Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rapunzel


Last week, a classmate of mine was headed out to the opera and coordinate a photoshoot session for our cohorts.  I shared one photography in my Sunday post from this week and figured I'd share the set of this girl who I will name Rapunzel!  She wanted some more glamorous photos.  Believe it or not, as graduate students, most of us don't wear our nicest clothing into laboratories.  (Sarcasm).  

We met up in a nice part of our city to do these photos and I provided only the necessary direction.  I would pick a spot, briefly describe the composition I was looking for, and let Rapunzel move to her own whims.  This was how I directed the other subjects I worked with that day as well and the feedback I received was that people felt very comfortable!  As I strive for natural, organic photographs, this is just the response I want. 


Like other photo sessions, I provided as minimal direction as I could.  I asked the model to do what felt most natural and let her express the emotions she was feeling that day.  I wanted her to feel relaxed, confident, and able to shine which I think we achieved!  Does this translate across to you?

FYI, I once watched a docuseries called Tales By Light that showed the lengths photographers go to obtain their photos.  One photographer went to document a tribe, but directed the minutiae of every picture, from the posing, to the artifacts he wanted the subjects to hold.  It's interesting how he wanted to document the culture yet staged it to how he thought it should be presented, thus inserting his own cultural viewpoint into it.  To me, that was no longer a true or organic representation of the native people.  

What are your views on direction in photography?  What constitutes too much or just enough?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday #59: Murphy's Law


Murphy's Law states, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."  Listen, I'm not using this as a platform to whinge, but transparency is a big part of my philosophy on authentic blogging.  You'll find no blush toned, marbled backdrop, or glossed over stories here, no missie.  I intend to Keep It Real. 

Hence, this Perpetual Disappointments Diary seems particularly apt.  My friend is a new scholar in the lab and we got this matching diary on our last bookstore trip.  You'll find translations for unfortunate situations such as being locked in the toilet, death dates of famous people, prompts for listing personal shortcomings, and a full week of Monday stickers.  There are even disappointing proverbs for each week (If ignorance is bliss, why are you so sad?).

Ok, I'll get to the point.  Here goes . . .

WHAT WENT WRONG . . .


These past few weeks have been full of ups and downs.  A few weeks ago, my bike was stolen from campus.  This doesn't upset me on a material level, but it sure makes it inconvenient for me to get around now.  I don't drive so I now walk, bum a ride, or get an Uber.  This has been very annoying for getting to school rapidly or going to my regular photo job.  Part of recent job responsibilities has included working in West Hollywood for 12 hour long experiments.  Unfortunately, I experienced a lot of equipment issues this week and came back earlier than planned.  I suppose it doesn't sound like a lot written out, but it was a trying week.  However, graduate school isn't meant to be a walk in the park!  One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the importance of tenacity.

BUT A LOT WENT RIGHT!


You know I wasn't going to talk about problems without looking for the silver lining, right?  I want to acknowledge my wonderful friends and colleagues.  People aren't required to bestow favors, but I appreciate those who go above and beyond.  I had many moments this week when I was grateful for company, for gestures of kindness, for human decency, and for people who were as pleased to see me as I was them.  I may be extremely stressed with a formidable to-do list, but I am happy!  Even on bad days, I smile and laugh more than I ever have in my life.

(1) Gallery wall in Westwood, (2) White oleanders, (3) Wilshire Blvd street plaque, (4) Basecamp Fitness Pasadena.

Speaking of good company, Basecamp Fitness in Pasadena invited Ana and I out for a free class this Friday.  The class completely kicked my butt!  I actually couldn't finish because I got so queasy from the HIIT workout.  Lesson here?  Start doing cardio again because while I can lift and I'm strong, I need to work on endurance and intensity.  Afterwards, we had a lovely dinner of delicious tacos at Trejo's Cantina before I finished out the night watching Wonder Woman with my partner. 

THE VERMEER GIRL & THE SUNDAY


My friend asked me to do a photography session for herself and a few people in the community.  She organized the event and gathered the photo release forms, making my job far easier.  All I had to do was show up and capture people at looking their best!  I'll be sharing a dedicated post on one subject, but here is one of my favorite images from the day.  I think this girl looks like a real life Vermeer painting!


On Sunday morning, I went to 85C Bakery with my new friend/colleague to get some pastries for breakfast.  We ended up walking around for a few hours and shopping afterwards (oops!), but made it into lab in the early afternoon.  I picked up a few things from an aromatherapy and natural wellness store in Old Town.  I can't wait to write a post about the items because they're such amazing quality.  If anyone needs aromatherapy for relaxing, it's a senior graduate student!

This Sunday's question: What are your favorite scents?  Do you have a scent that always calms you down?

RECOMMENDED


• Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on validating the existence of gravitational waves (ripples in space and time). 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Excursions Into Film Photography


My roommate lent me his Canon AE-1 SLR this summer with a roll of ISO 400 black and white film. He recently developed and scanned the film because I was being a real slowpoke about the process. Here are a few of the shots that turned out alright.  I definitely struggled with the proper exposure and focus; I haven't shot film photography since high school! 

I do dig the grain and old-time vibes from these images.  I haven't done any editing because I wanted to present the images in their raw form.  What is it about back and white that seems to add more to a picture?  I think the grain fits the masculinity of the subjects.  Overall, I think my film skills leave room for improvement! 

What are your forays into film photography?  Do you prefer digital or film media?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday #58: Heaven Is A Place On Earth With You

Snapshot from a botanical garden.

I'm on a real Lana Del Rey kick this week, loves, in case you can't tell from the title today.  I've always liked her and I've had her new album Lust for Life on repeat which means my house got to hear me belting her all of Saturday morning.  Sorrynotsorry.  Am I listening to her as I sit in my office this Sunday?  Yes, I am.

DATE NIGHT


My social life is very touch and go at the moment.  I think the social lives of most people go right into the la basura towards the end of their degree programs because there's simply too much to do.  Not to mention that our stress levels rise through the roof!  Any social outings have consisted of spontaneous food and coffee breaks!  I haven't seen my friend Ana in quite a long time; we had planned to do a coffee/study date, but I was caught up in the frenzy of cell work so it turned into dinner.  We went to Bone Kettle in Pasadena for meat and bone broth (Go. There. Now.) before ending the night watching The Big Sick at my house with my roommates.  Oh, we might've squeezed in a quick Sephora detour somewhere in the night as well because, you know, that's important.  As always, time with Ana is relaxing and full of good vibes!

Me and bb!

UNO


My friend's baby turned one this week so a whole bunch of us went to his birthday party this weekend.  I've never been to a birthday party for a baby, let alone shopped for one, so Friday evening was spent at Westfield Santa Anita mall with a friend picking out presents.  After perusing a whole bunch of stores, we settled on some stuffed animals from the Disney store.  Every kid likes Disney, right?  At the party, we had a lovely homecooked Chinese dinner, played with the baby, and generally, had a really great time.  There's something beautiful about the pure joy and excitement of a tiny human!  By the way, I learned that running after and watching a one-year-old is a lot of work.  My upper back is a little sore now from doing the elevator with the baby!

OTHER


Other highlights from the week: (a)  I reunited with a friend who I met during graduate school visiting weekends about five years ago.  She's completed her doctoral degree and is now a scholar at the university I attend.  It's nice to see another familiar face!  Also goes to show you how small the world of academia really is.  (b)  My new coworker and I have been hitting up the nearby bakery for macarons the entire week.  Delicious, sweet, probably fattening.  YOLO.  (c)  Watched The Imitation Game with my other half yesterday and we're going to have delicious steak for dinner tonight!

I've been trying to catch up with your blogs -- forgive me if I'm spacey or miss posts!  I don't get as much time as I'd like to get on here nowadays.  Certainly, my time for creative photography has suffered as well hence the paucity of posts!  Just to change it up a bit, this Sunday's question is: What's the song you've had on repeat this week?

RECOMMENDED


• Nat wrote a really timely post (personally) for the job hunting process.
100 Images From Cassini's Mission to Saturn.
• Best skincare deals at Sephora.  Just treat yoself, okay?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday #57: Gone Baby Gone

Photo by Jake Kim.


Hello.  It's been about three weeks since I've written here, hasn't it?  I haven't really had a full day off from lab in the past few weeks.  I'm working a lot more and even photography outside of my one regular client has taken a backseat as of late.  Thanks for the nice comments you've all been leaving.  I feel guilty that I haven't been as active with reading and replying recently!  I'm hoping to be better about it this week. 

THE SCIENTIST


I'm starting a new avenue of research that's required I learn brand new skill sets.  For the last three weeks, I've been completing some rapid training from my friend and colleague.  He's returning to his home country soon so it's been a crash course in the transfer of knowledge.  Burnout towards the end of your PhD is a real thing, but I've been really jazzed with my new scientific venture!  Last week, I got to work off site out in a different part of Los Angeles.  Mini-travels, new science, and renewed excitement?  I'm all for it, though it was wonderful to be back in my own bed by Friday.  

SANTA MONICA


My friends/colleagues took a short trip down to Santa Monica during one of our long time points this week (it's where the photo above was taken!).  We walked on the pier and beach, taking lots of pictures along the way.  While we were exploring under the pier, I spotted a pregnant couple and their family.  I love the concept of family and having never done a pregnancy shoot before, I asked them if I might take their picture and they said, "Yes!"  Here is my favorite photo from the day, possibly from all this year so far. 


On the technical side, I wish it had turned out sharper and I'd taken more care with the settings instead of rushing.  On the other hand, I think the moment and emotion are more important than taking a technically good photograph.  In any case, they liked the photos so much that they asked me to photograph the baby when it's born!


Afterwards, we went to grab dinner with Stout Burgers & Beer before heading back to lab.  All in all, it was a fantastic day.  We spent a lot of it talking and laughing until our sides hurt.  I'm definitely going to feel the void when my friend leaves the country. 

SUNDAY FUNDAY


I logged a few hours at lab today and got lunch with my beach-mates/colleagues.  Afterwards, we purchased macarons at our favorite bakery for dessert.  Yes, macaron addiction and love still going strong.  Later in the evening, my boyfriend and I had a double date with one of couple friends.  Now, we're just relaxing before bed with the new season of Bojack Horseman.  I guess running around all the time is pretty tiring, even if it's fun!  I have quite a bit of science/application work to do tomorrow before heading off to a photo job.  Hope Monday will be productive! 

Here's to a new week!  Since I've missed so much, tell me about yours, leave me your links, or any tidbits I've overlooked in my absence.  Hope you all had a lovely week.  Talk soon, 'kay?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday #56: La La Land

A lovely candle on a beautiful day.

Hello, friends!  Over here in Los Angeles, it is hotter than I can bear.  I've been fairly comatose from the heat and I've spent the majority of the weekend with the fan aimed at me because our AC doesn't really work.  Thankfully, its cooled down a bit during the nights (though this coming week will be a scorcher) and we could watch Game of Thrones comfortably.  Did anyone else see it?  I can't even deal right now.

HEALTH


I mentioned that I was sick last week.  This year, I've noticed a tendency for me to get hot, overheat, and generally be intolerant of higher temperatures.  I've always love the cold and ran a little hot, but after I had another overheating/nausea spell this past Tuesday, I decided to go to my university's health center.  We've ruled out the major culprits like diabetes and pregnancy.  We suspect a medication I've been on for a large part of this year is the root of the problem so I'll be getting some blood tests and having follow up appointments in the coming month.  In the meantime, I'm doing my best to get moving when I can, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated. 

SCIENCE AND ART


I had a discussion with my advisor and I'll be pursuing a new avenue of research in the last few months of my doctoral research.  I'm pretty excited though also stressed because I have exams as well as searching for employment.  In less stressful news, I managed to get in three photoshoots this week.  Whew!  It's been a pretty crazy week.  Here is an image I shot on Friday.

Yes, I know, I know.  I'm getting boring.  All I post are photoshoots and I still have Alaska / beauty / and new haircut posts to write.  Holy moly, it's been two months since I've been to Alaska.  Where did the summer go?

OTRO


As I've mentioned above, I cut my hair short this week.  It feels so much lighter and I may never go back to long hair again.  On Saturday, Roberta made me a lovely homemade meal that included handmade pasta an slowcooked sauce.  We ate it outside under fairy lights with lit candles.  I always end up doing the stereotypical "romantic" things (biking down the shoreline of Santa Monica, walking through the gardens as the sunset) with my female friends!  I wouldn't have it any other way than to be in good company and having nice moments. 

Well, that was my week?  How was yours?  Tell me the most interesting thing that happened!

RECOMMENDED


•  Kyle's street photography during the solar eclipse in NYC.
•  Michelle's take on the "busy" norm.  Definitely worth a read!
•  Victoria Sand's article on the commercialization of self-care on YouTube

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Look Into My Editing Process in Photoshop and Camera RAW

post processing, camera RAW, photoediting, Lumiere and Lens
A peek into post-processing after a photo shoot.

Hello!  I asked if you would like to see a photo editing post and there was some interest so here it is! A few FYIs before we begin: (1) I have only taken one photography course in my entire life and it was analog film in high school, (2) I am completely self-taught in digital photography, and (3) I am all about "the ends justify the means" so these might not be the recommended methods.  Let's begin!

Every person has a different photo aesthetic -- I don't believe there is a "right" way to create pictures.  In general, I aim to create images that enhance and showcase natural beauty.  First and foremost, I try to take a photograph that is good straight out of the camera.  I shoot in full manual or aperture mode where I set the ISO, exposure compensation, focus, metering, and white balance.  I always shoot in RAW -- this method creates digital files that retain ALL the data in an image which is optimal in post.

STEP 1.  ADJUSTING LIGHTS AND DARKS IN "BASIC" 


On the left, I have the image as shot.  It is not under or overexposed and the model is centered in my composition.  I browse my images in Adobe Bridge and open it up with Camera RAW in Adobe Photoshop (just double-click if you use PS).  I start on the Basic Menu.  Believe it or not, you can enhance the colors in your image simply by adjusting the shadows and highlights.  I typically bring down Shadows and Blacks while increasing Highlights and Whites.  To increase the contrast a bit more, I will increase Clarity.  I also increase the Vibrance in the image.  Saturation is increased, but always at less than half of Vibrance.  I will also adjust the Temperature/Tint sometimes.  Exposure typically gets a slight increase because you know I love bright, airy images!

post processing, camera RAW, photoediting, Lumiere and Lens

STEP TWO:  ENHANCING COLORS IN "HSL"


HSL stands for Hue/Saturation/Luminance which is the second menu I go to in Camera RAW.  I like to enhance colors in my images, but not to an extent where it's not believable.  For example, the model's hair is actually quite vibrant in real life, but was less so in the shadows.  In this image, I've increased the saturation of Reds to make her hair more vibrant.  I increased Oranges to bring warmth into her skin.  I also increased Blues/Aquas to bring out the color of her eyes to how I remember them in real life.  Purples and Magentas got slight boosts as well! 

post processing, camera RAW, photoediting, Lumiere and Lens

The depth of colors can be adjusted by changing the Luminance.  I increased the luminosity of the model's skin so that the orange wasn't as deep.  The Blues were bumped up to +42 to bring more light into her eyes.  Again, I'm making the edits as natural as possible.  In this case, I did not adjust Hues.  I know that at first glance, these two images look identical, but I promise they're not!

STEP 3.  EDITING IN "EFFECTS"


I don't add a whole lot of bells and whistles into my photos.  My last alteration in Camera Raw is to Dehaze the image slightly and, occasionally, add a Vignette (darkens the edges of the photograph).  I've been playing around with subtle vignettes on some of my photos recently.  I think it's a nice way to draw focus into the more luminous center of the image.

post processing, camera RAW, photoediting, Lumiere and Lens

At this point, I'm typically done with tweaking in Camera Raw and I open the image into Photoshop.  I crop the image to my liking and start retouching, which is the most time consuming part of the editing process.  I use the Spot Healing Brush to smooth over blemishes and more extensive work to remove the bra that is showing under the model's clothing.  I also start to Burn and Dodge.  Burning darkens parts of the image and brings things into focus.  It's useful if you have areas that might be slightly over exposed.  Dodging is the exact opposite: it increases exposure.  I like to do very light Burning on facial features, hairlines, and the jaw.  The idea is to enhance the subject without making it the editing obvious.  My motto is to leave no trace.

When I'm completely done with retouching, I sometimes add Adjustment Layers, such as Curves.  I add in contrast by tweaking the shape of the curve: a prominent S will product a more visible effect.  Like the other adjustments, I've keep changes very slight here to keep things natural.  The goal is to enhance, not completely change and obliterate things in the picture.

Now, I'm done!  I typically resize the image for my usage purposes and save it.  The final product you see the top of the post is what makes it to the Internet!  Occasionally, I brighten it even more on platforms like Instagram because I love adding more light into images.

I hope this was a useful post!  Everybody has their own aesthetic and ideas so this is by no means the way you HAVE to photoedit.  Let me know what you think and whether you're interested in more of these posts!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday #55: Focus on the Good


Hello, lovelies!  Hope you're all relaxing on this Sunday night.  Confession: this photo from Huntingdon Gardens is from last Sunday and not these past seven days, but I have my reasons!  I'm sitting on my couch, getting some rest after an eventful afternoon as our house watches Game of Thrones.  No spoilers, but it was NOT a restful episode.  

EENA, NANCY, ALYSE


Eena, Nancy and I made plans to get food together this weekend.  We decided to meet at Arcadia Mall and . . . here's here it gets extra eventful!  I'm notorious for getting motion sickness easily.  Even though the trip up to Arcadia was only 15 minutes, I somehow managed to get overheated, carsick, and extremely nauseated.  Yours truly managed to upchuck twice in the multiple hours.  I had to cut the trip short and ask to be taken home by Nancy.  I spent the rest of the afternoon resting and trying to rehydrate.  I think it's mostly intense motion sickness, but it could've been something I ate, too.  *shrugs*

The dumplings at Din Tai Fung. 

It was really nice to see Eena and Nancy -- I appreciate hanging out with great gals!  I felt incredibly embarrassed and kept apologizing for putting such a damper on our girls day.  The real MVPs here are the two of them for being incredibly patient, caring, and making sure I was as fine as I could be.  I said it many times today and I will say it again, "Thank you and I really appreciate it."  Kindness is never taken for granted by me.  I'm also grateful to my other half who brought home saltines, Gatorade and ginger ale for me.  Let's focus on the good things!

STEPS AHEAD


Since we're focusing on the good things, I made some strides at work (science) this weekend (more if/when things are final) about which I am both excited and nervous.  In non-science related work, I've recently booked a regular photography client where I shoot images that end up on an online clothing boutique.  It makes peanuts because I quoted the client before I settled on my minimum rate, but she's a dream to work with and I'm getting commercial photography experience!  I also managed to see my friends Liz, Ana and Roberta so it's been a good week for nurturing female friendships.

Oleanders in my neighborhood.

DO SOMETHING NEW


I've been perusing some newer photography accounts and I have realized I am in a bit of a rut.  I always use natural light around golden hour.  How about if I challenge myself more?  Edit differently.  Shoot in difficult situations.  Be less reliant on soft light?  Here are images of Ana and Roberta that were shot outside of my comfort zone.  This time, they're both shot in poor, fading light and edited with more darkness in mind.  What do you think?  Next, I want to try challenging lighting situations at night.


I'm also forcing myself to take pictures on my iPhone because, if I am good, then I should be able to make great images on any device.  Right?  Right!

Here is a parting questionnaire:

1.  What did you do this week?  Highlights and lowlights?
2.  Do you want to read a post on photo editing?
3.  Are you watching the solar eclipse on Monday?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday #54: Sunflowers

Sunflowers!

Hello, friends!  I've been a little off the radar, but I'm back after two weeks of missed Sundays.

ALYSE LIANG PHOTOGRAPHY


I've finally bitten the bullet and made myself a real photography website!  After consulting with some friends who suggested that naming my photography after my blog might be confusing, I've settled on Alyse Liang Photography.  There are quite a few things I still want to work out, but I think it's time I took this more seriously.  I've been building up my portfolio and have gotten a few (very small) photography jobs in town.  I'm making peanuts, but I'm chasing my dream, you know?  Here is some recent photographic work! 

GIRLFRIENDS


This week, I got to spend time with a lot of my girlfriends!  Interestingly, all our time together usually involves food at some point.  On Thursday, I had Ana over for dinner and she was kind enough to get me the sunflowers you see at the top.  We went Griffith Park on Saturday to watch When Harry Met Sally on blankets, under the stars.  This evening, Roberta took me The Huntingdon to stroll through the gardens as the sun set.  It's funny how I do more "date" things with my girlfriends than my boyfriend!  

I've just finished Game of Thrones with my roommate and I'm heading to bed soon.  I've had a raging headache for most of today and I want to rest up before Monday.  How was your week?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Snapshots with Printiki


{I was sent a voucher for prints from Printiki.}

I really like the idea of Polaroids - instant film, a square snapshot, a capture of a moment in time.  What I don't like is the expense of film and a single function piece of equipment!  Call me a millennial who's been raised in the age of digital media, but I like the flexibility of multi-functional devices.  A phone that takes texts and takes photos?  Great.  A DSLR that captures both stills and moving picture?  Even better!  

Even in the digital age, however, I can appreciate the physicality of holding pictures in my hands and mounting them on walls so it was an easy yes when Printiki asked if I'd like to try their prints.  Those closest thing I have to an instant camera is Instagram (and I'm sure was the idea behind the original app).  I was offered 30 Square M Prints.  Once you're on the website, you have the option to upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Google, or Instagram.  I opted to get all my prints from Instagram because they're the perfect square, instant photograph shape!

Square M prints - 4 x 4 inches. 

The prints arrived about a week after I ordered them.  I like that they're printed on photo paper so they aren't flimsy to handle.  There is the option to put text on them when selecting photos, but I prefer to hand write my own.  The resolution of the prints were pretty decent, as you can see!  Your resolution will be correlated to the quality of your original image, but I had no problems with pixelation or blurriness.  I think the prints stayed fairly true to color and saturation as well.  One of my favorite photos taken of Manhattan Beach Pier (see above) turned out beautifully!


I'm waiting to move in to a new place to hang these prints up.  I'm envisioning a grid of friends, family, and pretty landscapes.  In some ways, like an Instagram grid brought to life on my wall.  I'm thumbtacking a few up on my cubicle at work as well,  I mean, look how pretty the images look just arranged next to each other!  I appreciated this collaboration a lot more in hindsight.  Almost all my photography work is in digital media; it becomes easy to forget how satisfying it is to hold real images in your hands.

Has anyone else tried Printiki before?  What do you think of have physical prints of your Instagram photos?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Making Magic

Ana in Old Pasadena.

Photography is my happy place and it's significantly changed how I look at the world.  When I peer at my surroundings, it is through the lens in my mind's eye.  I am always framing and composing every day scenes in my head.  There is a story to be told in every image and I want to capture those moments as organically as possible.

When I look at a person, I am making memory pictures and photographing them always changes my perception of them.  I start to see more of their beauty: the curl of their lip, the flicker of light in their eyes, the way they smile.  We are all carriers of innate natural beauty and that's what I'm always trying to capture. 


I saw Ana in passing recently.  On a whim, I asked her if she modeled and scribbled my information on the back of a receipt.  We met up in Old Town, Pasadena (clearly a favorite spot of mine) and found little nooks in which to shoot.  As a director, I'm fairly minimal.  I prefer models to fall organically into movements and poses they might adopt in my absence.  I don't like to direct the minutiae or interfere with the scene.  When asked about wardrobe, I always say, "Wear whatever you feel most comfortable and beautiful in."  


I think Ana is a natural!  Don't you?  I may not have posted the images where she is grinning, but she is one of the warmest, kindest people I've ever met.  As a model, she was game for anything and incredibly patient during the whole process.  She has a good eye as well and had suggestions for backdrops (which we used!).  I'm 100% open to input because shoots are a collaboration, not a one sided venture!  There is almost always a thing or two you can learn from others: a new perspective, a way to play with light, how to interact. 

Post-production and retouching were kept to a minimum.  If you're wondering, I only touch up impermanent things such as acne, scraps, or bruises.  I won't do any further alterations unless requested.  I will NEVER alter someone's body, face, remove scars or seek to misrepresent them.  Firm believer in, "You are beautiful as nature made you" over here.  Hopefully, my editing will appear seamless so that you can't tell what I've done! 

Let me know your thoughts?  As always, if you have suggestions or critiques, I am open to hearing them!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday #53: Pasadena, Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Photograph by Ana.


Whoo!  Sunday night!  Mine was pretty packed and I'm tired.  I had two photoshoots, a music festival, and regular life things in between.  I had handed in my most recent draft of writing to my advisor Friday so it was a good weekend overall!  

SANTA MONICA


My friend Ana had the idea to go to Santa Monica this past week for an evening.  Believe it or not, I've never been to Santa Monica Pier or the beach.  I'm terrible at this whole California thing!  After an hour long drive, we rented a tandem bicycle (another new experience) and rode along the shoreline, into the setting sun, with the sea breeze blowing through our hair.  All we needed was a Lana Del Rey song playing in the background because it felt like being in on of her videos!  Riding along that shoreline felt like flying.  We grabbed burgers at Stout and finished out the night with a ride on the Ferris Wheel.  It was so much fun!  Good company, good times. 


MY HAPPY PLACE


I've done headshots for Grant at Lost Art Creative a couple of times in the past.  This week, he hired me for a short session in Pasadena so I did that on Friday.  Today, I had another shoot with Roberta so it was a lot of photographing over the past three days!  Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Taking pictures if my happy place, especially the editing process, which takes a good image to a great image.  Tonight, I'm trying to squeeze in some edits before the arrival of Monday.  In case you missed it, I shared a recent photo shoot his past week!

Grant of Lost Art Creative.

BURGERS, FYF FESTIVAL


On Friday, my friends and I went to eat burgers at The Counter, a trip we'd been planning for two weeks.  All in all, I'd say I ate a lot of good (but unhealthy food).  On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to FYF Festival in Exposition Park to see MGMT, Built To Spill, and Tribe Called Quest.  It was quite a good Saturday; we don't get a lot of time to do things outside of Pasadena just for the two of us.  


Want to hear something funny?  When we were watching Built To Spill jam, these two girls jumped in front of us to film Instastories of themselves dancing and having fun, which would've been entirely plausible if they didn't leave right after taking the videos.  It was the most inauthentic and bizarre thing I'd seen that night. 

How was your week?  What were you least and most favorite parts?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Focus


This year, I'm working on pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  At the beginning of the year, I largely photographed friends and people I knew within the academic community.  However, as an artist and photographer with a love of portraiture, I'm always staring politely glancing at people, even in public.  When I was picking an outfit with D for a shoot, I noticed Niko working in the store so I asked him to model and he acquiesced!  (I get hard NOs or stipulations, too).

I'm always grateful when someone will model and give me their time.  Taking photos, editing, and sharing the final images is done purely out of passion.  One of my favorite parts of the photoshoot process is finding the perfect images that capture a sliver of time or a microexpression.  I don't believe in people being "photogenic"; everyone has a good angles and beauty if you are just patient enough to find it!


As I photographer, I am beginning to understand why fashion magazines look for such tall models.   Working with D and Niko has helped me see what it's like to having the skeletal structure to fill up a frame.  It has also made me realize how much focus I put on the face and upper part of the model's body.  As I've said, every shoot is a learning experience.  The next thing I want to work on are compositions with the entire body in frame!

If you want to see more, visit my Instagram page @lumiereandlens!  Let me know your thoughts?