. It was a short walk down a set of stairs to the beach.  DeeDee had come prepared with a blanket for us to sit on, and talked to us about the location we were shooting at.  She guided us through our poses very easily and was helpful in explaining the shots she was capturing. With the photos that included our son DeeDee was very much in her element getting him to laugh and smile for the pictures.

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I've known DeeDee for years, and her work with families, weddings, newborns, and engagements photos really caught my eye.  The colors of her pictures and the moments she is able to capture are amazing. She has a real eye for people and is a natural at bringing their emotions out with her camera. 

As a photographer I tend to be my own worst critic. I pay attention to every detail before I send a photo out into the world. However when I look to other artists for their services I want their creative vision. I didn't want a photographer who would take the photos I wanted.  Instead I wanted them to have full creative freedom when it came to capturing my fiancé and I. When we decided to working with DeeDee we had seen her previous work and trusted 100% in her artistic ability. The opportunity to have DeeDee take photos of us and our family was really great expierence.

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Photos included in this blog are by DeeDee Stolz. Check out here website for more of her amazing work (here) and be sure to follow her Facebook page (here) for deals on photo sessions with her.