ASK ME ANYTHING | 10.14.19

Natural-light-photographer

HOW DID YOU COME TO FIND YOUR EDITING STYLE?

  • Finding your editing style is a really difficult process when you’re first starting out. I think it’s important to realize that your editing style will more than likely change through out the years as your artistry evolves. Part of your art is knowing who you are as an artist and expressing how you see the world. I’ve always wanted my images to express how I see light and shadows.

    For me, editing style comes from a culmination of the artists that inspire me most. I love films with light focused cinematography and photographers who focus on use of light. One of my most influential books is “The Luminous Portrait” by Elizabeth Messina while some of my favorite movies are films by Terrence Malick. Films like “Days of Heaven” and “Tree of Life” changed the way I see light forever.

    Once you’ve come to terms with HOW you see the world and how that will come through in your images, it’s important to find the tools to create it. The biggest game changer for me as far as finding my “style” and maintaining consistency with my edits has been using Mastin Labs presets. I am not paid by them to say that either…their presets have just really worked for me and I always find myself coming back to them.

    After many years of editing, I can now confidently say my style is crisp, timeless, and ethereal. Clients can count on me to deliver a consistent product that reflects what they see in my portfolio. As I grow as an artist, it’s very possible my work will change too…and that’s okay! That’s part of the magic of being an artist!


This photo inspires me because she looks like she is wrapped in light. Her pose is ethereal and angelic as the window light pours in around her. You can see the subtle textures in her veil which evokes an “oil painting” quality. The edit is intentionally bright to maintain consistency with my style, however, this edit could easily have been edited to intensify the shadows. Edited with Mastin Labs Presets.

This photo inspires me because she looks like she is wrapped in light. Her pose is ethereal and angelic as the window light pours in around her. You can see the subtle textures in her veil which evokes an “oil painting” quality. The edit is intentionally bright to maintain consistency with my style, however, this edit could easily have been edited to intensify the shadows. Edited with Mastin Labs Presets.

Here is one of my beautiful brides from a recent Hummingbird Nest Ranch wedding. I posed her by a window to find light that would illuminate her face. I turned her ever so slightly to create a small triangle of light on the apple of her right cheek. This is called “Rembrandt Lighting”. The shadows around her are soft and, again, creates the look of a painting. Edited with Mastin Labs Presets.

Here is one of my beautiful brides from a recent Hummingbird Nest Ranch wedding. I posed her by a window to find light that would illuminate her face. I turned her ever so slightly to create a small triangle of light on the apple of her right cheek. This is called “Rembrandt Lighting”. The shadows around her are soft and, again, creates the look of a painting. Edited with Mastin Labs Presets.


HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE PERFECT FOCUS EVERY TIME?

  • HA! I don’t! I tend to take a large sequence of the same image and 9 times out of 10…one or more of them is sharp. I shoot very wide open ( at an aperture of 2.8 or wider) so nailing focus at f1.4 can be incredibly difficult…especially when you’re shooting a moving subject.

    The most important thing to remember when you’re looking for sharp focus in your images is to remember to place your focal point on the subject’s eye. If the intention of the image is to have the viewer look at the subject’s face and the eye is not sharp, that picture usually isn’t useable for me. I want to be able to see the “catch light” in the subject’s eye to draw the viewer in more.

    It’s also important to know your settings! If you’re shooting at a slower shutter speed 1/250s or slower, it’s going to be difficult to nail focus/sharpness on a moving subject. If you’re shooting a movie subject, your shutter speed should be 1/250s or faster depending on how fast they’re moving. You can adjust your ISO and Aperture from there.

    Making sure your lenses are working properly, and even calibrated to your camera, can also help nail focus.

This image from a recent Estancia La Jolla Wedding was probably taken at f1.6. The couple is not moving and they are standing on the same focal plane, making it easier to get sharp focus on both. I placed my focal point on the bride’s eyes when I took this shot.

This image from a recent Estancia La Jolla Wedding was probably taken at f1.6. The couple is not moving and they are standing on the same focal plane, making it easier to get sharp focus on both. I placed my focal point on the bride’s eyes when I took this shot.

In this image from a recent France wedding, you can see that the subjects are moving. This was taken at a shutter speed of 1/320s or higher to freeze the movement. I placed my focal point on the subject’s heads and walked toward them as they ran away from me to try to maintain the same focal length. If I had wanted to capture a bit of “blur” in their movement for artistic purposes, I would have set my shutter speed to 1/100s or slower.

In this image from a recent France wedding, you can see that the subjects are moving. This was taken at a shutter speed of 1/320s or higher to freeze the movement. I placed my focal point on the subject’s heads and walked toward them as they ran away from me to try to maintain the same focal length. If I had wanted to capture a bit of “blur” in their movement for artistic purposes, I would have set my shutter speed to 1/100s or slower.

ASK ME ANYTHING | 10.7.19

Southern-California-Wedding-Photographer

“What photography YouTube videos do you recommend for beginners wanting to learn?”

-I love this question so much because watching YouTube videos was actually how I first learned how to use my camera and take pictures. There is SO much education out there about photography that you literally have free tools for learning at your fingertips.

Here are some of the channels that I found to be most helpful when I was first starting:

CREATIVE LIVE - This is literally an endless resource of online photography courses geared toward different aspects of the art form and business side of photography. Highly recommend!

SLR LOUNGE - This is a great resource for tips on the technical approaches to photography and lighting. You can learn about everything from lenses, to editing, gear review, and so much more. You can check out an article on the SLR Lounge site that I contributed to HERE.

JASMINE STAR - While her focus has taken a turn to teaching social media and branding strategy (which is still so helpful for learning how to run this part of your business) she started out teaching the basics about photography. She has tons of great content and I can guarantee you will learn something from her.

“How do you manage your health and diet when you’re on the go so much? I struggle with getting enough food and eating the right things.”

-This question made me laugh because, while I do try really hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are some days ( also weeks and/or months) I completely fail. I think the one thing I KNOW I can’t compromise on is getting enough SLEEP. I am definitely a person who needs her sleep and I truly believe it is so important. I try to make sure I’m getting at least 8 hours of sleep and I listen to my body during the day if I feel like I need to take a power nap.

Another aspect of my health I’m good about being consistent with is drinking enough water everyday. I’m totally that person who responds with “You’re probably dehydrated. Drink more water” anytime someone tells me they’re tired, or have a headache, or they’re getting sick…you get it. My answer is always WATER! Since I do spend a lot of time driving to shoots, getting to weddings, and traveling I rely heavily on my 64 oz HydroFlask to keep me hydrated. This is the one I have. I got a cool straw for it at Whole Foods but you can probably order one online. People often comment on it and laugh at me for carrying it around, BUT DID YOU KNOW, that you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water everyday?! But seriously, just fill up that water container in the morning and make it a goal to drink it all throughout the day. You’ll feel SO much better!

Smiling as I leave the kitchen because the dishes are clean and I didn’t have to cook anything.

Smiling as I leave the kitchen because the dishes are clean and I didn’t have to cook anything.

There have been so many times in my busy season when it’s simply easier for me to drive through at In N Out Burger or some other fast food place…it’s late, I’m too tired to cook at home, I just want something yummy NOW! SO GUILTY! The important thing though is that I don’t let myself do that all the time. If I feel my jeans getting tighter or my cheeks getting “fluffier” I let myself know it’s time to focus more on the foods that nourish me and give my body energy. I love the pre made salads and wraps at Trader Joe’s. Having things in the fridge that are already made or very easy to assemble ( I don’t love to cook) makes it so much easier to make smarter choices. I also swear by morning green smoothies for a breakfast that is SUPER fast to make but packed with nutritional value. I put collagen peptides, flax seeds, chia seeds, and protein almond milk in mine…along with greens and fruit of course.

So, in answer to your question, I guess I don’t really “maintain” healthy eating. I just honestly try my best and go through phases when I’m really doing great at making smart choices and then other times when I kind of “forget”. Not great but, guess what, I’m not perfect and I give myself grace on those days. The important thing I think is to treat each day like a new day and to try to be the best self you can be that day. In closing, I drink a lot of water, I try to prioritize my sleep, I buy pre packaged healthy meals, and I eat a lot of In N Out Burger. :)

Here is a small list of the daily habits I prioritize in my routine:

-8 hours of sleep a night

-TONS of water everyday

-Try to move my body everyday. Walking is my favorite form of exercise.

-Daily supplements. Taking Omega oils, Magnesium (most people are deficient), and Turmeric everyday has transformed how my body feels.

-I try to avoid sugar, dairy, and gluten. My tummy just feels better.

-I try to incorporate a fruit or vegetable into every meal.

“I know with film it’s common to shoot 1 stop overexposed for creamy skin tones and backgrounds. Do you shoot overexposed to create the same look with digital images?

- Short answer. Yes. Long answer. Sometimes no. The main thing you need to be concerned about when overexposing is making sure you aren’t blowing out (losing detail) in your highlights. You can tell when you’ve done this if you literally only have a white patch of data on your image and cannot recover any shadows or details in that spot. An example of a scenario when this could happen is when you’re shooting in an open field and “backlighting” with very harsh light behind your subject. If you overexposed by one or even two stops, you could run the risk of blowing out the light behind the subject, therefore losing your ability to edit detail in the highlights.

While I do expose for the shadows on my subject and then adjust to overexpose by a stop (depending), I typically keep my images exposed for correctly in camera and then I will lift the exposure in Lightroom during the editing process. This allows me to maintain the details in my highlights. If you’re shooting in a situation with more even light (like a model indoors by a window), you could certainly overexpose without running the risk of blowing out the highlights as much. The trick is to find that balance somewhere right in the middle.

Another great tip for getting that “creamy” look you were talking about is to shoot “wide open”. This means you are shooting at a low aperture of something like f2.0. For example, if I’m shooting a person, I’ll typically place my focal point on the eye and the background of the portrait will be creamy, bokeh goodness (blurry background). Check out this Maternity Session for a good example of when I did NOT overexpose so I could maintain the highlights in the dappled (spotty) light behind them…I lifted most of their images in editing.

*Exposure means you are looking at the meter in your camera. When you “overexpose” an image you are adjusting your settings to let in MORE light, therefore making the image brighter. If you overexpose too much you can completely blow out an image. “Underexposing” is when you adjust your setting to let less light in. Underexposing too much can completely black out an image. You want to learn how to read your camera’s meter to know how you should expose the shot.

I overexposed the shadows on my subject in this image to counteract the harsh sun in the background. However, you can still see the detail in the highlights surrounding her…especially in her dress.

I overexposed the shadows on my subject in this image to counteract the harsh sun in the background. However, you can still see the detail in the highlights surrounding her…especially in her dress.


Jon and Janae | Cabo Azul Resort | San José del Cabo, Mexico

When Janae was planning her wedding, she knew she wanted to get married at the same resort where her twin sister Jami had been married several years prior. Nestled against the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Ocean, Cabo Azul Resort holds a special place in the hearts of Janae and her entire family. Janae and Jon envisioned their destination wedding as a special event for cherished friends and family to come celebrate, relax, and create priceless memories together…and have a few margaritas along the way, too!

The celebrations began the night before the wedding at the festive and fun Jazmin’s Restaurant where guests feasted on Mexican cuisine and enjoyed entertainment from traditional Mexican dancers. Janae wore a white linen two piece pant combo by Free People that set the tone for the classic beach bride that she was.

The next morning the Groomsmen and Bridesmaids got ready in separate suites. Janae wore her hair down and loosely curled to compliment the beachy sophistication of her gorgeous wedding gown by Grace Loves Lace. She paired the look with the perfect accessories of droplet salt water pearl earrings and pearl embellished anklets.

One of my favorite moments from the day was Janae’s first look with her father. It’s clear the two share a very special relationship and I was so honored to capture his reaction after turning around to see her in her wedding gown. It was very clear by the look on his face just how proud he is of his daughter.

The two exchanged vows overlooking the ocean in the stunning open air El Corazon chapel. As the day went on, we were able to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. Their bride and groom portraits were set against cotton candy clouds and it felt like we were in heaven.

The reception took place at Javier’s Restaurant where tables were adorned with all white decor, white coral centerpieces, and clear acrylic table number. Guests danced the night away and laughed over heartfelt speeches and amazing music. The night came to an end with a grand sparkler exit…Janae and Jon running barefoot in the sand as husband and wife.

Check out Janae and Jon’s San Diego Engagement Session!

I’m so proud to say this wedding was featured on DESTINATION I DO!

Check out this wedding day feature on DESTINATION I DO!

Photography: Taylor Kinzie Photography | Venue: Cabo Azul Resort Make Up: Doubletake Makeup Artistry | Hair: Jacquelyn Christine | Bride’s Gown: Grace Loves Lace | Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply | Videography: Land’s End Films | Stationary: Celebrate Flowers and Invitations