Tag Archives: Bay Area Photography

Johnny La – Portrait Session – Actor Headshots

I LOVE doing headshots for aspiring actors and actresses. Why you ask? Well let me count the ways:

1. They can take direction. Look up, look down, look straight into the camera, slight smile, no smile, are just some of the directions I give when shooting a headshot. Folks who have studied acting responds to these admirably.

2. On top of taking straight forward directions well, they can also understand “meta” directions. Directions such as look flirtatious, look villainous, look innocent and so on are never followed with, “What do you mean?” They know what I meant and they execute it flawlessly.

3. They show up on time… or even early. Actors and actresses tend to be very punctual or even early for the shoot. They don’t arrive 30min late then start acting like a diva demanding make-up and hair done ASAP! They are super humble because they understand how hard it is to work with someone who is a pain in the arse.

4. They are in The Zone with me! This is important because they know that it takes two to make a great headshot, the photographer and the subject. They live in the moment and match each other’s energy right from the get go. The Zone can be lonely sometimes so it’s always nice to have someone there with you from time to time. :)

With that said, I truly enjoyed my photoshoot with Mr. Johnny La several months ago. He’s a great guy who exhibited the 4 things I listed above. Here’s a preview of our shoot. Check out his website at www.johnnyla.com.

Edgy Bad Guy.

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Friendly Guy Next Door.

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High Powered Finance Professional.

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The lighting was inspired by one of my favorite headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. http://peterhurley.com/

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Eva Luna – Portrait Session – Model Development

Photographing a model who has extensive dance background is very different that photographing a model who grew up modeling. I had recently had the opportunity of photographing Eva Luna in my favorite studio The Candy Factory in Fremont, CA. Vince Gotti, the Director of Photography at GEV Magazine set the shoot up and contacted the amazing hair stylist Roy from Hairby Roy along with the always fabulous Prince Kaleo from The Armoire Closet to create a fantastic photography set.

Eva was so interesting to work with. Unlike most models who moves from pose to pose, Eva fluidly moved throughout the entire shoot. It was up to the photographer to guide the movement and capture an instance where the movement is at it’s most beautiful state.  Now I would never give this posing advice when I am doing corporate headshots or portrait photography here in San Jose / San Francisco area but for some reason, she was able to make it work. Maybe it was because she was a dancer maybe she was just really good at what she does; no matter what the reason on how she made “fluid posing” work, I am looking forward to working with her again in the future.

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Corporate Headshots – Yammer Inc Part 2 – San Francisco

“Yammer brings the power of social networking inside the enterprise in a private and secure environment. Yammer has the same level of usability as great consumer software like Facebook and Twitter, but its applications have been designed for business collaboration. Why waste time and money trying to mandate tools that your employees resist adopting? Yammer is productivity software that employees love to use.” – I couldn’t have started this blog entry any better than how Yammer describes their awesome product. I personally use Yammer at work, so I was super stoked when they contacted me to shoot their corporate headshots. Like most companies, Yammer had a vague idea of what their headshot should look but also asked me for recommendations. I gave them two options. One was a very professional looking style, similar to what you would see in the website of a Fortune 100 company and the other was an environment shot using natural light. Instead of choosing one or the other they decided to do both.

My first Yammer post featured members of the organization in a Jill Greenberg lighting set up. I didn’t do as much post processing work as Jill would have done to her subject and I also toned the accent lights just a wee bit. The second set of picture (shown below) is more modern and “hip”. I shot them right outside the company using natural light and I used some pretty gnarly graffiti art we found in the alley. I could not have been happier of how the pictures turned out.

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Check out my work on their webpage: https://www.yammer.com/about/management

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Floral Headdress – Beauty Portraits

I do my fair share of wedding photograhy under a different company name (Nocturnalz Photography),  and I’ve been blessed to befriend several talented florists whose constant creativity has pushed my photography to the next level. One florist approached me after a wedding session with an idea to do a “chiquita banana” inspired photoshoot but instead of using fruits as the headdress, she wanted to use flowers! She linked me to a slideshow from an America’s Next Top Model episode as a reference for our shoot.

I didn’t exactly have the budget ANTM has so I suggested inviting a few makeup artists (Audrey and Mimi) and doing more of a beauty portrait shoot with the flower headdresses she had in mind. Stobist information below.

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Strobist Info:

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Fashion Line – KMABELLEMINA Vintage.Glam.Unique

I met Mina back in 2008 when I was just starting to get serious with my photography. I planned a crazy photoshoot involving 3 MUAs, 7 models and help of a very skilled photographer, Mark Sebastien. Mina happened to be one of the 3 MUAs and she did an amazing job with the models. After several months of our initial collaboration, Mina contacted me to take pictures of her new fashion line which she co founded with her friend Kathy. From their grass roots humble beginnings to their super awesome fashion show happening this Friday 10/21, KMABELLEMINA continues to impress with their vintage glam style of clothing that is truly unique.

Below is a sample of their Summer 2011 line:

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Strobist info:

  • Beauty Dish right above the model on an AB800
  • Huge white reflector on the ground infront of the model
  • 5d MK2 1/125 power to let some of the afternoon ambient light come in

 

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Jessica – Graduation Portraits

A Master’s degree from Georgetown University… Good Job Jessica!

I consider Jessica to be one of my really good friends; she’s also one of the few people who can tell me to ‘stop it’, and I will actually listen! Jessica recently approached me and asked if I would be willing to take her graduation portraits; after much deliberation on what style we should use, we ended up going for a traditional set-up.

I should really just take pictures of the set-up so I don’t have to type so much, but for now, here’s a quick breakdown of what I used:

  • Beauty Dish on a AB 800 at 1/4 power on camera right.
  • AB 800 at 1/2 power pointed at the backdrop.
  • Reflector at the opposite side of the BD.

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I have always wanted to get a Master’s degree because I always have believed you could then put “Master” in front of your name, similar to getting a doctorage and being able to use “Doctor” in one’s signature… but alas, this is not the case. Either ‘Master Moses Sison’, or ‘Moses Sison, Master’ would be a pretty good salutation, right? *sigh*

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Jill Greenberg Style Lighting

One of my favorite photographers is Jill Greenberg. I’ve always been fascinated with her “Babies Crying” headshot / portrait project. I wanted to recreate something very similar but I didn’t really have any babies lying round to shoot let alone make cry so I had to improvise.  I asked my girlfriend and her friend to model for me one Sunday afternoon and below are the pictures we ended up creating.

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I actually used a lighting break down illustrated in one of  David Hobby’s blog entry but I replaced the ring light with a Lastolite Trigrip for fill. I actually won that reflector at the Flash Bus Tour in San Jose. I am probably going to use this headshot / portrait lighting when I shoot a couple of execs up in San Fransisco this weekend.

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