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Help save my favorite coffee house Back to the Grind

Professional belly dancer Hadia Habibi posing for pictures with me during a break in the basement of Back to the Grind coffee house.

Professional belly dancer Hadia Habibi posing for pictures with me during a break in the basement of Back to the Grind coffee house.

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time taking my students on field trips around the city but nowhere do I feel most at home than at my friend Darren Conkerite’s  coffee house, Back to the Grind.

Hadia Habibi dances with a torch in the basement of Back to the Grind for this picture. I lit her with 2 Speedlites during this 10 second-exposure

Hadia Habibi dances with a torch in the basement of Back to the Grind for this picture. I lit her with 2 Speedlites during this 10 second-exposure

He’s been very generous to me. Continue reading

This 36" x 24" print fetched $400 at a silent auction during this year Mayor's Celebration of the Arts. I donate a piece of photography every year to help the Riverside Arts Council raise funds.

Advice to aspiring photographers

This 36" x 24" print fetched $400 at a silent auction during this year Mayor's Celebration of the Arts. I donate a piece of photography every year to help the Riverside Arts Council raise funds.

This 36″ x 24″ print fetched $400 at a silent auction during this past weekend Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts. I donate a piece of photography every year to help the Riverside Arts Council raise funds. Truly what is a piece of art worth? I feel my donation to this organization is important because it generates funding but it also gives me a good gauge pricing my work.

Recently I met with a graduate with a Visual Arts degree in Painting and Museum studies  from a local university.

She wanted to meet to discuss her photography.

Continue reading

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Belly dancer portraits at “Shimmy for Critters 2014″

Nancy, Brenda and Mary pose with "Burrito" during the Shimmy for Critters fundraiser at the Riverside Animal Shelter.

Nancy, Brenda and Mary pose with “Burrito” during the Shimmy for Critters fundraiser at the Riverside Animal Shelter.

A common mistake when selecting a photoshoot location is not accounting for 3 dimensions around your subjects.

If all you are photographing is one person for a headshot and not their full body, then you won’t need a lot of room.

But when you take on  3 or more people in a photo, then you will encounter all kinds of headaches. Continue reading

A photo shoot should never be all serious

Try high key lighting for a different mood

Maria who had exquisite skin required very little makeup and even less post production touchup

Maria who had exquisite skin required very little makeup and even less post production touchup

Lighting conveys mood.

Most of the portraiture you see on this blog is of the type described as low key.

Tones are dark and there’s lot of shadows and highlights suggesting 3- dimensionality.

So I thought I might write about the other type of lighting  seen mostly in studio shoots, the type I don’t use as often. ;-)

High key portraits tend to have diffused or very little shadows. Continue reading

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Photo tips from a creative Southern California photographer