Monterey and Big Sur had some pretty breathtaking views! As a Southern California native, the best way we could describe Monterey and Big Sur is like Laguna Beach x1000! With lush landscapes and geometrically appetizing rock formations coming straight out of the ocean, there are images from this trip that we never want to forget!
We originally didn't plan to stay in Santa Cruz, however, much to our surprise there was more to see than the boardwalk! Seeing how the weather was stormy, we opted out of going to the beach and ended up in the mountain area and did a steam engine tour through the redwoods! The lush landscapes blanketed by the steam engine made for a surreal experience for our entire family!
Our first stop on our Central Coast tour was Morro Bay! When we pulled into the area in the wee hours of the morning, we didn't realize that the GPS had dropped us off right in front of the rock! It was so dark, that when the GPS had said we arrived, it wasn't until we stepped out of the car to realize that we were at the foot of such a daunting and magnificent beast of a mountain! So, yes... you can drive all the way up to the rock!
*images have been resized for blogging / anti-theft issues!
There are still nights where I dream about this location! It was so unbelievable to see surfers surfing right next to this massive rock. It felt private, intimate, and the perfect place to soak up the beautiful creation!
That awkward moment you make eye contact with the person taking a candid photo of you.
Hope you enjoyed DAY#1!
This past weekend I drove into the Mojave Desert for a family / engagement photoshoot at the Kelso Dunes. It has been a dream of mine to photograph in all of the unique places that California has to offer, so I jumped at the opportunity to drive several hours out AND I'm so glad I did! Here are some of the photos from this past weekend's shoot!
- Getting There -
It has been a really long time since I have blogged and shared photos from our shoots over the past few years. 2 years ago, our family went through the biggest challenge we had ever faced. My dad passed away. All of it was sudden and unexpected... dad had been cleared as healthy by his doctor and out of nowhere - that was it. In the days to come I found myself rifling through years of photos that I had taken with my dad... and that's when it hit me... there weren't many candid photos of me and my dad. Ever since our parents became grandparents, we had made a tradition of doing annual photos... but what I really missed was having some candid photos of my dad. I found myself wishing that I had just hired a photographer to follow us around for the random weekends we would have backyard bbqs, sit around the table, or even as we would watch a Laker game. This isn't practical, but it was what I was reaching for. The year following our dad's death was a year filled with so many things, that I couldn't keep up - I had just finished grad school, our 4th child was born, and we moved into a new home - as a result of this mindless busy-ness, my attitude towards photography was less inspired and not-unlike a chore that costs as much energy to think about as it does to execute.
This morning, after a long series of conversations with my sweet Annie and others... I decided to take a step out (literally) and do something I've been putting off for a while. I've always wanted to catch a moment in the morning and slow down my camera enough to create a dreamy-like perception of waves. I love the ocean... it's a place of rest for me... so it was great walking around in the morning to snap these shots. As reluctant as I was initially to roll up my jeans and brace myself for sandy-shoes (yes, I wore shoes on the beach)... I took a few moments to express my gratitude to God for life. I am grateful to be alive, to have family, and to be able to take in such magnificent views.
Hope you enjoy them!
A month ago, we had a chance to shoot with Daniel & Lily for their wedding in Fullerton, California. With all photography sessions in this part of California, shooting in the early months (January / February) can be a little tricky, but thankfully the skies cleared up and it was a beautiful day. See more here or click the image above!
Last month we had a chance to go with our family to the Philippines for a couple weeks of vacationing and spending time with family. This was the first time my wife and kids had ever been and it will definitely be a journey that we will never forget. Take a look at the Philippines through my eyes in the photos below!
It's that time of year again! Time for families to get their family portraits done, print them on fancy cards and ship them out to loved ones all over the world... Whenever I get called on to do a family portrait there's lots in me that gets excited, but over the years I've learned that preparing for a family shoot is just as important on the photographer's end as it is on our partners & clients. That being said, I've come up with a couple of things I always keep in mind when I prepare for a family portrait session... So here it is... my first ever post on things to think about if you're planning on shooting a family photo session (aimed at families with younger kids).
1. Plan your session around your child's "happy hour"
The window of opportunity for shooting a family session is so small. Think about it... not only do you have to shoot at a time where the lighting is favorable, but you also have to shoot at the time your kids are at their best (energy-wise and attention-wise).
2. Nail the poses first then cut em' loose!
As soon as I get to wherever it is that I shoot, I always jump straight into the family poses. Especially if the kids in the family are particularly younger. A typical photo shoot usually is me shooting the family in various poses for 30-35 minutes and then cutting them loose afterwards for some fun candid shots.
**No one was hurt in the photo above**
3. When you start losing attention, give simple directions
If I haven't lost you yet... thanks for sticking around. It's easy for kids to start veering off from the camera and to their credit... it's hard to stay posed and smiling for a camera even as an adult! The moment I start to feel like i'm losing my photo subjects, I'll give small and simple directions like, "tell your brother a joke", or "kiss your siblings head", one of my favorite go-tos to get them to look at my camera (or at least in the right direction) is... "is there something growing on my head?" < That's not a direction, but hey...
4. Pick a place where you can be you...
When thinking about where to shoot your family photos find a place that you'd feel comfortable being in. If this sounds obvious and super simple... good! I'm not reaching for anything dramatically profound. I usually find that this comes down to 3 general locales (here in California) - 1. Some place city-ish; 2. Some place nature-ish; or 3. The beach (nature, but sans the trees). As a dad-tographer, I always think of a place that I can go that not only feels comfy, but a place that I know my kids will enjoy (as a reward to play at) once we're done with the session. **Special note - the tracks pictured above are not used and not connected to any used line. I don't support photographing on live tracks or tracks that are even connected to live tracks.**
5. Enjoy and live in the moment!
Hope this helps or brings some useful info for those of you (like me) who try to shoot their own family photos... But if you'd like some help... remember to give us a try!
Just Keep Swimming...
This week's spotlight couple had me out in Rancho Palos Verdes for the evening. We originally had decided that shooting at the beautiful Terrenea Resort would be the place to capture this couple however, LA traffic had other plans. Thankfully, when traffic throws you lemons... you make some lemonade. I rushed over to meet them somewhere halfway between Palos Verdes and where they were coming from. As luck would have it, everything turned out absolutely beautiful as we shot on the shores of Cabrillo Beach. See more Jimmy & Autumn in their engagement gallery...
When was the last time you lost sleep over something you were extremely excited about? I met Daniel & Lily just a week ago and right off the bat, I knew I would enjoy the opportunity to shoot with them if they would have me. As we met to shoot their engagement photos it was such a joy to see their love for each other and the sheer "giddy-ness" of thinking about their big day. As a photographer, I'm so glad I get to be a part of all of that and get to see couples begin this amazing journey. See more of this beautiful couple in our engagement portraits gallery.