Category Archives: Portrait Studio

Newborn Photographer

Capture Memories of Your Infant – Newborn Photography in Los Angeles

The tiny bundle of joy brings such changes in your life – all for the better! The wonderful journey has begun, which is why you need to start chronicling it as well. This is an exciting time for parents, so hiring abut finding the best professional for Newborn Photography in Los Angeles is not so daunting task anymore.a newborn photographer to take lovely pictures is a must-have experience for your family.

Los Angeles Baby Photographer

Don’t worry – Linnea is there to lend a hand!

However, newborn photography can be challenging to say the least, and knowing the best way to click pictures of babies takes both time and patience but finding the best professional for Newborn Photography in Los Angeles is not so daunting task anymore. Fortunately, you have an expert within reach – Linnea Lenkus – who has been dabbling with this style of photography for years. She knows exactly how to deal with newborns during portrait sessions, even if the baby is crying and not in the best of moods!

What are your preferences?

Before hiring Linnea, a vital aspect is to determine what style you want. Newborn photography, can be roughly divided into two categories – lifestyle and stylized – take a look:

  • Lifestyle is aimed toward a far more laid back session where the photographer comes to you and clicks the newborn in his or her natural setting. The baby is generally clothed and photographed against mom, dad and sometimes family pets.
  • Stylized sessions are designed with special props like fabrics, baskets, etc. These sessions are done within a controlled environment where the temperature and lighting are crucial for obtaining a resting curled up baby. In a variety of images, the little one is placed in specific positions to showcase the face, hands, fingers, feet and toes.

A few pointers to remember

One of the most popular poses of newborn photography is the parents holding the baby with individual images of the mother and father with the child as well. Try to ensure the baby is in a happy mood – don’t try to force or cajole, or else the entire session might go to waste. Ideally, the session should be held when the newborn is either asleep or about to doze off.

Linnea is a Los Angeles based photographer; specializing in portrait photography. Two of her studios are located in Long Beach and Pasadena, but she can schedule “on location” sessions as per your convenience. You don’t have to bother with the technical stuff – she takes care of all that with the help of her creative team. She uses a lot of “window light” that is artificially conjured in her portrait studio, as a frequent light source. Go ahead and fix an appointment to get the ball rolling!

Browse Newborn Photographs by Linnea Lenkus

video screenshot of parents holding their baby photographed by Southern California photographer Linnea Lenkus

How to Pick a Photographer

Over the years, and recently with increasing frequency, I’ve received phone calls from people who are interested in my portrait photography but who have not even seen my website.

I must stress to you, if you don’t already know, that every photographer has a different style and a different eye for lighting, styling, perspective and photography products. Yet, too many people choose a photographer based solely on location and price. But those are probably the variables you should consider last. I am quite flattered that I have very many clients who travel by plane or car for hours to get to me from all corners of the globe. Many of those clients have returned to me several times.

When I first talk with potential clients I ask them if they like my style of photography. They often are confused by the question. “Style?”, they sometimes ask, “What do you mean?” Well, I have my own unique vision of what I want to see in a photograph. The photographer down the street has a different one. And individual style and personal vision matter are immensely important in the photography world.

I was recently talking with a client and mentioned that a photographer does not have to be certified or have a degree to conduct a photography business. They must simply have a business license. But I guarantee that many do not even have that – – ask them. I have often talked with young photographers who have never worked in the business, never had a degree, never even went to a photography convention, never took any photography classes and yet they have a website saying that they can service a client. As shocking as it may seem, you don’t need to have any experience at all to start a business or website. And unlike, say a doctor, a person who simply owns a camera can represent themselves as a photographer (if they don’t have a conscience) to any potential client.

I am a dinosaur in this business. I’ve been a photographer for over 25 years which means I entered into it working with negative and slide film. That takes a precise training. I’ve been a portrait photographer for over 17 years (that doesn’t include the 3 years working for a huge portrait studio chain when I was 18). I have seen so many would be photographers come and go because they don’t apply themselves, because they don’t actually believe in customer service or, most commonly, because they never developed their skills or a unique professional style.

To be a professional photographer you must wear many, many hats at the same time. Most importantly, you must have good people skills. You must be feel comfortable in talking quite a bit with your clients to distract them from their uncomfortableness. You have to be honest because you must let a photographic subject know if their outfit won’t work or they have food in their teeth. You have to multi-task to make sure that your photo gear is working or what your light meter says. You must make toddlers safe and content while they are in the unusual situation of being photographed and you must direct your subjects’ wardrobe and posing. You have to be flexible enough to be able to move at a moment’s notice to another setup, an outfit that you don’t care for, or another angle or perspective.

To my great pleasure, and dismay, you must perfect great computer skills to be proficient professional photographer. You have to have passion about photography to sustain you through the countless tangential tasks required of a business owner. And most of all, you have to have a vision…a definite idea of what you know looks good and what you want to see in your finished photography product.

A final esoteric necessity is consistency. All photographers have those magical moments when the client, the clothes, the lighting all comes together for that amazing image that seems to come from the heavens. We all do. But can a photographer repeat it? And do they know how and why to do so? A true professional photographer knows how to analyze their photography. They know what questions to ask. They know from experience and, if they are lucky, from natural instinct. But experience…it’s the key. Hang on newbies for many years and then you’ll know. You’ll know how to fine tune your business or even whether you should continue it or not.

There is a reason why many “photographers” simply hand over a CD of all the images…because they don’t want to face the rejection they must endure if you dislike what they did and they figure that bulk over quality will make up for it. Those are the photographers who leave their businesses after a few years…or they actually try to make money teaching wannabe photographers claiming their expertise. I’m very fortunate to have made all those mistakes in my first 5 years of business. I stuck it out to chase my vision. I now sit together with my clients after our portrait session to help them decide. Luckily they usually have the problem of liking too many images so that it takes a while to choose the portraits they wish to purchase. I help them part with the mediocre images and teach them about art and photography. Otherwise they would be so overwhelmed that they would never make a decision.

So when you’re choosing a photographer to create images of you, your children or your family consider vision and experience. Too many of your potential choices are “photographers” who picked up a camera yesterday. Consider style. Consider service. Consider time. Consider consistency. Consider experience. And most of all consider quality.

Child Photography Los Angeles

This Child Photographer Talks About Getting a Kid Ready for a Photography Session

I’ve been a child photographer for over twenty years. I also have three kids and have seen them through the younger years, so I’m pretty aware of how a child, especially a younger one, operates.

Kids run out of steam easily. Imagine having 20 cups of coffee first thing in the morning and then spinning out of control until you collapse. That’s a kid. And as the day goes on they tend to get crankier and crankier until you have to get them down for the night. Been there, done that.

Child Photographer Family Portraits

A photography session is unfamiliar to your kids and it is not unusual for them to act out during the session.

You have a schedule and it sure is easier for you to do a photography session after work or after school, but I beseech you to understand that YOUR schedule is not THEIR schedule.

Too often we are asked to do an afternoon portrait photography session with kids. I’m sorry, unless you are a rock star who keeps your kids up to 1am (I have photographed those kids and they are different) I will have to refuse. Why? Because photographing 2 snapshots of your kid in the afternoon is one thing, but asking for their good behavior and focus for longer than that is a disaster. I know because I have gone outside of my own rules too many times, and although I have managed to get something, it’s not always perfect and it always, always, always ends up with the parents saying, “I don’t understand, she’s not normally this bad.” I understand. I do.

Child Photography Los Angeles

Don’t let your portrait session turn upside down!

So, I ask you to please bring your children for a portrait photography session when THEY are at their most optimum. Ninety percent of the time, that’s in the morning. You will be so proud of their behavior and it will be smooth sailing.

Kids Portraits LA

Ready, set, smile! A well rested child ensures a successful photography session.

Fine Art Studio locations are in Pasadena and Long Beach in Southern California, USA. If you are looking for the best child photographer and want stunning kid portraits then your search is over! Call for your own creative child photography session with Linnea Lenkus today! 562.981.8900.

Nude Photographer Los Angeles

Privacy First | Nude Photography

Privacy comes first with my nude photography and in light of all of the controversy stirring around the recent hacked photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, I decided it was time that I blog about how I protect my clients. Celebrity or not,  if you privately pose for nude photographs you shouldn’t expect that your identity will be exposed.

Nude Photographer Los Angeles

Here you can see that her face has been blurred to protect her identity.

I have specialized in elegant and creative nude photography for over two decades and the privacy of my clients is extremely important to me. At my portrait studios my staff and I go above and beyond to ensure that our client’s privacy is protected. One of the biggest differences between my studio and a lot of the new photographers popping up today is that I do not export my images to a photo lab or to a third-world retouching mill to be retouched. Yes, it’s a lot cheaper to export your images to those retouching factories but who knows who is looking at them or where they go from there? It is actually quite scary to think that someone you don’t know has the power to see things you don’t want them to see. I only work with a private local retouch artist that I have been working with and have trusted for years.

Nude Photographer Los Angeles

I always photograph my clients without their faces showing not only because the pose is beautiful but it is an image I can share without revealing their identity.

Now I still show my fine art images on both of my websites and in art galleries because I stick to a strict set of guidelines that I have followed and have enforced since the beginning of my photography business. To protect my client’s privacy faces are altered, blurred or cropped out and distinguishing marks are removed or altered if the client has expressed that they wish to remain anonymous. My clients that appear unaltered have given me consent and are excited to show off their bodies in such a refined way.

Maternity Photographers

You can easily crop the images in a way that is both flattering to the image and protects your client.

With that being said, I have always and will always photograph the female body in a respectful, classical and sophisticated style. I think of nude photography as something classy that should hang in a gallery or museum. The curve of a woman’s body, to me, is what’s beautiful…not the taboo imagery associated with boudoir photography.

Visit my Nude Photography Gallery

Call 562.981.8900 for your own Fine Art Nude Photography Session.

Los Angeles Family Photographer

Los Angeles Family Photographer

I always enjoy taking family portraits as the natural energy and affection surrounding the family makes for great images. Here I captured intimate newborn portraits, both parents alone with each child along with heartfelt family portraits.

Los Angeles Family Photographer  Los Angeles Family Photographer  Los Angeles Family Photographer   Los Angeles Family Photographer  Los Angeles Family Photographer   Los Angeles Family Photographer  Los Angeles Family Photographer   Los Angeles Family Photographer   Los Angeles Family Photographer  Los Angeles Family Photographer

Linnea Lenkus specializes in Children, Family, Maternity, and Celebrity studio photography as well as Fine Art Nude photography. She is a highly experienced, internationally published, professional portrait photographer with worldwide commercial success.  In a portrait photography session with Linnea Lenkus, clients will receive the benefit of her unique artistic eye and her technical mastery honed over decades of photography experience. Linnea employs a talented staff of specially trained creative photography experts who oversee every step of the initial booking and production process to make sure every client has a truly pleasurable experience and receive absolutely beautiful portraits of the highest quality.

Studio locations are in Pasadena and Long Beach in Southern California, USA. We also have talented associate photographers that go on location and service both the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

If you are looking for the top Los Angeles Family Photographer then look no further! Call for your own unique family photography session with Linnea Lenkus today! 562.981.8900

LA Maternity Photographer

LA Maternity Photographer

I really enjoyed this couple and was able to capture the love and happiness that they share with each other.

LA Maternity Photographer   LA Maternity Photographer   LA Maternity Photographer   LA Maternity Photographer



Linnea Lenkus specializes in Children, Family, Maternity, and Celebrity studio photography as well as Fine Art Nude photography. She is a highly experienced, internationally published, professional portrait photographer with worldwide commercial success.  In a portrait photography session with Linnea Lenkus, clients will receive the benefit of her unique artistic eye and her technical mastery honed over decades of photography experience. Linnea employs a talented staff of specially trained creative photography experts who oversee every step of the initial booking and production process to make sure every client has a truly pleasurable experience and receive absolutely beautiful portraits of the highest quality.

Studio locations are in Pasadena and Long Beach in Southern California, USA. We also have talented associate photographers that go on location and service both the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

If you are looking for the top LA maternity photographer then look no further! Call for your own unique pregnancy photography session with Linnea Lenkus today! 562.981.8900


portrait photographers Los Angeles

Portrait Photographers vs. Event Photographers

I wish I had a penny for every time that a client has come to me expressing disappointment with their choice to go with their wedding photographer for maternity or baby portraits.  “He did such an incredible job at our wedding and I don’t understand why he wasn’t a great maternity and baby photographer.” Their surprised reaction always catches me off guard but then I remember that not everyone has hung around the photography industry for decades like I have.

The assumption from every layman is that a photographer is a photographer and that means that they should wear every hat. That’s like expecting your podiatrist to perform open heart surgery. We choose our specialties based on what we are passionate about and what we are good at. Don’t expect good portrait photographers to be good event photographers, and vice versa.

portrait photographers Los Angeles

This has all been brought up again for me as the press of the misunderstanding between Annie Leibovitz and Kanye West just hit the newsstands. The misunderstanding occurred when West wanted Leibovitz to be his wedding photographer after she created a stunning portrait photography session for Vogue magazine. Apparently she did not say no, but didn’t confirm either.

I understand, totally. Leibovitz knows that she’s not an event photographer, which is what a wedding is. There is a different mindset to photographing a wedding than to creating a portrait. I’m sure she wanted to please them and I’m sure she was thinking about how she could do the photography for them, but she apparently let her people-pleasing get in the way of what she knows: a studio portrait photographer is not a wedding photographer.


photographer Annie Leibovitz


To be a great portrait photographer you have to have a certain sensibility of the personality of the person in front of you and then juggle that with lighting, camera gear, and styling. You kind of have to be a bit of a control freak and there is just too much chaos at weddings for me. Weddings are their own beast and so are studio portrait sessions. I prefer the latter.

So please, don’t ask me to photograph your wedding. I’ve tried it in the past and my heart’s just not in it. I’m one of those portrait photographers who has tried every single kind of photography, and I know what I’m meant to do. And please think twice before asking your wedding photographer to be your family and newborn photographer.

family newborn portrait photographers Los Angeles

Please visit the main websites to view a collection of specialized portrait photography at: and or contact our Los Angeles portrait studios at 562.981.8900 for more information.


Los Angeles Photography Family, Los Angeles Photo Studios

Beware of “Photographers”

No matter where you are these days it seems as though you will find somebody taking a picture with their phone or digital camera and every new mom and Uncle Joe are calling themselves photographers. Now I’d hate to burst your bubble if this sounds like you but just because you have played around with a fancy camera or have taken a few great pictures with an iPhone this doesn’t qualify you as a professional photographer. Unfortunately, thanks to modern day technology and social media we are used to seeing a flood of mediocre images every day and the world is being taught that this is what photography looks like now. This just isn’t true!

It is hard to be a professional photographer these days and owning a high end portrait studio is very rare. The average person thinks you can hire photographers for a few hours and get all of your images retouched on a CD for the low price of a few hundred dollars. Why is that? Because the “photographers” popping up overnight are setting this as an example. I’ve been holding firm and I feel that as a veteran photographer it is my job to keep producing quality artwork and try to show people that you can and you should still invest in fine art photography for yourself and your family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 California Photography Pregnancy, California Photography Studios

I take a lot of maternity portraits and over the years I have seen an absurd amount of unflattering pregnancy pictures. It is not uncommon for me to take last minute pregnancy portraits for a mom that has had a horrible experience with another photographer because they tried to go with a friend or save a few bucks. Some mom’s aren’t so lucky and they end up missing out on having their portraits done correctly before they deliver. It always amazes me that anyone would even entertain the idea of going with an average photographer to capture something as unique and amazing as a pregnancy.

Los Angeles Photography Family,  Los Angeles Photo Studios

You don’t learn how to be a photographer overnight, trust me. It took me years of tinkering with my photography equipment to be able to master my lighting techniques and a lot of trial and error to figure out what the brand of my photography should look like. And it also took me years to master the art of getting people to look relaxed and free in their portrait sessions. When you see a truly great photograph you are filled with a sense of emotion and when it is an image of your child or your family that is evoking that emotion the feeling is priceless. Don’t you want to be moved by the portraits you have taken or do you just want a picture to update your Facebook status with?


To start planning you fine art photography session call the studio today at 562.981.8900 or 626.744.9104 or submit your photography inquiry HERE.


Child and Baby Photography, LA Portrait Studios

Preparing for Child and Baby Photography

You’re getting ready for a child and baby photography session and what should you do? I’ve been a Los Angeles photographer of babies and children for over two decades with two LA portrait studios, with thousands of sessions under my belt, and I think I can give you some great advice and a glimpse into my world. I try to always have a positive, uplifting portrait session, but sometimes I have to make some calls that I don’t want to make.

Too often in a portrait photography session I experience people with outrageous expectations – – the woman who hates her body but wants it photographed nude, the well-endowed nose person who wants side angle images but doesn’t understand that they have to embrace their beauty first (think ala Barbra Streisand), and the parent who doesn’t understand why their child won’t behave in a way that wasn’t rehearsed. The list goes on.

I’m a big believer in parental expectations, as in, let your child know in advance, what you expect of them. Do it calmly and gradually. Talk and talk and talk about it in an encouraging way. Children need guidelines and boundaries. They want to know what you want them to do, but they need time to understand it, so you have to work at it slowly and over time.

Maternity Photography with Children, LA Portrait Studios

One of our favorite clients, this pregnant mom did pregnant nudes with her first child, and so it seemed fitting to include her daughter in this tender portrait.

Whenever I photograph maternity photography with children I recommend to the parents that they “practice”. Practice makes perfect and it’s no different in a child and baby photography session. If there is a pose you want to see on your walls, practice it first. Don’t wait for the portrait session to introduce it. Many parents want a portrait of their two year old holding the newborn baby, and that’s an unrealistic expectation. Not going to happen. Do you want the four year old holding the baby? Maybe. But practice it at home and give them tips on how to be gentle and safe. Even the 10 year old needs practice and help.

Child and Baby Photography, LA Portrait Studios

This little boy was surprisingly calm holding his newborn baby sibling.

Talk to you children about being gentle with their new sibling. Most children don’t know they’re own strength. Yes, they know their own exuberance but it tends to get played out physically. One interesting phenomenon, as a baby photographer, that I witness over and over again is what I call the Younger Child Syndrome. Most parents aren’t aware of it, but I’ve seen it time and time again. A baby has only so many defenses and their instincts are sharp.

So, often, when an exuberant toddler comes around the baby starts to fuss. Why? Because they KNOW danger instinctively. When they start to fuss they are asking for help from what they perceive as a danger. So the more you practice at home with your child hanging out with your newborn baby, in a mellow way, the more they both will benefit. The more you practice loving and gentleness with your toddler, even before your baby is born, the tighter their bond will be.

And the more your child and baby photography portrait will be a success! I’m all about that.

I’m a portrait photographer and I’ve seen it all over the last 20+ years.

Inspirational Quote Miracle of a single flower

This Portrait Photographer Loves the Earth

I was motivated a while ago to create this inspiring quote in honor of Earth Day which is a day that reminds us to be extra gentle to our Mother Earth. I make a point to eat organically produced foods and to use products in my everyday life that are significantly less harmful for the environment. This is hard to do when you are an extremely busy mother of 3 and a portrait photographer with two Los Angeles photography studios, but how I treat my body and the planet is necessary to me.

It is never too late to start taking care of yourself and the planet. I hope that this inspiring quote from Buddha set to my portrait photography helps to inspire you to recognize all of the beauty in our world and ourselves and motivate you to start being proactive today.

Inspirational Quote Miracle of a single flower

What are you waiting for? Pick up some extra trash, plant a tree or ride your bike instead of using your car. Buy local and organic! Most of all take care of yourself and your family!

Did you like this inspiring quote about life? For more inspirational quotes and memes about, family, beauty and love set to the stunning photography of Fine Art Portrait Photographer, Linnea Lenkus, please go to the main inspirational quote page to motivate and inspire you! Please feel free to post and share!


Portrait Prep | Fine Art Portrait Photography Session

A fine art portrait photography session is a meaningful investment that takes planning. The preparation can be stressful as you get the kids, hair, and wardrobe ready  for the lights, camera, action! The booking process at my studio works to provide you with the answers to help you prepare and properly plan for your studio session, and we always have tips and suggestions that we feel are extremely helpful. Today’s suggestion? Relax!


Too often we see the stress of family events filter down from parent to child.  It can be stressful to be part of a portrait photography session, but it should really just be a new memory and a day of celebration. There should be no need for a family member or child to leave the experience feeling like they spent the day under a magnifying glass.


Portraits are complex, and to summarize the love of a family or the excitement growing within an expecting mother is a great task. Leave the hard work to the professionals. Your job is to arrive to the session with a calm mind and spirit ready to interact with your loved ones as you normally would. If you are focusing on trying to get your child to smile then not only are you not ready to be photographed but the child may have the photographer and several others focused on them. All of that hyped up energy can wear on a child especially in a new environment. Trust your fine art photographer and let them interact with your child.

I have been perfecting the art of portraiture for over twenty years now and I assure you that a relaxed family makes for the best photographs!Los Angeles photographers

Los Angeles photographers

This Portrait Photographer Thanks You!

Gratitude through the lens

I’ve had a lot of return clients lately at my portrait studios in LA, and I am always beyond flattered that they return to me for their portrait photography time and again since my prices can be higher than some of my competition. With that being said, I think it’s pretty clear I must be doing something right!

My clients feel like old friends and family to me; some come back with each baby, some come back for an update. Either way, they’re coming back. I think as a portrait photographer this is the highest compliment I can receive. It gives me immense joy.

I have watched so many babies and families grow over the years through my lens, it’s truly a blessing. It is an incredible feeling to see the looks on the parent’s faces, whom I know well, when they see the priceless pictures of their newborns and family members.

When they continue to come back year after year, trusting me to capture their most precious moments, I feel so honored to be their portrait photographer. I get goose bumps when I think of it. It encourages me to always try harder, work harder, learn new techniques and continue to grow and push my company further into this very competitive industry; an industry that I love, that I sacrifice myself and time with my family for every day. My staff and I are dedicated to making sure that every family is happy with the work that I, and we, provide.

I hope my customers can understand why my prices may be a bit higher than other photographers. An old saying comes to mind as I write this, “You get what you pay for”. Well I always have and always will photograph to deliver more than you pay for! My goal is to make you happy with my portrait photography. As a mother myself, I completely understand what these memories mean, and I also cherish all the time I can with my family.

There are many factors when it comes to pricing: the best equipment, studio locations, rent, payroll, travel, my personal time, my experience etc. I could get into to all these things but I don’t think that really matters.

What matters are the precious memories I capture and the families that get to take those portraits home with them, being able to build relationships with my clients and their families through my camera. It is truly a wonder to connect with people who love what I do, and I love what they do—being full of love and life.

I would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my loyal clients and future clients, without you I would just be a woman with a camera.

Below are a few images of one of the incredible families I have been so fortunate to photograph over the years.

Newborn Photography Long Beach Photographer Pregnancy Photography Los Angeles photographers   Children Photographer


Artist Photography by Linnea Lenkus

Artist Portrait Series

With a long-time passion for photography, I’ve managed to capture people at their most comfortable state, being themselves in front of the camera. My two portrait studios, located in Pasadena and Long Beach, have broadened my photography spectrum to include baby photography, maternity photography, child photography, family photography, dog photography and boudoir photography. For Linus Galleries’ past art show, “It’s Only Natural”,  I took more photographs for my artist portrait series centering the idea around some of the artists whose work was chosen to be part of the art exhibition. This portrait series opened the door to gaining a different perspective into the artists’ creative process.

Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

Pasadena Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

While being photographed, every artist’s individuality flourished, making it perfect to get incredibly expressive images. Artists, such as Doug Sandelin, show how natural the atmosphere was during the  photography sessions. Having years of experience reinforces my intuitive process to producing animated photographs such as these. Black or white backgrounds help to enliven the artist’s personality, something rarely seen by only looking at the art. Artwork is enhanced with the humanizing quality portraits bring about; the series puts artists in a more appealing and relatable position, no longer hiding within the details of their art pieces.

Los Angeles Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

Los Angeles Artist Photography by Linnea Lenkus

These portraits are a way for me to build a stronger bond with the participating artists, allowing my art gallery to become a supportive resource for their artistic endeavors. The portraits also serve as gifts for the artists, pushing them in a motivational way and helping them feel comfortable to self-promote. The artist portrait series is a stepping stone for the initial stages of a future project at Linus Galleries. I plan to have these portraits showcased next to their respective artist’s artwork. This prospective project will allow viewers to put a face to the creative mind being exposed through the artwork collection.

Los Angeles Art Photography by Linnea Lenkus

baby photographers in los angeles

Creative Photographers and Light

I don’t have much free time to watch TV, in fact, none. So on the plane back from Italy recently I was held hostage to a film on the plane.

Luckily, it was “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. Normally I fall asleep during movies since I have such an active life. But I was on jet lag time, and it was such a treat to watch this film and feel the emotion that was presented.

The thing that I loved about this film was that Jamie Foxx’s character was highly sensitive and, coincidentally, schizophrenic. At one point he experienced an orchestra visually through color waves. I totally understood this because I, too, experience one sense in another sense. To music, he was highly sensitive. I related to this movie in a big way. The creators of this film seem to really understand the creative mind and the line it crosses sometimes into another world.

You have to remember that creativity comes from a unique place. Creative photographers understand that the creativity is from within, not from “getting ideas” from other creative photographers. You will never grow as a creative photographer as long as you are looking to copy truly creative photographers.

baby photographers in los angeles

Today I was explaining to my amazing assistant that I feel light the same way that Jamie Foxx understood music in this movie. Light comes to me in a visual way, yes, but also in a tactile way. I know it sounds strange but I think I can feel light on my skin. Odd, yes, I know.

To light, I am highly sensitive. I’m the person who walks into a room and knows that a light bulb is out. It’s a weird thing, but it’s how I’m wired. It’s what helps me to create portraits where the light is speaking to the viewer because I can truly feel how something should be lit. The play of light and shadow constantly mesmerize me.

So, because of this weirdness, I obsessively tweak my lights while I am creating portraits. I do this because I know that a portrait has to be perfect. It has to be something I am proud to show. You won’t see a “vomit” of images here because I am not interested in expressing everything, I am interested in expressing perfection AND imperfection perfectly.

I am one of the world’s photographers who feel light. I hope you comprehend what I mean. Just look at my portraits to understand. Los Angeles Studio Photographer

Orange County Photography Maternity - Orange County Photography Studios

Creativity or Gimmicks? Listen Up Photographers

One of the hallmarks of my photography is the simplicity of emotions that I attempt to demonstrate. I try very hard to convey authentic emotions in a simple way because that’s how our personal epiphanies work, very simply and full of clarity. Unfortunately, American iconic culture and many industry photography salesmen have many people convinced that creativity is determined by gimmicks or props. That is so not me and the reason I did not want to become a portrait photographer initially. It just seemed so cheesy to me.I consider myself old school when it comes to creative photography direction. I think it’s more about talent and experience that make a portrait sing. I respect the beauty of light done well having spent countless hours of getting my own lighting exactly the way I want it. The giant overuse of bad props has become so popular that I just had to say something! I see so many gimmick photographers out there with bad lighting and in their baby photography treating babies like props themselves by posing them in contrived and unnatural ways.

Orange County Photography Maternity - Orange County Photography Studios

These orchids were relevant to this portrait.

Since I’ve been around the block longer than most of my fellow photographers I can name the decade by the prop or gimmick used. I recommend that if you want a timeless portrait that you consider the devices that date your portrait.

Props for Photographers

Recently we received a call from a young woman that made me snicker. She said, “I would like something super creative, you know, with some rose petals.” Oh brother, that was so 10 years ago! At my portrait studios we try and explain the difference between creativity and using props as a crutch for the lack of. Because, photographers listen up: props should be relevant and authentic.

We could prop your baby up in an unnatural pose or hang them from a tree branch (5 years ago). We could place a butterfly or a rose on their back (10 years ago). There’s body painting (20 years ago), Greek columns (30 years ago), and don’t forget huge styrofoam numbers (40 years ago). I tried all of that for a brief second and it felt so foolish and uncreative to me.

There are exceptions when the prop has relevance. A couple of years ago I photographed an amazingly strong pregnant woman who came to me for maternity photography. Her husband and father of her child had passed away. I was so moved at her stoic nature and her strength to move on as a single mother. She told me that she felt his presence every day as I broke down and cried. When I asked her to tell me more about him she shared with me his obsession with orchids and that he grew his own. I felt strongly that we needed to represent him in the pregnancy portrait. I immediately told my assistant to run and get some orchids from the nearest flower store and we then created something that was RELEVANT to her life. The irony of the story was when she returned for baby photography and we again brought her husband into the baby portrait with the orchids, her baby started sneezing—she was allergic to the flowers!

To me the creativity of excellent portrait photography comes from connection and from the interaction of light and shadow to set a mood. When you can FEEL what a person is experiencing by looking at a photography portrait, then you have moved your subject and have done your job. It’s that simple!

Photographers, please consider my advice. Really great photography comes from real life.