RANT: What Its Like Being A Photographer In Hollywood


Over the past few years, the paparazzi have been given a bad name in Hollywood. The only time celebrities discuss us is when they want to bash a perfectly honest way of living. No one takes the time to understand what or work really entails. Nobody seems to care about our good deed or the real significance of our work. I beg to differ on this belief. On the contrary let me give a neutral opinion of how our profession really works and what it takes to make a living.

What it REALLY entails

In most cases, being paparazzi is more than just snapping photos. Our profession entails more than that. Most photographers that work in Hollywood are not affiliated to any organization. As a result, we truly have to eat what we kill just like other professions.

A common misconception is that we are an unnecessary nuisance. Due to this, this is one of the most restricted types of photojournalism in the western world. Various court orders have been brought against us, which means we risk paying huge fines in the course of our work. This restriction does not apply to other journalists. Sometimes photojournalists also run the risk of real physical injury. For instance, some of my colleagues in my profession have been seriously assaulted or had their expensive equipment damaged or confiscated.

A typical day for a celebrity photographer

Photographer hiding in a tree

Not all celebrity photographers act crazy hiding in trees

My typical day in Hollywood entails guessing where a celebrity will be. This will usually entail staying at a single location for a whole day in the hope that the famous person shows up. Ironically I’ve found the free Showbox app which I use to pass the time. Doing of all things….watching celebrities. HAH!

Sometimes tips from insiders do not always turn out to be true. If the tip does turn out to be true, I have to be careful not to infringe on all the laws passed against celebrity photographers. The major area for concern is usually taking pictures of celebrities’ children. Various court rulings have deemed this harassment. While some of the paparazzi do go a bit too far, most of the rest are just trying to earn a living.

Then I have to find someone to HOPEFULLY buy my photos

After snapping pictures of celebrities going about their lives, I have to convince a newspaper or magazine to purchase the photos. Before this can happen, the photos need to high quality and appealing to readers. This decision lay firmly with the magazine or newspaper. If I don’t sell any photos for a few months, I obviously will go completely broke! There is no assurance EVER that the magazine will accept my photos.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns

Newbies may sometimes be swindled out of their hard work. For instance, in m early days, cases of magazine and newspapers taking photos and refusing to pay up were common. There is also a push from various quarters to have paparazzi share their earnings with the celebrities. This is just another major hurdle that I will have to face.

It’s not as easy as it looks

Many celebs use look alikes to distract us

Look alikes are common and can totally deceive you into taking a photo no media outlet will buy

Being a celebrity photographer in Hollywood is not as easy as it seems. In most cases, celebrities take great effort to avoid detection like using doubles. In addition, there is no assurance that the news outlets will accept your photos. It is also important to note that this is a mutual relationship between celebrities and us. I get to take a few photos of them and they get the publicity they desire.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on RANT: What Its Like Being A Photographer In Hollywood

Enjoying Photo Time With Your Baby Bump

Being a new mother is such a miracle and it goes by so fast. Don’t forget to grab a few pics along the way to share with friends, family and reminisce over once they are all grown up.

Knowing which platforms to use, photos to take, keeping it organized and making it fun can be a lot to take in. We’ll share some of our favorite photos ops to enjoy with your baby bump, how to capture your best moments.

Share the exciting news, don’t break the news.

It’s such an emotional time full of fear, happiness, excitement and overwhelm when you first find out you’ll be a mother. Those tears you shed when you first find out are so powerful. Be sure to share this exciting news with your closest family and friends before you pick up the camera. This will let you share that moment you had with them and the feelings that came over you. Sharing your experience this way adds so much meaning and deepens your satisfaction with this journey you’re taking. Giving everyone the deepest satisfaction as well as initiating a bond that will be most helpful as you progress into parenthood.

Posting pics to a social media network first will only leave you open to judgement and criticism, which leads down a negative path and will only leave you feeling empty and vulnerable. Instead make the announcement in a very planned way so that others are more respectful. Here are a few tips to make your announcement.

  • Show photos of you with your spouse showing your happiness
  • Make a formal announcement by writing a thoughtful article explaining your excitement and happiness
  • Invite others to share their congratulations and let them know they’ll have a chance to be involved
  • Don’t just post profile photos as if you have a huge baby bump
  • Don’t post vague comments or thing that could be misleading

Set up and use an Instagram account.

Getting an Instagram will be the easiest way to share photos and short video clips with your family and friends. First you’ll need a smartphone or other devices such as a tablet or iPod that can use the Instagram app.

Instagram isn’t available for desktop computers, though you can view the images and videos you’ve uploaded via a desktop computer. You don’t need a cell phone with service to use Instagram, you’ll simply need to be able to use wifi with your device. Here are a few devices which work with the Instagram app.

  • iPhones
  • iPods
  • iPads
  • Samsung Galaxy smartphones
  • Motorola smartphones
  • Window smartphones
  • Blackberry smartphones
  • Microsoft tablets
  • Google tablets

Next you’ll need an email account that you’ll use to register for service. Once you have installed the app on your device register for an account. Choose a username that is easy to remember and will be appropriate for sharing with others.

Using hashtags can be a great way to share you photos with other new moms. Learning the most popular hashtags will help you get more people to view your images. Of course if you don’t want to do this you can just keep your images private and not use hashtags.

Some of the most popular hashtags for babies are:


Once you have your account setup you’ll want to invite others to follow you. You can simply give them (via email, text or FB chat) your user name and have them search in the app for you on the search tab. If you want to keep you photos super private you can set your account to private which means you’ll have to approve each person who wants to follow you.

Finally you can take cute photos and share them!

The photos you’ll want to have for later.

It’s an exciting time and you’ll want to capture this time with your spouse. Take time to sit and talk about your feelings. Get to a setting that you both enjoy and makes you happy. Remember that spot you both like to sit and look into each others eyes? That one. Take the photo there. It’ll be a wonderful keepsake.

Getting your nursery ready

Before and after images of your nursery can be a fun way to relive all the work and effort put into getting your home ready for baby. Even if it’s a small change having this memory to look back on and share with others will be a treat.

Sharing the news

Don’t exclude others from this fun and excitement. Share the news with your closest family and friends and capture the moment with them as well. Share this moment and see how it makes others feel more involved. Be sure to include moms. Moms love sharing these moments. :)

Daddy loving your bump

Having your spouse involved with draw you both much closer, the energy will be good for you and that will flow into baby. Spending time bonding over these small moments will draw you and your spouse much closer during this critical time. Get creative with your photos… you can take photos in a field, in cute maternity pajamas like these here, or in lingerie as shown above.

Happy couple #2 (when you’re visibly pregnant)

You’ve been dreaming about it since you were a little girl and now it’s time to finally get that photo of your love and yourself walking into the sunset, you baby bump visible, your love visible and savor that image. It’ll be the last peaceful such moment you’ll have for a few years. It’s about to get crazy!

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

May Update & Recent Projects

Hey guys!

I thought I’d check in as May has been a pretty busy month. During winter I was doing a lot of family photographs and a couple weddings but things have taken an interesting turn.

Some of my recent projects have been around technology and brands, which isn’t the first thing I would have thought I’d be photographing when I started this business. There are some really cool new things coming that are changing the way the world works and I guess in my own way it’s something that I’m glad to be a part of bringing to life. One of those is 3D printing technology. I talk about that photoshoot here.

Currently, I’m doing a photo shoot for Bundleboo to use in their marketing materials. It’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and try a new things once in a while and this definitely added a bit of spice to my resume. It’s always fun working with babies and mothers. :)

Upcoming Projects
Coming soon I’ll be working with more technology as I’ve found a new found interest in all things electronic. Vacuums are boring, but there are some new things happening in the field of robotic vacuums that I look forward to shooting. Also a few more opportunities in a sister industry of wearable electronics like the new actions sports cameras by companies like Go Pro. They’ve recently released their latest model the Go Pro Hero 4 and it’s getting a lot of media attention. Hope to have some fun doing outdoor and action photography. Should be a blast!

Another project I’ll be doing some is field work for Energy Smart Australia helping them prepare a consumer guide on getting government grants for solar panels. Very exciting!

A few friends have been working on their blogs. Follow them and help them by commenting here, here and wayyyyyy over here.

Posted in Other | Leave a comment

Goodbye 2014… Hello 2015!

Hey guys!

I haven’t posted in quite a while. I’ve been incredibly busy this winter with photography sessions and a lot of holiday photos, not to mention the holidays! I spent a lot of time with my family, and was able to snap this quick photo of my niece… isn’t she cute in her frozen pjs? Gosh, I love that movie!


Last year was a fairly big year for me, but 2015 I forsee being the best year yet. One of the things I would like to focus on is getting a few more commercial gigs. I took on a few of those last year hesitantly and they went okay if not great, so a few more of those would be nice.

I’d also like to focus on doing repeat photography shoots! I realize a lot of people seek my services at a very special time in their life, such as a wedding, the introducing of a newborn to the family, or even older family photo sessions. Life never stops changing and new things are always happening, so I’d love to some old faces to help document their new events!

Aside from that, I’d love to focus on spending more time with my wonderful family. I’m sure you can all relate. I’ve been so wrapped up in my business that I feel I haven’t given important relationships the time they really need so I may be posting on my blog less, but I’ll definitely try to pop my head in frequently!

What about you, what are your goals for 2015?

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

Tips for photographing small objects

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to share some tips for photographing small and backlit objects. These can be challenging, but a lot of fun if you have the right techniques. I recently had a chance to work with a client who is an avid engineer and has a fun hobby working with a up and coming technology called 3D printing or additive manufacturing. He needed help photographing some creations to share in preparing some 3D printer reviews for people looking to get into the hobby (like this one). Here are some tips I can share regarding a shoot like this one.

Use focused light to highlight the objects features

uoiah209671 (9)

Take time to get the lighting right with small objects. This can be difficult as too much light will wash out the object and insufficient light will leave out the exquisite detail often found in small projects. I use a flood lamp as a key light that is soft, natural and helps the object come to life off the platform and then use a focused light to get good flare from the object. Be sure to have your camera handy or an assistant as this will will speed up the setup process.

Use macro settings or an appropriate lense


Macro settings are basic features on nearly all DSLR cameras. They are far different than the majority of features we use in every day photography and take some getting used to. First you’ll want to make sure you understand how close you can get to an object to ensure you’re using the full frame. Keep in mind you don’t want to use ANY digital zooming here. Only optical as you want to capture all of the fine detail without getting grainy or adding noise to the image before editing. Give yourself a little time to get the framing right and adjust your macro settings until you’ve got a good balance of crisp foreground and slightly indistinct background. Be sure to take a few shots on both sides of what looks the best to your eye and one in the middle. Odds are good of the three you’ll get one that’s just right.

Use fStop settings to blur out some objects

uoiah209671 (4)fStop settings are a great skill to master as many times when photographing a complex scene whether a group of small objects such as above or something with a lot to look at you want to draw the attention to a particular item of focus, but you may not want or be able to remove the other objects. Perhaps they add some context to the photo, but you won’t want too much emphasis on them. Practice your fStop settings to figure out how you can frame your shot to get the most value, but then focus in on the objects which are of most importance. Dremel 3D Printer Close Up ShotThe shorter the distance between objects will make this more difficult as fine tuning will be more critical to get blurry where wanted and crisp everywhere else. If unsure just increase the distance between objects and use creative angles to make things look a bit more close together.

I know you all have way more talent and skills than this, but these few tips can go a long ways to creating a successful shot with such small and intricate objects. Hopefully you got some good tips!

Say cheese!


Posted in Landscape | Leave a comment

How to Photograph Food (And Make it Look Appetizing!)

I know many of you have photographed food at one point or another, even if it was just a quick snapshot from your iPhone to put on Instagram. iPhone or nice DSLR, there are a few tips to keep in mind when practicing food photography. Some I would like to cover are the use of light, angles and the use of props in your food photography.


First, let’s talk about light. You will always want to use natural light if possible. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon are always good choice as you don’t want your light to be too intense. Never have your food in direct sunglight but in a non-direct, well-lit area. If the area is too dark you may have a hard time holding your camera steady enough. You can also use a reflector to lighten up some of the harsh shadows on your food. See the below example.



Second, let’s talk about angle. Use some creativity when it comes to shooting pictures of your food. You may get a much better looking photo if you shoot at an angle. You can also zoom far in, zoom out, and play with multiple items in one shot (like many cupcakes opposed to just one).



Third, let’s talk about photography props. I know you’ve seen all of those adorable drinks on Pinterest with those striped straws, cute cupcake liners, etc. Sometimes when your photo looks boring, all you need to do is to put it on a patterned tablecloth, in a unique dish, or stick a fun straw in it to give it some spunk. Get creative, see what you have laying around the house already. If all else fails take a trip to your local Goodwill and you are sure to find some ideas.


With these three tips alone, your food photography will improve immensely! Feel free to send me before and after pictures, I’d love to see what my tips helped you to accomplish!

Posted in Other | Leave a comment

10 Wedding Photography Tips

If you have ever photographed a wedding, you know that it can be stressful. It is the bride’s perfect day and everything is supposed to go… well… perfect. One of the best parts of the bride’s (and even groom’s) day is having photos taken during the event so that they can look back on them for years to come. No pressure in being the wedding photographer, right?


Wrong. There is pressure… A LOT of it. Over the years of photographing weddings, I have learned a handful of tips that have been helpful for making sure the day goes as planned, the bride is happy and that the family has a wonderful set of photos to cherish forever. I would like to share some of those tips with you today, in no particular order of importance.


1. Turn the sound off of your camera.

It turns out, not everyone is a fan of all the beeping on the big day, especially during quiet moments of the event such as the ceremony itself. I have been at weddings where the photographers did not turn the sound off and it has been more than mildly distracting.

2. Set expectations with the couple.

Before the big day, make sure you consult with the couple that is getting married so that everyone has the same idea on how the day will go. If there are any photo requests, make sure you are aware of those up front. If there are any key things they want recorded, make sure you know that before it’s too late as well.

3. Consider having a backup photographer.

A number of things can go wrong when being a wedding photographer and you only have one chance to do it right, so it may be in your best interest to hire a second photographer to work with you. This will allow you to be in two places at once, have two (and hopefully more) cameras working and ready to go if one fails, and will increase the odds that all the final shots will be just right.

4. Change your perspective.

If you only shoot from one perspective, the photos can end up looking all the same. Make sure to vary it up and vary it up often! Shoot from up high, down low, in the middle, from the right, from the left, from far away, from up close, and everything in between. Variety is the spice of life. You will want to use some artistic flare to cover every part of the wedding in a way that will be interesting to look at after the day is over.

5. Check out the scene ahead of time.

Before the wedding, make sure you check out backdrops and what not ahead of time. You will want to be sure you know of some spots that are nicely shaded and out of direct sunlight, and also a place that you won’t have Great Aunt Edna wondering through the background. If you don’t do this, you may be in a panic when you can’t find a good spot for some photos.

6. Make a shot list.

Before you arrive, prepare a shot list. You may forget when you’re wrapped up in the moment but when in doubt, you will have a list to reference. If there are any key shots, be sure to document them here. Ask the couple for their shot list as they will probably forget when the wedding excitement takes over. This will ensure you get everything (or most everything) you planned on.

7. Shoot the small details.

Sometimes we are so obsessed with getting the event overview that we forget the small details. Zoom up on parts of the bride’s dress, rings, napkin holders, whatever details stand out to you at the event. These can make some of the best, most artistic shots. Get creative! Try something that hasn’t been done before. If you need inspiration, check out Pinterest as there are lots of great wedding photography boards.

8. Get a family photo coordinator.

On the big day, everyone is exciting, running around and hard to keep track of. Scout out a family photo coordinator beforehand so that they can be rounding everyone up as you are taking the photos. It is best that this person is not the bride, groom, or your second photographer. Trust me, you will be happy you had an extra helping hand.

9. Have backup images.

This is one that often goes overlooked, but it would be in your best interest to make sure you have backups of your photos offsite and onsite if possible. A number of different things can happen and if you lose someone’s wedding photos, you will have a grudge held against you for a long time and maybe even have your reputation ruined. Cover your butt. Backup your photos.

10. Have fun.

Weddings are about celebrating so have fun. If you are having fun, you will be more relaxed, take better photos, and your good energy will rub off on all the other people that are stressed out. Smile a lot and it will help others to smile.

Posted in Wedding | Leave a comment

Best Cameras for Beginnger Photographers

When I first started my photography hobby years and years ago, I had no idea what kind of camera to buy. I started with a plain old point and shoot because I didn’t know any better. I quickly outgrew that but wasn’t sure where to go next. I really wish I had a mentor and that I was more internet-savvy back then because it would have been really helpful for someone to guide me!

While it is true that you can take great photos with a lousy camera and lousy photos with a great camera, there comes a point in the life of every photographer where it is necessary to take the next step and upgrade to something nicer. Whatever your skill of photography, there is a camera for everyone to allow them to pursue their passion while strengthening their skills. Naturally if you’re studying or pursuing video work then you’ll have a different set of tools such as wireless mics like these and other tools of the trade.

Before I make some camera recommendations, let’s get the basics out of the way shall we?

The Digital Point-And-Shoot

While many photographers quickly outgrow the point and shoot, they are still the best option for many photographers, and at least a good tool to have in the kit for others who go with a digital SLR. When you go with a point and shoot, you will want something that is at least 12 megapixels. With a 12 megapixel point and shoot you can still take quality photos and print them up to the size of an 8×10. Many photographers never leave home without their point and shoot because it is lightweight and easy to throw in a purse or bag, and lesser quality photos are often better than no photos at all.

The Digital SLR (DSLR)

While point and shoot cameras have many zoom lenses to allow you to take wide-angle and telephoto pictures, you’re limited to the zoom range of the camera. Upgrading to a camera with an interchangeable zoom lens enables you to take greater control and product higher quality images.

Entry level DSLRs do the job for most beginning photographers, but if you plan on being a sports or wildlife photographer you may need to upgrade to something that is not as basic, has faster autofocus and multiple frames per second. Those cameras I can cover in a different article.

DSLRs I Recommend

There are a handful of DSLRs I recommend from personal use and also from friends and colleagues that have used the cameras. I would search around a bit to do some price and feature comparing to ultimately see what will work for you.

1. Canon EOS 100D / Canon EOS Rebel SL1


When this camera was new, it was “the world’s smallest SLR”. This model has touchscreen technology so if you don’t want to use physical controls, you can simply touch the screen which is can be great for those that are used to their smartphones. While this phone has many settings for the advanced user, it is a great place to start and has many automatic settings that beginners can take advantage of.

2. Nikon D3300


Nikon’s D3X00 has always been a great line for novice photographers, and the D3300 is one of the best yet. This camera has a Guide Mode feature that walks the photographer through picking the best settings for their photograph: this is great for learning. It has a clean appearance rather than being covered by buttons and dials that other cameras have and has an automatic exposure mode. Once you progress beyond being a novice photographer, this camera will grow with you as it has lots of advanced settings.

3. Canon EOS 700D / EOS Rebel T5i


The third option I recommend is the Canon EOS 700D / EOS Rebel T5i. It is not as tiny as the Canon EOS 100D and does not have as many pixels as the Nikon D330, but it does have a vari-angle touchscreen. It is great for putting together photos at odd angles. It also comes with many filters such as grainy black and white, soft focus, fish-eye, water painting and miniature effect which can be fun to play with.

There are many more cameras out there and here is a complete guide to great cameras for beginner photographers. Do your homework, find something that looks like it fits your needs, read the reviews thoroughly, buy it and have fun! You will probably love your DSLR more than your point and shoot and never go back… at least for your serious photography.

Posted in Cameras | Leave a comment

Beach Photography Inspiration

Next month I’m going on vacation to see some extended family that lives by the ocean. I don’t live by the ocean, so I don’t have a lot of experience with ocean and beach photography. I’m not sure what our schedule looks like yet or how much time I’ll have to play with my camera, but I’ve been doing some research to think of what types of photographs I may like to focus on if I have the opportunity.

The thing about the ocean is that it is so huge and even on the shore, there are so many things to photograph. There are exciting things like lighthouses, boats, lifeguard stands, umbrellas, seashells, sand critters, clouds, buckets, shovels, sandcastles and more. I think I will have to focus on some sunset shots if the opportunity presents itself for sure. Aside from that, I guess I’ll just have to wait to see when I arrive!

Here are some of the photos I pinned for my ocean inspiration. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!









Posted in Landscape | Leave a comment

Newborn Photography Tips

One of the most challenging subjects to photograph is newborn babies which is surprising given how small they are! It’s one thing to snap photos of newborn babies but another thing to have them represent something so tiny, innocent and filled with love. Below are some tips I have discovered over the years that you can use to strengthen your newborn photography.


1. Use props to show size comparison.

When babies are newborn, they aren’t for long! Parents will want to look back on these photos to see how much their little ones have grown. If you include some sort of reference in the photo it can help the viewer understand how tiny the baby is. Some items I have used are teddy bears, Dad’s hands, balls, measuring tape, and things like that.

2. Focus on details.

There are so many adorable details to focus on when photographing newborns. Their little fingers are so tiny, their little toes are tiny, and their facial expressions are to die for. Try to find these little baby details and capture them on camera.

3. Simplify your photos.

It is easy to set too much of a scene when photographing newborns. I have seen some photographers go overboard with pink and bows or blue and boy things. When in doubt, leave it out. Sometimes something simple like a plain white or black backdrop will really make the attention on the baby and not on the props. Try it out if you haven’t already and see what you think.

4. Include siblings if it’s an option.

This is not something every photographer focuses on, but it can really capture the mood and excitement of the family when having a new tiny member. Siblings grow up and sometimes part ways, so capture their closeness and pride when you can.

5. Play around with props but also natural shots.

It is tempting to put babies wherever they will fit whether it is in a pot or a cute basket… yes, I’ve seen it all and have been guilty myself of awkward baby placements. While props can be fun, don’t forget to play around with shots of the baby laying in various positions. Often, you can “suggest” a position for the baby to lay in by moving their arms and legs. Many times they will stay, many times they won’t. This is the beauty of photographing a tiny human!

6. Know your customer’s preferences.

This is something we often forget about as well, but make sure you are talking with your customers to learn what their preferences are. Often, Mom and Dad will come with ideas for photo ideas and you want to be sure to ask them what those are. Some prefer very “organic” shots and others love the bells and whistles of props. While you can suggest ideas and try them out, ultimately you will need to focus on what the customer wants.

7. Encourage mom to get in front of the camera.

Most moms are not eager to put themselves in front of a camera immediately after having their baby, but mom and baby is also a very important photo. There are ways you can gently urge Mom to get in front of the camera with her newborn and there are a lot of ways you can pose your subjects in a way that will make Mom feel confident.

8. Let the baby inspire you.

Every newborn is different looking (some would argue this, but I at least have photographed enough babies to know that they are all unique). Find their unique features whether they have full lips, a pouty face, stubby toes, cute dimples, and focus on those. If you take the time to get to know each baby it is guaranteed you will find some unique and cute features to focus your photography on.

Last but not least, be prepared! You will want to have a variety of scenes, props, blankets, headbands, pillows, and maybe even a change of clothes (I’ve heard stories but haven’t needed a change of clothes myself). Photographing newborns can be very rewarding and this special time for families is a moment to cherish forever.

Posted in Family | Leave a comment