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i have been wanting to do something different for some time now. jaren suggested i try taking pictures at night, in the dark. i shook my head and tried to explain to him that even though my camera is gifted and talented and can do phenomenal things, that dark night, is not a good time for taking pictures, but the conversation sparked a thought in me. what about great, city night light? and suddenly i had an idea, that sparkled, shined, glittered, flashed, bleeped, dazzled, and glowed: i am going to photograph something or someone in really distinctive light and make something really distinctively cool. thank you jaren for inspiring the idea and pushing me to do something different, develop my skills, and helping me see the marvel of all light, especially those that come on at night.


generally speaking photographers try and find the most perfect light. nice, even, smooth, and mellow then they mix it with the perfect camera settings to make a genius exposure with soft skin tones, bright color, zero grain, and perfect crispness. usually, typically, that is the ideal. i love it when i nail an exposure and see how crisp and clean it is. i also loved my experience with light that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “ideal” to shoot in.

here are a few things to keep in mind for all you photo junkies out there while perusing this showcasing:

the majority of these images were shot at 1600 or 3200 iso. in camera world, the goal is to keep the iso as low as possible to reduce the grain or noise on the image, the higher you push it the more noise you will add. it depends on your goal  but in most cases a higher depletes the quality of the image. in my case, with this shoot, i feel it enhanced them. i really, really like the grain effect that i captured on these images. i think it added to their texture, feel, and the story behind them. that it is proof that the concept of a perfect picture is relative. some photographers will say perfect has perfect exposure sans grain; i think grain and noise can also find themselves in the arena of “perfect”, depending on the objective for the shoot.

my aperature was set at 1.2 the entire time and my shutter speed varied depending on the available light. it was pretty slow however because for the most part, it was dark. i tried to keep it at about 1/100th otherwise everything would have looked a bit like this or darker or blurr-ier, which is cool at times, but when your client needs some great head shots, blur is not optimal.


really interesting detail: i didn’t use my flash on any of these. not one. something to consider…

kara, jeana’s daughter on the real housewife’s of orange county, and i have been trying to get together for a while now. her busy student-actress-model-girlfriend-friend-daughter-and waitress responsibilities mixed with my mom-wife-friend-gunnar/larkin activities coordinator-photographer-tutor and teacher gigs have made it difficult to find a time that  would work to shoot some updates for her portfolio. when kara approached me about photographing her i was beyond enthused, and when i mentioned my idea for a night shoot she was more than willing to entertain the idea and humor me. i think we made a really great team. since we decided to shoot at night our schedules opened up; i headed to downtown la for some time with a starlit


and to experiment with one of my new favorite mediums: night light.


i really enjoyed my time with kara. she is spunk, spice, sugar, sweet, smart, and sassy all rolled into this dynamic package. 





i loved this one; i just think the softness of the color is so great.



kara intimidates. (not on purpose and definitely not after getting to know her.) it is unfortunate, but true. she has so many things going for her: talent, beauty, style, intellect. some have labeled  her, “spoiled, rotten, and bratty.” she is self-proclaimed “spoiled”, but rotten and bratty are far from her resume. in fact her character is so real and geniune that i couldn’t believe some of the things she was telling me others have said to her concerning the rotten and bratty part of the labels she has unjustly been stuck with. she is a girl’s girl who loves beach days, shopping, make-up, new purses, eating at fun cafes, reading great novels, and chatting with close friends. she’s smart too; really smart, and can hold her own in a heated debate or a conversation on politics, economics, or any other controversial topic.  i can see why she holds only certain people close to her heart since others feed off their intimidation and make unjust and ridiculous judgements about her. the irony? kara would be friends with anyone. interesting how the most beautiful people are usually labeled as the most insincere and arrogant, when really they are the most geniune and nice. at least that’s how i feel about kara. ok. we’ll give her spoiled, but i would replace rotten and bratty with loyal and compassionate, intellectual and kind.

she is a good person who lives her life with integrity ; and that’s cool. and that’s what matters.

blackandwhitejustherheadblogi really liked the soft image above juxtaposed with the clean crisp one below.backofcarreflectionblog

we invited blair, kara’s boyfriend, to join us on the shoot. i am so glad we did. because we shot this (which could possibly be my favorite):


and this:


and all of these:




we stumbled across this really great diner with phenomenal fixtures inside. this was my favorite spot of the night.standdon'tsitblog2dinersidebysideIMG_0757greatlinesblog



blair is chivalrous, and so good to kara, and she is deserving of someone who seeks to understand her instead of make assumptions.

he was also very good at being a prop for us.




he was originally in this shot, but i took him out. it was a little too, how did you put it blair? “creepy, stalker guy-ish?


loved this image:


hotty, hot, hot:


funny, fun, fun:


parking garages actually do have good light. there’s a myth- busted. they don’t usually have attractive people sitting on their epoxied floor, however. they are not included with the good light garage.


love this; i thought it was so clever:


i really liked the dramatic concept with this one especially with the shadow. minimal photoshopping here, this is two steps from being sooc (straight out of the camera). pretty cool, i thought.



kara, thank you so much for this opportunity. like always i was impressed with your sense of self, the respect you have for your person and for others, and the joy you find in life and all of its challenges. i am so happy you are closer to home now too. i think you are a star in every denotation, connotation, and association ever given to the word. i know your future is bright because of who  you are and how you choose to live.


blair, so good meeting you. thank you again for dinner. keep swinging and getting really great wounds that make for outstanding microscope specimen.


may you both enjoy life’s light, literally and metaphorically. thank you again so much for this enlightening opportunity. can’t wait for our shoot with jeana! blair you can come to that one too. yogurt’s on me!! xoxo kj