September 4, 2011

  • Going Back To Go Forward | San Francisco Engagement Photographer


    They say that change is good and that one needs to be always reinventing oneself.  I think as in most things one must devote themselves if they wish to improve and move beyond the average and truly excel at something.  My mentor Scott Robert recently put up a quote from another one of our friends who is an amazing photographer in his own right.  The quote was, "Hard work always beats lazy talent- Tauran Woo" In my life I have seen people who have had great natural talent but it sometimes ends up being a curse, because they find early success easily so end up never pushing forward or wanting to put in the work to become great.  I actually find it sad that they waste such valuable gifts. 


    I feel I have been blessed in my life in that I have had some amount of natural talent in a number of things.  But in my case I always must work and push to achieve higher levels.  In the area of photography I have always had some amount of artistic creativity but I have been lucky to get some great instruction and have some pretty awesome mentors.  But I think what really helps me is that I am always trying to think of new ways to capture an image or achieve what I have in my mind.  I do believe that is what we all need so we can continue to grow and hopefully one day achieve true greatness.  It baffles me when I run into other photographers who just become satisfied with what they are doing and limit themselves to that which they know.  To me I wonder what they think when they look at the results of each shoot and see the exact same thing each time.  I am not saying that you would reinvent the world each day but I think one would want to always keep moving and growing. 


    So the other weekend to keep pushing myself I did a little bit of the retro thing while shooting an Engagement Session.  I lay down my trusty 5D MkII and picked up an ole Hasselblad to shoot a few shots.  I was curious to see what kind of look I could get with it but more importantly it made me slow down a bit and pushed me out of my box.  Stepping out of the box I think helps you to make that box just that much bigger.  I know it is scary sometimes and I will admit that I like consistency but without those adventures out of your comfort zone you will never truly achieve all that you could.  Here are a few shots that came out of the Hassey.  Thanks to Sandra & Tomas for putting up with my little experiment.




August 15, 2011

  • Italy, A Lifetime Ago

    DSCN2948-Edit T  

    The other day I was reading an article in Rangefinder Magazine and it spoke of the beauty of Italy’s Lake Country. It reminded me of the time my wife and I spent there on our honeymoon, which seems a lifetime ago.  We enjoyed our time in Italy but like the article spoke of we were taken with the great beauty of Lake Como.Believe it or not the town we stayed in was Bellagio…yes like the hotel in Las Vegas but I think this was probably the original.  =) 


    DSCN2953-Edit T

     Bellagio, Italy


    DSCN2963 T 



    This all made me dig back in my pictures and truly made me realize how long ago that was especially in my photography life.  As I may have mentioned previously I havealways been an artistic type person so through the years I had taken pictures with my old cheapo cameras but all I hoped to capture were things around me and my life.  When looking at my old pictures I completely realized how very limited my knowledge of photography really wasback then.  I did not know how to properly use my camera and I had almost no knowledge of how to see and best uselight.  On top of that I was using myfirst digital camera, an old Nikon Coolpix 950, it shot whopping 2 MPimages. 


    DSCN2965-Edit T 


    Could my pictures have been better if I had a better camera?  Yes, in one respect but what truly would have made my imagery better back then was if I actually knew what Iwas doing.  I would like to think that I had a bit of an artistic eye but I believe many people may have a vision but totruly become a photographer one must also learn and expand their knowledge sothey can achieve and create that vision. Honestly as I took my pictures back then, what I saw was not what I ended up capturing.  Today I know so much more, like I said it has been a lifetime.  I hope to one day have a chance to go back to Italy as it was there with my little Nikon Coolpix that I believe was the birth of the desire that would one day lead me to where I am now and hope to go.  I think maybe next time I go my images will look more like what I envision.


    Here are a few more shots from our adventure in Italy; it was so remarkable there not even I could mess up all the pictures. 


    DSCN2985-Edit T

     Santa Margherita, Italy


    DSCN3017-Edit T 

    DSCN3019 T 

    DSCN3070-Edit T 

    Portofino, Italy


    DSCN3046-Edit T 

    DSCN3045-Edit T 

    Cinque Terra, Italy


    DSCN3102-Edit T 

    Florence, Italy


    DSCN2808-Edit T 

    Venice, Italy  


August 3, 2011

  • The Girl With The...Not Quite A Dragon Tattoo | Editorial Fashion Photography

    I have been so busy with stuff that I have not had a chance to post much but I will try and make more of an effort to do so.  Recently I did a shoot with one of my talented stylist friends.  I met Diana when we were both working on a wedding and then later on realized that we had some other friends in common.  But we both thought we would love to collaborate on something together so we put a little shoot together.


    Well as we were shooting we realized that one of our models had some nice ink work on her back.  We decided that it would be nice if we got a shot of it but of course it begged the question...What to do?  I could have shot just a standard little shot of her artwork but where would the fun in that be.  So instead we embarked on the task of trying to create something with some romance and mystery to it.  Diana’s bed made for a nice start and withour lovely model in place things were off to a good start but really the light in the room was not right for the shot. 



    Here is a shot snapped of us setting up, it lets you see what the room looks like.


    People often ask why it is important to know how to use lighting.  This is one of those instances.  Sure I could have shot something with natural light but it would not have had nearly the same feel or impact.  And really we could not just sit around until the effect we wanted magically appeared.  So I started by seeing that there were some louvers on the windows so I could make use of those to give the scene atropical look like light coming in through plantation shutters.  That ended up being my main light but it left some dark spots and holes it the image. So I continued to build the image and by the time it was all done there were four flashes used to create this image. 


    Also of interest to some might be that I used a set of Scott Robert Tiny Triggers to shoot this image. I have been testing them next to my Pocket Wizards.  The SR Triggers all worked perfectly, including the one outside the building, and they were very easy to use as all that you have to do is slide a receiver on the hotshoe of each flash and then the trigger on the hotshoe of the camera. It of course takes time to build an image like this but the use of the SR Triggers makes it a much faster process than using my beloved Pocket Wizard Plus IIs since I don’t have to deal with plugging in the cables on the flashes.  Overall I have been very satisfied with the performance of the SR Triggers.


    IMG_5536-Edit-Edit_b Here is the final image produced.


    In summary, my point to all this is that often while shooting opportunities present themselves, therefore, we (photographers) should arm ourselves with knowledge and equipment that allow us to develop and capture the images we and our clients imagine. Sure we all have our preferences for doing things but really being versatile can only make us better.  Andas a client wouldn’t you want someone that can bring your vision alive and hopefully even exceed your expectations? 

July 6, 2011

  • Melinda & Brent | Mill Valley Wedding Photographer

    Melinda and Brent are a great couple and if you read myentry about their engagement session you would know that they are also a verynice couple.  After shooting they treatedme to dinner and even some dessert as well. I had such a good time with them then that you know I was really lookingforward to spending their wedding day with them.  The day of their wedding ended up being justbeautiful.  Not to be taken for grantedif you are familiar with the weather we have been having here in the SanFrancisco Bay Area.  Melinda put togethera great day and as to be expected Melinda and Brent were awesome to work withbut a great bonus was that their bridal party and family were a hoot and keptme quite entertained. 


    Melinda & Brent both love the outdoors and adventures soI am sure they will make their new life together one great adventure!  Congratulations, and all the best to themboth.


    Associate – Brian

    Flowers – Jamie Reyes Florals

    Cake – The Cakemaker

    DJ – Now Hear This DJ’s

    Lion Dance – White Crane

    Venue – Outdoor Art Club, Mill Valley


    IMG_8501 B 

    IMG_4297 B 

    Detail 1 

    IMG_8558-Edit B 

    IMG_4423-Edit B 

    IMG_8601-Edit-2 B 

    IMG_4381 B 

    IMG_4452-Edit B 

    IMG_4475-Edit B 

    IMG_4498-Edit B 

    IMG_4505 B 

    IMG_8662-Edit B 

    IMG_8683-Edit B 

    IMG_4515-Edit B 

    IMG_8753-Edit B 

    IMG_4707 B 

    IMG_4598 B 

    IMG_4660 B 

    Show Those Shoes B 

    IMG_8860 B 

    IMG_8867 B 

    IMG_4542 B 

    IMG_4764-Edit B 

    IMG_4774-Edit B 

    IMG_4806-Edit B 

    IMG_4825-Edit B 

    IMG_4881-Edit-Edit B 

    IMG_4991-Edit-Edit B 

    IMG_8927 B 

    IMG_5119 B 

    IMG_5120-Edit B 


    Detail 2 

    IMG_5289 B

    IMG_5370 B 

    IMG_9516 B 

    IMG_9503 B 

    IMG_9615 B 

    IMG_9567-Edit B 

June 10, 2011

  • Featured On Grace Ormonde

    As Seen Grace Ormonde 

    IMG_3595 lb 

    Just the other day I was informed that I have an image featured on Grace Ormonde Wedding Style.  It is an image of Patricia & Robert's cake from last year.  If you want to take a look here is a link to the gallery where it is located, it is actually the first image in the gallery right now.

    It is nice to have something included because I like Grace Ormonde because they really do a great job of having that fashion type feel to their publication and website, yet also still having some classic sophistication as well.  If you want to see more of my work or follow me you can do so here or at:



June 7, 2011

  • Pacific Eye Specialists | Headshot Photographer

    Awhile back I shot some headshots for Pacific Eye Specialist.  They needed to update their website and needed some headshots for their new staff.  Of course the most convenient place for them to do it was in their office.  Being that I had never been there before I did not know exactly what I would find but as the other shots they had on their site pretty much were in front of some solid colored wall I figured that I could find a neutral or white wall somewhere to shoot against.  As it ends up they let me use one of their exam rooms.  So lets just say I actually did not have a whole lot of room to use.  But here is another case where if you know how to use lighting you can create quality images regardless of where you are.  So effectively I probably had a space of about 9' x 8'.  Not a lot of room and the ambient light in there was pretty much the standard florescent lights and the lights they have for their exams, definitely not going to get anything good if I used only that.  So I set three flashes to provide my lighting and then called them in one at a time. 

    So as you can imagine even though they are are all attractive women they obviously spent much more time studying than in front of a camera but they were all great sports, so we just had some fun with it all that helped them to relax and they did great.  This kind of shoot can be very dry and unexciting but the challenge of getting the shot under less than ideal conditions is always rewarding.  However, the best part of this shoot was the time I got to spend with these smart, talented, and lovely ladies; who each also had a great sense of humor.  So if you are in need of eyecare look them up.

    IMG_9639-Edit-Edit b 

    IMG_9652-Edit-Edit-2 b 

    IMG_9683-Edit-Edit-2 b 

    IMG_9727-Edit-Edit b 

May 31, 2011

  • What Do You Take It For Granted?

    IMG_3681-Edit b 

    As it is Memorial Day, it is a time for us to remember those who have fallen in service to our country.  I am glad that we have these times that we set aside to remind us but I also feel sad at how many things we take for granted.  I know I am guilty of this as I am sure we all are.  First I do want to acknowledge all those who put their lives on the line to serve us all.  I know we often complain or are unhappy about things in our country and things are definitely far from perfect but overall I have to say that for most of us we are very fortunate to live here. 


    I posted up this picture because I have tried to make it a point to appreciate this view.  I actually was fortunate enough to grow up with this and yet, for most of my life, I never really thought much about it.  It was well....the view out of our window.  It was not until our home burned down in the Oakland Hills Fire that I realized how I missed it.  Occasionally during the years that it took for us to rebuild I would drive up and just sit in the rubble or construction and soak it in.  Also as this is my folks family home it reminds me of my parents.  I lost my Mom a number of years ago but we are just coming up on the first anniversary of my Dad's passing.  At the request of my Dad, my wife and I moved in with him soon after we lost my Mom.  There were a lot of blessings from that but there were also a lot of challenges.  My joke was that I realized how patient my Mom was and she must have been a saint to deal with my Dad.  But he had his good qualities too and in this past year it has helped me to appreciate those too.  Let's all take a moment from time to time to remember and appreciate all those things that we often overlook.  Hopefully everyone had a good weekend and made some memories that will last for a long time. 

May 24, 2011

  • Celia & Winson | San Francisco Wedding Photographer | Engagement Session Slideshow


    <Click On Image To See Slideshow>

    So as I mentioned in a previous post Celia & Winson were fun to work with on their engagement session.  We went to a few locations and just spent time shooting different things and just getting to know one another better.  I think the worse thing about the day was just all the SF traffic, especially since we were headed up towards Twin Peaks and they were doing some sort of road work and we were just stuck there for awhile. 

    It was so funny because Winson would have problems relaxing his face from time to time so I would just crack up because Celia would then grab his face and squeeze and shake it.  They were also troopers since they were willing to walk into the water at Ocean Beach.  Although it was relatively warm that day the water was still freezing.  But I didn't make my couple do something I would not so I was walking in there with them, although, Winson got the better deal since he got to clutch onto Celia and I had to clutch onto my camera and try not to fall down.  Bri was great as my assistant for the day except for the fact that he whimped out and stayed where it was dry.  Ha ha...

    So here is a little slideshow of Celia & Winson's adventure around the city.  I am really looking forward to their wedding later this year. 

May 19, 2011

  • Superman or Clark Kent | Fremont Family Portrait Photographer

    Well I have to say I am probably more like Clark Kent than Superman, so when I recently spent some time shooting family portraits for Jaclyn’s family I was in a bit of a dilemma.  We decided tomeet at Jaclyn’s place but the problem was there was not enough room in her apartment to really get a good shot.  So we walked around a little and found that her complex had a pretty nice clubhouse that we could use.  Now my only problem is that I thought it would be nice to use the couch for a semiformal looking family portrait but my problem was that it was facing away from the window.  So aside from the fact that I did not want to rearrange the furniture the other problem would be if I turned the couch around then I would have a much less appealing background and since like I said I am not  Superman I could not just turn the whole building around either.  So one issue is if I shoot with the window behind them it means if I don’t do anything else to the image, I would end upwith mostly a big white thing behind them. So this is one of those instances where the use of lighting helped to create the image that we had in mind. 


    So the goal in this was to provide a nice family portrait.  Being that there was a nice window it was of course preferred to get some of the view out the window since it was fairly pleasing with the pool and landscape but at the same time there were some guys standing out there that we wanted to blur out, blow out, in general remove fromthe equation.  I also did not want thisto look overdone in a sense I wanted it to still look like we used some nice window light even though it was not possible for us to do so.  Once I figured out how to expose what was outside the window the way I wanted, my next step was to light the family.  I managed this by using a small octobox and umbrella.  So I looked at the image and thought it looked okay but to me one thing still bothered me, those white window frames going up looked so plain and there was sort of this dark area between the couch and the window.  What was the solution?  I added one more flash with a gel to warm it up and shot it through a plant to give it some warmth and texture.  So in the image it might look like there was some sort of sunlight coming through a window but in reality it was pretty much all created using small flash units. 


    So in the end it was fulfilling to come up with this solution but really the most important thing that day was I got to meet Jaclyn and her family and provide them with the images they were asking for.  They were all so nice and good natured that I almost felt like I had known them for awhile. I love photography and my passion continues to grow constantly but really what I enjoy the most is the interaction I get to have with my clients.  I guess that is why I focus on wedding and portrait photography.  My thanks to Jaclyn and her family it had been a long day up to that point but I truly enjoyed our time together and they actually helped to reinvigorate me for the rest of the evening. 


    Here is the image I was describing.

    IMG_6798 b 


    Here are a few of the other images from the day.


    IMG_6879 b 

    IMG_6965 b 

    IMG_7022 b 

    IMG_7041 b 

    IMG_6996-Edit b 

    IMG_7102-Edit b 

May 5, 2011

  • Celia & Winson | San Francisco Engagement Photographer | Preview

    The other day I went out with Celia & Winson to shoot their Engagement Session.  I must say that they are great weather people because we had actually scheduled for theweekend before but they watched the forecast and looked at the sky and figuredit was not going to be good.  I thoughtit looked fine in the morning but sure enough by the time it came to when wewere supposed to shoot it was looking pretty gloomy.  So by waiting a week we were greeted by abeautiful day. 


    I had met Celia & Winson once before and we had a niceconversation then but really we had not spent much time together.  So as usual it was nice to go out for anengagement session since it really is a great time to get to know one anotherand get some nice photos of them in a more casual manner.  I have to say that Celia & Winson arepretty fun loving and their interactions are quite enjoyable to watch.  We started out at their old high school asthat was were they met and eventually ended up on the beach.  Where they were great sports since eventhough the day was warm the water was freezing


    Needless to say it was a good day and makes me think that their wedding will be one celebration I am glad I will not have to miss.

    IMG_5912 b 

    IMG_5959 b 

    IMG_6007 b 

    IMG_6033 b 

    IMG_6084 b 

    IMG_6142-Edit b 

    IMG_6284 b 

    IMG_6476 b 

    IMG_6452 b 

    IMG_6483-Edit b 

    IMG_6190-Edit b