Jennifer & Jordan: Classic Hollywood Engagement Portraits

When I met Jennifer and Jordan, they had a clear idea of what they wanted before they even hired a photographer. However, they had not yet found a wedding photographer who could do more than just environmental and available light portraits. They liked the way that I use shadows in my wedding work, but they did not know I had a strong studio foundation as well. To go off on a slight tangent, shadows are important. They define our visual selves – our faces, our eyes. The use of shadow is the same as the use of light, the very foundation of what makes photography possible. Our couple wanted a studio session instead of your typical outdoor portrait shoot, but they also wanted it in a certain style.

As fans of old Hollywood glamour and film noir, they wanted a certain classic finish to the final product. I knew I could do it. I’ve had years of experience on commercial and studio jobs. The catch though was that I’ve never been asked to shoot something like this. How many photographers actually deliver old Hollywood glamour portraits? How many fans have what it takes to pull off the look? I was excited for a challenge. These unique opportunities are what I live for.

This was also an amazing chance to put my Mamiya RZ67 to work. After Jennifer had her hair and makeup done and picked out her favorite dress and jewelry in the studio. Jordan donned a timeless tweed jacket and pants combo that complemented Jennifer’s vintage style. We put on a playlist with tunes from the 1920’s and 30’s. With a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5, getting rich shadows and grain on black and white was a perfect tool for executing Jennifer and Jordan’s vision.

Hair and makeup – mariaaspegren.com

Classic Hollywood engagement portrait - Stephen Tang Photo
Classic Hollywood engagement portrait - Stephen Tang Photo
Classic Hollywood engagement portrait - Stephen Tang Photo

El Matador State Beach Engagement

This beach is absolutely beautiful. These engagement photos were shot approaching winter, yet El Matador State Beach didn’t get the memo. There are a few things I performed differently, but everything still all me. I’m advancing my work in a new direction, trying to bring what I love about classic film photography into my digital images, and ultimately bring that to you. It’s a new year – never too late to learn and improve, eh?

Engagement portrait el matador state beach
Engagement portrait el matador state beach
Engagement portrait el matador state beach
Black and white engagement portrait el matador state beach
My lucky boots got wrecked by the salt water and sand, but hey, I got some gorgeous photos. I might just recommend this spot and endure the long drive every time because I think it’s worth it. So, were there any matadors at this beach? I’d like to think I was one that day, as I gracefully battled the unruly ocean waves.

Pasadena Engagement – Pasadena City Hall

I met this couple for an engagement shoot at the Pasadena City Hall, an architectural treat with plenty to offer. Needless to say, I’m very psyched to share a few moments from this set.

Being Parks and Rec fans, this location held some significance (may be an understatement) to the two of them. I have not watched the show before, but we connected on Simpsons trivia, the pop culture staple that may be the only common grounds holding our society together in these tough times.

We skipped the tourist photos with the Christmas tree and the front of the building dominating the background and it paid off. A bit of distance highlights the architecture even more and we don’t need the whole place in frame. I vastly post color photos, but have a wider mix of black and white edits from this shoot.

Note: During the shoot, I opined that it’s unfair for a couple to look this good and dance well and I still stand by my statement.

Black and white engagement portrait pasadena city hall
engagement portrait pasadena city hall
engagement portrait pasadena city hall
black and white engagement portrait pasadena city hall
engagement portrait pasadena city hall
black and white engagement portrait pasadena city hall