Tips for Posing in Harsh Light

Sunny weather can seem like the best time to photograph engagement shots, however when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky usually during noon time, this can cause trouble that you might not expect.  Squinty eyes, harsh highlights on skin that can cast harsh shadows, enhanced blemishes, and blown out skin that even photoshop or retouching cannot fix. Here are tips if harsh light is unavoidable.

1.  Find shady areas.  Pose under a row of trees, near a building, next to a large structure, or wall of bushes.  This can provide an interesting backdrop and protections from harsh sunlight as you wait for golden hour.

2.  Pose with your back to the sun.  Avoid facing the sun to limit squinty eyes and discomfort causing watering.

3.  Count to 3.  When you are facing harsh light or your eyes are hypersensitive to light, keep your eyes closed in between shots to limit irritation and avoid squinty eyes.

4.  Trust your photographer.  Don’t mind the extra equipment. Your photographer may bring a reflector, diffuser, or flash.  Don’t worry about what they’re using and trust your photographer to position you in the appropriate position.  These are all techniques to balance light and ensure you look your best.

Enjoy your engagement session and trust that your photographer will capture your special moments in any light.

 Facing away from the sun from the sun allows for comfortable expression, and proper photo exposure.

Facing away from the sun from the sun allows for comfortable expression, and proper photo exposure.

 Side lighting from harsh light, allows for  a edge light around you as a couple to separate yourselves from the background and add a nice glow.

Side lighting from harsh light, allows for  a edge light around you as a couple to separate yourselves from the background and add a nice glow.

 Photos in the shade can eliminate any hard shadow lines when you pose, and allow for proper photo exposure of your surroundings.

Photos in the shade can eliminate any hard shadow lines when you pose, and allow for proper photo exposure of your surroundings.

Amanda and Tim's Joshua Tree Engagement Session

Last Saturday Amanda and Tim invited us out to Joshua Tree National Park to photograph their engagement session. The drive from Long Beach to Joshua Tree National Park located near Coachella valley wasn't too far.  And when arrived we were able to enjoy beautiful desert views, Joshua Trees, and cactii strewn across the landscape of the park.   The couple are avid hikers and wanted to incorporate their love of nature into their engagement session.

We had a chance to get to know the couple on our short hike out to Barker Dam, and found them to be a very kind and fun couple to hang out with.  They are a very photogenic and wonderful couple to work with.  We were able to capture the couple in the afternoon Sun along the mini oasis in Barker Dam.  As the Sun began to set, we photographed the couple just off one of the main roads, and incorporated the far off mountains, and Joshua Tree filled landscape.   Golden hour is relatively short during the fall, but we were able to incorporate it's colors into our photos.  Congratulations Amanda and Tim on your engagement, best wishes on all the upcomping wedding planning.
 

 

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Carlee and Dom's Fall Malibu Beach Engagement Session

Carlee and Dom invited us out to a beach house located in Malibu, in Los Angeles, California to photograph their engagement session.   We had been looking forward to this session, since we had not been to Malibu area since the summer. So we left Long Beach earlier to make sure we got to enjoy some of the drive down PCH.   

We had been planning this session with them for the past few months over email correspondence, and we were happy to finally meet the couple in person.  Carlee and Dom were a joy to work with and photograph.   Their love was very apparent with each frame taken.  They both had genuine expression for one another, and it showed well on camera.   We felt very blessed at the end of the day, to have met such a wonderful couple, and photograph their engagement session.

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5 tips for working with horses during your photography session

Horses are beautiful and majestic  creatures that have been photographed throughout time.  Remember that they are living beings that should be respected as individuals.  We attended an amazing equestrian workshop in Laguna, California and learned 5 important tips for working with horses while photographing your session. 

1.       Blind Spots. Stay away from their rear and back side. Be aware of your position relative to the horse at all times. Being kicked or hit by a horse should definitely be avoided.  Ask the horse’s trainer what actions to avoid to stay safe around the horse.

2.       Respect the horse’s comfort level with additional props.  If the horse is not use to props such as floral or head pieces, they may not be comfortable and may be agitated during your shoot.   

3.       Stay to the Left.  Horses are usually trained to keep human in line of sight on the left side.    

4.       Ears up.  This tip is more for the photographer, but it also something to keep an eye on. You can get a horse’s attention by bringing a pail with rocks or bells to shake for noise that can direct their position and eye gaze.  Ears up indicates focus towards the camera.  The horse’s trainer may know other tips to catch your horse’s attention.

5.       Connect.  Connect with your partner by sharing this special moment and enjoying your session.  Trust your photographer will capture your moments and direct you during your shoot.  Having the horse’s trainer or someone familiar with horse handling can take the pressure off what not and to do by so you can focus on making a connection with each other.  Placing your hand or connecting with the horse in a comfortable way will be reflected in the photos naturally. Take your time, listen to how the horse is feeling and take breaks as needed

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Event Planner: Alexie Events
Equine Trainer: Sara Shier
Photographer: Moments In Infinity
Horse: Banjo Man
Venue: Nellie Gail Ranch
Floral: Sacred Romance Floral Design
Jewelry: Coffee and Kisses
Macrame Artist: Macrame by Lisa
Make up: Lipglam Artistry
Make up: Beauty by Stephy
Model: Nina Seul
Model: Eric Kim
Model: Tanya Aksi
Model: Angelica Vega
Model: Tatyana Johnson

Spanish and Dia de Los Muertos Inspired Styled Session

A colleague of mine, Christina, from Christina Chico Photo approached us about collaborating to create a Spanish and Dia de Los Muertos theme session.  Sara and John, were kind enough to volunteer their time to model, and were able to stay the whole day for the engagement/portraits, as well as the wedding/bridal portraits.

We started our day at Griffith Park, for both the engagement and some of the couples wedding portraits.  In the evening we joined in the Dia de Los Muertos festivities at Olvera St. in Los Angeles, to finish our wedding portraits.  

The flowers provided by Domonique were very much in tune with the Spanish themes.  Dominique decorated the wedding table, and created all the beautiful floral arrangements.

Thank you to all the vendors and models for donating their time to create such a wonderful session.

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Floral Arrangement:  www.domoniquerose.com

Model:  @missroder Instagram

Model: @johnteee Instagram

Collaborating Photographer:  www.christinachicophoto.com

Photographing the Takimoto Family at Seal Beach

This is our first chance to photograph the Takimoto family.  We found them to have a vibrant and loving energy.    Their daughter was very playful and a joy photograph.   Both Mom and Dad were very kind to the camera, as all their angles were so photogenic, and it was obvious how much they loved each other and their daughter.  Not much more a photographer can ask for, a beautiful family to photograph and the perfect golden hour at dusk, and its hard to make a mistake.

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Welcoming Baby Audrey

The Growing Haprov Family

"Love is a journey that can live on through your children.  So forth children are the carrier's of your word, heart and spirit" ~ Lucas Chatripon

We've had to the opportunity to see the Haprov family grow over the past few years.  First welcoming baby Ethan and now welcoming baby Audrey.  There are many stories to tell with a growing family.  Their story is obvious love and happiness.  Congratulations to the Haprov's and welcoming their baby girl to the world.  Thank you again in letting us share in moments.

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Posing tips for an engagement session

There are natural and beautiful poses for everyone.  As a photographer, I try keep an eye out for awkward poses, that might be uncomfortable or unsuitable for the couple, and will stop and re-pose as necessary.  Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you pose through your engagement session.

The Smile

A basic, but also very nuanced part of a pose is the smile.  Don't smile for the camera, but smile for the person that you love, and think of them when you smile.  If that doesn't seem natural try smiling after a good laugh, or try giving your best soft smile.

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Posture

Elongate your neck and torso by standing tall, and not slouching.  Curved backs do not show well in empty space and are more noticeable.  Also keep in my mind to relax the shoulders and arms when standing tall so they don’t appear tense.

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Arms

To avoid showing your upper triceps, as too large try not to lean all your weight on your arms when placing them against a surface, like a wall or your partner.  Try to distribute some of the weight into your legs.  This becomes less of an issue when you are using your arms and are holding or embracing your partner, or holding a prop such as flowers.

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Hands

Holding hands, touching, and embracing your partner show up very well and help show the story of who you are.  Some things to keep in mind with hands is to keep the fingers together, or relaxed when possible so they do not show too big or tense. 

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Legs

For the ladies Keep in mind to show off the length and profile of your legs.  So if you are kicking your legs back or forward point your toes.  If you are standing straight at camera maybe cross one leg slightly over, or push your upper torso slightly forward to give your legs some length on camera.  For men it's good to show the profile of the legs, but keep the feet on the ground to show strength.

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Hiding trouble spots 

Objects appear smaller the further they are from the camera.  So if you are conscious about your chin tuck it down slightly to make it appear smaller.  Or if your buttocks or stomach are an issue, lean forward a slight to move the area away from the camera

How to prepare for an Engagement Session

Introductions

The engagement session can be the first time the couple and the photographer first meet in person.    Some photographers may ask about how you met, or how you got engaged, although these may be personal questions, it's the most direct way for them to understand your personal love story, and also define your comfort level in front of camera.  Also it's a good time to go over what type of shots or poses you may want from your photographer.  

Planning for the session location

Pick a location that tells your story as a couple.  That can be a favorite date place, where you first met, or a place that you both enjoy spending time.  Work with your photographer to suggest the time of day for the shoot because the photographer is most aware of the best lighting for the scene.  Prior to an engagement session, I usually visit the site or show up early to scout out the location and find the best scenes to photograph.

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Mood and tone

Mood and tone is often over looked when planning an engagement session.  It’s the element of the session that provides the relationship story for the couple.  When first working with couples, weeks and sometimes days before the session begins, I usually work with the couple to create a mood board in order to establish color, tone, clothing, and some must have poses for the session.  Visual mood boards provide an easy way to manage and plan a session for the photographer and couple to approach the session day on the same page.

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Clothing

Dress as if you were going on each other’s first date or a nice night out.  Dress to impress while feeling comfortable at the same time.  These photos will not only be for private presentation but will also be on your save the dates and invitations. Thin striped patterns can be distracting.  Try to color coordinate and complement each other’s colors.  Patterns, bold colors, and accessories photograph well.

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Hair, Make-up, and Grooming

Yes, to all the above.  Prepare for the session like it’s your first date.   It’s not necessary to have professional hair and make up for a session, but I always suggest showing your best, and to leave it open as an option if it fits within your budget.  Men should prepare and be well groomed, with facial hair trimmed (clean shaven not necessary, just clean up those stray hairs), and a haircut if needed and at the least styled or combed.  It’s not necessary to dress for the red carpet, but just dress to impress each other for the first date.

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Have Fun!

You may have spent a week or a few weeks planning this session with your photographer, so relax and have fun.  Enjoy your engagement session; trust that your photographer has your best story, profile, and pose at heart and does not want to show you in a bad light.   Relax into the session, and just be yourself, the camera will pick up the love that you and your partner share.  So remember just have fun! 

 

Liberty Head Image 4th of July, Gasworks Park, Seattle

I've been meaning to post this photo for a long time, on a 4th of July since I've taken the photo a few years ago.  However each year I get caught up in family related 4th of July festivities, and I forget to post the photo on our Independence day.  This photo was taken at Gasworks Park, Seattle in 2011. The Statue of Liberty image is displayed each year at the park during the annual fireworks show to commemorate the 4th of July.   

Although our nation during the past decade can seem politically polarizing, I hope that many of us on all sides enjoyed the day. Hopefully the holiday can be a demarcation that although we can be divided in political and social principle at times; as a nation we celebrate the day together.  While the definition of individual liberty can be dynamic, the pursuit of liberty, and the fight for the independence to have that liberty is common ground for appreciation for all sides in our nation.  In that fight I hope we see are not all that different since our liberty is God given, and should never be infringed upon.

Eylyn and Francisco's Maternity Photo Session

As a photographer its always enjoyable to work with families and couples that have so much love to show.  Each photograph becomes more of an expression and story because the feelings of the subjects are genuine and real.  It was an honor to photograph Eylyn and Francisco's maternity session, they made our job very easy since both of them showed such genuine affection for each other. We wish their growing family the best of luck and many blessing as they progress through this wonderful and exciting time in their lives.

Sunset at the Nisqually River

In 2011 my wife and I decided to visit Mt Rainier for a day trip.  Along the way home we stopped to view the sunset, and found ourselves viewing the Nisqually river behind a rail road themed restaurant.  At the time I was using a Nikon D90 my first "serious"  DSLR and had grown an affinity for capturing the dynamic range of a scene.    The photo below is one of first HDR photos, and since I've grown to enjoy post processing in both HDR tools, and through normal  color exposure post processing in Photoshop.

Basilica Sancti Petri

Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, "Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican" or St Peter's Basilica in Engrish, from a tourist perspective and arm chair historian, much can be admired about this holy site.  The Basilica itself is in the shape of the Cruciform, and the dome itself was drawn up by Michelangelo who implemented previous designs alongside his own ideas.  From a photographer's perspective, it's very easy to take a photo of such a beautiful place constructed by great artisans and present it to the world.  As a Christian I can see why this holy site draws so many worshipers each year, since it is divine inspiration for the soul, crafted by human hands, that for some can uplift the spirit as well as provide peace.

Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya - Buddha Head in Tree

Wat Mahthat “The temple of the Great Relic” in Ayutthaya Thailand, was constructed in 1374 in the ancient capital city of Thailand.  The capital of Thailand would later be moved in 1767, and formerly be considered the capital city of Bangkok in 1782. The Buddha head image wrapped in the trunk of the tree is likely the most photographed subject within the temple bounds.  After squeezing through droves of tourist, like myself, I was able to squeeze off a two shot panorama of the tree.  Although the Buddha image is the main focus for many visitors, the tree itself is an interesting, and gracious subject as well, the branches seems to draw out like water from a fountain, and draw the viewers eye down to the Buddha image.  My family ancestry comes from Thailand so it was a privilege for myself to visit this place.

 

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

I don't know much about the politics of British Columbia, but I do however have an appreciation for the architecture of their Parliament Building.   The Parliament building is home to legislative branch of British Columbia and the building faces the Victoria BC port.   The building was first commissioned in 1893 as a replacement for the aging Parliament buildings at Fort Victoria, and began official operation in 1898, as the main legislative building for British Columbia.  My wife and I happened upon this building while visiting Victoria BC in 2015.   I was drawn to the stone and masonry work and fine attention to symmetrical detail.   If you ever have a chance to visit Victoria BC, this building should not be missed.

Joye and Sean's Maternity Photo Session

We had the opportunity to photograph the Haprov family for their maternity session.  This our second go around photographing this special time in their life, the first time was when they were expecting their son.  They are a warm and wonderful family, and we wish for their growing family all the love and happiness that they deserve.

Becky and George's Engagement

Congrats to Becky and George on their recent engagement.  We had a chance to photograph this wonderful couple after the rains had past in Long Beach.  George had traveled across the country from Tennessee to be with  Becky and both were so gracious to spend the Sunday afternoon with us.  Their love was very evident as we photographed their engagement photos.  We are looking forward to seeing the their wedding in the near future.

Tammy and Tad's Maternity Session

We had the honor of photographing Tammy and her husband Tad's maternity session.  They are expecting twins hence the blue and pink balloons.  The rain stopped just in time for the photo shoot and the sunny weather commenced.  The love could be felt as they shared so many joyful moments on the beach together with their adorable children.  Tammy and Tad are amazing parents and we are so excited for their growing family.  Congrats to the beautiful family!

Viewing Makai Pier

Normally when you photograph a Pier you want to under or above it, or somewhere nearby adjacent to it on the shore to pick up its detail.  However Makai Pier seems so close to water, that from far away it looks like it floating over it.  My wife and I happened upon this Pier last year, and honestly did not know it was a research Pier.  The back drop of the sunset and the Pier placed adjacent to the hillside, was enjoyable and surreal.  Oahu has always been a blessing to visit and we hope to go back soon one day.

 Makai Pier - Oahu, Hawaii at Sunset.

Makai Pier - Oahu, Hawaii at Sunset.

Chatuchak Market -The best weekend market around

"Chatuchak Weekend Market  (Khet Chatuchak, Bangkok Thailand) you will never find a more bargain friendly market full of wares and goods.  We should be careful" - Obi Ton to Luke Skywalker.

 Chatuchak Market also know as JJ Market

Chatuchak Market also know as JJ Market

I've visited this market several times in my life as a child into my early adult life when my family has visited Thailand.  Shopping here can be like shopping on Amazon, you just keep going till you find the next deal.  The only big difference is that when you shop on Amazon you get to sit at home, here you get to brave the balmy heat but as long as the game is afoot for the next deal the heat is almost bearable.

 The tin roof that houses it all.

The tin roof that houses it all.

You can find great home goods, knock off brand names, the latest local styles, furniture, crafts, toys, and almost everything under the sun.  Bargaining down the price is allowed here, it's actually expected.  From what I've read the market itself is 27 Acres and divided into 27 sections.  

When I was a child my parents would always want me to get jeans, pants, and t-shirts for the coming school year in the US. I used to dread the visit to this place whenever we would visit Thailand.   To make the experience worth bearing for myself I always had kept an eye out for toys and music tapes during those journeys, but that finding those stores seemed to be far an in between. Being older now I do see the practicality in going here; you really can find almost everything you need here in terms of goods for every day life at decent quality to price ratio.   

Looking back I do appreciate the time here with family.  It was always a shared experience where we all complained about the heat, but other than that it was an enjoyable time. My extended Thailand family only saw my family once a year for a few weeks so any time spent was appreciated by both parties.  I do miss those times.  I guess you can never really go back but at least you can say you were there to appreciate those moments.

 A Bust of King Rama V

A Bust of King Rama V

 Happy shopping dog!

Happy shopping dog!

Bonus!!: Or Tor Kor Food Market just few steps away from Chatuchak Market.  Just wanted to add that you can never go wrong with the food choices at this market.  When most dishes range from ~1 USD to ~3 USD on average and the food is such high quality, its very easy to stuff yourself happy.  I'll include some photos for reference.

Anyhow hope to post the next landscape photo soon, working some in post production right now.

 Or Tor Kor Food Market 

Or Tor Kor Food Market 

 Durian - Not my favorite of fruits (smelly) but people really like it.

Durian - Not my favorite of fruits (smelly) but people really like it.

 Variety of sweet sticky rice.

Variety of sweet sticky rice.