photography

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Joe, Breanda, and Their Maternity Session

With their babies arrival quickly approaching Joe and Breanda took a little time to have the story of their happy pregnancy captured with photos.

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When Breanda asked me to shoot her maternity photos I was super excited.  Capturing important moments in peoples lives is one of the greatest perks of being a photographer, and I am always humbled when asked.  We went over a few of the things she wanted for their maternity session and set a date to meet  The location however was something to be determined.  I have lived here in Southern California for going on two years, and I am still exploring my surroundings.  With little knowledge of the Santa Clarita area I turned to the Internet to research possible places for the couples maternity session. I narrowed my search down to three. The William S. Hart Ranch and Museum, Valencia Glen Park, and finally an area near Bridgeport Park.  Breanda liked the idea of having their photos taken at the William S. Hart Museum. She was more than familiar with the area having just had her baby shower there the previous weekend. After settling in on the location I headed over to the park to scope out the area and find some places to pose the happy couple.  The area we would be photographing at required some lite hiking but Joe and Breanda were up for the chalange.

On the day of the shoot we met up early at 8am. It was an overcast day and it remained that way throughout the shoot. I welcomed the natural soft box that the clouds provided because it eliminated any harsh light that would otherwise be cast onto the couple.  At the base of the hike I snapped a few test shots to get my settings and from there we headed to our first shoot location. Having checked out the area earlier in the week I broke the hike up into four rest/photo spots. This would ensure my couple didn't look as if they had run a marathon in their photos.

On a side note: photographing a couple who is willing to put in the leg work and hike is awesome for getting a great scene to pose at. I recommend packing some water for your clients. A little extra service can go a long way. 

 At our first spot I had the couple pose next to an old tree. I had them run through a few simple poses to get comfortable with the camera. I find having a couple start out sitting or leaning on something helps take their mind off of what their feet are doing and can allow them to focus more on engaging each other in a more relaxed way.

After this location I had the couple move ahead toward a landing on top of some stairs in the trail.  Having them standing at a higher vantage point than myself felt like it represented  the path they were on as parents, and that even with help from loved ones it is ultimately a path they will navigate together. Due to the overcast morning the sky was a flat gray. To compensate for the lacking background I framed this shot so that I would have a few for ground elements around the edges.  This provided texture and naturally brings you into the photo so that your focuse is on Joe and Breanda. The wood fence also provided a nice leading line toward the couple.

From there we moved up towards the third location. It was a clearing over looking Santa Clarita and the park down below. A single bench provided a comfortable view and served as the perfect spot for images to be shot at a wider focal length.  For these shots I used the 50mm prime to drink in a little more of the surroundings. 

Our final location on the trail was at a small building with wooden railing and some old bars covering the windows.  This building overlooked trail we had hiked and was a place I made sure to save for the end of our session.  Whenever Im out scouting locations I keep a mental note of my favorite spots and try to save those for the end of the shoots.  It has been my experience that near the end of a photo session everyone is a little more at ease than they were in the beginning.  Having a comfortable couple with a great location makes for some awesome pictures.  Breanda had also packed a few sentimental items to use as props. So it was here were we got creative.

I took most of these shots on the balcony with my 85mm prime.  I love the quality of the images I get with it.  We took a few photos with the props, and some solo shots of them on their own before calling it a wrap.  As we made our decent back down the path we came across a really cool looking log cabin.  Since it was on the way we all thought it would be great grab some last minute photos before we called it a day.  We went for a shot of them standing at opposite sides of the stairs landing, and then finished with a fun photo of them belly to baby belly.

I definitely had a blast working with these two.  They are a fun couple and are well on their way to being awesome parents.

Have you had maternity photos require a little exercise to get to the 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.   

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.

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.

Fitness Shoot with @a_cabrera805

Amanda Cabrerra is an Air Force Veteran, gym/fitness enthusiast,and part time model.

Amanda and I met up at the gym early on a Sunday morning for our shoot.  I arrived early so that I could get my camera set up and ready to go. During this shoot Amanda was working toward her goal of entering her first fitness competition. Her show was still a few months out but at the time of our shoot but her focus during the workout was on point. I've learned in my time working with fitness enthusiasts. Among a few of those things is when it comes to taking your training to a competition level a lot changes with your approach toward both dieting and training.

We started out warming up on the stair climber. It was a cold morning so that meant some light cardio was needed to get the blood flowing.  After a quick ten minute climb we moved straight into the weight room. For todays workout Amanda was scheduled for legs and shoulders.  She started with the Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded V-Squat machine. This pice of equipment was among one of Amanda's favorite to use for the legs and over all lower body work.  From there we moved to the leg press where her strength began to show.  Loading the sled up with 230 lbs. (not including the weight of the sled)

This shoot marked my first time photographing an entire workout. I had taken photos many times before in this facility however The lighting had been upgraded since my last visit.  I used my 35mm prime lens on this shoot. My settings were all over the place while I learned the lighting at each of the equipments locations.  I started out with a shutter speed of 1/30s f2.2 and ISO400.  This resulted in a lot of motion blur and because of the low depth of field I had a lot of the shots taken in the beginning out of focus. I compensated by boosting my ISO to 800 changed my shutter speed to 1/100s at f2.8 and found that those settings worked best under this gyms new lighting conditions.

On leg day we train legs. So after warming up on the stairs, hitting sets on both the V-squat machine and leg press it was time for some smith machine squats. Everyone is different when it comes to their choice of gym equipment. I am more of a free weight lifter doing movmints like backsquats, front squats, and deadlifts with a barbell. That doesn't mean that there is one type of lifting to rule them all. Durring the breaks between lifting Amanda shared her expierence with both free weights and machines. It was after years of training that she found her body responded best when training with a machine vs free weights.

When we finished with the last set of squats it was time to put the shoulders to work. Moving to the cable machine for some standing shoulder press and then finishing the workout with some strict over head press work with the barbell.  Afterward we went over to the fitness room for a few posed shots and called it a day.

After finishing up with the shoot I had my settings memorized for future shoots at this gym. I also got the chance to add a few more photos to my portfolio and learned a lot more about the mentality an athlete has when training for a competition. For some the goal might be the expierence of entering a show where as for others the goal is to win. That focus on success can be seen in the eyes of athletes while they train, and with Amanda that look was very apparent as she lifted. 

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.

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

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.

Photographing A Classic Car

 Photoshoot with a SoCal classic

America Classic

Timeless

Down here in Van Nuys I've had the chance to meet a few people with a strong love for classic cars. The late hours they put into the restoration process , and thorough searches for original parts is what makes their cars passion projects.

I met the owner, TJ at his home in Van Nuys before he drove us over to the location for our shoot. The interior had a vintage smell to it like an antique pice of furniture.  Once we parked people started to take notice to what we were doing.  We were approached twice by strangers who wanted catch a closer look, know what the story behind that car was, did TJ travels to car shows, and if it was for sale. TJ told me this was all normal whenever he takes his car out, and that people really like older cars because you don't see them that often.

I began our shoot with my 85mm lens. I like this lens because it gives me the chance to study the cars lines from a distance. I took a few snap shots to dial in my settings and then we were off and running.  TJ parked his car at an angle with the sun off to the upper left (behind the car). It was a few hours before sunset and the light I had to work with was perfect.

Photographing this classic was a lot of fun. The people we met during the shoot seemed to be just as passionate as TJ. The challenging part of photographing someones car is capturing the vision that they have of their prized possession. 

Do you have a classic car?  Have you ever had photos or taken photos of your car? Do people stop to come up to you whenever your out with your ride? 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 @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.

Photo Of The Day 001

Whenever I make a trip to the central coast I make it a point to visit SLO at least once.

Railroad Square

Railroad Square

After a long drive out the night before I was not too happy to get up before the sun.  But on this trip I made it a point to visit key locations, and my visit was short. When I arrived I set up my tripod, composed my shot and took 5 photos at different exposures.  I did this so that I could stitch them together in Lightroom and have an HDR image.  An HDR (high dynamic range) photo would give me a huge range of detail to use in the shadows and the highlights. I shot this photo at 18mm, f/16, with an ISO set to 400.

Have you ever shot an HDR photo?  How did your photo come out?  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.