lightroom

Engagement Session @ the Griffith Observatory

Early morning engagement session with Andrian and Shawntelle at the Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

 Photography has blessed me with the opportunity to meet and work with some pretty awesome people. Getting to know their story and have a fun time while out capturing the love these two share in a photo.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

We met up early on a Saturday morning at the Griffith Observatory. This would be the first time I would be working at this location taking photos. Shawntelle and I had communicated via email about the types of poses she would like to have captured and even provided me with a link to her pinterest. All of this made my job a whole lot easier. However there was still the fact that I had never photographed at this location before. I'm not one for running and gunning when I have an opportunity to prepare. So on the day of our shoot I headed over a half hour early to take a look around the observatory myself and plan out some of the areas that might work best with the sample ideas I was provided.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

The weather is something I always have on my mind as the day draws closer to a photo shoot. This photo session was scheduled for 9:30am, and after checking my iPhone for the weather it was going to be an overcast morning. If given the choice of photographing during a clear sunny day or an overcast one I'll take the fog every time. The light is easy to work with and doesn't cast any harsh shadows.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Once the happy couple was ready to begin I dialed in my cameras settings and set up my exposure for the couple.  This resulted in photos with a blown out background giving some of the images a feeling of solitariness in a busy city like Los Angeles. When I look at other inspiring engagement photos I feel like just the couple is captured. Some photos convey a feeling of togetherness, or strong emotions of being in love, and alone in a place that is just their own. It was a feeling I tried capturing with these images. I hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as I did capturing them and thank you for reading.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

So what do you think? Has the weather ever been an obstacle in your photo sessions or have you found ways to use it creatively?  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. Also follow me on Instagram as well links located above. Thank you and please remember to like this post if you liked it, and hit that share button.

A Central Coast Engagement Session

Early morning session with Manuel and Priscilla at the Monarch Butterfly grove in Pismo Beach CA,

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I have know both Mo and Priscilla for years. Mo and I go back a ways.  He and I first met in middle school at the time when breakdancing was making its comeback.  Now Im not going to lie and say that there are no photos or videos out there of us breakdancing but I can tell you that they will not be included in this blog (sorry to disappoint).  Priscilla and I have known each other even longer.  Both her father and my dad were very good friends.  Always BBQing and laughing over a cold beer, some old stories, and good food.  So I was honored when they asked if I would capture their engagement photos.  It is awesome to see two people I have known for so long find such happiness in each other.

 We met up early on a Sunday to get some of the great sunrise lighting.  Being that this was my first time photographing at this location I arrived early to get a lay of the area and what spots might work best for the couple.

We started out with some close up photos before moving into the rest.  I like to break the ice with some tight shots that require little direction for a couple just begining their session. It is a nice way of easing into the shoot with a more laid back and relaxed vibe.

From there we moved to our first location.  Priscilla had also taken the initiative and brought out some signs and various other items for us to use during out shoot. In this photo I used my 85mm prime, and directed her son to stand in the foreground with the sign so that Mo and Priscilla would sink into the background blur. This lense has an amazing bokeh at the wider apertures. It is my go to lens for portraits and I use it whenever the room permits.

After we finished here we moved toward a bridge that connects the grove to a campground near the beach. Given the early start time we had very little distraction from the morning walkers.  For this shot the sun was just begining to shine thorough the tree in the background. So I swapped my lens out for my 50mm in order to drink in more of the surrounding area. With the morning fog begining to lift it offered a warm golden glow when the sun hit. We positioned their second sign in the center of the bridge. Setting my focus on the sign I set my aperture to f/4 to give a soft fall off to them in the distance. 

Wraping up at the Butterfly grove we packed up and moved to our second location in Nipomo. I always get pumped when people are as passionate about the vision for their photos as I am.   So when we discussed a second location and working with a classic car I was all for it. I believe the finished product and the process involved are equally important when it comes to creating great photos.

When we arrived Priscilla already confirmed the car we would be working with was in rout. The driver arrived minutes after we did, both mo and Priscilla were ready in their second outfit, and things could not be running any smoother.  

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The sun was begining to really give off some harsh light so we positioned the Impala under a tree to give us some even shade to work with.   We ran through a few more poses with the vehicle and then called it a day. After all was said and done we managed to complete our shoot in an hour not including the drive time between locations.  

Both Mo and Priscilla were a pleasure to work with. The love they have for one another not only shows in their photos but in the way they laugh, and act with one another. It is my pleasure to share the photos in this blog with those who read it. I am blessed to know this happy couple and wish them all the best as they draw closer to their wedding day. 

As a couple or photographer have you ever taken photos in separate locations. Also what are your thoughts on early morning sessions with the sunrise vs. those taken later in the day with the sunset? 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.

Engagement Session with Ili and Tavern

Early morning photo session at the Lake in Van Nuys CA,

I met up with these two early in the morning. We were scheduled for a 6:30am shoot however plans changed and we pushed things back to 8am.  Being a morning person this wasn't an inconvenience for me.  I would much rather have a couple be ready, and not feel rushed to get to a photo shoot with me.  I find things go a lot smoother when everyone is at ease.

Photographing these two was a lot of fun.  Both were very comfortable in front of the camera and made my job a whole lot easier.

For these photos I decided to use my 85mm for the entire shoot.  It required a lot of moving on my part to frame my shots but I am a huge fan of the images that this lens is able to capture.  The background just melts away and the couple is tack sharp at f/4.0

While on location this early there was very little background interference from the public.  This allowed us to move about the park in a way that allowed us to capture shots that would otherwise be filled with people.  Since I started photographing in southern California finding locations that give a private feel can be a challenge.  The most effective way I have found to photographing without a lot of people around is to schedule my photo shoots either early in the morning or late in the evening.

I also included another lets edit video where I take you through one of the black and white photos and show you my editing process from beginning to end.  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.

Photo of the Day 007

"Fire in the Sky" Capturing a burning sunrise in Valencia CA

The mornings in southern California are lit with amazing sunrises that set the sky ablaze during the months leading up to the fall and winter.  On August 6, 2015 at 5:57am as I got closer to work I was welcomed with this.  A sunrise off in the horizon behind some of the towering power lines that can be found in the city of Valencia.  The suns light reached across the morning sky and cast a warm tone to the lingering clouds.

When shooting sunsets I usually set up my tripod and compose my shot well ahead of time.  Sunrises however are completely different.  Working early mornings has me arriving at work around the time the sun is rising.  This leaves little to no time to set up a tripod or even compose a shot.  For this photo I had left my camera attached to my tripod because of the previous mornings sunrises.  Once I pulled over and made my way to this location I dropped the legs and used my 18-55mm kit lens.  Composing the power lines off to the lower right I took a few bracketed images so that I could merge them into HDR photos later.  Once I felt confident that I captured the scene I took a couple more with my 35mm and 50mm prime lenses.

With the month of July rapidly coming to an end I am anticipating this years sunrises and look forward to capturing some more great mornings in Valencia.

How about you. Do you enjoy any sunrises or sunsets? Also if you are a local to the Valencia or Santa Clarita area what is your favorite place to watch a sunset or sunrise? 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. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Lets Edit 002

In this weeks video watch as I go through my workflow editing this American Classic

Below are a few of the edited images.

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What photo editing software do you use in your photography? What type of workflow do you use when editing images of vehicles?  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.

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.

Photo of the Day 006

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.

Lets Edit 001

In todays video watch while I run through my work flow in this Lets Edit Lightroom edition.

Not being one to miss out on a prime shot this photo was taken while on the road home from a trip to Bakersfield CA.  More often than not landscape photos are taken with a tripod and carefully set up.  However the cloudscape over the open flat land was an amazing site and we were dead set on getting home so I used what I had and took the shot.  As we came closer to the grade heading south the sun began to breakthrough and display some amazing rays of light.  There are many ways to add god rays to a landscape using photoshop.  However I was fortunate enough to capture them as it happened.  While going through my editing process I focused on bringing more definition to the light rays, and correct the photo to display the original colors of the scene.  Due to the car windows tint there was a slight cast of green in the original image. I shot this photo with my 50mm prime at ISO 100, f/4.0, and because the car was moving I had my shutter set to 1/2500sec to prevent any motion blur.

What photo editing software do you use in your photography? Since most landscape photos are taken using a tripod have you ever taken a landscape photo from a moving car?  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.

Photo Of The Day 004

Some of the steps I take when editing my sunset photos.

Ignited with the final light of the setting sun. The sky was set ablaze with color.  For the past week the sky has been alive with color.  While busy with work and errands I make time at the end of the day to stop whatever it is I am doing to watch the setting sun.  Each one is different from the last.

When I shoot a sunset I lean more toward editing with the foreground in shadow rather than going with the HDR look.  I feel It helps draw the attention toward the main focus of the image.  Also I will add a subtle vignette to the edges and finish with a graduated filter in Lightroom at the top to give the sky a cooler feeling as your view draws further from the setting sun.

I took this photo with my 85mm prime as ISO 400, f/4.0, and 1/250sec.

How do you edit your sunset photos? Do you prefer the HDR look or having the foreground in shadow?. 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.

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.

Fitness Shoot with @lift_mor Part 2

If you haven't had a chance to read part one you can click HERE for that blog

Back in the gym with Garrett who during the time of this shoot was five weeks out from his show. This time he has invited his girlfriend/ lifting partner Melissa to join in on the workout as well.  Both Garrett and Mellissa have been on the road to the big show for a few months now, and seeing their progress in comparison to the first time we worked together is unreal.  The photos only show a small part of the work involved to achieving greatness.  For these two there are hours of hard work put in each and every day.  From early mornings of fasted cardio, to working out twice a day at times to shock the body while trying to  force it to retain every ounce of muscle during the cutting phase.  The gym isn't the only place where they put in the work.  Outside of the gym things like calorie counting, meal prepping, low carb days, and re-feed days are meticulously monitored, tracked, logged, and tweaked along the way.

For todays session Melissa came prepared with a workout routine.  They both started with some cable moments to warm up with then moved to the cable rows and cable lat pull downs.  Melissa along with being a personal trainer has also competed before and has developed a muscle maturity that comes with years of training.  

After the light cable work we moved to the weight room for some free weight arm work as well as training the legs.  Garrett had shed quite a lot of his bulking weight since we last saw one another and he is beginning to show more chiseled definition to his physique.

 I tried a few different things during this shoot.  After talking about my style of work with my engagement photographer DeeDee (link to her website HERE) she recommended I try using my 50mm lens because it was her in experience better than the 35mm in low light situations.  Another new style I tried was shooting wide angle photos.  Melissa was interested in seeing the entire physique in the photos so to deliver those types of images I reached for my 18-55mm kit lens (the nikon 14-24mm glass just yet).  Shooting with both a 50mm and 18mm lens was a fun and welcome challenge.  For the 50mm my workspace was a lot tighter looking through the viewfinder, and with limited space to back up in the gym it was fun learning to adapt to the new conditions.  With the 18mm lens I had to keep distortion in mind when framing my shots.  For anyone who is unfamiliar I will give you the short and easy. When shooting with a wide angle lens anything near the edge of your frame is stretched or "distorted" you can read more about it HERE.  

When taking photos with the wide angle lens I made sure to center my subject in the frame and tried to leave extra space all around the edges so that any excess distortion could be cropped out during processing.  

After a great workout session with these two we moved into a separate room to finish with some pose practice. This session was shot on a Saturday when the gym opened. We were all surprised at the amount of people in at that hour. I prefer working in a semi empty facility so as to not weird out any members with my camera, and mainly to not have anyone that might be a distraction in the background of my photos.  Once I imported the filesinto Lightroom I went through my selection process.  I was really pleased with the images I got from both the wide angle lens and 50mm prime. Having worked in this gym a number of times before I have memorized all the camera settings for each room, and I feel like I've been able to capture much better shots when I don't have to look at my camera to see if I have the right exposure or shutter speed.  It also makes editing in Lightroom so much faster.  All in all it was another awesome time working with Garrett and Melissa.  

You can follow their instagram for more updates as they make their way to the big show on May 28th in Culver City, and Melissas YouTube channel for some great vlogs and fitness advice, links down below.

How about you? Have you ever prepped for a fitness competition? How far out did you begin your cut, and if it was your first show did you have fun? 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. 

Garrett Instagram : @lift_mor

Melissa Instagram : @melissa_fitlifestylz

Melissa YouTube : Melissa Weatherby

Fitness Shoot with @miss_suarezz

Crystal Suarez certified personal trainer, sponsored athlete, and in full prep mode for her upcoming competition. 

While most people are still asleep Crystal was starting the morning with her first workout of the day. She started with a few warm up movements to get the blood flowing while I dialed in the settings on my camera. With an empty gym we had uninterrupted access to all the equipment. Crystals workout was focused on accessory work. This included biceps, abs, squats with varied foot positions, and triceps.

focused on the movment

The gyms lighting was perfect, shooting conditions were great. I prefer to shoot under natural lighting conditions. Especially in a public place like a gym. I used my 35mm prime lens for this workout with my ISO set to 800, shutter speed 1/100s at f/2.5. Before I work with any athlete I tell them that this will be a real workout. I don't ask for poses, and I try not to interrupt the workout.  I like to let each person do what they do best while I capture the shots.  I take a very candid approach to my fitness photography.

We ended the fitness shoot with a pose routine. After a workout is the best time to flex.  The muscles are pumped, and look a lot fuller For this part of the photoshoot I used my 85mm prime lens.  I like this lens for portraits, and posing photos when I have the room to stand at a distance.  If the area is too small I use my nifty 50. These last photos were shot at ISO 800, 1/125s, f/2.5. 

Front Double Bicep

The compression, and bokeh this lens delivers is amazing.  We photographed in the yoga room where they had mirrors mounted to the walls on either side of the room.  One thing I don't like doing is going into photoshop to edit myself out whenever there are mirrors.  Hiding behind the model, equipment, or out of the frame is just another thing I add to the checklist when looking through the lens.

How about you? Heve you taken any gym photos? When did you take yours, and were you the model or the photographer? 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.