Posts Tagged: beach

Kuo + Lawrence

I was flattered when another wedding photographer Lawrence Ha from the West coast wanted to hire me to shoot his wedding down in Cancun, Mexico. It was a great to meet him and his wife for the first time, especially knowing him through Facebook over the years. It’s natural to feel pressure to shoot for another fellow photographer, but all the photographers who I’ve worked for understand the stresses of wedding photography, which make them more easy going as a client. If I ever hire someone for my unlikely wedding, I would give him or her plenty of slack and try to not make it feel like work. For your information, working at a destination wedding is way more difficult than a local wedding, so you can all stop telling us how lucky we are to work on a non-equipment-friendly environment!


Paradise with Olivia

It truly felt like paradise being far away from everyone we know, no plans, no agenda, just exploring together with a tote full of new outfits, few camera lens, and a rental car with no destination. I planned for weeks on outfits and matching accessories and couldn’t wait to put them on the model and photograph her somewhere exotic! Our adventures started at the amazing bed and breakfast in San Juan by the ocean. It was a mini paradise by itself, with open arches and gates, foliage, plenty of natural light, and two adorable golden retrievers. The decor of the bedroom also lend itself to some very sexy photos. We ended the day with an evening shoot at Luquillo beach. What an exciting feeling to be alone in the quiet and calm bay as the sun sets, like a giant bathtub for the model and I to play in.

The next morning would start before the sun came back up as we walked down to the beach waiting for the sky wake up right behind us. Later in the day while driving to Fajardo for our ferry ride to Vieques, we spotted a pony ranch on the side of the road. I always love random detours that gives us unexpected photo opportunities. The owner of the ranch was extremely helpful, making sure we got the ponies to do the poses we want and standing where we want. When we were done, he gave us a phone number for a friend of his in Vieques, just in case we needed anything – this would practically save us later in the day.

Upon taking the last ferry from Fajardo to Vieques, it was already evening when we arrived at the island, and due to low tourist season, there wasn’t a taxi in sight. I had no choice but to call the phone number given to me and see what he could do for us. Amazingly, this friend, Luis, is a driver for tourists and just happened to be a few minutes away and saved our evening by taking us to our B&B. We enjoyed his company and knowledge of the island so much we decided to cancel our rental car and hire him as our driver for the next day on the island while we shoot. He took us to all the best locations we might have never been able to find on our own, so I credit the Vieques photos to Luis. We visited the island’s four hundred year old tree, complete with vicious fire ants, secluded beaches, and access to a fort museum. Our last spot was a black sand beach. It would be a grueling hike to reach this secluded cove. I would have loved to spend more than just the quick forty five minutes we had there. Our amazing three day shoot would end here, as we packed up and took our redeye flight home the next morning. It was a trip I will never forget, and the photos will always remind me of these moments.


Margaret + Tim

Maggs and I were in the same senior art thesis class, besides her pretty face, her quirky personality was an instant hit for me. I had photographed her brother’s wedding a few years ago and met their wonderful family, so it was only a great pleasure to hear she wanted me to photograph her wedding as well. The carefree energy and vibe from the party made the day an adventure to capture.


Rella At The Beach

It’s always fun to shoot at a secluded beach without a single soul to disturb you. You can run around free and have the whole beach to yourself. One of my favorite recent discoveries is a beach in New York that was closed due to Hurrican Sandy and the abandoned structures were filled with sand. I may be sneaking in there more during off season. Phiorella did an amazing job being playful and sexy, and her gorgeous long hair makes you believe she is a beach goddess.


El Bob Relaxes in Cancun

El Bob makes his way to the east coast of Mexico for the first time to Cancun. Thankfully he stayed at a family friendly resort, Now Jade, instead of fighting his way through intoxicated Spring Breakers. While El Bob could have gotten all his eats, sun, and water in the all inclusive resort, he was able to check out some local beaches too. Do you recognize the boat he’s sitting on?


El Bob at Paamul beach.

Corazon from Mexico

During my destination wedding trip to Cancun, Mexico, I had the pleasure of meeting Corazon who lives there and models freelance, originally from Oregon. My beach shoots usually consists of renting a car and scouting the area for local non-touristy and secluded beaches to photograph. I find that locals outside the U.S. care the least about photo shoots, while even American tourists can get upset about having a nude model on the beach they’re visiting. I like to drive down the beach highways and when I see exit signs for local beaches, I pull in and scout. Paamul beach was a narrow long road that led to a security booth, where the guard gave us a long speech in Spanish and I thought he was going to kick us out for whatever reason. When asked to repeat in English, he was just warning us not to bring our own food/alcohol, and other miscellaneous beach rules. Off we went to find the right spot by the water, and the other beach security guards didn’t bother us setting up a photo shoot. This is never allowed in the U.S.! It was a fun and easy shoot, Corazon is a great model to work with and a treat to have during my trip!


Bernadette + Keith

Bernadette and Keith got married on the happy island of Aruba. There’s no better way to celebrate than with a few of your craziest friends far away from home, and of course some alcohol lots of alcohol and great music. A pool dive at the end of the night helps too. The next day we rented a Jeep to go to some off road locations for the Trash the Dress session. It’s great to find locations without another soul there and just do as you please.


How I almost got arrested

Maybe the next few series of warm photos will make you feel a little warmer in this winter weather. I have to thank my friend for recommending such a gem out from Los Angeles. Having a high energy, bubbly personality creates great interactions for me to capture. I am sure you want to know what almost got us in trouble.

It was early morning when we drove to Abalone Cove which is a public park/beach. There happened to be a film crew setting up the day for some production with two police offers on watch. All of this took place at the park on the cliff, while the model and I hiked down the cliff to the beach out of sight. We shot all around on the beach and in nooks and crannies against the cliff wall. The place was practically void of any souls all morning. We eventually started topless shots on the beach, and naturally I scan the area to make sure nobody was around. Above on the cliff I did notice two subjects in the distance, one seemed to be an officer with binoculars, so I’m sure he spotted us, but he didn’t stay there long.

After our little adventure we hiked back up the cliff to the parking lot, where we were greeted by the officers by our car. He said he normally would have come down to arrest us for what we did, but fortunately he had security duties for the production crew that day. When asked if it was because of photography, the officer said it was illegal for nudity on the public beach, and not to come back here again. No problem and thank you sir!

Here’s a tip I give photographers who aren’t sure about the rules of a location. Prepare your equipment and subjects before you’re in sight of the location, this way you’re ready to start shooting as soon as you get there. Just keep shooting as fast as you can. If someone is approaching you, keep shooting and pretend you didn’t see them coming, until they talk to you and ask you to stop. You can then say you didn’t know there was a restriction and move on.

 


Grand Bahama wedding

This year has been fruitful with the amount of destination weddings and paid travels, although it’s not even over yet. Destination weddings are my favorite because they are both scenic and very low key, a perfect combination. My first stop this year was Grand Bahama, Bahamas. When I see a pool next to the reception area, I know there’s going to be some body-throwing-wet-clothing-drinking-pool action at the end of the night – I just pray nobody is drunk enough to push the photographer into the action.

I always provide the destination couple with an optional Trash the Dress session during the trip.  Might as well make the most use of the dress and location while you’re there. Mad props to the bride who made the dive for the football at the end.

 


Barahona, Dominican Republic

One great thing about island countries is that all cars including rentals are manual transmission only. That means any car I rent will be a fun driving experience through the curvy, narrow, scenic, aggressive, and dangerous roads across the island. I decided to rent a Nissan Frontier pickup truck for this trip with two models. Our destination, Barahona, was a 6 hour drive from the airport, far away from all resorts and toursists. It was undeniably one of the best drives of my life. Weaving in and out of the opposite side of traffic to pass slower cars, crawling through massive speed bumps that would otherwise destroy your axle over 10mph, climbing up and down hills in local towns, passing bullet-ridden road signs, enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery, two girls in bikinis trying to get a tan through the windows.
The hotel we stayed at was Casa Bonita in Barahona. The view was magnificant, the location was quiet, surrounded only by locals. We drove around the area exploring for locations to shoot and found more than enough places with little to no people. One of the beaches had a perfect inlet of calm, shallow water, with the exception of sharp and painful pebbles.
My outdoor style is usually inspired by Sports Illustrated swimsuit photos. They are clean, bright, and soft tones, with limited dynamic range. My two main lens for otudoors is usually the 24-70mm and 70-200mm, and I don’t use fill-flash since I can’t carry studio strobes with me. Indoor dimly lit photos are always taken with prime lens – the only way to capture enough light. Make sure you take a lot of photos while shooting with primes wide open, as there is always a chance of your photos being misfocused due to the low light, and you won’t find out until you view it on a computer.
Click on the panoramic photo to download full-res version. These were taken from the room balcony.





























Melissa

Yet another beach set, same secret location. This was also taken with a portable AlienBee strobe, B400 with umbrella. With so much space on a beach, I always try to shoot with 70-200mm. If I had a 300-400 I might even use that. The more telephoto, the better for models, the more proportionate. The weather was also perfect for the first set. Dark storm clouds adds a lot more dramatic than a clear, solid background color. The bright orange lighting is when the sun peaked through, a completely different mood.