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

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!


Tall, Dark, Beautiful. Shooting with Kassandra.

While most of you were watching the Superbowl I was spending the afternoon shooting with Kassandra. Some of you may recognize her from our shoot on the K&N 2011 Calendar (view it here if you need a refresher, she’s November).
Well, it had been a year since we last shot, and even though we’ve talked about putting something together again for a while, life always gets in the way. We finally found time this past weekend to catch up on life, and make some great images.

Kassandra, for those of you who haven’t met her, is stunning. Tall, long black hair, and amazing figure. How are you not going to create awesome images?
The original ideas we started playing with were similar to the portrait style images of Mike Bell that I shot a week ago (check the last blog post). Kassandra loved the darker grittier feel to those. We ended up spending a few hours together and doing about seven different style shots. The image above was created in the middle of our afternoon together. I love the contrast difference between the white and black. And it puts nearly all the focus right on her eyes.

I like the uncropped version, too. But I’m sure most of you noticed that I’m a big fan of landscape/wide shots with my images.

Here’s what we were originally going for… a darker image. In this case we have a black/black/black/black shot. What I mean is that she has black hair, a black boa, black shirt, on a black background. Unfortunately for most of you guys reading this, you aren’t on calibrated monitors. But, for those of you that are, you will see that there is actually differentiation between all four elements in this image. This is one of those photo-nerd moments where I’m going to point out that there is a level of light/exposure control to create this shot. So for those of you new-to-photo readers that I have, practice with this idea ; )

Portrait style shot.
Really dig the attitude mixed with her style on the red-drape background. The border was added effect.

Kassandra showed me some simple images like this that she wanted to create. Again, very clean, but with contrast between the black clothes and empty surroundings.

Also a casual version, with a sweater and shoes.
But check out her Converse that she made!

We went out to the roof to see what we could shoot out there. Neither of us were completely feelin this location with the chess board. But, I figured I’d throw some layers and textures in to make it more interesting. Did it work? I don’t know.

But I do like this version more. Maybe I’ll go in and remove the background completely…

Edit! I removed the background tonight. Looks much better I feel like.

I <3 LA

Last shot of the evening was on this awesome couch. The only tricky part was Kassandra’s incredibly long legs on what was actually a very short couch. I still think it came out great though.

Between all the different style shots, catching up on life, and laughing at what’s new, it was great to see an old friend and shoot again. I have a few more shoots this week that are in the works including portraits of Sean Logan (the BMXer) and two more model shoots. I think I’m going to be continuing the portrait series with various people I know down here in LA in different industries. Should be fun.

Check back in a few days for more shots. I’ll try and post another blog this weekend.

Hollywood with Melissa Meza

Last Friday I spent the afternoon in Hollywood shooting with Melissa Meza. Melissa is someone who heard about me through a friend, liked my work, and drove down to LA to shoot. Extremely flattering when clients enjoy my work so much that they travel (or have me travel to them) any distance that’s more than an hour drive.

Melissa is a dancer and needed some new headshots. We spent the first half the of the time shooting those – which ended up in a lot of laughter and story telling. See, Melissa is just one of those girls that smiles ALL the time. Definitely not a bad a thing, but trying to take a serious looking headshot just really doesn’t work because of that.

But we still managed to get some really nice, casual, images.

And Melissa has gorgeous hair – which you really can’t go wrong with when shooting.

Afterward we took some images that were a bit more styled and fun. She wanted to get some street-feel dancer-esc photos. Unfortunately we were only able to use one of the outfits that she brought. Bummer : ( I know

The photos still turned out great. Melissa wanted a darker higher-contrast feel to them. So we played to that and finished off the shoot before she had to get to her dance course in West Hollywood.
We had a fun time though. Hope you guys dig the photos.

Next up will be some more portraits – or possibly sports.
So I’ll see you guys back here soon.

Cazz and Marissa – LA Apartment shoot

Last week I had the opportunity to shoot with Cazz and Marissa here in Hollywood.

Cazz is someone I’ve been in touch with a couple of months. He was a fan of my work with Crazy Mike and Lyla Dee on the beach in Venice and wanted to do a couples-shoot working with me. I wanted to try something a bit different than another beach shoot though. Cazz pitched the idea of a black/white CK-style shoot.

Having access to an empty Hollywood apartment was definitely a plus. We went with the LA lifestyle feel, and for those of you who did what I did and packed up and moved somewhere to pursue your dreams, you know what it’s like to live in an empty apartment without much, or any, furniture.

One of the funniest moments in the day was when Cazz and I realized we have mutual friends in a completely different industry – Automotive. Many of you are aware that during 2009 I handled K&N and AEM’s photography for racing and am very active in the import car community.

Cazz was great to work with, as I said. This is one of my favorite shots of him from that afternoon. It needs maybe one or two more tweaks before posting to my portfolio… we’ll see.

So, after the break I’m going to be sharing just under 20 additional images from this shoot. I would LOVE to have any feedback from you guys about which ones you like. I’ll be sharing similar looking images, and want to know what you guys feel fits the theme and story best.
Also because I rarely do shoots that are soley black and white – so I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

In other news, I will be shooting soon with a stunning model named Caitlin Kelly whose work I have liked for quite a while. I’m also trying to put together another shoot for this week, so we’ll see what happens there.

But please, read after the break, check out the images, and let me know what you think.

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Vijay Singh, my golf-Monday

Monday evening I had the pleasure of meeting professional golfer Vijay Singh.
I was photographing a private event for one of his sponsors – Vijay was the guest the speaker. I’ll be honest that it was really cool to be part of a small private event where Vijay sat around and just chatted about his career, golf, life, etc.

Vijay opened up the floor to questions from the people attending. Having watched golf for at least 10 years, I would have liked to ask him one or two things myself. However, I was there to shoot, it would have been hugely unprofessional of me to do so.

But, afterward I had the opportunity to introduce myself and take a quick photo.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet him, he’s an incredibly nice person.

So far February is off to a good start. I’m catchin up on editing wedding images from last month. I’m also going to be booking a couple TF/trade shoots this month. If you have a unique look, or awesome idea, contact me.

Kamal, GQ’n it up

This shot is straight from camera, no editing. I rarely feel that any shot is perfect out of camera and requires no touching of any kind. But, occasionally I’m proven wrong. That’s the case with this shot of Kamal from our shoot on Wednesday.
I spent most of the day with Kamal shooting and catching up on life. We shot probably five or six different looks – most of them specifically designed for some upcoming projects he’s working on. However, I’m going to share the dressier photos we did.

This image only took two tries to create. I considered removing the lines from the ground… but then decided that they really don’t detract from the image too much… do they?

Working with Kamal is always fun. We met through friends over a year ago, but always have trouble matching up our schedules to do a shoot. This time around, however, I think we created some really great stuff. The themed shoot we did I will be able to share with you guys in a few weeks.

But this series was both powerful images and fun images (like the jumping one above).

One light was used for moodier, dramatic lighting. Of course now I’m wishing I used a second one at 1/4 for a real slight rim light/hair light… but, there’s always next time.

Tomorrow I’ll be shooting in Santa Monica with the stuntman “Crazy” Mike Gaboff. Should be a great time, and I’m sure we’ll be creating some really incredible images… think fire, flips, stunts, girls, etc… You get what I’m sayin..

Michael and Ava

Haven’t posted an update in nearly a week. Part of the reason is I’ve been swamped with work and various projects.
I’m going to be in a commercial at some point – that was filmed last week. Nothing amazingly huge, and actually I had to play the arrogant sports car driver… hahaha.

Most of the week was spent catchin up on past projects for various people that requested additional photos. The shot above was shot when I went out with my friend Michael (Video Jockey) and Ava Johnson (singer/song writer) in Hollywood. This was on Melrose when we were just wandering around having fun takin a few photos.

I also edited some additional shots from Jesse and Laura’s shoot after Jesse requested a few more be touched up.

I think one came out rather nice, actually. I was able to really make the lighting and skin tones pop out against the grass.

This is another shot from the newly edited images of Laura and Jesse.

I actually am happier with these two than my previous images. I’ll be re-updating my portfolio with these and removing some of the others. I feel this are much nicer images and really set a mood and feeling between the subjects than the previous shots.

Also, it appears that I have images in QUAD, Sport Truck, and Parts Mag this month too… I need to double check those. And the feature on Rick Thorne in Rebel Ink isn’t in this months issue – I checked; I will need to follow up with Rick and find out when it goes to print.

Have a great week everyone!

Wild weekend, Party at Kress

This weekend was the “Models and Bottles” birthday celebration for CK from Total Access Events at KRESS in Hollywood. Jesse Hart, a good friend of mine, was flown in from the middle of his current tour to perform for CK – who wanted Jesse there to sing at his party.
The rooftop party was hosted by the Hustler Girls, and some of the ladies from AVN who were also celebrating birthdays as well. I don’t think anyone there had a bad night – except the 900 or so people who couldn’t get in when the place filled to capacity…

I had a great time, met some really great people, and missed quite a bit of sleep… as usual, haha. But as always, rocked it out and had a great evening. CK, the Hustler Girls, and AVN can definitely throw one hell of a birthday party.

Clockwise from left: Melissa Jacobs, Michelle Maylene, Tanya James, Lux Kassidy, Alyssa Reece, Jessica Bangkok and Celeste Star.