Aiyana + Peter: Venice Beach Engagement

Overcast day at Venice Beach? Gotta throw whatever color you can get into the frame! As much as I’d love to have the vibrance the full sun provides, one of the biggest parts of the job is playing the hand I’m dealt. Aside from lighting, the most important part of a photo is whether the moment was captured. For portraits, the moment is the chemistry, how two people found themselves getting married. This session was an exercise in using environment to get that extra pop we needed.

We worked some of the street art local to Venice into our engagement session. Even though I found the palettes I needed, there were certain high contrast images that worked so well in black and white. It’s refreshing to have some natural negative space sometimes. The rest of work became about depth in my compositions as we ventured to the canals and then through some alleyways.

Venice beach engagement portrait
Venice beach engagement portrait
Venice beach engagement portrait black and white
Venice beach engagement portraitContinue reading “Aiyana + Peter: Venice Beach Engagement”

Liz + Justin: LA Arboretum Engagement

Since our first meeting, I got to know Liz and Justin more closely during our engagement session at the LA Arboretum. One’s a creative, the other a scientist, much like another couple I worked with recently!

Every shoot, regardless of experience, requires some warmup. I sometimes use this as an opportunity to try my hand at comedy. Hit or miss, how one rolls with it afterwards sets the tone for the rest of the shoot (no pressure). Also like comedy, I try to get my audience involved. Justin, the slightly more reserved of the pair, warmed up and called out spots that caught his eye like the photo with the ginko tree.

Along with age and a far more discerning eye than in the years behind me, during this shoot, I rekindled my relationship with a certain lens of mine that I haven’t used for years. The 50mm focal length just hasn’t always excited me. It’s the white bread of lenses, merely a staple for photographers for over half a century.

The 35mm focal length provides more context and dimension while 85mm offers reach and subject isolation. Neither of them are so specialized that they limit the user when it comes to documentary and portrait photography.

In one of my many instances of self-reflection, I realized that I’ve become complacent with some of my shoot habits and it was time to grow again. It was half user error and half arrogance that turned me away from the 50mm. The solution? Push myself out of my current comfort zone with a seemingly boring lens. Find inspiration the way countless other talented photographers have given the same limitations.

LA Arboretum engagement portrait
LA Arboretum engagement portrait
LA Arboretum engagement portraitContinue reading “Liz + Justin: LA Arboretum Engagement”

Chantal + Stephen: Malibu Wedding

I had the pleasure of joining Chantal and Stephen to celebrate their wedding in Malibu in November. Atop a foothill on a private estate, there was a sense of seclusion from the rest of the world while surrounded by ocean views, blue skies, and stretches of hills.

The sunset was certainly a sight to behold. While it’s nice being on flat lands and all most of the year, the elevation we had exclusive access to some surreal photos, which I could not help but take advantage of. Despite another event going into the late fall evening, once again it felt more like a hot summer wedding. Direct sunlight was something I had to compete with most of the day. With this in mind, I am elated (okay, a bit surprised too) at how some of the most technically challenging photos turned out.

In addition to still photography, I also directed and cut a highlight video for the married couple. One nice thing about being versed in a related discipline is that my vision and game plan for video was highly precise, whereas in my early days, I would have been a bit scattered in what I captured and edited. All of this time committed to photography seems to have paid off some dividends! (video to come when I have a moment to upload)

Malibu Wedding bridal prep hair and makeup
Malibu Wedding hair and makeup
Malibu Wedding hair and makeup
Malibu Wedding rings and invitationsContinue reading “Chantal + Stephen: Malibu Wedding”