Tag Archives: featured

Our need to think we are originals

Arianna in Aztec dance costume spinning in late evening fading light at Tios Tacos restaurant. Original? Probably not, Aztec dancers have been photographed over and over again. My ‘spin’ on this was just asking Arianna to spin during the exposure and timing it so her face was lit by my Speedlites.

I prefer a face or a person to a landscape.

Whenever I post a landscape or a scenic, which is kind of a rare occurrence,  too often I’m asked, “So…where is this place?” It would be polite to at least say something about the picture before you ask where I took it. (I’m not fishing for a compliment, just saying it’s being courteous)

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Simplifying is the key to better pictures

While we like to always have a clean uncluttered background in our pictures, sometimes all we can do is use the longest focal length lens we have. At times, that isn’t enough to minimize the distractions. Then it’s time to see if we can isolate by moving around. Ideally we want a vantage point where our subject is lit but not our background.

As photographers we have to simplify because as powerful as photoshop is, we can’t always eliminate in post production

So in our world, our canvas has to be protected from erroneous objects that distract from our subjects.

But before we can decide what is distracting, we have to  be absolutely clear about what’s our primary subject is.

Faces are important–Waiting for the right moment when his face is visible made all the difference in the world.Don’t you agree? Compare this to the picture below when I first happened on the scene.
When I first arrived. Of course, i was excited and started shooting but I was also aware of the composition and decided it could be stronger. Both pictures were shot full frame no cropping.

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More tips to improving your photo skills

Regardless of your skill level, all these are relevant.

So here are my suggestions for improving your photography

    1. Seek out positive mentors. There are so many out there but not all are compatible with your way of thinking
    2. Having your camera with you increases the odds you will use it or you will come across something interesting or unexpected. Phones are ok but often they respond too slowly

      Bring your camera with you everywhere. You’re dropped a fortune on it  already, it doesn’t cost you anything to tote it everywhere, use it

    3. Break down pictures you like, specifically ask yourself what was used to take the picture. You may be surprised with the workarounds that exist that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Read more about how I made this picture of water polo player Nicholas.

      Keeping his cool– Despite the frigid water temperature, Nicholas was a good sport. My main light, a Canon 600-EX-RT Speedlite at camera right, was triggered by Yongnuo YN-600-EX transmitter. Canon 40D with 17-35mm lens. ISO 400 1/250 f8

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Faces of 2016

Over the course of a year, I’m quite surprised at times at the variety of faces my camera sees.


The majority of these are portraits.

Some are subjects I’ve photographed previously.

Others, are 1st timers.

I’ve learned I have to do my absolute best because that portrait I make could be something extremely precious.

Cece Alvarado

I’m very lucky that my clients arrive knowing they can expect my absolute best effort.

I’ve always believed that first impression a visitor to your website gets when they see your portrait is one you can control.

It’s after all a still image so you can absolutely make it your ‘best’ side.

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