Tag Archives: headshots

Corporate Headshots – UberConference – SF Startup

I had the pleasure of taking corporate headshots for the San Francisco based start up company UberConference. What is UberConference you ask.

“UberConference brings a whole new visual dimension to audio conference calls. From any computer, anyone in the call can see the names, photos, and other information of the others in the call. The display shows the current speaker, and the organizer has a number of helpful tools to keep the conference running smoothly.” – Copied and pasted from their website. :)

I use the product quite frequently when I need to have a meeting with remote clients. It’s great and the best part is that it’s free! The team at UC are super nice and extremely cooperative. I was actually a bit intimidated because with their Creative Director, Alex Cornell, leading the design team, UberConference has produced some ridiculously awesome promotional videos. Here are few shots from the photoshoot.

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Victoria Barajas – Portrait Session – Model Development

The stereotypical “model” stands at about 5’9″ at around 145-150lbs. A study done in 2002 showed that among top editorial fashion agencies in Los Angeles and New York, 81% of their “editorial fashion” models were 5’9” and above; 15% were between 5’8” and 5’9”, and only 4% were below 5’8” tall. With these statistics in mind, some women are often discouraged to pursue modeling as a profession due to their not meeting that height ‘requirement’.

Then you have the rare case of a girl so damn driven to pursue a modeling career that even if you threw a book of statistics at her, it would never deter her ambition to pursue this career track, and Victoria Barajas is an excellent example of such a lady. Proudly standing less than five feet tall, I met her on set at the Candy Factory in Fremont during a photography meet up. Victoria’s attitude and professionalism were top notch, and I was genuinely excited to work with her. Vincent Gotti, as always, had assembled a great group of sytlist; Roy from Hair by Roy got Victoria’s hair “did”, Prince Kaleo dressed and styled her and Carla Tersini did an amazing job with her make up.

Victoria is a very talented model and I would not be surprise to see her in print soon.

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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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HKLT Royal Court 2012 – Editorial Preview

There have been talks on releasing an editorial spread for the 2012 HKLT Court for close to a year now. Well it’s almost near completion and I wanted to give a quick preview. The girls were asked several questions and one the intrigued me most is about the topic of “Beauty”. Being a photographer, I certainly have an opinion about beauty but this post is not about me, it’s about the the girls. So read on because what they have to say is very interesting.

What are your impressions when you hear somebody talk about beauty, or mention that something or somebody is beautiful? What does “being beautiful” mean to you?

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Janet Pham – Beauty means so many different things to each person.  When I hear someone use the term “beauty,” I find it so subjective. As cliche as it is, I believe that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty could be a reference to one’s outward appearance, but this represents a preference and not a universal truth. There is no single, objective standard for physical beauty (even though there are social constructs of beauty in different societies, but particularly in ours with the media and hollywood). To me, being beautiful means to first and foremost love and accept yourself. To be completely comfortable with who you are-your looks, your style, your character, your convictions. Without confidence, physical beauty is easily forgotten. The characteristics that define my personality enables my confidence, and to me, this is what being beautiful means. These things highlight and bring out physical beauty.

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Kim Huynh – I love beauty. I don’t mean to become abstract, but there’s truth in beauty. The rare moments when you come across something so beautiful and perfect, so powerfully transcending it makes you gasp, like you’ve witnessed something that can never be replicated quite the same way. It’s why I believe in the arts, why I belly dance and why I’m an English major. These are moments worth living for, because they’re moments I feel alive. When beauty is applied to a person, it’s much harder to define. I try to quantify it, break it down into analytically – “Yes, I agree she is beautiful because of the placement of her eyes, or the prominence of her cheekbones.” But have you ever noticed that people become worse-looking or better-looking depending on how you like them? In the battle between beauty and personality, you can’t discount the latter.

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Theresa Ngo – The world and the media places great emphasis on “beauty” and the belief that beauty is everything can often be ingrained into our minds. This is also the root of the problem for women’s insecurities and internal conflict to always remain “beautiful” in the public’s eye. What defines beauty is truly subjective and it is up to the eye of the beholder. There is a Vietnamese proverb, one of my favorites, that states “Cai net danh chet cai dep”. The rough translation means that personality and charm overcomes outward beauty.  Beauty should encompass more than just a woman’s outward features and genetic gifts-her talents and tribulations; her code of conduct, her values and beliefs, and her wisdom and intelligence should all be considered.

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Kimmy Huynh – When I hear people talk about beauty, the first thing that comes to mind would be how beautiful the person looks.  Of course outer beauty is nothing if the inner beauty is not there to support what’s on the outside.  What is considered beautiful varies from individuals to individuals.  From the cultures that I have experience, beauty have many forms, but the basis seems to be standard overall, and that is the ability to carry oneself gracefully, be proud of oneself, and have aspirational dreams for the future.

Visit the Miss Vietnam of Northern California on their own blog here.

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Ulorin Vex – Portrait Session – Model Development

Did you know that your whole body needs to be fully lubricated in order to wear latex? No? Well neither did I until my last photoshoot with British Alternative Super Model Ulorin Vex!

I’ve never really shot an alternative / punk rock model in the past so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I checked out her website prior to the shoot and it was filled with some of the most creatively beautiful / crazy looking images I’ve ever seen. From doing mostly corporate headshot around Silicon Valley to shooting a latex wearing, red haired British model with nipple patches… the transition wasn’t easy. The most risque shoot I’ve done prior to this was when Adam Pisoni, the CTO of Yammer Inc, decided to take off his tie and shoot outside! *gasp*

After the initial awkwardness of me introducing myself “Hello ummm I am Moses… I’ll be taking your pictures today.” and her replying with (in an English accent) “Good to meet you.” Pip pip, cheerio, carry on.” – I added that last part; the shoot went great. We took some full body pictures, several headshots and a couple of portraits. Below are some of my favorite images from the shoot.

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Ohh and one last thing… huge thanks to the super sexy and talented Jodie Truong of JodieStudio for creating my new logo.

 

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Fashion Concept – Mad Men Inspired

“Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell.” – Official Mad Men Site

I have always wanted to emulate the style that Don Draper epitomizes on this show, but, simply put, I don’t look good in a hat. Since I can’t dress like Don, I decided that taking inspriation from two of the primary female characters for this photo shoot would be more than satisfactory; the always discontent housewife Betty Francis (nee Draper), and everybody’s favorite office manager Joan Harris. I couldn’t have posted this with more perfect timing, as Mad Men starts the long awaited season 5 at the end of the month.

Special thanks to the impeccable Jessica Do  for her hair styling and make-up skills that so expertly captured the ‘new-retro’ feel I was going for in this shoot. Thanks to Jamie  for being my Betty Francis and to Cassie  for capturing Joan Harris so well. This set was shot at the always awesome Candy Factory Studio  in Fremont, California.

-Inspired by Betty Draper-

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-Inspired by Joan Harris-

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– Joan Harris and Betty Draper –

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Special thanks to the ever so talented Jessica Do for her crazy hair styling and make up skills. Thanks to Jamie for being my Betty Draper and Cassie for capturing Joan Harris so well. This set was shot at the awesome Candy Factory Studio in Fremont, California.

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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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Corporate Headshots – Yammer Inc – San Francisco

I’ve recently had the pleasure of doing Yammer Inc’s headshots in San Francisco, CA. Lighting set up and details about the shoot will be on my next entry.

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Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Long Dress

I’ve always thought that the Ao Dai, the Vietnamese traditional dress, is one of the most conservative traditional dresses out of all the traditional dresses in Asia. It’s clean, simple and covers a woman from neck to toe. However, the Ao Dai is also extremely sexy. The almost see through material plays with one’s imagination and the fluidity of the fabric moves with just the slightest wind. It’s also often worn as the official uniform for students in Vietnam. I’ve read somewhere that the design of the dress is a “way of teaching students feminine behavior such as modesty, caution, and a refined manner”.

I am lucky enough to do several portraits of Vietnamese women in their Ao Dais for the past 3 years. This is due to my involvement with the Miss Vietnam of Northern California Intercollegiate pageant (HKLT for short… don’t ask) here in the Bay Area. I provided them with headshots and sponsored a photoshoot for whoever wins the title “Ms. Photogenic”.

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Many thanks to Jodie Truong for the art direction and post processing skills.

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Fashion Show – Lolita in Paris by KMABELLEMINA

Confession time: I am not really the most fashionable person in the world but I really enjoy going to fashion shows and I love meeting fashion designers.  Much like getting to know your clients before a headshot or portrait photoshoot, getting to know the designers before their fashion show makes a huge difference. I feel like I am able to really capture the artistic intentions of what the designer is trying to express.

I am lucky enough to attend a fashion show in which the two designers happen to be good friends of mine. KMABELLEMINA’s fashion line, whom I mentioned in a previous post, are simply awesome. They transform [vintage clothes] into modern and wearable pieces, while paying homage to the past decades. Mina and Kathy breathe life into  clothes, creating new styles and re-defining an aesthetic that would otherwise be lost. Their newest collection, entitled “Lolita in Paris”, while as a whole is a stunning collection, really shines in the attention to detail the designers have placed on each piece.

I’ve developed a certain style of photographing fashion shows and largely adopted Bill Cunningham‘s thoughts about fashion. I’ll expand on that after the pictures…

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Fashion shows in its very core are meant to emphasize… fashion. They exist to showcase the designer’s vision and to mark a pinnacle of the their work.  However, it seems like we’ve deviated from that way of thinking because we focus on the models that walk down the run way instead of the actual purpse; the clothes on their bodies. An example I can relate to would be having to sit in a media box. Photographers are huddled around the media box and the models are photographed straight on. Fashion never happens straight on in a static environment; fashion is dynamic, expressed when the subject is moving in infinite ways and combinations, so I wonder, ‘Why should we approach this from such a drasticly different intent from the designer?”

I personally feel that the best viewpoint is right in the front row with the other spectators; it allows one, as a photographer, to capture a much truer perspective of the clothing and the experience of the event. Don’t get me wrong, media boxes still have their place at runway fashion shows, but I think that both photographers and designers would be better served there there were several media boxes placed within the event.

On a lighter note, I met some pretty interesting people at this fashion show. A guy who worked at Facebook who was super proud of his girlfriend being one of the models and Dora Danh who writes a very interesting fashion blog.

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