Looking Back

Here is another photo from the set of pictures that we took on the little shoot that I had with Geena. This was towards the end of the shoot when the sun was getting really low and was right over the cliff at Pines Park, in Dana Point, California. I had her pose for this shot, facing the sun, and caught her looking back without telling her to try this pose. When I saw her do it, I ended up loving how it looked so I quickly snapped away a bunch of pictures to try and get some good ones. The sun was perfect because it was only harsh on the areas of her body that I didn’t mind. Her face came out exposed great and the sun even provided a nice glare in the background. I shot this with with my Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. As far as editing goes I did a little color correction, levels and curves, and used Nik Color Efex Pro in order to mess with some cross processing filters and what not. Hope you like the...

Golden Hour

If you have never shot during the golden hour then your are missing out. This is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day. It provides some awesome light that isn’t as harsh as the sun during the middle of the day and gives pictures a nice warm glow. If it was up to me this would literally be the only time I would choose to do shooting. Geena ended up really liking some of the pictures from the first shoot so she agreed to another fortunately. I wanted to do it outside this time and so did she but I didn’t know any good nearby locations that wasn’t a beach. She suggested Pines Park in Dana Point and I’m glad she did because it worked out great. The park overlooked the ocean and had enough trees and what not to take pictures around. This Nikon D810 is proving to be quite the workhorse. It takes amazing pictures and is so great when it comes to editing them afterwards because of the high megapixels that it produces. For this shot I used a 50mm f/1.4 which has been my lens of choice lately for people. It’s just so versatile that I don’t have to constantly change to different lenses, which can be a pain when photographing people. I did some editing in Lightroom and Photoshop for this picture but it was all very minimal. I like using Nik Color Efex Pro when it comes to portraits because it creates a great natural enhanced look. If you got any questions, feel free to ask!...

Beach Ride

Everything was good; I had this idea for a picture that I had wanted to take in my mind and was finally ready to try and make it happen. The sun was out, the spot was chosen, we had a way to get to the spot. Everything seemed perfect. It wasn’t until we were leaving that the clouds started coming in and going in front of the sun. By the time we got to the spot at San Onofre beach, it was completely overcast with no sun in sight. The whole reason for this outing was because I had wanted to situate the setting sun glare somewhere off the side of the picture to give it a warm effect that made a nice natural glare over everything. I was so excited for this shot but was disappointed when I learned that it wouldn’t be happening that day. So what did I do? I made the best of the situation. I had ended up bringing along my SB 700 Nikon flash and a wireless trigger along with some gels just in case. I’m extremely glad I did because I had ended up using it for this shot. The natural light wasn’t too bad I thought it looked a little dull and I wanted it to seem like there was still sun in the picture so I could try to recreate the original idea as close as possible. I put a warming gel on the flash and positioned it off to camera right, where the sun would have been. I had wanted to be the model for this picture but since I had such a specific idea in mind, I couldn’t have someone else shoot this for me so I had my friend Steven model with...

Family Photos

This is from a shoot that I did for my friend and his family. They already knew they wanted the photos to be taken at San Onofre Beach near the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton in California. Now I knew of beaches as being notorious for harsh light and I checked the weather forecast and saw nothing except clear skies and sunshine to my dismay. One of my buddies had thankfully volunteered to be my assistant and help out which had made all the difference. Because the shoot was so close to my deployment, some of my equipment had already been packed away so I didn’t even have the one piece of gear I planned on relying on which had been my 5-in-1 reflector. Fortunately I still had my flash as well as a wireless control for it. I arrived on the spot about an hour before they came and scoped out some good places to shoot where I could include as much shade as possible, knowing this would work as a great source for soft light. The spot where this photo was taken was one of the main spots I used which was underneath a lifeguard tower. The shoot on a whole was a really good learning experience for me because of the difficulties the harsh light provided me with for one, and also because it was my first time working with kids. The kids both enjoyed the picture taking for the first few minutes which ended up all I needed for the shoot. I even got to experiement with my new favorite lens, the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, which has an awesome depth of field. Overall the photo shoot was a success and my friend and his family were pleased with their photos. Thanks for having me as your photographer guys! This is a RAW image that was processed...

Doomed Youth

I took a few more shots of my buddy Steven Feusi while we were at Huntington Beach the other day. What can I say, he likes getting his picture taken and I like taking pictures, so it works out. You can check out his tumbler that goes by Doomed Youth page by clicking on his name in this post. It was a great evening for taking pictures considering the sky was filled with clouds. I didn’t even come here intending on taking any portraits, rather I had visited this spot with the intention of taking landscape shot which were also accomplished as well. You can check out one of the landscape shots from this night here. The cloudy sky acted as a great diffuser for any harsh light the sun would have given me. I had to step way back to take the shot because the lens I was using was intended for a full frame camera and my Nikon D7000 crops the view because of this. This is a RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6. I love this lens. It is a Rokinon f/1.4 85mm. It gives awesome blur effects on the subjects. Let me know what you think or go to Steven’s page and give him some...

Portrait of Mom

I took this portrait of my Mom while I was back home on leave. This was taken near the end of the day before the sun set in my backyard so I had some great lighting. I used a Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 lens which has an awesome depth of field and I have been using that to it’s full potential. Before I got this lens I had always wondering how some of the top pros got these awesome portrait photos where the focus point is so small and the rest of the image is gradually blurred and I could never figure it out. At first I thought maybe it was my camera but I have seen other picture taken with a Nikon D7000 with the same effects so it couldn’t have been that. Once I found this lens I finally understood; it’s all in the glass. My eyes are finally open to why so much weight is put on lenses as opposed to cameras. This lens is great and I definitely recommend it for taking portrait but remember it is a manual focus lens. This will definitely create a problem for people who need real fast focusing because it takes some getting used to if you have been using auto-focus a lot; at least it did for me. Not to mention being an f/1.4 it has a really small focus point so it is easy to mess up and have the picture not look right. I do have the automatic chip in this lens though which I think is a must and cannot be done without wasted effort without it. This will indicate when you focus point is in focus in viewfinder that way it is not just a guessing game. This is a single RAW image that was...

Steven

Introducing Steven Feusi. This is my buddy from the Marine Corps that was willing to let me take some pictures of him. We had some time off after work so we went out back near his car which happens to be a sweet red Chevy Nova. He was super embarrassed because I had him dress somewhat nice and we were around the barracks where we live with people walking around but it still worked out. It was his first time in front of the camera for a shooting session so being a little uncomfortable is understandable. I can imagine how awkward it must feel with someone just staring at you through a lens. This picture was shot while he was sitting in the front seat of his car with the door open. The light was awesome because it was in the shade and the sun was behind him so I barely touched this photo. All I did was brighten his pupils a bit and take away some blemishes. The new lens makes such a difference for portrait pictures. It’s amazing. I suggest to anyone who is serious to take portraits to go out and get a 85mm F/1.4. It gives it that soft professional...

San Clemente Girl Apr27

San Clemente Girl

This isn’t actually a photo I took but I wanted to put it up because my buddy Steven had taken it and I helped with the editing. My buddy spotted this girl while we were at San Clemente Beach just hanging out for the day. I was teaching him how to use this new Rokinon 84mm f/1.4 lens that I bought and he couldn’t help but want to take a photo of this girl that was near us on the beach. He went over and asked for permission and she was kind enough to say yes. Thanks to a comment she had made on the photo, we have found out that her name is Claudia Pacheco. The clouds were covering the sun at the time so it made for a real nice filtered light which accentuated the natural beauty of the girl. He did a great job with the actually taking of the photo considering he has minimal experience with photography and he was using a manual focus lens that is notorious for easily getting out of focus pictures if not focused properly. I was surprised at how bright her eyes had shown in the off camera image considering this was all natural light and we had no reflectors so that was a big plus. I barely had to touch this photo when it came to post processing. The only work that was dont on it was a slight curves and levels adjustmen and a few unwanted blemishes taken out in Photoshop CS6. You can find my friend Steven Feusi, the one who took this photo on tumbler here. Hope you like our collaborative efforts at making a photo. And a big thank you to Claudia Pacheco for letting Steven take this awesome photo...

Couples Shoot

This is a portrait of my friend Teddy and his girlfriend at the time Maryam(unfortunately they broke up some time after this shoot). They wanted to do a couples shoot and it was my first payed shoot so I took the opportunity immediately. I’m fairly new to portrait photography so it was a definite learning experience but I think overall it worked out great. I brought a 5-in-1 reflector that is a must have piece of gear. I used it throughout this entire shoot considering how often some of the shots had to be in direct light because of the spots we were in. It helped to reflect some of the light back in their faces in order to fill in the shadows which  made for a softer look rather than having harsh light splayed throughout the photos. This shot in particular was one of those shots. I thought it would be a good idea to try this shot on top of the lifeguard tower but the sun was still a little harsh so I used the reflector. You can’t see it in this picture but my buddy’s girlfriend (at the time) was actually holding the reflector with me in order to keep it in the spot I had wanted it. I didn’t have someone else to help me out in this situation so I made do with what I had and she was more than happy to help out. We got a lot of good pictures and they all seemed pleased with the results. For portraits, I try and keep the processing as minimal as possible. In the case of this photo I simply applied a curves and levels layer and fixed the white balance along with some color adjustments which were all done in Photoshop CS6....

Married

I shot this at my friends wedding at Coronado near San Diego, California. He let me shoot his wedding because I wanted to get the practice so I told him I would do it for free.  They got married on the beach here on a pretty sunny day. Coronado was such a beautiful place for a wedding and the couple was great to work with. Being my first wedding, I didn’t realize the full extent of the work that has to go into this. Probably the most time consuming was the post-processing because of the sheer amount of photos I had taken. It was super sunny out and hard to shoot so it was hard to handle a lot of the light because for the large amount of the wedding it was all harsh light. It wasn’t until later on when the sun started going down that the light quality increased and I didn’t need to use such a high amount of off camera lighting to balanace the scene. That was when this photo was taken. I took this as we were leaving the beach and heading to the cars to leave. The sun had already set and it was getting dark by this point. We were walking past the main entrance when I remembered I wanted a picture of the rings with them wearing them. There was a nice flowerbed that was lit up by a few scattered lights and I figured this would be a good spot for just that. I used a higher aperture in order to get the desired depth of field and brought their hands into the light and started snapping away. A few pictures was all I needed to know I would be pleased with this shot. It was my buddy Shawn and his now wife...