EARLY GAUCHO DISCOUNT

Hey Gaucho fam! I just finalized my pricing for 2015-2016, which can now be found in the drop-down menu under "Contact". To kickstart the year, I'm offering $15 off any photo shoot booked in 2015! This offer is valid ONLY for UCSB students #gauchoback

Not sure which package to choose? Have questions about custom photo shoots? Shoot me an email! If its photo related I can probably do it, and we can negotiate a price for any and all shoots.

*visit the investment tab for a high-resolution (aka not blurry)  version of the investment guide!*

 

The Mayer Family

I had the pleasure of photographing my boss, Chad, and his super adorable family last week. Chad is the founder of Sharefest, which is a local nonprofit that serves to strengthen communities. Every year, they put on a work day where people volunteer their time and skills to work on various projects throughout the community. These projects range from planting and painting to restoring and refurbishing schools, parks, and community centers. In the summer, they put on a Youth Development Academy that serves underprivileged youth. This camp is unique because it is completely free for the campers, and not only do they have fun playing sports and doing art, but they also learn valuable lessons about how to be a leader in their community. This summer I worked for Sharefest as a camp counselor and a photographer which was such a blast! 

What I love about the Mayer family is how humble and caring they are. It's hard to explain, but there is a sense of endearing innocence about families who are rooted in their love and devotion to Jesus Christ. The Mayer's have the best attitudes (even the little one, Bo, who was a little camera shy and had to be bribed with Panera cinnamon rolls) and it was awesome to capture it in photos! My favorite shots were of Chad and his wife, Val. Val is very photogenic and when they were together, they posed beautifully and didn't need any direction at all. Here's some of my favorites!

Brooke Landon Jewelry Shoot

About a month ago I reached out to Brooke after learning that she was starting her own jewelry line. I've always wanted to do a styled fashion shoot for a product, so I seized the opportunity and asked if she needed any photos done for her new site. Luckily, she said yes! So we began planning a mini-shoot to showcase the pieces in her new line. 

See her whole collection here: Brooke Landon

We went down to abalone cove during golden hour and got some amazing shots. We were blown away by how pretty the setting was and were wishing for even more time to shoot. Here's a sneak peak at the best shots we got.

See the full high resolution photos here: Brooke Landon Photoshoot

 



China Highlights

2 Christmases ago, my grandma on my dad's side (we call her Ning-Ning which is grandma in Chinese) graciously gifted our entire family an 11 day trip to China to see our roots. Those 11 days were jam packed with tours, train rides, and site seeing in 5 different cities! When I was abroad in the Netherlands it was fairly easy to adjust to their culture because it wasn't too different from the life I know in America. Most people spoke English, the food was similar to food I have experienced before, and I was able to travel around the country without any difficulties. China, on the other hand, could not be more different from America. All the toilets are squat toilets, which basically means you squat in a hole when you go to the restroom. The rules of the road are nonexistent, meaning that people cross the street wherever and whenever they want. I think I heard more honking in the 11 days we were in China than I have in all the days of my entire life. I think the hardest adjustment was China's strict censorship. I had zero access to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Google, Gmail, etc. Which basically means my entire life was on hold--I kid, I kid. I managed to get through most days without missing my social media, but it was strange that I wasn't able to check it even if I wanted to. It made me realize how lucky we are as Americans to be able to have freedom of speech and to be able to think, learn, and say whatever we want to. I don't think I've ever really realized how important the First Amendment is until I had it taken away from me. 

Enough about the bad, let's talk about what was great about China. The food surprised me. Except for a few unlucky dishes that made my stomach a bit uneasy, the food in China was great! It probably helped that our trip was planned by a tour guide who knew exactly what kind of dishes to order for wary Americans. Although the food was tasty, we inevitably got sick of it after 10 days of eating similar dishes. The Great Wall was incredible to see in person. It was almost surreal that we were walking on and climbing one of the 7 wonders of the world. I also LOVED the scenery and the slow-paced lifestyles of the villagers in the small cities of Guilin and Yangshou. I realized that I'm much more of a rural countryside girl than a city girl. Beijing and Xian were both large cities with many many many people and lots of smog. Although very historical cities, I preferred the natural beauty of Guilin and Yangshou. Finally, the best part of the trip was getting to spend time with my Dad's side of the family. At the beginning of the trip, Ning-Ning gave us all 100 yuan (around $15) to spend on one person in the family, whose name we picked out of a hat. On the last day of the trip we exchanged gifts and were all surprised at how thoughtful all the gifts ended up being. 

 

Ok ok ok enough writing. Here are the images that I captured from each city. 


BEIJING


_DSC0087.jpg

XIAN

DSC_0343_2.jpg

GUILIN


_DSC0366.jpg

YANGSHOU


4 Tips For Beginner Photographers

School is over, summer is here, and now I have lots of time to update my blog and show you all what I've been up to lately! In the last month of school I booked 11 grad session photoshoots, which is super awesome. Through the experience, I learned a lot about posing people, great locations, what time of the day provides the best lighting, and what camera settings to use in every scenario. In addition, I recently downloaded Lightroom which makes A HUGE difference. I used to edit my photos only in iPhoto just because it was easy and fast to upload photos and make simple contrast/brightness/exposure/saturation fixes. But what I learned is that there are so many other categories that can make a huge difference when you edit (shadows, tone, spot healing, etc.) Also, Lightroom has a feature called "presents" which are basically like filters, that help with consistency when you edit. Adobe Creative Cloud also has a promotion where you can get both Lightroom & Photoshop for $10 a month, which I think is super worth it. 

HELPFUL TIPS:

As a photographer, you will always reach a point where you feel limited by your equipment. You see all the amazing work that other photographers are doing and you think to yourself, "If I only had a full-frame camera with a $1,000 prime lens I could be capturing images like those too". The most important piece of advice I would give to new photographers is that when you start thinking like this, view it not as a limitation but as a challenge. 

1. LENSES > BODIES

I shoot with a D3100--the lowest entry level Nikon you can get. I bought a 35mm prime for $150 on eBay and I use that lens for basically everything. Therefore, first piece of advice: figure out what you're going to be shooting and invest in a great lens. If you're shooting primarily people, objects, or food go for a prime. If you're shooting landscapes, architecture, or travel shots, go for a wide angle. The best advice I can give is that your camera body matters WAY less than the lenses you have. 

2. SHOOT IN RAW

Start learning about how to adjust your camera settings so that you're capturing as many megapixels as your camera will allow. Aka ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW. Before this year I didn't even know what RAW image settings were. I always shot in JPEG because that was my camera's default setting and I never knew there were any alternatives. Shooting in RAW creates a larger image, so it takes longer for these images to upload onto your computer. But by creating a larger image, RAW captures more detail--making your image crisper and higher quality. 

3. FIND YOUR GOLDEN HOUR

Shoot at the time of day that will wipe out any sun glare and harsh shadows. Golden hour is roughly the hour after sunrise and the 45 minutes before sunset and the 30 min after sunset. If you can book a session during those times, your images will turn out way better than if you shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is the brightest. If you happen to have to shoot when the sun is too bright, always adjust your ISO to be low to under-expose the image. By under-exposing it, you can manually brighten it up in Lightroom which will yield much better results. 

4. STAY TRUE TO YOUR STYLE

This piece of advice is something that I am still working on. When I first started shooting, I tried to adjust my editing style to try to accommodate what I thought my clients would like. I wouldn't discourage this, but I would say definitely try to stay consistent to what you stylistically like. If you're trying to build up photography as your brand, it's important to know what you like and to stay consistent to these preferences. In doing so, people will start booking you specifically because they like your style. This will take a lot of pressure off you when you're editing because you won't have to second-guess what you like (it'll also make it a lot more fun to edit!). 


Here is a compilation of my favorite images from the past month:


Hayli, Maddy & Jessica: Sands Beach

I had my favorite photoshoot ever on Tuesday this week. I got to shoot 3 of my housemates--Hayli, in the floral dress, Maddy, in the red dress, and Jessica, in the white dress--who are graduating this year. It was so much fun to mess around and we even got our other housemate Shyanne to be the "prop girl". She blew bubbles in most of the shots, danced around to make the girls laugh, and suggested some great ideas for awesome shots (including all the ones of the confetti). Check out the best ones below! If you're looking for senior portraits, visit my about//contact page for more information about pricing and booking!