esterday I parked myself on the couch and read. It was Sunday, which meant guilt-free indulgence in...well...everything. While JD watched a documentary about impeding doom from South African bees or mating orcas, I slipped my toes against the crevice of his back and fell into reading. On a commercial break, I grabbed the remote and flipped through channels. I randomly came across a promo for My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Then I died and went to Heaven. I mean, mixing gypsies and weddings?! Midriffs, neon lights sewn in gowns, and four-foot tiaras?! SIGN ME UP.
JD groaned from the couch and forever banned me from the remote control. I'll leave him with the mammals and primates...and keep my reality shows. And really thick books. Because, occasionally, I like to pretend I'm smart. In light of feigned intellect, it's time for another installment of Shooting Star.
In this video, I'll be discussing...
*Viewing business costs as profit centers.
*And please don't ask my my shirt is THAT wrinkled...looks like I was rolling around in a cardboard box all day.
Like always, you can submit questions for future FAQs on Facebook!
The Workshop : May 2011
've always maintained that each Workshop attracts an entirely different group of attendees, all perfectly suited for each other. Some groups are vibrant and loud, others quiet and thoughtful. Everyone interacts in a new way and they somehow forge friendships that are unique their own.
Last Tuesday I had the honor of sitting with 20 talented photographers from all over the world. Most of them walked in as a large group and the room buzzed with their positive energy. They were hungry to learn, support each other, and walk away more in love with their growing brand.
At the end of the night, JD and I got into our car and chatted about how amazing this group was. We felt blessed to be a small part of their lives.
The workshop is focused on The Eight Component of Branding and one piece of this equation is Photographing for Your Brand. We headed out during the brightest and hottest portion of the day to shoot in difficult lighting...if we could photograph in this setting and produce images we're proud of, then we could do it anywhere!
Many thanks to the cutest of cute couple Stacy and Joe Kokes who joined us all the way from Arizona to model...
Oh, Stacy, I can't even DEAL WITH YOU. Augh. Gorge...that is all.
Much appreciation goes to Emily with Ferndale's Bridal who's become my right-hand girl and stylizing guru here in Orange County...love her...love her shop!
A uber HUGE thank you goes to Vivian Tran of All Made Up for an amazing job with hair and makeup.
My good friend and amazing florist Jaclyne of Heavenly Blooms created the most stunning bouquet and boutonniere (<-- I needed spellcheck for that word!)...
And, like always, this is my favorite photo of the day...
To my new friends and peers...thank you for making me fall more in love with what I do. Meeting you, learning with you, and growing together has been a true highlight...and I hope this is just the start of even more amazing things to come for you. Your futures are bright and I know you're destined to become wildly successful simply by the passion you posses. Much Love and Appreciation... j*
To see past workshops, feel free to check them out HERE...and if you'd like to be the first to know about future photography workshops, be sure to sign up for the newsletter as I announce them exclusively through it!
My First Job
he pushed back her rolling chair and glided toward the whiteboard. She uncapped a dry-erase marker and drew another check mark next to her name. Like this: BRIANNA ✓✓✓. My knuckles went white as I grabbed the phone receiver and made yet another unsuccessful call. At 16, my best friend and I got our first jobs as telemarketers for Statefarm Insurance and, boy, was she great at it. She earned checkmarks the way I got freckles. Effortlessly.
Our boss, Mr. DiCarlo, kept us hidden in a back room with illuminated with what I remember to be a single candle. Sure, it might have been more, but I was tempted to ask for my phone numbers to be printed in braille because of how dark it was. We were paid minimum wage, but every checkmark (a cold call that resulted in an insurance meeting with Mr. DiCarlo) meant a bonus in our paycheck. Weeks of cold calling and I didn't have a single bonus.
Jasmine:Good evening, Mr./Ms. ________, my records show your car insurance is about to expire and I'd be more than happy to set you up with your local and trustworthy Statefarm insurance agent, Mr. DiCarlo, to take care of all your needs. May I ask when you're available? Mr. #1:Hey, kid, you just ruined my dinner! Mr. #2:Take me off your list! Ms. #3:Shouldn't you be out playing or something, sweetie? Mr. #4:Shut THE HELL UP! Ms. #5: ...click...
Years later and Brianna is still getting checkmarks...on the track. She's one of the nation's top long-jumpers and traveling the world competing. And, well, I'm happy to say I'm now getting checkmarks of my own. Sure, I give them to myself, but every time I make it happen, I think back to Mr. DiCarlo and pat myself on the back for being terrible at telemarketing. Had I been great, I wouldn't have become a photographer. Duh.
Malibu Engagement : Courtney + Isaac
here's just no way. Not him. Courtney and her girlfriends sat and watched television in disbelief as two guys hosted a college show at Vanderbilt University. It was a hit and Isaac quickly became known around campus as the quick-witted sidekick to a Love Line-style show, where students called in for relationship advice. And Courtney? She scoffed. The show--and its host--was ridiculous.
During spring break her junior year, Courtney and a small group of students enlisted to spend their vacation building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Much to her chagrin, Isaac was also part of the group. She kept her distance, but soon enough Isaac's witty banter and kind spirit won her over. At the end of spring break, Courtney built a home...and also a spot in her heart for Isaac.
Six years later Courtney and Isaac are planning a perfect wedding in Hollywood at The London Hotel later this summer. I'm incredibly excited to spend the day with them again because after their engagement session in Malibu last week, I'm smitten with who they are. Here are a few favorites from our time together...
Last Friday was Courtney's birthday, so what better way to celebrate than with a Crumbs cupcake?!
Courtney attended law school at UCLA (holllllla!!) and Isaac attended law school at Pepperdine University, so they spent a lot of time in Malibu, which proved to be a perfect place for engagement photos...just look at this amazing light! Oh, and Court, you're too fab for words. Really.
One of the best things about Courtney and Isaac is that their love makes any location brighten just with their smiles...
The sunny day quickly became overcast, but the clouds couldn't put a damper on their engagement pictures...I think Malibu has that effect on people...
After shooting around Malibu for a while, we headed to Pepperdine for more engagement pictures since it was a time in their lives when their love grew exponentially...
here are plenty of things I do as a photographer that I simply do without thinking, almost as if a portion of my mind is consumed with photographic technicalities. Sometimes JD jokes that I become a machine on a wedding day and he's learned not to stand in my way or me and my camera may RUN HIM OVER. I move fast, shoot faster, and try to stay out of the way as much as possible. After I posted Marie and Charlie's Pennsylvania wedding, I received a few technical questions from fellow photographers, so I thought I'd answer them in a Reflections post for the benefit for anyone who may be interested.
How did clients in another state find your work and hire you for their east coast wedding? My clients find my work in a myriad of ways, but Marie discovered me via a wedding blog while she scoured the web for wedding ideas. She visited my website and blog (reading for a bit before she decided to contact me) and after a few emails, we scheduled a time to chat. The minute we spoke, we knew we were a perfect match. She's the peas to my carrots. A week later, I received a signed contract.
The church was dark, what lens did you use and what were your settings? Before the ceremony started, I asked the priest what the photographic restrictions were for the church during the ceremony. With the exception of the procession and recession, flash was not allowed. Now, if you were to see how dark this church was, you might have felt the knots in my stomach multiply. Exponentially. The bride and groom were slightly removed from guests as they stood/sat on the church stage. Because of the distance, I used the 70-200IS 2.8 for most of the ceremony. I fluctuated slightly depending on my location, but the setting for the following pictures is: f/2.8 2500 ISO 1/40.
What did you tell Marie in order to find the train tracks? Because she knew I was unfamiliar with the area we were shooting for her wedding, I simply asked her to find a location that might work somewhere between the church and the reception location. She's a blog reader, so I knew she was familiar with good location scouting! I try to schedule 30 minutes for the First Look and an additional 10-15 minutes after the ceremony for sunset pictures if the bride and groom are up for it. Because the church and the reception location were 30 minutes from each other, Marie scouted the area in the weeks leading to her wedding...and I trusted her judgment. I think she did better than I could have (and, yes, I tried).
Photo by JD
What were your settings for the purple flower picture? What lens did you use? I used the 85mm, 1.2 lens. The settings were: f/1.2 160 ISO 1/800
How did you set up your flash for the reception pictures? I primarily used my on-camera flash pointed toward the low-ceiling (which was white) and also used my bounce card. Here's an example...
Lens: Canon 35mm, 1.4.
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40
As the room darkened, I used a mix of on-camera and off-camera flash. Here's a couple examples...
Without off-camera flash
Lens: 24mm, 1.4
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40
In this photo, I triggered the off-camera flash (as seen behind Charlie's head) to add a little more dimension to the room and lighten a darker portion of the dancefloor.
Lens: 24mm, 1.4
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40
I hope this helps a little bit...if not, I'll try again next time!