All posts in Portraits/Concepts

Sedona Family Portrait Session

In Portraits/Concepts by getdrea / December 31, 2015 / 0 Comments

Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! from SEDONA, ARIZONA

I don’t know what you guys did for your holiday break (if you had one), but I went to go see my sister and her family in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a great time!  I hadn’t visited her out there in years.  I was definitely overdue for a desert adventure out in the old wild west.  After a lovely Christmas with plenty of food and laughs, my sister and I decided that we would take everyone to Sedona, which was only 2 hours away from Phoenix.  We wanted to take a family portrait with an epic desert background.  Sedona fit the bill.

We made it just in time for sunset for that perfect golden light.  The scenery in Sedona and all of it’s beautiful energy was definitely a perfect backdrop.  It’s been cold out in the west and Sedona was extra blustery.  It was a wind chill of 18.  Although, I think the wind chill had to be lower than that!  Brrrrrr!!!

We arrived as the sun was setting over bell rock.  We drove past a bit and found a park.  I got out a did a quick location scout.  I had my extra thick jacket (Thank you to my designer friend, Nordic Beach for the warmth), gloves, and a scarf.  We didn’t have much time so I tried to find a location quickly.  Thankfully, I found a location within 5 minutes.  I climbed off the path up a small hill and boom… the perfect sunset with the red rocks right behind.  I got the lights set up and we did a couple of shots.

I brought in my medium octagon with a strobe light.  My old handy 5d Mark III and the versatile, 24-70mm.  Although, I wish I had brought my 50mm for some of shots.  Either way the results came out pretty well!

They don’t look cold, but it was freezing!  My family are a bunch of troopers!  Off the jackets went and their epic poses!

Check out the results.

The Jones' Family in Sedona, AZ

The Jones' Family in Sedona, AZ

The Jones’ Family in Sedona, AZ

Lighting Technique:  I used the same Medium Octobox for these photographs.  The first photograph I lit them from the front with the sunlight coming from behind them creating that poster look.  There are several versions of this photo but I loved the sunlight coming from behind Shannon’s (my brother in law) left arm.  The strobe was on the left side.

The 2nd photo – I moved them to where I had placed the light before – to my left because I wanted a different background and I also wanted a different lighting effect.  Since the sunlight was now to my right, my subjects would be lit perfect already, but I wanted to add a little more pop to them, so I had my strobe light come from behind my subjects on MY right but behind them, which created more of a rim light.  This time my key light was the sun and my “pretty sprinkle” light was my strobe.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!  Woah!  Today is New Years!  2015 went too fast!  Bring on 2016!!!!

Oh I have to say the obligatory line “See you next year!”,_Arizona





I love television shows and films that are very stylistic.  That is why I am a big fan of movies/tv
shows such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “American Horror Story.”
I love how they light and how every character has a specific dark quality in the way they are captured.

I wanted to give it a shot.  Thanks for inspiration AHS and Mr. Burton!

I had the pleasure of shooting, Miss Kaitlin Cornuelle.  I wanted to try some portrait
photography where I would shoot what they call, “Day for Night” with a bluish undertone.  It’s
obviously not the complete dark/night effect but I wanted to lighten it up just a bit.
Next time, I’ll try to go for the full effect.

For those of you non-photo/filmmaker people, who don’t know what Day for Night is: Day
for Night means when you are trying to achieve the evening look with broad day light shining
down on you.

Then the magic happens in the editing room for film and for photographers like myself, with the
magic of programs such as Adobe Photoshop.  If I showed what this original photo looked
like, it would be shocking the difference. I wanted to create almost a eerie feeling and to
achieve the semi “Day for Night” look.

Camera: Canon 5D Mark 3
Lens: Canon 24-70mm L Series

My Lightning Technique:  As I have mentioned from my previous posts, I love using natural
lightning to use as a key source or a filler.  This time, it was really cloudy and I didn’t have that
option, which may have been to my advantage.  I used a strobe with a octagon soft box to the
very left of her face to create shadows, which gives more of a dramatic effect.

Wardrobe:  Kaitlin brought her own vintage looking dress and I added the vintage hat that I
bought from Los Feliz a couple months ago (perfect!  I knew I’d find use for it).  We curled her
hair for more of a classic look.

I loved working with Kaitlin.  Her look is perfect for this and we had a blast just coming up
with how to achieve this concept on the fly.  I am looking forward to collaborating with her some more.

Here’s what we came up with 🙂


Kaitlin Cornuelle - Portrait Photography

Kaitlin Cornuelle – Portrait Photography Day for Night poster photography


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: