Formawerx: Defender Key - Mt Baldy

Formawerx is a design house that has been specializing in building premium keys for specialized automobiles. I met Daniel Chae at Luft 5 in 2018 when he came up to me to talk about my aircooled Porsche. When he told me about his company, I quickly realized that it was a company that I wanted my 911 brand (@911cooled) to be associated with due to its high quality caliber of design.

We quickly got together and did some collaboration work and as of recently, Daniel was interested in getting some content for a key that they have developed for the Land Rover Defender. Similar to the Porsche 911 key they have designed, the keys are extremely simple but highly sophisticated due to the nature of underlying layers of design.

We decided to shoot up in the mountains to gather some nature shots and especially since we had 5 days of continuous of rain, we were hoping for some snow however when we got up to the mountain at 6am, it was 47 degrees. As we and many others found out, there was not much snow at all. Just small areas of snow gathered in certain areas.

The focus was to get about 20-25 images to use for marketing their new key but I ended up delivering about 40 images. Here are the final images from the shoot.

Rick's '71 Hako GTX in Pomona

The legendary GTR is a car prized by so many car fans.... and of course, in the USA, we never got them. These old school gems are found in the motherland far away from the stateside but as we have gotten luckier over time, we are seeing a handful of them cruise the streets of California. 

One of those lucky owners is Rick and in his short time of owning it, he has put quite a bit of money into the motor. Due to time restrictions, I was not able to get to the details of the car, which I may save for another shoot in the future. 

The concept I had in mind was to create old school feels due to this car and it's history. I wanted to show off the feels of the 70's and the innocence during that period. Things that we don't do so much anymore.... such as leaving your windows down on a summer afternoon. It's the feel of this car I wanted to capture.


I kept the colors muted and cool cause it really allows the car to be showcased in its environment, don't you think? We removed some of those wood beams to create foreground in the shot. The little porch light adds just that touch of evening time. 

Our 3rd location was in the alley behind the famous Glass House in Pomona. The alley is colorful and created a mood of where the bad boys chill after hours and once again the porch light here makes the rear quarter warm up and adds beautiful details along its creased sides. 

The final shot was setup at Wanderwall Space on 2nd St. Originally I wanted a shot that had the hako sleeping in the garage but that was soon eclipsed by the fog machine we brought out. The final image I picked out makes it look like Rick was burning out his tires... so that added another level to this static shot. 

It was such a pleasure shooting this old school. I am sure I will be shooting it again. Until then, below are some alternative shots I didnt get to yet. 

See you guys on the next one.

Andrew Manley
Automotive Photographer

The OG Converse Chucks in Leather (Action Shot)

So I have been rocking the almighty Converse Chucks consistently since 1994. Back then life was more simple I guess... I mean sure it had its difficulties being in middle school but it was all innocent. My other love was the OG Vans... my love for cheap and flat canvas shoes is deep... 

Today I wanted to focus on creating a shot of a product that does not move but giving it some life to it. In order to achieve it, I had to do a composite of multiple shots to get the look I was aiming for. 

Here's a shot of it from the side. It's straight and boring but the rear end is up... getting better.

Now with the angle as such, it is giving it some more life. With the bend in the front 1/3, it is showing an action. So let's push it further.

So I stuffed my hand deep into the shoe to give it the impression that it was being walked on but how do you that and still take the photo? 

My answer is the Manfrotto Magic Arm... and it was clamped on to a secondary tripod. I put pressure down and I locked it in. 


One of the final steps was to get the details in the soles. There are a lot of textures down there. I used a manual I found under my sofa as a bounce. It gave me just enough detail to get it where I needed it to. 

Finished up by removing all of the stuff I didn't need and extending the shadow way out of the screen. Now it is much more of a dynamic shot... don't you think?

Hope you had fun reading about this shot

Andrew Manley
Product Photographer

Lipsense Portraits for the Wifey

This month sparked a new interest in portraits for me as I was bombarded with birthdays. Although it happened late in June, it was the kick off of many new agendas and styles as I started to find my groove again in photography. 

I have decided to concentrate on working on a lighting and editing style that stands out on its own. Of course things like this takes time so it's something I am patient with. 

Around the end of May, my wife decided to start a new venture with Senegence Cosmetics and in selling make up, she needed photos and a campaign to accompany that. 

We originally took some portraits of her on her birthday but then that quickly escalated to some fun shoots. As you can see we did an homage to the old school by shooting on top of an old Diamondback BMX and her dressed up in chola clothes. We got a lot of love from our friends on Instagram... lol. 

Lipsense: (Left) Kiss for a Cause, (Right) Layered Mulled Wine and Fly Girl

Lipsense: (Left) Kiss for a Cause, (Right) Layered Mulled Wine and Fly Girl

We also worked on a smear campaign. Since Lipsense is famous for not smudging once it is on the lips, we did some shots of lipstick smearing all over her face to remind girls that there are other options out there. 

Also, early in the month, she was at the Pomona Artwalk where she found a customer and filmed a small shoot with Tim and his Red Camera. 

Stay tuned for some fun stuff coming up :)

Meanwhile, check out her website: http://www.lovegreylips.com


Andrew Manley
Lifestyle and Product Photographer 

Nicole and 997.1 GT3 at Calpoly Pomona

In the spirt of trying to get in a shoot everyday, I did an open invite on Instagram to shoot people and one of those who hit me up was Nicole aka @mzforeveryoung. 

We originally were both open and didn't have any concepts at hand. As I tried to get get an idea by asking Nicole what kind of outfits, props and access to venues that she had, we ended up going with a car themed shoot. Mainly due to the fact that she had a cool white outfit with black spartan like boots that matched my GT3. 

So we headed down to Cal Poly and found a spot that was neutral in background cause I didnt want to complicate it with "noise" per say. We were also on a time limit as we both had some where to be at 90 mins later. 

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For the initial setup, I placed a White Lightning X1600 with a large Octobox left of camera shooting at full 1/1 power. I didnt have any power so I hooked it up to my Honda CRV with an outlet in the back plugged into an inverter. The shot below is a HDR compilation of 5 images.

I started to conceptualize a woman in distress... not that she needed help but because she wanted to find someone she could prey on... cause no woman drives a GT3 unless she was a power hungry girl. I photoshopped the vapors coming out of the rear end. Sometimes I feel like I over-processed here but then I fall back in love with it. It's a love hate for sure... lol.

I muted the colors in this one because she came out so warm but I am a bit torn on most of this series as I didnt have a clear shot formulated. 

The shot below was just a cute and fun shot... just threw it in cause the energy is great.. :)

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Probably my favorite shot from the shoot was from the rear end... it was a nice balance between model and prop. I did photoshop the license to GG (Good Game) and did some frequency separation on her skin. Then I threw on some highlights on the camera right of her face. 

Andrew Manley
Portrait Photographer

Leonard turns 29

Leonard who is on the far left side of the creative sphere, be his own person and is smooth with the ladies walked right into his 29th birthday on the 23rd of June. 

Today was also the first time I was using the new Sony A9 with the 24-70mm 2.8 G Master. You can get an idea for how I liked it at the end.

I did prep him to come in wearing something nice so I could snap a few shots of him. He walked in with a gray tshirt. This is what I came up with. 

I saw this bench with full sun exposure and I wanted something against the frosted windows and these desert plants. I also wanted a prop that gave the image some dimension. This shot was setup with a Flashpoint strobe on camera right and a diffuser over Leonard on the camera left. I am pretty happy with the image. It is a moment of peace and contemplation. 


Next we followed up with a simple headshot. There were 14ft cactus plants behind Leonard. I used them to create some texture. The sun was camera left and behind Leonard's head and filled in with a gold reflector. 

Our 3rd location ended up being a failure because I was still not use to the functions of the Sony A9 and the images were out of focus. I was going to cut out the windows and replace with a more desertscape but I guess I will use that for the future. 

The final location was in between a bunch of desert plants. It created the type of textures I was seeking. This one was shot with the Flashpoint strobe camera left with a white reflection on the camera right. I like the energy in this shot cause you can see the emphasis on his eyes. The apple is also subtle but loud enough to warranty your attention. 

Although I had two assistants on this shoot, I wasn't able to get much BTS as they were all holding lights and reflectors and also mainly because I forgot to ask. However I did get some of Rob and I when we were location scouting. 

I will do better to create a more inclusive Behind the Scene blog posts for you guys. Until then, I keep shooting and be well!

Just a quick note on the Sony A9... this camera is packed with tons of features however in the short time I had to use it, I was just frustrated as I coudn't get things under my control. However since I am such an oldschool shooter, sometimes I feel that mirrorless cameras are over featured... but maybe I won't feel that way with more use. Time will tell.

Andrew Manley
Portrait Photographer 

Pro's Big 35... Birthday Portraits

June is a busy time for birthdays in my life... especially during the Gemini and Cancer transition. I believe I have to celebrate about 14 birthdays around that time. 


This year, I have decided to shoot portraits for people on their birthdays... what other gift is better than getting documented on your special day?

Venue is shot at my boy's spot in the arts district of Pomona... called 11th Door Studio. He has a lovely spot which showcases amazing artwork and "feels" in a 1400sqft space. 

The initial idea was to create some spunk with the various textures and colors all around but we ended up taking on a different direction as we were inspired by various props. 

Anyways, here are some photos from the day and also some unedit images so you get a sense for what was going on .

Thanks for stopping by

Andrew Manley
Portrait Photorapher

Tina and Jesse Graduate Cal Poly Pomona

Tina and Jesse both had a long journey to get to the final stages of their undergraduate degree. Like many of us before them, the struggle to get to the end is terrifying cause we have thought about quitting so many times.... but something kept us going.

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Taking the weight off your shoulders knowing that you did all you could to push through to the end... well unless you are going back to school for a masters/PHD/doctorate, etc. Well then the struggle is just starting, so it seems. 

Talking with them reminded me of my struggles at UCI but it has been 14 years since I have graduated. Blink of an eye...

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They wanted some portraits but they also wanted to play with their cosplay toys so Jesse brought out his homemade Captain America shield and Tina brought out her lightsaber. 

We had a good time shooting at the Cal Poly Japanese Garden and in front of the CLA building. 

I wish both of you all the success in the near future!

Product shots of the Bilstein PSS10 Coilovers

As many of you know, I am a huge Porsche fan and try to stay active in scene as much as I can while managing businesses and a family. When I ordered the Bilstein PSS10's from my good buddies over at Evasive Motorsports, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the quality of the product. Before I decided to install them on my car, I took some time to shoot the fine product. 

I shot the product over at Wanderwall Space and tried using a handful of different lighting angles. Due to the product's shiny nature, getting the right angle was imperative as it showed strong highlights and reflections. 

I wanted a nice soft look and semi flat lighting to really show off all of the textures of this fine product. The best look I got was setting up two large softboxes 45 degrees behind the coilover on each side. With the key light set as a kicker light, I was able to get some nice soft diffusion on the front part of the suspension. 

Here are some BTS photos and various lighting samples along with the final composition. Hope you guys enjoy!