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The Flagg-Fasbinder Wedding – Half Moon Bay, CA

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting the Flagg-Fasbinder wedding in Half Moon Bay!
It turned out be a gorgeous Sunday for a beach wedding after several hot days earlier that week. It was overcast most of the afternoon which kept things at a comfortable temperature, and also kept the lighting pretty diffused – which is never a bad thing as a photographer.

Now I had originally met Jenn three years ago at Amy and Michael’s wedding. Jenn was Amy’s Maid of Honor at her wedding, and last week when Evan proposed Jenn contacted me immediately to check on my availability to photograph her wedding, too. And a few months after that, once they had made their decision and I had a chance to meet Evan, it was clear that this was going to be a very easy weekend with both of them. Both seemed to very collected and very excited about the wedding weekend. “We’re having a hybrid wedding” Jenn said to me. It would be a half Catholic and half Jewish wedding. And despite the frustrations that they were describing trying to mix tradition from both into one ceremony, they seemed surprisingly calm about the whole thing.


-Jenn giving her speech at Amy and Michael’s wedding, April 2010-

Another thing that was great to hear from Evan was that he had spent some time researching and really looking at the different photographers that Jennifer had picked out as her final choices. This is really important in my opinion. And it’s a huge relief for me when the groom (or sometimes bride) hasn’t met me previously to know that they took a long look at my work and decided I was right for their wedding.

Well, when the wedding rolled around the weekend got started at a small rehearsal in San Jose. Jenn said she didn’t want everyone to have to drive all the way to Half Moon Bay just for the rehearsal since most people weren’t staying there and would have to drive back that night and then back out again the following day.
But it was a great warmup for people to get both an idea of how the ceremony would go, as well as time for everyone to socialize and catch up on life. This is always a perfect time for me to get know people too. Then the following wedding day they’ll see me, but mostly ignore me since I’m not quite a random a person walking around with my camera. Haha!

On Sunday the morning started out very relaxed at the salon with some of the girls. Lots of laughing and joking with the stylists as they asked me about photography and my career. I suppose sometimes my direct answers come across a little strong since I answer quickly when I’m shooting and am focused on things other than the conversation. haha. Whoops.

Later that afternoon we all made our way out to Half Moon Bay – where there was a ton of traffic because it was such a pleasant day at the coast.

The ceremony was held at La Costanera Restaurant on their patio overlooking the water. It was a pretty great location, and despite some initial concerns there wasn’t too many people walking by as people originally feared. And since there was a cloud cover that day it kept the temperature comfortable enough for people to not have to worry about overheating in sun, or needing sunglasses. There were several prayers mixed into the ceremony to be able to do things for Evan and the Jewish half of the wedding. What was great was that the Rabbi would explain some of the traditions to everyone so they understood the meaning behind things since he was aware many of the people there were not familiar with Jewish weddings. It was interesting for me, too, since I had never been to a Jewish ceremony.

The rest of the evening went great with some family photos down on the beach, lots of dancing and laughter at the reception, and even some time for me to chat with the family members a bit more during some of my down time that night.

I’ll save some of the rest for the captions. But please click the break and read on! I’ve uploaded just over 250 different photos from Jennifer and Evan’s wedding weekend!

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CAMERA TESTING WITH THE SONY A77 (2 OF 4)

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Part two of my four part write-up on testing the Sony a77 DSLR in various sports setting that I typically shoot  with my job. Please check out the previous post for details on the first test and a bit of an intro to this multi-part project: here

BMX – faster moving subjects, first tests with longer glass.

The week following my first test with skateboarding at Black Flys I met up with one of my BMX friends, Michael Rodriguez. We headed out early on a Saturday morning to Chino Hills BMX park where he was going to get some riding practice in that day with his cousin who also rides.
We arrived at 8a since it was going to be triple digit temperatures that day and finishing before it got that hot was the goal.

The 12fps speed of the shutter was great, again. But this is was when I first started to find a bit of frustration with the video viewfinder. Sony had told me that one of the biggest things to get used to for people was using a view finder that was a video screen since there is no mirror in their camera.

For those that aren’t familiar with how a SLR/DSLR works… the image you see in the viewfinder is a reflection off the mirror inside the camera of what is coming through the lens. The Sony system doesn’t have a mirror, so you’re looking at a small LCD screen that is showing you what is hitting the sensor.

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Here’s a diagram I found online from “nobadphoto.com for a quick reference. The green line is the path of the light (the image). You can see where it reflected before it hits your eye. Well, Sony has illminated the mirror (item #2 in the diagram) so the image goes right to the sensor (#7). Does that make sense? I’m going to assume that it does so I don’t have to get too much more detailed since this writeup isn’t about how the system produces an image. haha.

One benefit of this is that there is an option to see the exposure of the image in the viewfinder – a preview of how the shot will actually look. Although I could see this being much less useful in dark settings. And it proved to be a bit frustrating when I photographed racing a week later – that’s in the next blog update.
The viewfinder also was constantly running a leveler on the screen while shooting. This was something I (surprisingly) was able to ignore while I shot but used a few times when I was framing a shot and noticed, “huh, I’m not level”

For the majority of the BMX shooting I was doing I shot with the 24-70/2.8. The lens itself was sharp, felt comfortable to use, and was smaller in size compared to my Canon lens. I also had much less OOF shots with a smaller lighter lens than with the telephotos this particular test because it’s much easier to move a smaller lens quickly and track people/subjects.
But shooting in a sport/servo tracking mode I still felt like the focus was a bit slower than I’d like and dropped focus to the background more often than I hoped. BUT the park we were shooting at was made up of bowls that Michael was riding in and out of, so there are plenty of things that were coming in/out of the shot as I was shooting. I also don’t know how well my DX would have exactly handled it since I didn’t have it that weekend to try.
After looking through the photos and thinking about why this may have occurred I realized that I was being a little loose on my shooting. What I mean by this is I’ve become very used to a wider “spill” area around the focus point that the Canon 1D systems allow for in their 61-pt auto-focus system. So, if a person/object drops out of your focus point for a second or two (depending on your sensitivity settings) the camera will not lose focus on the subject, nor will it quickly focus on the selected point again – which is now likely the background of the image.
So, while going through images I realized this is what was happening with my images. It’s not that the camera was doing something wrong, it’s that I was relying on a system that wasn’t part of this camera. However, I know that when I shoot with my Canon 5D2 I’m very aware I don’t have this option with that system either and need to remain locked on my subject at all times.
This was something I was more aware of during my next test and OOF shots proved much less of an issue because of it

Overall thoughts for BMX – Works well enough. The speed of 12fps (of course) is great. I will accept fault for some of the focus system issues – and I realized after I didn’t try out the subject lock feature. This would have possibly helped improve many of the shots, as a rider in a cement bowl is a higher contrast compared to something like a car on a track. Below are a ton of different photos of Michael, his cousin Victor, and a couple young kids throwing some tricks on their scooters, too

Click the break for photos!

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Camera Testing with the Sony a77 (1 of 4)

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Ready for some sports – but not all.

As many of you know I spent a part of July testing out the Sony a77 DSLR camera system and a variety of lenses in various sports environments that I would typically encounter on my job.

I was approached by Sony Digital Imaging about giving feedback on their system and how it handles “doing what I do” for work. Not many people would consider a Sony system for sports shooting when they’re shopping, and I was going to try and get an idea of how well their system worked in various sports environments.

The Events

The tricky part of this overall test was going to be time and access for me around my normal schedule of races. It also happened to be during a month that I would be relocating from San Diego back up toward LA.
However, I reached out to a couple friends around the industry for credentials and help with various events, and also several athletes I know to see when and who would be practicing.
As it worked out, I was able to test shoot a bit of skateboarding, the Formula Drift race in Seattle, the Lucas Oil Off Road Race in Glen Helen, the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, and also some BMX in Chino Hills.

Click the break for photos and thoughts after my first test shooting some skateboarding at Black Flys Sunglasses Headquarters.

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Formula Drift Round 4: New Jersey

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Just got back from New Jersey Formula Drift Round 4, where I was out shooting for Falken Tire again!

I wasn’t originally planning on being in Jersey for Round 4, but after contacting Falken on a whim it turned out they needed additional support that weekend. So that worked out great for me since I still had that weekend of June open and am always down to fly to a race to photograph.
So after what will likely be my last direct-flight to an East Coast race (you’d be surprised how many tracks I can fly to direct from San Diego) I met up with the video guys and headed out to grab a bite. This was actually the first time I’d really seen the Falken video crew this season. The other races I had be on, Le Mans Sebring, Atlanta Drift, Long Beach, etc, were all for other clients or Falken bookings where I was the only media support.

It’s always a blast being out with the team. They’re such a busy company that I don’t always get to see many people from their crew, which makes catching up on life less frequent. Plus, BS’ing with the video guys is fun since we can nerd it up and talk about cameras, software, hardware, and debate all the stupid things that none of my family or friends in SoCal really care about. Creative Cloud for Adobe?! Ripofffffff, what do you guys think? lol

The race weekend was great, and went by pretty quickly. Overall Falken did pretty well. Justin took second place. Darren barely missed third place, finishing fourth.

Next up I’ll be heading out to Seattle for Round 5 in Monroe, Washington. Looking forward to that since Falken has said I can go ahead and start being as artsy as I’d like with my imagery from the races. That “they have plenty of action shots” so I can feel free to be more creative with everything. So I’m stoked for that.

Also, I just talked and met with Sony Digital Imaging, I’m going to be testing some of their gear! This is pretty exciting. I was given a bunch of gear to test during the month of July! So I’m currently working with Black Flys sunglasses to set things up with their athletes for some awesome shoots with their athletes. Stay tuned. July is going to a lot of fun with all this new gear….

Anyway… on to the Drift photos!
There’s a bunch for you guys that just want to see a lot of photos of cars/etc. You will be able to tell the images that are straight from camera and don’t really have any heavy editing applied to them.

Oh, also, I’m trying something different for this blog and all the photos that follow are going to be 800 pixels at the longest edge… I’m trying it out to see if I prefer photos a bit larger than my typical 650 pixels at the longest edge. Let me know what you think in the comments about the size change. I’ll need to adjust the right column links though I realize.

More photos after the break

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The John Remus Photography 2012 Christmas Card

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I’m a bit late on this update – seeing as how the holidays are nearly over…
But, for those of you that managed to have missed it, here’s the 2012 John Remus Photography Christmas Card!

This year there was a brief period where I was worried that the card wasn’t going to happen. I’m currently living in San Diego, not Los Angeles where I have lived the last four years. So, I was a bit further from all my model friends. But, more importantly, my main model Danielle was now living in Las Vegas.
Last year Danielle called dibs on being my model for the 2012 card. And I had planned a couple ideas around her being the center of this year’s project. However, Danielle moved to Vegas in the summer and is now a dancer in Jubilee! Which is awesome, let’s be serious. However, it meant she was quite far away from me and being able to do the card easily.

But after my initial frustration of maybe not being able to coordinate a shoot being in different cities, I talked to Danielle and we decided we needed to make it happen.
That same week I was contacted by Liz (center girl in the image above) who was on my card last year. She was having lunch that day with Amber (far left in the photo) who I had met and photographed at the Budweiser shoot I did in February. They were joking that “if I needed two more girls for my card they were available!”.
Well, I was already planning on shooting a Christmas Carol themed card, so, two more girls to round out the “three ghosts” sounded like it could be a cool idea.

Plans were made and all the girls were lined up to shoot. Danielle would still be the center focus of the card as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Liz would be the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Amber was rounding out the trio as the Ghost of Christmas Future!
And for those of you curious about how to get a butt like Danielle (cuz several have asked), she’s a dancer and climbs nearly 750 steps a day combined through all her shows… So, go find a tall building, and climb it once a day.

The hardest part of the entire card was actually figuring out how I was going to set myself up as Ebineezer Scrooge. Ultimately I decided that my costume wasn’t going to be THAT important and simply wore a robe and held a candle. Finding an old fashioned white nightgown that we all know from the old movies for that character was too much trouble and I was more interested in finishing the card than worrying about what I would be wearing in it.

All in all I’m very pleased with how this year’s card turned out. And I actually sent out nearly all 175 cards that I ordered – a 25 card increase over last year, and 50 person increase of new people after several didn’t explicitly sign up for a new card this year.

Click below the break for a few behind the scenes photos from my last big production of the year. And as January gets started I’ll be doing more work on my Ninja Turtles project with the four new models I have lined up for that! My annual end-of-the-year write up will be done in the next few days, too…

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – as humans

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the four brothers, as humans.

My idea and interpretation of what my favorite childhood characters might look like if it were shot with humans instead of mutant turtles.
A project that has been over a year in the making and still has a long way to go before I would consider it complete.

From left to right: Beau as Raphael, Chase as Donatello, Me/John as Leonardo, and Mike as Michelangelo

The idea stems from two things… First, was my desire and interest in doing a ninja-inspired shoot. I love movie imagery and movie posters, and one of my favorite movies for hard-light, rough imagery, is Ninja Assassin with the Korean pop star Rain. He reached an incredible level of fitness for the role and the movie images were hard and rough – to really accent his physique and darker theme.
The twist of doing turtles came from my friend Katie, who was always a huge supporter of my work and different shoots. She joked one night that I should “DO A NINJA TURTLE SHOOT!” since it was my favorite thing as child. My response was “How the hell am I going to do Ninja Turtles?”
It wasn’t until a couple days later that I figured out a way to mix the two.

I figured that if I could assemble four physically-fit, lean, willing models that all I needed to do was match the weapons to the colors of each brother and people would “get it”. The idea of using makeup/face-paint came from my good friend, Makeup Artist Elle Favorule who casually pointed out in conversation “you can just paint on eye-bands instead of trying to figure out a sash or something”. Boom. Done. MUCH easier.

I knew immediately that if I was going to do this then I would be Leonardo. He was my favorite character growing up… and let’s be real, it’s my project. Personally I’m in pretty good shape year round. For this project I doubled my workouts and the amount of food I was eating. Leo is the oldest of the four and the leader – so I knew I had to not only be at top physical condition, but also look like I should be leading. haha

For Raphael it was an easy choice as well. Beau is one of my best friends and in ridiculous shape. I texted him and told him the concept, and said something like “so… uh… stay in shape…” since I knew he was very likely already where he needed to be to shoot. Plus Beau photographs really well and is always down for whatever idea I come up with. Raph is the hothead of the four with an attitude problem and relies on his incredible strength – and I knew Beau could do attitude for me with this shoot.

Michelangelo was an easy choice as well. For the youngest of the four brothers I needed someone high energy and goofy…. well, that’s my good friend Crazy Mike Gaboff – a stuntman and video personality here in Los Angeles. I’d shot with Mike a couple times and knew his smaller, but super lean build would fit the character great. And I figured he would have a lot of fun with it.

Donatello was the most difficult to fill… I went through a couple models, honestly. Ultimately I decided that I wanted someone taller than I am (and I’m 6’2), someone that was lean and even possibly more bulked than me in the photo was the goal. Donny was the calculated, stoic brother and I had a hard time finding someone that I was happy with the final look. Chase is a model I worked with a while back and for some reason, never considered asking. He randomly contacted me, and after pitching the idea, he was down to shoot and help me round out the group. And at 6’4″ and leaned-out he fit the look I wanted.

So what’s next? Click the break for several photos from behind the scenes at the shoots and hear about the next phase of this project.

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Falken Tire 2012 Promo Model Poster Shoot

The 2012 Falken Tire Promo Model poster has been released! And that means I’m allowed to share additional photos from the shoot with everyone that I created for Falken Tire and their 2012 season!

For those who read my previous blog about the Behind the Scenes from this shoot, you’ll recall that I mentioned the goal of the entire day was the image above. Basically we arrived first thing in the morning – before sunrise – and shot all day until sundown. And then, after 12 hours of shooting we created the image we came for – the poster shot. Seriously. The image we spent so much time planning for was created in the last five minutes of shooting. And was also one of the last 10 photos or so I made with the girls.

But it was worth it. The long day. The lack of food (on my part. I forgot to eat most of the day since I was so busy running around that TJ had to make me stop and take five minutes to eat something at the catering table). I look at photos of me at the end of the day and laugh because I look exhausted.
I did at least 17 shoots that day working with each of the models multiple times and in several locations with many different lighting setups. Everything worked out incredibly well. Falken had a very  aggressive set of goals to complete that day and I’m very proud to say that we met all of them! During the time we weren’t working on group shots the models were in hair/makeup and whoever was ready with their next look would be sent over to shoot individuals.

The individual shots we created are mainly for use on the models profile pages since they’re in no way related to tires or the automotive industry, haha! But part of the reason this location was selected for was for wide variety of looks that could be created around the property.
I had the oh-so-difficult assignment of poolside bikini and exercise photos. Wow. Rough location. Haha!
Throughout the middle of the day and afternoon the girls would be switched out with me to shoot around the infinity pool with all the mountains in the background. Gorgeous. I could easily see why so many magazine shoots are done at this location with this pool.

A second concept for the poster was a composite idea I was asked about. There was some question to the feasibility of doing this shot with six girls and making the shot work at the venue. The one thing there wasn’t much of was large open space and walls. We selected the three-car garage doors as the best spot to create a six-photo composite extra-wide style poster. I think it came out pretty damn good, actually.

Each girls was shot with the same style lighting and power adjusted according to the background, skin tone, or wardrobe. But overall it worked great. I may print a large version of this just for the sake of seeing how it looks. But, the version I’m looking at right now on my 27in screen looks pretty awesome!

Ultimately the pool shot was used for the poster – which is perfect since that was the original idea and goal anyway.

Click the break for a ton of additional photos of the girls… since I know that’s what you’re really here to see.

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Falken Tire Girls 2012 – behind the scenes

The Falken Tire 2012 Promo Girls poster is near release and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share some of the Behind the Scenes photos from the project.
I had an incredible opportunity at the end of last year to work directly with Falken on this. I was contacted and asked about possibly tackling this large scale – and very important – photoshoot for the company. After everything was made official we started the planning phase for a quickly-approaching shoot date.

The ultimate goal for the project was to create their 2012 Promo Model Poster with all six girls. We took the girls away from the track/race scene for something different, stylish and sexy. After budget discussion, location selection, and dates solidified it was time to really crack down and get things moving. Our shoot was right after Thanksgiving and there was plenty to get working on.
I was required to bring two assistants – it would be better to have too much help than not enough for a project of this size. And I’m sure all of you are thinking “Yeah, cuz it would be terrible to hang out on set with a bunch of models all day”. But I needed two experienced people on hand that I knew would be great. I brought TJ down from San Francisco. He has 10 years experience with lighting and set work and who has also helped me on multiple shoots over the last few years and understands my style and how I shoot. David came up from Orange County as my other assistant. I met David working on weddings and he has an incredible knowledge of photography and wealth of experience to bring to this setting.

Our shoot day started early.. EARLY. A 430am call time is never fun, but it’s part of the job. Overall the entire day went great. There were a few hiccups along the way as could always be expected, but we still made sure to get everything taken care of that we hoped to complete. I was able to create a ton of amazing images with all the models. And both myself and my team had an awesome time working with Falken and their crew. The models, Julie Galindo, Mayra Tinajero, Olivia Korte, Melanie Tillbrook, Brittney Leigh, and Randyl Dawn were all awesome. And thank you all for putting up with me having trouble with your names all day… having six new models with a new hairstyle/outfit every time I saw them throughout the day definitely screwed with my head. Haha!

Ok, so… on to the photos! I’ll stop rambling and simply post captions…

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My Hollywood showcase, with RAW Artists

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Last night was my showcase in Hollywood, at Playhouse with RAW Artists. As many of you know, I was contacted by RAW Artists a little over a month ago. They had come across my photography and were interested in having me showcase with them. Well, that event was last night and the support I received from everyone was overwhelming.

I was really touched by how many people came out to support me and my work – and even the goofy shot of five of my subjects and myself above is awesome!

So often I tend to look at my work as just photos.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my work and stand my imagery. I’m confident in my abilities, but I still will look at my images as something that my subjects allow me to very easily create with them.

What I’m trying to say, is that often I forget that the portraits I’ve created of people mean more to those individuals than I realize.  And nearly every person from my collection in last nights showcase proved that by showing up excited to see their photo on the wall, give me a hug, congratulate me on my work, and thank me for allowing them to be a part of it.

I’m surprised I didn’t get more emotional, but as I go through these photos and see what a great time everyone had talking and meeting one another, it compounds the amount of love there really was last night. Again, Thank You!

A couple things that stand out, before I get to a huge assortment of photos…
My cousin drove up from San Diego to be there even though he had to work at 4a the next day, thank you Gianni!
My Mom and step-dad flew down last minute from the Bay Area.
Adam, who turned into my poster-boy for this whole event, came out on his 25th birthday to be there.
Lauren, my best girl friend here in LA, celebrated her birthday last night with me at the show AND took tons of photos for me because she knew I wouldn’t have time.

Everyone else that attended, texted, called, emailed, posted on facebook, etc. Thank you all for the support!

Please check out the rest of the images after the break, I’ll have a lot more to say about the event and people that attended.

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The Portraits continue..

This week my work has been all about portraits of people around me. And to start it off, I’m going to take my photography back two years to when I just moved to Southern California.
I met Cliff as I was wandering around the Grove, in Hollywood. I was actually there with my camera seeing who I may meet and photograph. Cliff and I started talking about camera stuff – he works in film – and at some point in the conversation I took this image of him.
But it wasn’t until this week that I finally was at a point with my technique that I was able to edit it in the way I originally wanted. That took a lot more experience and practice since that afternoon long ago. So note, don’t ever delete RAW images you may one day want to go back to and re-edit.

The thing I love about this image of Cliff, his eyes.

Here’s a tighter crop… or you can just click over to my portfolio for a higher res version.

This image of Teo I shot outside of Anthony’s shop. Teo owns and operates his own mobile car detailing company and travels around the area here between shops and dealerships for his work. He stays pretty busy and I bump into him every week and a half or so. The other day was one of those times and I wanted to get a quick image of him since I was positive it would come out great.
I’m really pleased that the pose, combined with the bright sunny day adding to the squint in his eyes, all worked exactly how I hoped.

This image of Sam I took while he was on a break at work. He wasn’t thrilled at the idea of me photographing him while he was smoking, however I wanted the shot. I was actually more interested in his pose, kneeling down, and his hood from his sweater draped over his face in the cold weather. The cigarette really just ends up adding a bit of attitude to the shot.

Last is this image of Mac. This is a photograph I took yearsss ago – I actually took it three cameras ago, haha! So it’s a sensor that’s a few generations old, and it’s a third the resolution of what I shoot with now!
However this has been my most favorite photos of Mac that I’ve ever shot. The little smirk is totally his personality coming through in the image.

So, I have a question for you guys…

If I start doing portraits, say three a week, is that something everyone would have interest in seeing?
It’s a project I thought of doing when I moved to LA and then stopped as I got busy and didn’t have the time to go out and meet people.

Oh, and here’s a preview shot from last week’s shoot with Bambi in Long Beach.
I’ll have a couple more images of her to share at the beginning of next week. Later this afternoon I’m leaving for San Francisco and will be back Monday.

Bambi is a burlesque dancer in Sweden. She was in LA for a couple weeks shooting and contacted me to do some colorful fun photos. I’ll have those up later, but this was a quick image I wanted to do with her after we finished the other shots.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone! See you in a few days!