Drea Castro's Official Blog


Hey folks!  Two days ago I got to have a photo session with the lovely Jasmine. She is turning 13 and I will be shooting her snowy themed Bat Mitzvah on January 31st! We shot her pre-bat mitzvah Photo Session at El Matador State Beach in Malibu!

These photos are going to be displayed at the event and I think it came out pretty good!

One of my most favorite places to shoot because of the dramatic lighting it provides during that beautiful golden hour sunlight (a photographer’s most favorite thing).  Usually, there are tons of yellow flowers behind where she is standing during the spring time, but they weren’t blooming yet, which allowed for some pretty bluish undertones in the scenery.  I actually love the new look it provided.

Some of my lighting techniques:  I prefer using a softbox to light from the front of the subject while using a strobe.   I also love using natural lightning as another light source.  Nothing beats the setting sun and we waiting a couple hours to capture some of these shots.  With a couple of these shots, I lit her from the front usually not directly.  I like using the strobes to either the left or right of the subject.

The shots below by the beach, were taken with natural light before sunset.

CAMERA:  Canon 5d Mark III
Lens:  50mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8

I can’t wait to shoot her actual party! 🙂
Bat Mitzvah Photo Session - The top of El Matador - Cool Hat, Blue Jeans, and Chiffon Top.

Bat Mitzvah Photo Session - Natural Archway carved by the sea - Jasmine - Bat Mitzvah Shoot
Bat Mitzvah Photo Session- Jasmine - El Matador - Boots, Silk Shirts, and some Blue JeansBat Mitzvah Photo Session - Jasmine and the cliffs of El Matador






Sunset Photography with Bibi Amos








Sunset Photography with Bibi Amos




Sunset Photography with Bibi Amos

Sunset Photography with Bibi Amos


I had the pleasure of shooting with actress, Bibi Amos originally from the Congo.  I had this shoot in my mind for quite sometime and I had a vision that I really wanted to try out and create.  I think that I was able to achieve what I was trying to go for.  Shooting for sunset is so stunning.  Everything is warm and peaceful.  The sky turns into a painting.

Here’s the steps I took to make this happen:

STEP ONE: Find a Model

I love Bibi Amos.  We worked on a film a couple years ago.  She was producing and acting in a film and I was one of her actors in it.  She is a beautiful spirit both inside and out.  One of the most stunning women I have ever met.  I needed a model who could convey the strength of the character I wanted to portray here.  These photographs of Bibi is an essence of who she is.  She is originally from the Congo, but also a very powerful spirit.  BAM!  So Step One was easy and complete!

STEP TWO:  Wardrobe

Bibi, who is originally from the Congo in Africa had a beautiful array of traditional clothing.  This one was perfect.  I loved the way the colors popped on her skin.  The yellow, red and white colors was an assistant contrast to her skin.  She also had a stunning necklace which also come from the Congo.  Wardrobe. Check!

STEP THREE:  Find a Location

This is one of my favorite hiking trails in LA.  I live in the Burbank area because I am an avid hiker.  I knew that this hiking trail had a beautiful view that looked non-descript.  I wanted to find a location that resembles peace. – Wildwood Canyon.  Poor Bibi had to hike in her outfit though and my assistant and I had to walk up with some equipment.  I think it was worth it.

STEP FOUR:  Find an amazing assistant

Before I was going to hike to this location, I would need at least one assistant.  I cannot say enough.  You cannot do these kind of shoots alone.  You can attempt to, but if you want to take it to the next level, you need a good teammate.  So thank you to Miss Noelle Meaway who aided me in the hike to the trail

STEP FIVE:  Find the perfect time

Sunset Photography means finding that perfect light at the right time.  This beautiful light is produced during what they call in the film world “Golden Hour” which happens at either sunset or sunrise.  I chose to shoot this at sunset.  Before I even shot Bibi, I would hike this trail for sunset often, so I knew exactly where the light would hit.  Sometimes you can find that light perfectly and just shoot, but it’s nice to just be familiar with the light that you will be working with.  Research is important when trying to fulfill a perfect vision in a portraiture.  Although, there are times, when happy photo accidents happen.  In this case, this magic was planned.

STEP SIX:  Get your gear and hike up that mountain.

Once you got all of the above, you get your model, the outfit, the camera, lenses, strobe light, back up and trudge up that hill.  So we did… with some napkins for Bibi’s “she’s a trooper” sweat.  We finally got to our location – I set up the light at first to the left of her.  I wanted the natural sunset glare to come from her left shoulder to create an almost ethereal feel to the photo.  As the sun descended and it got darker, I moved the light to the right and created more of a dramatic light to her face.

Good times!  Thanks for checking this out guys!  Sunset Photography all the way! 🙂


More Sunset Photography Tips on these sites below:




Jessica & Mark welcomes Baby Maya – Maternity Session

In Baby Showers by getdrea / March 2, 2014 / 0 Comments
Jessica and Mark - Maternity Session in Malibu, Ca

Jessica and Mark – Maternity Session in Malibu, Ca


I had fun shooting the maternity session for a former wedding client of mine, Mark & Jessica!  I shot their wedding nearly 3 years ago and now they are welcoming a new addition to their family.   They asked me to shoot their Maternity Session.  We decided to do some shots at one of my favorite beaches, El Matador State Beach, Malibu.  I shot with natural light in this one.  I had a couple of creative ideas using shoes and names carved out in the sand.  It wasn’t the usual at El Matador Beach.  It was kind of cloudy!  If you have been following my work through the years, you know how I love to use sunlight to shape my shots.    I had sunlight but the shining rays of light I always used.  Either way, the setting is beautiful no matter what!  We had a lot of props that we used which Jessica and I talked about before arriving there.

That is the key to any shoot – preparation.  The more prepared you are, the better off you are.  Of course, sometimes the best photos are accidents, but generally for clients, I love to shoot having somewhat of a plan.  A couple of photos here were shot on the hill of Pepperdine University and CA-1 which actually wasn’t planned at all, but right at that spot, at that moment, I could get the beautiful rays of light (my favorite).  Then after a couple of sporadic fun shots, we ran over to El Matador State Beach for the remained of the maternity session.   Jessica has always been stunningly gorgeous and as a mom, even more so!  Congrats again you two!

Check out our beautiful afternoon at the beach!  IMG_0875_1-2_1 IMG_0849_1-2_1 IMG_0827_1-2_1 IMG_0495_1_1 IMG_0430_1_1 2B6A8857_1_1 2B6A8827_1_1 2B6A8800_1_1 2B6A8785_1_1 2B6A8695_1_1 2B6A8689_1_1 http://www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=145