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!


  1. I think you capture innate natural beauty so well, and you seriously know how to manipulate the sun through your lens! I'm the same way when working with other as well. I want the model to feel as comfortable and organic as possible. I think that garners the best results. You're clearly a wonderful photographer, from your method to your results.


  2. These turned out beautifully. My favourite is the portrait shot!

  3. Time for you to order some business cards girl;) These are beautiful! I would say my favorite is the second one. She looks relaxed, but at the same time has this soulful expression on her face. The backdrop is a bit toned down where she's sitting so your eyes are immediately drawn to her before moving on to the more whimsical colors. Plus, her hair looks bomb!!! I only wish my hair could look like that!

  4. Girl, you're SO GOOD at photography! Every time I see you posting your photo shoots, I see a lot of creativity going on. You do a great job at capturing people's features perfectly. Ana rocked her poses! I appreciate that you don't alter people's bodies. I mean minor things like acne make sense because it's a temporary thing.

    I agree with Kim, time to make business cards, even if it's for the lulz XD. I ordered some for fun the other day and it was a fun process!

    Otherwise, keep the happiness going and take ALL OF THE PICS!


  5. She looks like an actual model and natural in front of a camera and I am in love with her hair. That second shot is so so stunning! I also really like the angle of the third close up one. The slight low angle is great.

    Emily | http://emilytrinh.com

  6. I agree with the comment above - you definitely need some business cards now, Alyse!! I really love your photography, the colors are always so vibrant plus you seem to pick the best models! :D Ana is very lovely, by the way. Also, is the offer still on (re: engagement photos)? Hahaha!

    P.S. I love that you keep retouching the photos to a minimum.

  7. You're getting better and better (a great sign!) every shoot you do :) I love how courageous you are (!!) I would probably freak out if I wanted to ask someone if they were free to shoot, but I guess I have to work on that one... Ana looks beautiful and you photographed her beautifully, without any unnecessary embellishments and those are the best kind of photos. Hope you weekend has been great!


  8. Oh, yes! Ana is such a natural! I think you capture her inner beautiful perfectly!

    I love that you don't photoshop people's bodies. I personally hate that. I never photoshop my features, regardless if I have a spot or two. I want to keep my face and body photoshop free, sans a nice VSCO filter haha

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

  9. Gorgeous pictures! I love seeing you grow as a photographer, it's great.

  10. i believe taking photo of model requires two-way magic and it's what exactly you did. i love the way you try to make someone pose as naturally as they do in days but translating it into your own art. and bless your no alter policy! i'd ask you to edit my panda eyes, definitely haha

    now go get your business card already!

  11. You're amazing at this! I think you captured Ana's natural beauty very well and the photos turned beautiful. They are simple yet so capturing. Love it. Keep up the good work! :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  12. Your portrait photography is beautiful! Ana looks like a natural and I love her hair. The location looks pretty magical!

    Simply Lovebirds


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