01Feb

It’s all about having the “True” Eye

By, February 01, 2021

With over 17 years of photographing professionally, we’ve seen our share of beautiful locations, some of which have been designed to look perfect. But not all locations have what many would consider “a lot to work with.” For example, a photo shoot could take place in a nondescript backyard. Or the light condition may be really harsh. Or perhaps, due to rain, the shoot may be moved indoors at the last minute. No matter the environment, it’s our job to make the photos look their very best!

When we are presented with a challenging location, there are two techniques that we like to follow. One is to use the location as it is. We incorporate the existing conditions into the photo shoot, and show the background as it is. Ex: if we are in a supermarket parking lot, this will be apparent in the finished images. We take what we have to work with, and find ways of making it interesting and creative. 

The other technique we use is to re-purpose the environment. We basically work around the constraints of the location, looking for dramatic lines, angles, unique lighting and focal blurs. The result is nice stylized shots, even if you can’t tell exactly where they were photographed.

To demonstrate these techniques, and take you through our creative process, we selected a location in downtown San Diego. This spot is just down the street from our studio. 

This is a building just outside of our studio that is currently under construction.

When looking critically, from our perspective, here is how we see the location:

When we scout out a location, we are looking at it from a very different frame of mind than the everyday eye. We look for opportunities that may typically go unseen. We start to look for potential opportunities that may photograph well.

After stepping into the shot, we can better identify potential spots for our subject.

Having scouted the location, and determined our plan, here are a few examples of the results.

Example 1: Traffic median and building under construction

Here is a traffic median (left) and a building under construction (right).

Here is what the “True” eye sees :) The picture on the left was just the floor in the center median, which made for a nice graphical background. On the right, we used a long lens to shoot through the environment. This added visual interest, and tied in the colors.

Example 2: Normal street view

Here is what a normal street view looks like in this spot.

Above is what the “True” eye sees :) By using a long lens, and looking for interesting lines, we were able to take a standard city view (street crosswalk and rows of lined trees) to create two dynamic images.

Example 3: A small spot of greenery

Here is… not all that much to see. These are the bushes that you often find in a center median. Not the prettiest, but the only greenery nearby.

Here  is what the “True” eye sees :) We wanted to show color within the photograph, and this location was very narrow. To make the image look more lush, we photographed at a sharp angle.

Example 4: A crosswalk under construction

Here is a crosswalk under construction… We were drawn to the potential of the white, wooden construction boards.

Here is what the “True” eye sees :) We re-purposed the environment in the absolute simplest fashion, using the construction boards. This kept the backdrop high-contrast and clean.

Rather than trying to hide the environment, we made use of it, and looked for cool symmetry and lines.

For more creative uses of the city streets in our photography, check out our full gallery of urban downtown photos

14Aug

Stress-Free Family Wedding Portraits

By, August 14, 2020

During your wedding planning, you may likely wonder how to successfully prepare for family photos. With the right formula, family photos can be a smooth process, no matter how big your family is!

Here are the steps we take on our end to ensure your family portraits are a success:

  1. Your photographer sets up a call, typically a month before your wedding day to learn more about your family. We understand that every family is different, so your lead photographer will do their best to understand all of the dynamics before the big day.
  2. On the wedding day itself, there is a systematic and organized process. The process often starts with taking a large group photo of one side of the family (typically the bride’s side first). The photographer will then say something like, “please raise your hand if you are cousins. :)” Once hands are raised the photographer will tell those folks to go enjoy cocktail hour and will ask everyone else to stay. Another picture will be taken. The next announcement may be “Aunts and Uncles, you’re all set and can head to cocktail hour.” What is left at this point is your immediate family, their spouses and any grandparents.  As the crowd is narrowed down, we are able to capture more intimate groupings, such as grandparents, parents and siblings. This method ensures that everyone is photographed.  This same process will be repeated with the groom’s side of the family.

Here are the steps you can take on your end to ensure success: VERY IMPORTANT! Continue Reading →

18Jul

Understanding the Light

By, July 18, 2017

On the wedding day, even with the most careful of planning, the lighting and weather can still be unpredictable. So how do you prepare for something you can’t plan for? When selecting a photographer to capture your wedding day, part of what you are paying for is someone who knows how to get the most out of any lighting situation. With years of experience comes preparation, and the ability to get creative, even in most challenging of lighting scenarios. Here are some examples of difficult lighting conditions we’ve faced, and the results we pulled off :)

Wedding portrait session at the docks.
When Katelynn and Douglas tied the knot at Bali Hai, the sun was in full force. Our photographers strategically placed them so that the sun was behind them, avoiding unflattering shadows and lighting patterns while maintaining theu00a0fun setting of environmentu00a0in the photo.
A newly married couple smile for a portrait.
Newly married couple walking on golf course.
Bridal portrait on beach.
Newlyweds kiss just before the sun sets.
A couple enjoys a twilight hour kiss.
After Tracy and Nathan's ceremony, they enjoyed a romantic, post sunset portrait session in Seaport Village.u00a0 u00a0At this time, natural light was certainly scarce but this didn't stop their True Photographers from capturing the romance. Balancing the ambient light and back-lighting to create separation from the background created a more edgy photograph.
A couples first kiss in the city.
A couple kisses under twinkle lights.
Newlyweds kiss in front of a botanical garden.
A night reception on castle lawn.
One of the darkest situations that can occur is a night reception outdoors. Market lighting is a fun and practical detail that creates a great ambianceu00a0in person, however, it takes know how to capture u00a0it to it's fullest potential on camera. Marguerite and Julian will be able to reflect on the romantic ambiance at Mt. Woodson because of utilizing proper exposure and aperture technique. If this was photographed with artificial flashes, the entire feeling from that night would be lost.
Ceremony in the night.
Groom dips his bride for a romantic moment in the rain.
A gentleman holds an umbrella for his bride.
Acouple enjoy a sparkler exit
A True photographer would never allow rain to put a damper on a couples special day. Embracing those raindrops for a unique photo opportunity is what we are here for. Rather than running for shelter,u00a0u00a0Natalie and Joelu00a0(below) continued their funu00a0downtownu00a0and Vanessau00a0and Davidu00a0(above right) boldly shared a moment under the market lights of Scrippsu00a0creating memorable experiences they will never forget.
A couple plays with sparklers at a wedding
A couple writes love with a sparkler

To see more about the “lighter side” of weddings, check out some nighttime market lighting photos by our studio.