Today was an overly cloudy day with a good change of rain but that didnt stop us from getting headshots done for Gage, Quian and Chris. Of course a cloudy day means that we had a giant softbox hanging over our heads. We won't get much variations in the direction of light but soft it will be! We had such a great time hanging out and taking headshots.
Laura called me looking for headshots for her new career as a Political Science Professor at Cal State Pomona and Azusa Pacific in the new upcoming 2017 year. For someone who has never been professionally photographed, she did wonderful taking instructions. She wanted something professional, yet something that wasn't too uptight so we decided to go with an outdoor portrait. Here are some of the ones she picked.
It was such a pleasure getting to know you and taking your photos for your new job. I wish you all the best in your pursuit!
Headshot Portrait Photographer
Los Angeles Photographer
I was recently contacted by the catering manager at the Glendale Hilton Hotel who needed some photographs of their head chef and a handful of their signature dishes for some online marketing.
Joseph had a few ideas in mind that he emailed to me during our initial emails. I wanted to make sure I could get some nice tight shots of the plates and really show off the textures of the ingredients.
With the assistance of Martha from Martha Pimentel Photography, we met at IE Photo Rentals to load up on some lenses and lighting gear. The primary of our gear consisted of Canon 1dx Mark II, Canon 6d, Canon 24mm 1.4 Mark II, Canon 35mm 1.4 Mark II, Canon 85mm 1.2 Mark II, Paul C Buff Digibee.
In the shot above, we wanted to show off Chef Leo in his day to day environment. I wanted to play on the warm and cool aspect of the kitchen. We were able to show off the Flambé perfectly within a few shots and ended up with a photo I was happy with.
Some close up of the vegetables that are used daily in the menu.
My assistant Martha was able to get me when I was setting up for the vegetable shot. Beautiful ingredients on top of a beautiful wooden board.
This blue crab cake on top of an avocado relish is one of the hotels top selling dishes.
The chef's favorite knife in the kitchen, the famous Shun Knife. I hope to have one some day.
In the end, we got to take some awesome shots and the cherry on top was that we got to eat all of the food here and more. It was wonderful working with Joseph and Chef Leo and I cant wait to see them again in the future.
Shot on location:
Hilton Hotel Glendale
100 W. Glenoaks Blvd
Glendale, CA 91202
Have you ever had a friend that met someone and you knew that it was gonna be happily ever after? For me, this is one of those rare cases where I knew after I had met Nar, that Danny was gonna marry this girl. I actually called it the first time I met her.... and so now here we are prepping for their lives together.
Photographing these two lovebirds during an extremely breezy Sunday morning was challenging because getting hair to cooperate is impossible. However these two were down for the ride and we had a blast up in the mountains.
Getting two people who feel uncomfortable in front of the camera is always fun because they never know what to expect but it only takes a short while to find their groove and get natural moments.
We kept things fun by allowing the two to be naturally who they are... playful and flirty kept the two interacting with one another.... of course kisses on the neck and naughty speak bring out the real big smiles as you can see... lol
One of my favorites was the shot above where I creeped on these two enjoying a moment of patty cakes.... because when you are in love and your photographer tells you to do it, you do it!
I can't wait for the wedding guys.... as crazy as you two are, its gonna be a blast.
It's always awesome to attend a friend's wedding but it's also a huge honor to be able to document their special day. My good buddy got married to his beautiful bride Janet over at http://www.boxeight.com in Los Angeles, CA.
I know my buddy Danny is a smart dude but this guy surprised me when he told me that this was his second ceremony. The first one from a few months ago was for their parents. If you are married, you know the tension that arises from parent's wanting to contribute their ideas to your special day. So they did a day specifically for them and then this one was for them with all of their friends.... celebrating the way they wanted. I have to give Janet and Danny the award for the shortest ceremony I have ever documented. When I checked the photos, a total of 6 mins from start to end!
It was filled with a lot of food, alcohol, laughter and good times. Just the way a wedding should be. I wish you and Janet a life full of love and lots of happy children!
Every year we grow a bit older and we come to new realizations about life and what it means to us. What was once important to us may no longer be important and what was never important become important. Life's a trip isn't it? So what does that have to do with today's blog post?
My dear friend Nhu celebrated her 35th birthday last week and invited 26 of her very closest friends to a little wine and dine at http://www.littlemeatsla.com. Basically this little gem is a loft space where creative chefs like Stevie Cho put on meals for a small group of like minded individuals who have the same love for food and life. A wonderful space and a marvelous time we had....
That night we had a sample of Kimchi Deviled Eggs as we started to pour a nice glass of wine to celebrate the night. The table was filled with handmade details that really set the mood off. Saying hello to some old faces was a real nice treat as well.
Next was a slow roasted pork belly slider tucked in between a King's Hawaiian Bread. Inside was some sort of pickle that really gave it a contrasting flavor that really brought the whole thing together. As we toasted the birthday girl, you can see the staff putting together our meals.
I met Nhu back in college... way back in 2001... so it has been a good minute. She's one of the most sneakiest people I know. She will try to pay a tab behind my back, sneak in some money into my wife's purse when I try to pay for something... you get the idea but over the years, we have decided to play it neutral cause she knows I will take it to the next level... lol. But my wife and I love this girl.. she's one of the most careless individuals I know. She will give anything and everything you ask of her... well that is if she loves you ;) and so capturing some genuine moments of this girl who hates being in front of the camera makes me happy.
Stevie Cho is here prepping our main course of prime rib sided by some home mashed potatoes and corn to match. Look at the brown on the crush of this roast!
Friends on friends on friends... all enjoying this sliver of a moment before getting back to the madness of the world. Grabbed a few candids of everyone having a good time... I wish all the minutes of our lives was this great.
Knives and meats... my kind of joint. Plate me please...!
In typical Nhu fashion, she surprised one of her friend's with a surprise dessert and candle for her birthday... just sharing her moment with her girl.... and below you can see this girl who rarely smiles this large captured by yours truly. Truly a rare moment indeed lol...
So another year older, another year wiser, we take all of our experiences and mash them into what is our reality. What was once important to me has taken a backseat to all the things that have taken on a new significance in my life. Our time is definitely short in this world and this day was a reminder to me to live life like it was meant to be.
I love you to the Muon and back my dear! Happy 35th birthday.... your smile brightens all of our days and big shoutout to Stevie and his crew for making this night quite the enjoyable evening. Cheers!
A good buddy of mine is getting married this year and when he came to me to shoot his wedding, it was an honor to even be asked. Seems like this year it is becoming more and more common for me to shoot a friend's wedding.
What I love about shooting people I know is that they already feel a bit more relaxed since they know me but at the same time it makes it tricky since they can be a bit more playful than with a photographer they don't know personally.
Manny and Maureen wanted to originally shoot at the Getty Museum but they have a policy that states professional photography is not allowed. Oh course we could have broken the rules but we wanted to respect their wishes. As an alternative, Maureen thought about shooting at the Los Angeles Arboretum or otherwise known as the Botanical Gardens. Since I have shot there previously, I thought it was a great idea as the park is vast and has tons of beautiful backgrounds.
As a note, they charge $9 per adult and if you want to shoot photography their with a client, it is an extra $50 fee. It is a pretty fair exchange considering you can roam the whole area and setup lights and such without getting hassled.
Since Manny is a buddy of mine, he had told me that he was practicing his smile for that day. Made me laugh since I knew if that was the case, he was serious about looking good in these photos.
We started at 2:30pm and shot all the way to closing, which was 5pm during the winter season. It went by so quick and kind of hoped that we had some more time to wander the park but in the end, we were happy with what we had.
You guys did great! Can't wait for the wedding day... should be a blast!
Over the last few decades, the gaming industry has gone through some very drastic changes. From the humble stages of Atari, to Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Playstation, Xbox, PC Gaming, Online Gaming.... the evolution has been great and very profitable.
I was contacted to shoot a gaming tournament for a fairly new mobile game called VainGlory, that can be played on smart phones and tablets only. The concept was a bit bizarre to me since in the past, pretty beefy desktops were needed to play games like World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, League of Legends, etc. Now you can download the game for free and play it right off your mobile device. Um, that was a new one for me.
At a very new venue called eSports Arena in Santa Ana, the first ever VainGlory Tournament was being held for the 2015 Autumn Finals. It was filled with very enthusiast players, fans, organizers, media and sponsors such as Amazon Coins. The tournament was a 3 day event starting on Friday and the finals ending on Sunday.
One of the first things they requested from me on Day 1 was photographing every player (there was about 28 of them) on chromakey so that they can isolate them and paste the portraits on a more suitable graphic. I made the setup with a chromakey background and on each side was an Alien Bee B800 with umbrellas. This was to ensure that the light hit the background nice and evenly so that extracting the subject would be easy. If you have shadows on the background, it makes for a very long day. Then to keep the portraits more dramatic (meaning adding more shadows/contrast) I used a single B800 with a softbox and a large 48" Lastolite Difflector on the otherside.
The remaining parts of the tournament I had to capture moments of play and reaction. Since each round was about 20 mins long, there was a lot of downtime in between plays. Most of the time, they are facing down and there was little to capture until the end of the round was up.
One of the more difficult parts of the gig was trying to accommodate last minute requests for group photos since we didn't have much room to shoot them around the arena. I tried to use the environment and blend with the color tones that were already existing.
When I had the opportunity, I liked trying to grab candids of the teams before they headed to the staging area. Here is one of the younger teams strategizing before playing a higher seeded team.
The fans were great and appreciative for the opportunity to view the tournament live. The entire tournament was being fed live on Twitch's gaming broadcast.
It was a cool experience getting to know all of the team players and organizers of this wonderful event. I am a fan of anything that keeps kids and adults active and that builds upon a community and I can see how big this will become in the very near future.
At the end of October for 8 days, I had spent time traveling to the land where a series of islands create a country called the Philippine Islands. From the busy streets of Manilla to the humble town of Roxas and then finally the ever so gorgeous Boracay Beach, I learned a lot about the land from which my wife’s parents come from. A land filled with many promises but a lot of work is still needed in getting the country to where she needs to be. Here is my journey…
Distant family is usually reunited by one of two ways, a wedding or a funeral. Luckily this happy story is about the union of two lovebirds, my wife’s first cousin Alexys and now his charming wife Danica. Our trip consisted of my wife, son, father in-law, mother in-law, brother in-law, sister in-law and my niece. Our flight out of LAX was on a Tuesday red eye and consisted of a 16 hour trip to Manilla. It was an hour longer than anticipated because the plane was carrying cargo over the ideal limit and we had to stop in Honolulu for fuel. What made it feel even longer was the fact they put us on a smaller airline because it didn’t meet the Boeing 777 passenger minimum and we had no wifi, power outlets and the nearest entertainment TV was a 7” screen that was 6 rows ahead of me. It felt like 1992 all over again. Luckily I downloaded one song to my iPhone and listened to it for 12 hours straight…. “Goodnight, Travel Well” by the Killers…. it’s a deep dark song and makes my mind drift…
Before I continue, I want to talk a bit about photography gear. It has been a long time struggle with me balancing professional gear and gear that is small enough for me to travel with. When I was shooting in 2003, I just wanted bigger and bigger cameras but as time progressed, my body was more inclined to using gear that was smaller in size. I ended up lugging around a Sony A7s mirrorless camera with a Metabones adapter connected to a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II. The thing is, the A7s is small but once you add the adapter and the lens, the camera setup is just bulky as a traditional DSLR. I didn't even walk to walk around with the camera so many times I didn't. In actuality, most of the stuff you see on this trip was shot with my Apple iPhone 6. The camera right in my pocket did the job. I should of taken a smaller setup like the Olympus OMD EM5 with the 12-35mm 2.8. Lesson learned for the next trip. Now back to the story...
Upon landing in Manilla, I was not ready for the madness that awaited in the streets. By the time we got our bags and hit the city streets, it was about 7:30am and we were right in the middle of rush hour traffic. You see, traffic in Manilla is not like traffic in Southern California. I thought LA traffic was bad but at least it moves. Sitting in Manilla traffic is miserable because not only does it not move but the pollution from the vehicles are not regulated. At least that was my conclusion as you can smell the toxins in the air as if you were sucking it right out of the exhaust pipe.
Most of the locals ride on jeepney's (low profile buses that is easier to get in and out of) or they overload themselves on tiny scooters. There are no basic rules for driving on the mean streets. If you get in a lane first, enter the intersection before the flow of traffic arrives, late breaking, etc... it is all fair game.
The conversion rate from US Dollars to Philippine Peso was $1 US Dollar for 46 Pesos. So I started with $100 USD and ended up with 4600 Pesos. So what do we first when we get there? We head straight over to Chow King and load up on deep fried fast food. As we sat there eating breakfast, we had two local boys about the age of 4 and 8 come knocking on the window begging for money. They just sat there watching us eat. It is heart breaking watching such young kids on their own looking for money to survive but it was an all too common story we saw throughout our trip.
Our first hotel at Bayview Park was a simple one. Right along the side of a very busy highway, our room had a bed, shower and a connection to a very slow internet but it was enough to handle some emails and get in some Instagram time. We had to wake up at 2am and head back to the airport and take a domestic flight to the island of Roxas where we were going to meet my wife's cousin and fiance and get ready for the big wedding day. When I was looking at the traffic on the highway, not once did it let up until 1am where it was starting to free up.
One of my favorite things I love about traveling is trying new foods and learning what the locals do in their own town. Technically Filipino food is not new to me, I have eaten it for a long time but it was my first time eating it in the Philippines...
This day, we met with the rest of the family and had a beautiful lunch on a hilltop. It was a hot day but in the shade, the breeze kept us cool and the slights were so tropical, it finally made me feel like I was on vacation. We were met with warm smiles and warm foods to fill out bellies. Here are some snaps of lunch that day. It was lunch in paradise.
Later that evening, we had dinner at the pre-wedding dinner hosted by my wife's cousin's fiance Danica's father. Wow that was a long sentence with a lot of 's lol. It was a muggy evening but filled with lots of love and laughter. We were also surrounded by lightning storms and as I ran out to the beach to capture some lightning strikes, I kept missing them cause the Sony A7s long exposure takes forever to process photos. Every time the shutter would come down, lightning would strike. Below is the only shot I got.
Methuse's cousin Alexys and Danica got married in an old cathedral. It had the longest processional walkway I have ever seen. I wish I had taken more photos at the wedding but I didn't have my camera on me and my iPhone wasn't setup to do a decent shot inside the dark church but I captured a photo at the rehearsal the day before.
It was a beautiful ceremony surrounded by lots of family. Danica looked gorgeous on her special day and Alexys got married a very happy man. One thing that made the wedding tough to bear were all of the "Uncle Bob's" and "Aunt Suzy's" with their massive iPads and iPhones out and blocking the walkway directed people for photos... You are not a director and you are not a photographer... please move over so the groom may see his bride. Ugh some people.
The following day, we headed to Boracay Beach, a touristy beach with gorgeous white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. It was about a 2.5 hour journey since there was a lot of traffic along the way. It was another national holiday where people go visit the grave of past loved ones.
As we headed to the ferry transfer station, we were give sneak peeps of what Boracay Beach was going to be like.
Once we got to the beach, it was all rest and relaxation from there. We got to play in the warm shallow waters, go snorkling, eat and eat again, ride the banana boat and collect shells from island hopping. We got to see the famous Manny Pacquiao's former house turned into a hotel and a lot of the locals and how they hustled to make their bread.
It was a compact 7 days. We laughed, filled our hearts and souls, met distant relatives, showed Calvin how people live in another country, witnessed a union of two soulmates and got to travel as a unit to a new land.
Sorry that I didn't include photos of more faces but due to privacy, I wanted to keep this blog about the experience rather than make it a family album publicly displayed for all to see. Got to keep some things private ;)
Looking back, I struggled a lot with how much I wanted to be in "work" mode capturing photos to their highest quality vs being a "tourist" and just trying to enjoy the week that I was there. In the end, I am satisfied with the photos but wished I had more time to have captured it more from a professional stand point. Life is a fine balance between work and play and I think I captured a sense of that.
Thank you to my father and mother in law for making all of this happen, Alexys and Danica for inviting us to your special day and to the people of the Philippines for welcoming us to your land. It was a real treat for us to have experienced your splendor.