Mark Fightshark Miller, Shelby Jones, and Rita von Riot

Mark Fightshark Miller, Shelby Jones, Rita von Riot.
Three new amazing additions to my ongoing portrait series and the last additions to my upcoming showcase this Thursday!


Mark Fightshark Miller has had one of the most inspiring stories behind any of my portraits so far.
Heavyweight kickboxer Mark Miller is the only person to get back into the ring after open heart surgery. Here, check out this video about his story..
Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The opportunity to meet and photograph Mark was actually offered to me by Shelby – a model-turned-fighter who I was talking to about photographing for my series as well. But I’ll get to her story in a moment.
After Shelby told me a bit about Mark, what he’d gone through, and then reading more about him online, I knew his was a story I had to have in my series.
The idea for his portrait was simple. The image above is exactly what I envisioned too. Mark, pointing to his scar, with an expression that said “Yep. I came back from THIS.”
Bad. Ass.

This was the very first image I took of Mark.
Honestly, I love this one as well because I think for this brief second, his personality and humor came through in the shot. He did this pose and expression on his own and it’s a funny, creepy, and still powerful image. Admit it, you would NEVER get in the ring with him.

Shelby Jones was someone I was introduced to through a mutual friend of ours. I was told by our friend Lisa “You gotta shoot Shelby, John. She’s hot. Has bright red hair and tattoos. She’d be amazing with your work.”
Sweet, redheads intimidate the crap out of me. Probably because I’ve never worked with any. Ever.

But, Shelby and I started chatting and were discussing shooting “at some point”. Then, when I mentioned my portrait series lacking women, she volunteered herself for it. And after seeing some of the images I’d created for the series, said she would definitely be down to be in it. She also volunteered Mark (above) for it as well.

The funny thing was that I didn’t realize Shelby was now training to fight until I explained more of my series and the concept of creating portraits of people and a side of their life. Shelby’s background includes modeling, burlesque, dance, etc. I honestly thought that alone would be a cool concept.

But come on now… How awesome is it that she fights? Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

I played around with a few variations of this image. Ultimately I went with green, to contrast her bright red hair.
But seriously the concept of “hot girl who is also a fighter” will be cool to anyone… so I wasn’t worried about backgrounds at all.

The last shot we did was with some blood and scrapes makeup (Thank you to Samantha Ward our MUA!)
This was an idea that Shelby had. I didn’t want her to look completely beat up, so we kept it light. Because honestly you never want an image that looks like you lost… You want something that looks like you got knocked around a little bit.

Last, and certainly not least, is my dual-portrait of Rita von Riot.
Some of you who follow my work might remember Rita from the K&N Filters Calendar that I photographed a little over a year ago. Rita and I talked about shooting again last Spring, but timing just never worked out for us. Then she became pregnant with her daughter Rylee! So, of course, that kept us from shooting as well! Haha!

I was hugely flattered when I received an email a week ago from Rita who said that she’d been following my portrait series and loved all the images that were coming from it. She said she would love to be a part of it and had an idea for a mirror-image type shot that showed both sides of her life. One half would be the plain mommy-side of her life, and the other half a dolled-up model side.

I loved the idea and was also very interested in the challenge of creating such an image. I knew certain factors had to remain constant for the photo, but that there would also need to be major hair and makeup changes. Rita used her favorite MUA, Maria B. Muah, who was also used for the K&N shoot.

Adding Rylee into the photo was something I didn’t plan for or expect. And while it made things a little more difficult because Rita had to adjust her body a bit to hold her daughter, honestly, it really is what made the shot great. Plus it helped that Rylee was completely mesmerized by my light.

For those curious, this is a composite of five total images, and over 20 layers. It took quite a while to edit, but, was entirely worth it.

To give you an idea, here’s the Mom-photo from that afternoon.


All three are awesome new additions to my series and each one of them a great story, too!

This Thursday, at Playhouse Hollywood, I’m showcasing these photos along with a lot more of my portrait series. Hopefully everyone that is around can make it out and see my work on display! More info on that here:

You can also see higher resolution versions of these in my portfolio here:

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you at the show!!

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.

Ringflash testing with Liz Sterling

This week has been packed with a lot of running around, shooting various things, and also testing some new gear. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently picked up a ringflash. It’s been a lot of fun to play with because it’s such a different way of shooting than I’m used to.
Last week my friend, promo model Liz Sterling, asked me to come do a few shots for testing. Really it was just her way of getting me to come by for dinner to catch up – shooting was just motivation for me to drive since I always looking for excuses to play with my cameras.
So how many of you are actually reading this and not just staring at the photos?

I love the color in this one, except right after Liz and I realized we forgot set up a fan for her hair. Blast! Next time… next time..

I did a few self portraits for fun, too. This was one I did to be a bit more gangster style. I joked that if I ever release my own rap album that THIS will be my album cover for my self titled release.

This shot was a bit of a homage to my friend, photographer David Esquire. He took a similar shot but had a fisheye lens to use. I only had a 16mm.

Lastly, and possibly most important, is my upcoming Christmas card!

I’ve been working on this all week. It’s going to feature me, my friend model/stylist Lauren Parsons, and my friend Anthony also!

So, check back next week as I’m making the last few edits on my card tomorrow and will be ordering copies to send out to people!

Summer is back this November with Liz!

Do I have your attention?

This past Friday I went out to Huntington Beach with Liz to do some volleyball/beach shots that she wanted to shoot. I joked with my friends online that “I guessss I could tolerate a third beach day in a row and photograph a girl in a bikini…” Haha!
November and December tend to slow down for me work-wise. And, with California’s heat wave and 90-100 degree temperatures this week, I’ve been at the beach a lot relaxing.

But seriously, would anyone complain going to the beach on a Friday in November? No.

Liz, among other things, does promo modeling for companies, shows, conventions, etc. “Hi, you’re tall and gorgeous, can we pay you to come sell our products to people and all these big events?”… must be tough sometimes, don’t you think?
Anyway, Liz had a number of shots that she liked and wanted to try. So, we went through a lot of different ideas – all of them around the volleyball theme, though. So as I edited everything, I toned all of them very differently. One style of editing didn’t fit every style photo I shot that afternoon.

More photos after the break
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Smokin’ beach shoot with Marsha

“Take a picture of my fan club!” she said right after we wrapped this shoot. Marsha had gathered quite a large group of onlookers (not surprisingly) during our beach shoot at Santa Monica. And if my strobes weren’t aimed at the sand and sunset than I would definitely got a shot of them to share too, haha.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of working with Marsha, on location, at Santa Monica pier for a beach bikini shoot. Well, the shoot for the soon-to-be-released clothing line “Hatermaker” – but everyone will want to see the bikini photos first.

This is one of many shots we made during a gorgeous sunset – though it was pretty chilly out and both us were kneeling and laying down in the sand for the shots. Haha.

I’m looking forward to editing the rest of this shoot this evening, and will hopefully have some portfolio updates tonight with all my new work from the last three weeks, too. I look forward to potentially shooting with Marsha again as soon as our schedules both open up.

Check back soon all.

Automotive madness…

This is just going to be a quick update… and slight teaser of things to come.
My weekend is, has been, and will continue to be, filled with all sorts of cars.

Today I had the pleasure of shooting some of Anthony’s car collection over at Promax Motor Sports in Alhambra, CA. The shoot will be continued throughout the weekend, and then depending on things go… over the weeks to come.

Promax’s Smart Car… this thing is awesome, I want one now…


On Friday I attended the Garden Grove Classic Car show they have every Friday evening. Tons of beautifully restored classic cars. Everything from Model T’s to American Muscle. Very nice owners, beautiful machines, and an incredibly friendly atmosphere.

I attended meet to check out the cars, of course. But also to find the perfect car for an upcoming shoot I’ll be doing. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard and Sarah C., owners of a Red ’34 Chevy. Now, I don’t have any photos of the car right now, ironically… However, Richard and Sarah have been kind enough to colaborate with myself and a model for an upcoming pinup shoot.

Meet Kassandra. This shoot is going to be great…

So, I’m gonna keep this somewhat short… Check back tomorrow for futher updates… and watch for some major new additions to my portfolio.
Busy night ahead… with a lot more editing to do too…