A couple of weeks ago I met Kimberly Witort in Los Angeles for a Woodshop, a private, one day workshop. Kimberly is a great photographer from Washington and was in town with a couple of her friends for the week. We spent the afternoon going over business, workflow, processing and wedding day management and ended the afternoon with what was supposed to be a sunny shoot in Santa Monica. June gloom took the sun away but we still had a great time shooting at the pier.

Usually at the end of a Woodshop we'll shoot a couple or portrait session together but Kimberly decided she'd like me to shoot her and her 2 best friends instead. Here are a few of my favorites from the afternoon.

If you're interested in a private Woodshop shoot me an email. I'd love to hear from you!

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6 Comments Add A Comment
[August 3, 2010] Kimberly Witort said:
hee hee feels funny to be on someones blog.: ) If anyone is thinking about meeting with Michael you totally should he is very down to earth and fun to work with! Thanks Michael!
[August 3, 2010] Tracy said:
looks like it was a fun session. love the colours
[August 13, 2010] Beth said:
These pictures are so much fun! Love all of the great pops of color in them!
[August 17, 2010] stephanie said:
all these girls are gorgeous. love your photos!
[August 5, 2013] Clipping Path Outsource said:
Fantastic,it s a so nice photography. Love the inside the car shots.
[September 22, 2016] Thomas said:
You completed a number of fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found the majority of folks will agree with your blog.
While working on an album from a wedding I shot last year, I came across one of my favorite wedding party shots of all time. I don't try to do too much with wedding parties. I don't have them in crazy poses, jumping over each other or posing like Charlie's Angels. I'm not trying to make them look like models posed like they're too cool for school. This is a wedding. They're friends. I want them to look like they're a bunch of friends having a great time on the best day of the bride and groom's life. Simple, classic, timeless... at least that's my intention.

Sometimes I get close to what I'm after, this time I got exactly what I wanted from a wedding party photo. I love *everything* about this photo.


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[July 30, 2010] Jessica Zodikoff said:
This is one of the best wedding party photos I've seen. Love your philosophy.
[July 30, 2010] Fred Egan said:
Very good point Michael. Your/our clients will thank you/us as the years go on.
[July 30, 2010] Heather said:
Such a prefect shot!!!
[July 30, 2010] Adam Nyholt said:
Good stuff, Michael. I definitely agree with your philosophy, and love the shot.
[July 30, 2010] jenberry said:
i agree. natural. friends. real. i thing this is the perfect example. full of life
[July 31, 2010] Tracy said:
Its natural and its wonderful. Definitely prefer this over the posed stiff shots.
[August 3, 2010] Jon S6 said:
That's a fantastic shot!
[October 15, 2010] Mary said:
love it love it love it.
[November 6, 2010] LaVonne Crawford @Adorations said:
Agreed! Perfect! Thanks for sharing! Love it!

Several months ago I was hired to shoot what I thought was going to be a pretty typical engagement session in New York. Time passed and as the date came closer I got in touch with the couple to firm up the details. They told me they had some ideas about the shoot and then said they wanted it to have a 1950's theme. They wanted to shoot outside a diner, they were having a '56 T-bird there for the shoot, they were dressing up in 50's attire... in fact, it wasn't going to be typical at all.

One of the things they told me is that they wanted to shoot with the car outside the diner and have the sunset behind them. Well if you know anything about photography you know that in order for that to happen you're going to have to use lighting. I guess I could have done some HDR stuff but its not 2006 anymore. :)

So I rented a Profoto set up and drove out to New Jersey to the diner. The diner was awesome but it was also surrounded by cars, not from the 50's, which to me kind of kills the whole thing. So we positioned the car in the middle of the parking lot and I shot from pretty much the only angle that blocked out the rest of the cars and still showed the diner. I felt pretty good about the images as we were shooting but I never get too excited because you really never know what you're getting until you open them up. I even turned the strobes off at a couple of points and shot natural light just in case things weren't turning out as good as I thought they were.

When I opened the images up to begin working on them I just fell in love. Its so different from what I normally do but man they're so freaking cool.

While I typically work with natural light, when I was first getting started I never wanted to be in a situation where I felt unprepared so I learned as much as I could about off camera lighting. I'm by no means an expert but knowing this stuff has helped me get good images out of bad situations.

So here are a few of my favorites. I put in some of the natural light stuff as well. I think the difference is really interesting. Let me know what you think.

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36 Comments Add A Comment
[July 9, 2010] Jen Johnson said:
Super fun shoot! Love the off-camera stuff...gives the images an editorial feel! : )
[July 9, 2010] Mel McLellan said:
Well if it's one of your favorites ever, we had to check it out! :) Love the black and whites and the last one - supa sweet!
[July 9, 2010] matt said:
these are ridic. so clean & well thought out.
[July 9, 2010] Natalie Williams said:
LOVE!! Way to work the lighting!
[July 9, 2010] Amy Russell said:
I know it's not your normal gig, but these are some of my favorite images that you've ever delivered! Really, really cool stuff-- they not only look editorial, they look like stills from a film. I say you keep playing with the off-camera lights. Seriously!
[July 9, 2010] Tracy said:
Love the inside the car shots.
[July 9, 2010] Julie Boucher said:
Love them!
[July 9, 2010] Jennifer | Zinchuk Studios said:
Wow! What an amazing session!! Love the contrast between the lit and natural shots....and the night shots are sooo yummy!!
[July 9, 2010] Trent said:
Man. Can't believe how incredible these turned out.
[July 10, 2010] Adi Ulici said:
Wow, the lightning is gorgeous in these photos!
[July 10, 2010] Malinder said:
Amazing shoot! Love the lit pictures
[July 12, 2010] sarah k chen said:
hot stuff! you really rocked the shoot! and i'm so happy to see you blogging again! we've all missed you!
[July 12, 2010] Stephanie Castillo said:
[July 12, 2010] Stephanie Castillo said:
P.s. did you use ocf for some of these? If so, can I ask what you used? Thanks :)
[July 13, 2010] Kimberly Witort said:
Love them!
[July 13, 2010] evie said:
Awesome job, Michael! LOVE that car;)
[July 14, 2010] Kristin said:
Wow. These are amazing! Would you mind sharing exactly what lighting you used for these? It's so incredible!
[July 15, 2010] Lissette Q said:
[July 19, 2010] Daniel Balboa said:
Love those last few images. Hot hot hot!!
[July 22, 2010] Grace Tan said:
I love the stuff done with the off camera flash! It just looks so good and matches the theme. Saturated colours add to the feel as well.
[July 22, 2010] Grant Perry said:
I am SOOOO diggin' your honesty and that you were totally REAL in your explanation; way to go. Wish more photogs were honest with how and what they were thinking / doing with their stuff. Refreshing. I'm even more diggin' your spot on 100% rock-the-session sharpness and composures of this shoot. Way to go brotha'
[July 23, 2010] Austin Curtis said:
yeaaaaaah dog! I like that went out on a limb. These images are straight classic! It's not 2006 anymore... that is hilarious.
[July 23, 2010] mattaltmix said:
dude, the soft light coming in through the windshield, like they're at a drive-in theatre, money.
[July 23, 2010] Louisa Coulthurst said:
These are just brilliant! I loved all of them!
[July 24, 2010] Marge Cavazos said:
Stunning, simply stunning.
[July 28, 2010] Nellie Guerrero said:
Very spiffy and I love it :) Love the red lips and pumps!
[August 6, 2010] Kim O'Neil said:
These are sweet! For someone who doesn't shoot with OCF much, you sure nailed it! Would love to know the specs on your settings...
[August 22, 2010] carrie said:
dig it! v. cool :)
[August 27, 2010] Deanna Whyte said:
Oh my god! I love these! They are really different from your usual {gorgeous} photographs, and I love the natural light shots in there, but you've done SUCH an amazing job! Seriously HOT. They must have loved them!
[September 16, 2010] Sara said:
These are simply amazing! My faves are the ones you used lighting for. The sky looks incredible, and the in-car shots are just breath taking! I wish I knew a thing about lighting so I could get shots like yours!!
[September 25, 2010] Nikki said:
wow these pics are amazing!!!! you were the photog at my friend Onada's wedding I am sure the pics will come out just as nice! Wonderful job!!!!
[December 28, 2010] Albuquerque Wedding Photographer said:
Wow! Great session. I love the composition, colors and that car! Wonderful job.
[May 16, 2011] full lace wig said:
full lace wig and lace front wig are good
[February 13, 2012] Nicole said:
coolest engagement shoot ever!!!
[January 16, 2017] Mark said:
you have a terrific blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?
[January 17, 2017] John said:
You have brought up a very good details , thankyou for the post.

I was going through a shoot from a couple of weeks ago tonight and thought I'd put a few images up. I had such a great time with Chu and Antonio. They're such a great couple and this is actually not the first time I've taken Chu's photo. I shot her sister's wedding a couple of years ago and she was a bridesmaid.

One of my favorite images ever came out of their "pre-wedding" "day after" session:

Enough about them though, back to Chu and Antonio... :)

Here are a few images from my time with them.

I love these ones on their beach cruisers!

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[July 2, 2010] Johnny 5 said:
So great to have you back! I've missed coming here to see your work! This shoot is sick. Love the cruisers!
[July 6, 2010] Lissette Q said:
So HAPPY you are back. I miss seeing your work. Hope you and your beautiful family are enjoying New York!
[August 22, 2015] Anonymous said:
So HAPPY you are back. I miss seeing your work. Hope you and your beautiful family are enjoying New York! Clipping Path Service
[December 18, 2016] Daniel said:
Because here is a list of multiplayer games is that the leave was asked for more.
June 30, 2010 Photographers , Portraits

Well its been WAY too long but I'm back. Lot's of travel, lots of weddings, lot's of shoots, a cross country move... all this has added up to blogging being put on the back burner. Well that's over. This will be the first post of many. So keep coming back... and tell your friends that the rumor that I disappeared isn't true. :)

This shoot is from last year and I ad always meant to blog it but for some reason or another I never did. This is my friend Edmund Prieto. He's one of the nicest and most talented guys I've ever met. He's good at literally everything he does. One of the things he does is skateboard. At one time in his life he was a sponsored, touring skater. He asked me to shoot him last year so he could finally have some good images of him doing what he loves.

Here's Edmund.

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[June 30, 2010] [ b ] said:
OMG... that's the guy from "The Professionals"! I'm sorry Michael, was your last blog post in February? We need to have a chat.
[June 30, 2010] Lara said:
Such a fun shoot, Michael! Great to meet Edmund at WPPI this year. Gorgeous smile!
[June 30, 2010] Kenny Grill said:
CONGRATULATIONS! On remembering how to blog that is. ;)
[June 30, 2010] amy russell said:
Ummmm.... INSANE. This stuff is fantastic (as always), but I have to say that I like this grittier edge on you.
[June 30, 2010] Dominik said:
Hello Michael, nice to have you back :) so wonderful shots of Edmund - he is definately one of my favorite photographers :) Wish you all the best from germany dominik
[June 30, 2010] Morgan Taylor said:
Heck yeah! I Have to agree, I have know this guy for a long time! He is flipping Good at everything! Rad shoot too!
[June 30, 2010] s h e r r y said:
:) LOVE the panning shot- it's SWEEET. Haha. I recognize him from Geoff Duncan's blog, as well as "The Professionals." Is there ANYTHING that he can't do?
[July 2, 2010] Valerie said:
I just discovered your blog in the past month or so, while you were on this "hiatus." Glad you are back and I get to see more of your stuff! LOVE this skateboard guy!
[July 3, 2010] Edmund Prieto said:
Heck yeah man I love them! Im so proud of you for posting. I guess sitting down and talking to you really helped. haha
[July 3, 2010] Jacob Mariano said:
OH! So these were the photos Edmund told me about months ago. Good to see they really exist. lol. Nice shots.
[July 3, 2010] brad said:
Yea! you're back. Roaring! Nice shots.
[July 6, 2010] Lissette Q said:
Glad you are back. These are fabulous shots.
[July 7, 2010] jenberry said:
wow. everyone is lecturing you for not posting. i guess i have to say BAD BOY too. Not really, i never post. BUT regardless. these are killer. Full of personality
[July 28, 2010] Nellie Guerrero said:
He has a story behind his eyes. He seems like a gentle soul.
[July 29, 2010] Bri Grill said:
I've yet to meet Edmund but, from what I know, he has the greatest heart!

Here are a few of my favorite images from Kenny and Bri's engagement session last week in Santa Monica. They are so much fun to hang around and I CAN NOT WAIT for their wedding this summer at the Viceroy in Anguilla! It's going to be so awesome.

Kenny's also a great photographer here in Southern California. Go check out his work!

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[February 17, 2010] Bri Stine said:
That's me! Thank you so much! We love them!
[February 18, 2010] Sara said:
Great shoot! I love the creativity!
[February 18, 2010] ashley said:
Beautiful. I love the shots under the pier and their sweet interaction.
[February 18, 2010] chipgillespie said:
Dude, love this shoot -- but not *NEARLY* as much as I love that Defender in the second and third images!!! Holy Moses -- is that theirs?!?
[February 18, 2010] josh mccullock said:
Amazing session man! Great couple too!
[February 18, 2010] Kayla said:
I love these! Love the amusement park in the background!
[February 18, 2010] Tim Marman said:
Great photos Michael. Kenny can photograph and model, who knew.
[February 18, 2010] Hayley said:
i love their emotion that you were able to capture. the third to last is my favorite!
[February 18, 2010] jenberry said:
the colors of the beach shots are fabulous. love the light and her yellow shirt and the sand and their skin tones. gorgeous.
[February 19, 2010] ken grill said:
great photos
[February 21, 2010] Jamie said:
Those beach shots are killer... the one under the pier where shes pullin him in... get it girl!!!
[February 24, 2010] Jacob Mariano said:
Right on Kenny! Congrats on the engagement man. Love the images Michael. Great shots of a great couple.
[October 25, 2014] Matt Selby said:
Nice work, they must be real happy with these

Last week I shot Kristin and Mike's engagement photos in the hills near my house. I love this place! Look at it! They were so fun and easy to shoot and the light was just incredible! I can't wait for their wedding next year at Rancho Las Lomas, one of my favorite venues!

Side note to photographers... Every time I think about blogging I get this pit in my stomach. I mean, I love blogging but it always takes soooo loooooong getting the images ready to post. It's not the processing of the images, its the resizing, sharpening, putting my logo on, saving a version for web and a full size version that I dread. Well a couple of months ago that changed. I found out about a product called Blogstomp that does all of these things with literally just a few clicks. I still probably don't blog enough but there's definitely one less excuse. Haha. If you're a photographer, or just a blogger that posts lots of pictures go check them out and get yourself an early Christmas present. They are AWESOME.

I'd go through and tell you about my favorites but I love them all.

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[December 3, 2009] ashley said:
Wow, these are really beautiful. Gorgeous couple! I love the interaction between them. So sweet.
[December 3, 2009] Stephanie Castillo said:
Beautiful work Michael! Fabulous lighting!! I too love them all :)
[December 3, 2009] Jenny haas said:
great job as always! LOVE your work ;) [and she has gorgeous hair!]
[December 3, 2009] Hayley said:
wow! you are amazing!
[December 3, 2009] Bri Stine said:
I'm so jealous of Ladera Ranch's backyard! Great shots... standard!
[December 3, 2009] Jane Hasty said:
gorgeous! i can fell the love! Sweet!
[December 3, 2009] tim tabailloux said:
I'm diggin the whole taking pics of local flora during a shoot... it really adds a lot to the feel of the shoot! nicely done sir!
[December 3, 2009] s h e r r y said:
These shots are LOVELY. They look so happy, and that's just fantastic! :)
[December 3, 2009] Kristin Johnson said:
Hey, that's me!!! Michael, thank you for capturing the essence of Mike and me. Especially appreciate the pic of the flower, you are what I like to call ... an artist. :)
[December 4, 2009] kristin @ The Treasured Petal said:
These are so adorable! Such a gorgeous couple. This will be yet ANOTHER wedding we are both a part of :0
[December 4, 2009] debb campbell said:
wow, you look like models...such lovely photos of a real and wonderful couple!
[December 4, 2009] marlin munoz said:
Love the emotion and your use of light and I agree, I love them all! Wonderful set of images!
[December 4, 2009] Rachael@ Charmed Beauty said:
Kristin, you look gorgeous! I'm so excited to be doing your hair and makeup for your wedding as well! Beautiful work Michael!
[December 5, 2009] Amy said:
Stunning work, as always. The light is exquisite!
[December 6, 2009] jeret slack said:
Man love this set... Awesome location.. You always find the best ones :)
[December 6, 2009] jenberry said:
simplicity of talent, intuition, beauty, knowledge, perfect light. as always a huge notch above ordinary, without the extra ordinary fake. love your work.
[December 9, 2009] Shari said:
This is absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to see the wedding!
[January 11, 2010] Olivia said:
Cute couple! I checked out BlogStomp. Thanks for sharing - looks pretty useful! :)
[January 12, 2010] Jerry- Chicago Wedding Photographer said:
Love the colors in these shots!!
[February 3, 2010] Robert J. Trenske said:
Glowing light... check, beautiful couple... check, incredible photo, definite check, love this session!!
[February 20, 2010] Xander Swanson said:
so as I browse through your blog, I find myself wondering - how does a photog get so many fashionable, great looking clients to take such great photos of...? awesome work!
[February 1, 2011] Barbie Chatham said:
I'm so glad she my little cousin and so thrilled at what a wonderful couple they make. Welcome to the family, Mike

Last weekend I traveled to Dallas to shoot Taylor and Amanda's engagement photos. Taylor's a photographer based in Dallas. It's always fun shooting photographers because they're always up for anything, and know that even if you feel funny doing it, you have to work it in front of the camera. Taylor and Amanda were a ton of fun and I love these images and can't wait to go back to shoot their wedding in January at the Old Red Courthouse in Downtown Dallas.

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[November 19, 2009] kristin @ The Treasured Petal said:
They are so cute! Can't wait to see their wedding!
[November 19, 2009] Jane Hasty said:
[November 19, 2009] ashley said:
Beautiful- Gorgeous light =)
[November 19, 2009] Amy Coffey said:
You know I love these, Norwood. The ones with the city in the background... perfect!
[November 19, 2009] Kenny said:
That one of her on his back, might be one of my favorite shots you've ever taken. Composition, lighting, the whole bit... epic.
[November 19, 2009] Jeret Slack said:
love this one... love that guys car:)
[November 19, 2009] Edmund Prieto said:
Great great shots man!!!
[November 20, 2009] chipgillespie said:
Love this session. Thanks for sharing the wisdom this week. I think the 4th one down is my favorite...
[November 20, 2009] Emily Beaty said:
Beautiful work!!! Love this session. :)
[November 20, 2009] s h e r r y said:
I love the field and the light! Seriously awesome photos.
[November 20, 2009] eric von lehmden said:
awesome session. i'll second chip and say i love the 4th one down...classic piggyback. so nice meeting you and chatting with you this week. see you at Christmas!
[November 20, 2009] Brad Peters said:
like the ones with the power lines! Great idea!
[November 20, 2009] Maalaea w/ i and m photography said:
Such a lively shoot, I love it.
[November 20, 2009] Bill Blakey said:
God Bless Texas! These look great!
[November 23, 2009] Olivia said:
Love your photos- these are all really great! :)
[December 1, 2009] Brianna Phelan said:
Great set of images, very sweet couple :)
[January 12, 2010] Jerry- Chicago Wedding Photographer said:
Love the skyline in the background!
[January 15, 2010] HomeMade Bride said:
Stunning shots! I am really digging the plaid tie. Very cute couple!
[May 8, 2010] Darrell - Charleston Wedding Photographer said:
Nice work! I wouldn't normally integrate the power lines in the shot but you made it look really cool!
October 30, 2009 Family , Portraits , Travel

I love New York. I might even go so far as to say that its my favorite place on earth. Luckily, several times a year, work takes me there and Cyndie and I always take a little time for ourselves as well. We've spent a good amount of time there and don't really do the touristy thing anymore. We just spend the days shopping, walking the streets of Manhattan and planning out where our next meal will be.

A couple of the days we went up to Central Park. It was so incredible. All of the leaves were turning, the weather was perfect and crisp and there was even a jazz band playing one day. Could there be a more quintessential fall day?

I don't always bring my big camera along but this morning I did and I took a few shots of the city, park and even a few of Cyndie. Here are some of my favorites.

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[October 30, 2009] Brad Peters said:
sweet shots!
[October 30, 2009] jenny haas said:
[October 30, 2009] jamie delaine said:
i think central park is MAGICAL. love these photos: wow. but gotta say, definitely not a fan of NYC in general.
[October 30, 2009] ashley said:
Gorgeous photos. Your wife is beautiful! =)
[October 30, 2009] audrey said:
I love East Coast in the Fall. My hometown is MD. Wouldn't it be nice to have our pictures taken there huh Michael? Maybe in the Future we all can fly there for photo shoots. Audrey
[October 31, 2009] Kristine said:
Love these! If it's okay for me to ask, what were the NYC pictures shot at?
[October 31, 2009] Amy Hofschroer said:
Love the shots of Cyndie... stunning!!!
[November 2, 2009] chipgillespie said:
Love it, dude! Cyndie, you look beautiful!!
[November 2, 2009] Bri Stine said:
We have some of the same shots from our trip in August. Minus Cyndie and the changing leaves of course! Glad you two had fun!
[November 2, 2009] Yvett Mosqueda said:
Love the fall colors of Central Park! Thanks for sharing =)
[November 4, 2009] Rebecca Hoehne said:
BEAUTIFUL!!! And... your wife is HOT!!
[November 11, 2009] Cathy and David said:
Gorgeous shots man!!! Where's the food post you promised me? :-D
[November 16, 2009] Cameron Ingalls said:
Beautiful my friend! You rock always.... Much love
[November 19, 2009] Dennis Bullock said:
That last series rocks!
[November 22, 2009] Drew Renner said:
Mike I love these pics of NY. I love that time of year when the leaves change and begin to drop. It was fun being around you and edmund last night at the wedding.
[December 17, 2009] Chelsey said:
Such cute pictures of your wife! She's such a cute girl.
[February 3, 2010] Robert J. Trenske said:
Way to completely rock Central Park, there is no place better especially in the fall!

Last week Brandon and Stacey Gresham came out from Alabama to do a private WOODSHOP. At the end of the day we went out on a shoot and I had some friends of mine come model for me.

They did an incredible job and were so natural in front of the camera. The only bummer about the shoot was that it was cut a bit short after I was almost killed by a rattlesnake. It might have been the most terrifying moment of my life.

Here are a few favorites from the shoot!

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[September 18, 2009] chipgillespie said:
Almost killed?!? Did you get bit??
[September 18, 2009] Mark Brooke said:
nicely done!!! i had not checked the blog in a few days and when i did... 3 posts?!? Is Michael a changed man?
[September 18, 2009] Brandon G. said:
Michael, much thanks for letting us nag you for the day! Glad the snake missed us though. Been up to the field much recently? :-)
[September 18, 2009] jenberry said:
as usual you live up to expectations. beautiful light, timeless and natural
[September 20, 2009] Bethany said:
Yeah for pictures of my dear friends! They are naturally beautiful, great pictures!
[September 20, 2009] Hayley said:
Michael you did a great job with Nic and Emily. I LOVE these pictures!
[October 16, 2009] Shane LaFever said:
Great images.
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