VJ Michael Benz, Sergeant Trevor Scott, DJ JJ Dunlap

VJ Michael Benz, event host; Infantry Sergeant Trevor Scott, veteran; DJ J.J. Dunlap, musician. All three men are the newest additions to my portrait series – and with less than two weeks til the art show in Hollywood, they’re great portraits to add to my collection.

As I’ve said before, each of my shoots is meant to be telling about each subject. And each one of these shoots came out pretty much exactly as I envisioned them.

I’m going to introduce these in the order they are in the image above – not the order I shot them, haha.

Michael Benz is someone I’ve known nearly the whole time I’ve been in Socal. We met at a club one evening and I introduced myself because I liked his wild style contrasting the model he was there with that night. We’ve worked together many times since then.
When I hit him up, I knew exactly what  shot I wanted to create. And, leave it to Michael to call me 30 minutes before our shoot to say “Hey, by the way, I got us exclusive access to KRESS nightclub to shoot in. We have the whole place to ourselves.”
Michael is an event host in Hollywood, and pretty recognizable to anyone who has ever met him. I definitely wanted him in my series, and he rocked the shoot just as I knew he would.


Infantry Sergeant Trevor Scott, veteran. Trevor is an old friend from school. He served five years in the Army and has since returned and is now in school. The idea and concept behind his shoot was something I’ve been wanting to shoot for a while. And it worked out perfectly to not only photograph someone who already owns the gear, but that with Trevor, it’s real gear, and he’s an actual veteran who has served. Truly an accurate portrait rather than me creating this image with a model.
Adding Trevor to the series was  great because it also gave us a bit of time to catch up. I actually haven’t seen him since high school – and it’s crazy how fast all that time has flown by. We created a couple different images. But the flag image was what I was really hoping to capture.


JJ Dunlap, DJ and musician. JJ is someone I met through my friend Samantha – a makeup artist I’ve worked with multiple times in the past. With JJ’s music background I wanted to create an image using his amps and speakers as the backdrop. About half the images I’ve shot have something to do with environment that adds to the shot – this was one of those concepts.
JJ yelled/screamed and posed for one particular shot right as I was testing lighting and working on settings. These typically are the best chances for really original shots. I got the screaming shot just in time, and while all the other images we did were good, I kept coming back to this one.

Sorry for the wordiness of this post, haha. But I had three very different shoots to introduce in one. So, now, on to the photos!

This was the image I pictured created with Benz. Came out exactly as I wanted.

Rooftop of KRESS, Hollywood in the background.

Again, a moment when the subject wasn’t actually posing, but his attitude in the shot is real and works better than any posed image we did after.

Tighter crop. You can see more detail of Michael’s face here.

This was a shot I really wanted to create. You almost never see Michael’s eyes. So this was a bit of an unmasking.

Michael and I, rooftop of KRESS

The main image I set out to create with Trevor
NOTE: The flag is NOT Photoshop. This was shot in-camera this way.

A much softer, friendlier image.

Full, uncropped version

Screaming shot of JJ. Love how much detail I was able to get with his mouth, even down to the saliva in the shot. Really, his mouth makes this whole image.

Wider version, more detail with the background with the speakers.

JJ isn’t actually missing a tooth, but the shadow makes it look that way. Haha!

I feel like I need to go back and be a bit more generous with the editing of this shot. It’s a little too much of a headshot, I like the image with his eyes, but the editing style isn’t close enough to my other photos.

Behind the scenes pics that Samantha took.
Thanks Samantha!

JJ looks bored!

Hope you all enjoyed the images!
That was one of the longer blogs I’ve done in a while. Sorry, but I’ve been swamped running around shooting and preparing for the show in a week and a half. I hope you guys can try and come to it!

Check out more details here: http://www.rawartists.org/hollywood/unearthed/?artistid=10284

David Esquire, Esquire Photography – portrait shoot

David Esquire, of Esquire Photography.
Talented photographer. Memorable personality. Truly an artist. And great friend.

“I don’t like it.” laughed David when I showed him this image while shooting. “What?! Why not? That’s a great portrait. That’s YOU!” I responded. “Because… I look vulnerable.” he said. “Exactly, that’s why it’s good!” I laughed back. “Yeah, I know, and that’s why I don’t like it!” David said laughing.

David did actually like the photo everyone. He was laughing because he’s not used to having images taken of him that are somber, calm, and actually give the viewer a bit of insight to him and who he is.
I met David two and a half years ago. It’s safe to say he was actually one of my first friends I made down here in LA. We met while working on million-dollar Beverly Hills weddings – because that’s just how we roll… Ballin. Haha, but really, we met while working with Cherie Steinburg, CherieFoto of Beverly Hills. It was a ridiculously busy and massive wedding at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  David and I spent our lunch break chatting and learning about each other and their work. Turned out we had many commonalities and David could appreciate how I quit my old job and life to pursue photography full time in an area I had never lived. We’ve been great friends since.

David is someone I’ve been able to look up to, someone to confide in (which is difficult in our business to have close friends you can talk to about photo-related things). He has been a major source of advice, wealth of information, and MASSIVE supporter of me while I’ve tried to carve out a space for my work in the over-saturated Southern California market.

I’m not sure how much of that I’ve ever actually told David in the past, but I’ve really valued his friendship these last few years. So, when I started going through ideas of people I wanted in my Portrait Series, David was at the top of that list. Now the hard part would be making our schedules match up. He’s a busy guy, let me tell you… not many people can balance three or more weddings in a week and still give each bride the world – but, he can.

Now, onto the images… and I’ll share a bit more through the rest of this blog:

“Photography is like sex! Seriously, think about it. You’re focused, in the moment, completely oblivious to the world when you’re shooting… that’s sex!”
That’s got to be one of the greatest comparisons I’ve ever heard about photo.
For those of you who have had the chance to meet David, you can probably picture him saying it, too.

David brings an energy, with personality and style, everywhere he goes – I don’t think I’ve heard him give the same name twice at Starbucks for his drink… ever.
That same energy and attitude is what I was hoping to capture during our portrait session in Huntington Beach the afternoon we went shooting.

We created a great variety of shots, all different, and we did it in a short amount of time. Really the afternoon was much more about catching up  and chatting than shooting – again, our schedules never seem to match up.

I decided to bring out his eyes in this shot to humanize it rather than have straight attitude from solid shades.

Here’s full shot of the first image at the beginning of the post. A very simple portrait, but, when cropped in tighter as I did above, it becomes a much more intimate look at a side of David most may not get the chance to see. But, David gave me the chance to photograph it.

Cell phone shot by David when we started. hahaha!

David’s Twitter feed: HERE
David’s website: Esquire Photography

David will be one of my featured images at the RAW Artists: Hollywood showcase on April 7th at Playhouse, Hollywood. I hope you guys can all come by and check out my work! You’re going to want to pre-order your tickets online, they’re $10. Lounge attire required, 21+ only. http://www.rawartists.org/hollywood/unearthed/?artistid=10284


Joey’s Star Wars shoot – 501st Legion

I’ve known Joey for about five years, and everyone who knows Joey knows that he’s a big Star Wars fan. He’s been a fan since he was a kid. But, it’s been the last few years that he has been building costumes and doing character appearances.
We’ve talked about doing a themed shoot for a while now. But it wasn’t until recently that we were able to make it happen when our schedules finally matched up. See, Joey is in the Bay Area (where I’m originally from) and I now live in SoCal.

Joey had a few various costumes that he wanted to use for shots. Actually, I think I was the one that wanted variety, he was cool just getting some good images of the Stormtrooper suit.
For those who aren’t aware, there is a national group – the 501st Legion – of fans who have suits that match specifications to be true to the characters. These are the guys you see at special events and character appearances.

The image above I created as a possible option for my portrait series that I’ll be showcasing in Hollywood next month. The rough edit and feel matches the style of my previous portraits but the character aspect adds insight to Joey’s personality and one of his many hobbies. Sure, I could have done a mechanic-styled shot at some later point in time (Joey is a highly skilled mechanic by trade), but this image is much more fun.

Anyway, enough of that, on to the images!

I wanted a standard looking Stormtrooper white-on-black image

Total “hero” shot… even those these are the bad guys. Haha!

These were pretty cool.
The Clonetrooper suit was awesome. It’s weathered and completely different design.

Also a great suit. I don’t know the proper name for this trooper. Sorry Joey!

That’s it! There were some other images, but, very similar poses/etc that I’m not going to bother posting online.

This week is already busy with lots of editing from all the travel last week. I have some new portraits that I’m editing, as well as some shoots this week that I’ll be doing.
I’m getting things prepped and ready for the art show as it approaches. Hopefully everyone can try and make it out and join us in Hollywood!

Go buy your tickets now! $10 (that’s it, just a $10 cover) http://www.rawartists.org/hollywood/unearthed/?artistid=10284

Shooting with Sunshine Sendy and Tara Love

Last week I had the pleasure of working with two very beautiful and talented models, Sunshine Sendy and Tara Love.
We spent a couple hours shooting last Friday and rocked an awesome shoot with many different looks.

And, since I’ve been running around all week in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area I figured I’d share a few of those shots since it’s been over a week since my last post.
Both Tara and Sendy are not only beautiful, but have a ton of experience in front of the camera. So, creating tons of photos was almost too easy – we spent a lot of the time laughing and joking.

I’ll keep the post short, and simply say that there will be more to come in the future from this shoot, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to work with these girls again soon.

For those of you who follow my work on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already seen these. But, for those that are new, enjoy!

I’ll start things off with the image that got deleted from Twitter in about 20 minutes. Haha!
I didn’t even bother trying to upload to Facebook… It’s edited so you don’t see anything. But, I figured throwing a watermark on would help keep in somewhatttt appropriate. Haha.

“Here. you can tape me up in this…”
Hot, right? Yeah… everyone else has thought so too.

One last shot of Sendy, showing off her tattoos.

Tara Love.
I could probably say plenty of things about how great Tara is in front of the camera, and you all probably wouldn’t bother reading any of it. I’ll just say simply that I’m looking forward to photographing her again. Stunning. Talented. And just a sweet person to talk to.

I’ve made a few versions of this image with various levels of contrast and brightness.I’m still having trouble finding a point that I’m completely happy with. Tara’s skin tone is a little tricky to get super bright w/o losing too much detail.

Last image that I’m sharing with you all tonight. Really soft edit, it creates more of an artsy/drawing feel to it.

So, if you’re still reading this and not scrolling back up to look at them again, hope you dig the shots. I’m currently up here in the Bay Area. I came into town to photograph for the World Poker Tour in San Jose. I did a couple of small shoots while in town and will be returning to Socal on Sunday.

Check back shortly for more images from this shoot and others.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone!



RAW Artists – April showcase featuring me!

I’m going to be a featured artist in the April show “Unearthed” by RAW Artists!

I was contacted recently by RAW about potentially showcasing my work at one of their upcoming shows. I went to their March show to check it out and see what it was all about. I decided that having the opportunity to share with everyone my work and what I do would be a lot of fun. So, I told them I would be down to showcase in April.

This is where all you guys come in… come support!

The show is Thursday, April 7th at 8pm at Playhouse Hollywood.
Tickets are pre-sale online and they’re $10. Basically, I need to raise $200 to cover my costs. And unless one of you guys wants to donate $200 to me, I’m raising it through ticket sales just like everyone else.
Order your tickets here: http://www.rawartists.org/hollywood/unearthed/?artistid=10284

It’s a lounge, so there is a bar. 21 and up only, lounge attire required. Party goes til 2am.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to though, the headliner is Kerli.
She did some of the songs  from Alice and Wonderland, and has an incredible style to her. Hopefully I get an opportunity to talk to her, she would be amazing to add to my portrait series.

Check out Kerli’s newest music video

And, lastly, here’s a screen grab of the online flier…

Hope to see you there!

Themed shooting with Kamal Moummad

One great thing about working with someone like Kamal is that every time we shoot I can get at least two, if not more, very different looks out of the shoot. I got ahold of Kamal earlier this week after a number of cancellations left me frustrated and annoyed. The best part of having friendships with models like Kamal, they won’t waste your time if you say you want to shoot something.
So, we decided it was long overdue to rock a new shoot immediately, and met up the next day.

Creating a portrait of Kamal isn’t exactly something I would say is easy… and that’s simply because he has so many different looks. So I knew this would really just be more of a fashion and themed shoot type of day. The image above was more the casual-feel shot.

We also found this old chair in the basement of the building we were in to use. It was a nice contrast of old/ugly to his clean/sharp attire. The serious pose and piercing stare at the camera worked great as well.

And of course we HAD to do a gang/hoodlum style image with a much more evil glare.

We also did some natural light headshots outdoors that afternoon. This one was actually really nice, except we moved shortly after because the background was a bit too distracting.

Playin around a bit before going inside to finish the character shots.

Also, earlier this week I edited a slightly older shot of good friend and singer Jesse Hart.
Jesse is getting ready to go on tour again in Brazil and will be leaving the country shortly. So, for those of you in Brazil… keep an eye out for his tour dates.

And another recent addition to my portrait series is David Saber, DC. I met David a couple years ago through an old friend. This was a peaceful shot that I really liked and wanted to add here. His eyes came out a bit turquoise through my editing… honestly I’m not sure exactly why since I didn’t alter their color.

I was recently contacted by RAWartists about showcasing some of my work at one of their upcoming events. Tonight I went to the Hollywood showcase they had.  I’m going to try and get more information on which upcoming show they’d like me to take part in. So, stay tuned everyone and I’ll be sharing information on when/where you can come see my photography there!

This weekend I have a few small shoots coming up including shooting friend Rick Thorne and the Good Guys in Black tomorrow night. They need new band photos for the Warped Tour this year.

I’ll catch you all soon with more images, and more updates on what’s to come!