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...

San Onofre

This location was actually on Camp Pendleton which is a first for me. Usually I never stay on base for photos but this night in particular I had decided to go out rather late and saw that the sky was going to prove to be a good sunset so I decided to venture out to the closest beach to me which happens to be San Onofre. This beach is said to have some of the best breaks for surfing in Southern California and I believe it does from experience. On some real good day it does tend to get packed in the water but I have never really seen it get packed on the shoreline, at least not on the military side. This photo is mostly natural meaning I didn’t do much as far as post-processing goes. Frankly I didn’t feel that I had to do anything. Once I took the picture and check it out when I was done I could tell I was going to be pleased with the end results. I usually try to make blacked out or shadow areas as visible as I can but in this photo I find that these areas actually add to the overall composition. It gives it a more dramatic type of lighting in my opinion. The natural colors from the sky were also surprisingly beautiful that day. And to think that I wasn’t expecting much from coming here on this day.  This is a single RAW image that has been masked through the better parts of two other exposures taken at -2 and +2. I kept the dark tones that were present in order to preserve the realism. I used Photoshop CS6 for levels and color adjustments and Nik Color Effex Pro for other various adjustments. If you...

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....