Chuck Espinoza Photography

Los Angeles Based Freelance Photographer.
Architecture and Design

Renaissance Towers for About:Space

By on March 11, 2010

A couple weeks ago I got a call from the interior designers at About:Space. They were finishing up on a project for the Renaissance Towers downtown and wanted to submit photos of their work for an industry award. Their work involved upgrading the lobby and leasing office as well as designing the new penthouse. The following shots are samples from our two day shoot.

Renaissance Towers Leasing Office Design
Renaissance Towers Leasing Office Design
Renaissance Towers Lobby Design
Renaissance Towers Lobby Design

As much as tried to integrate it into the shot, I just couldn’t manage to get the helicopter pad just outside the windows on the right to read. Next time I’ll request a helicopter.

Renaissance Towers Penthouse Living Room
Renaissance Towers Penthouse Living Room
Renaissance Towers Penthouse Master Bedroom
Renaissance Towers Penthouse Master Bedroom

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Architecture and Design | Family, Kids, Maternity and Weddings | head shots and portraits

Why you should hire me to shoot your ________

By on February 26, 2010

I recently lost a job based on price. I had already provided the “bro hookup” discount since the client was friends with my wife. The client was able to find a photographer willing to provide more for less. Does it make sense to lose a sizable job over an additional 20% discount? (in this case yes) What’s that “bird in the hand” saying?

The experience got me thinking about why you should hire me. My first inclination was to say that great photography is the reason to hire me but that’s not enough and that’s not even the main reason.

Hire me to shoot your wedding, children, engagement session, portrait, head shot, your home, your new design, _______(fill in the blank) because:

Heidi
Heidi Heaslet Fashion Shoot

1. Because you like me as a person and you want to do business with me.  For most photography projects I spend a fair amount of time with my clients. It could be intimate situations like an expectant mother’s first maternity photo shoot, visiting the home of new parents to take pictures of their newborn, spending a couple days shooting a project for an interior designer or spending a day with a bride, groom and their closest friends and family. I could be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t like me, don’t want me around or don’t trust me, the quality of my work doesn’t matter.

2. Hire me because you believe in, and trust in, my ability as a photographer. I’m not a “wedding photographer”. I’m not a “family portrait photographer”. I’m not an “architectural photographer”. I’m a photographer that happens to shoot all of the previous mentioned types of photography. There’s enough of my work online for people to get an accurate view of the quality of my work, my ability to think on my feet and the quality of the finished product I deliver to my clients.

Pacific Palisades infinity pool for Knight Landscaping and Design
Pacific Palisades infinity pool for Knight Landscaping and Design

Want to know how I picked my wedding photographer? I looked through a box a proofs. While sifting through hundreds of proofs from my friend Josh’s wedding the main thing that stood out with Selima was consistency. The great majority of the images were solid, and as a whole they were great. I encourage and often show my potential wedding clients the proofs from the weddings I have shot and tell them this is what you can expect. I’ve heard so many stories from friends and clients who were duped into hiring a photographer based on the 20 images they saw on a website.

3. Hire me because you want something different. Hire me to shoot your wedding because of my fashion work. Hire me to shoot your architectural work because of the unique images I shot of your neighbors kids. Hire me because you know that whatever circumstances I am put in I can get the shot.

Norah Portrait Shoot
Norah Portrait Shoot

I’m not sure where money and cost factor in. It’s an important factor but not the most important. I made a decision early on not to compete on price. If you want to price shop photography there are a ton of photographer’s who will compete on price. Creativity and art are subjective. The cost and perceived value is up to you.

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head shots and portraits

Make it Work

By on February 18, 2010

The other day I had the pleasure of photographing five attorneys at their office in Century City. The words “conference room” had me thinking of a large space with plenty of room for lights and stands. I was mistaken. This was another situation where I had to make it work with what I was given.

Lighting set up in conference room
Lighting set up in conference room

Why so much gear for a simple executive portrait?
My first concern was that the first two scheduled attorneys wore glasses and I had to make sure I couldn’t see my lights reflected in their glasses.  This is the set-up I ended up with; I changed it slightly for the other three attorneys.

The Norman soft box is my main light and the grid helps me keep the light off the backdrop.
The SB26 next to the paper adds a little light to the back of the subjects head.
The shadows were too dark camera right so I added the Quantum in a small softbox outside the room firing through the window.
I wanted a little more fill coming from the direction of the camera so I shot another small strobe towards the white bounce taped to the wall.

It took me about an hour to unload, set-up and test the lights. It took 22 minutes to make all five executive portraits.

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Architecture and Design

When $3.4 million looks like a great deal

By on January 31, 2010

I’ve photographed a lot of great homes and last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting a beautiful house for Karen & Kate of Deasy Penner. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many great homes or because I’ve lived in LA for too long but I was surprised when they told me the house was listed for $3.4 mil. Only in LA would that seem like a great deal.

3320 Sumac Ridge Rd in beautiful Malibu California has five bedrooms, five baths a great floor plan and kitchen for entertaining, a pool and oh did I mention the hilltop ocean views? (click on the link for more photos and MLS listing)

living room and dining area with ocean views
living room and dining area with ocean views
kitchen
Cooks kitchen with Viking Appliances and Ocean views

Master beadroom with two walk in closets and ocean views
Master bedroom with two walk in closets and ocean views
Master bedroom sitting area and patio with fireplace
Master bedroom fireplace, sitting area and patio

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Photography business

Make it work – Using My 5D Mark II in the dark

By on January 20, 2010

Over the weekend I got a call from a real estate team that I shoot property photography for. They needed an editorial portrait of Tami, one of the partners, and they needed to deliver the image to a client by tuesday morning.  They wanted a fashion inspired editorial portrait using a Range Rover as a prop. In atypical Southern California fashion the heavens opened up and the rain wasn’t expected to stop for a week.  Plan A was a parking garage and plan B was the beach. As luck would have it the skies parted and we were able to schedule it for sunset at the beach.

It was cold, windy, the ocean was chop but at least it wasn’t raining. I got there early in order to figure out how I was going to make Tami look great without the photo looking like a cliche “girl on a car” photo. Worse yet, I couldn’t have the photo look like a Range Rover commercial with Tami as the prop.

I shot a few pics of the ocean and sunset and waited…..

And then I watched the sun go down. So much for Plan A.

Sunset
Sunset

Jim and Tami arrived a few minutes after the sun went down and in order to keep Tami’s hair intact and keep her warm, I used Jim as a stand-in.  By the time we got the framing we wanted and had shot a few tests, the sun had been down for 15 minutes.  While there was some ambient light in the sky I was getting away with using strobes. After the light began to fade the background became dark and lifeless. Because I thought we would be shooting into the setting sun I packed a reflector. We turned on the headlights, I cranked up the ISO on my camera, and we were able to light Tami using just the bounced light from the headlights.

A year ago I would have never considered shooting at an ISO of 2500 but I needed all the help I could get. In a lot of circumstances professional  photographers are asked to make it work.  We have to adjust to the circumstances and make great images with what we’ve got. In this case it meant shooting in the dark.

Canon 5D Mark II - 50mm F1.2 shot at F1.8 1/100 ISO 2500
Canon 5D Mark II - 50mm F1.2 shot at F1.8 1/100 ISO 2500
Canon 5D Mark II - 50mm F1.2 shot at F2.2 1/100 ISO 2500
Canon 5D Mark II - 50mm F1.2 shot at F2.2 1/100 ISO 2500

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Architecture and Design | Family, Kids, Maternity and Weddings | head shots and portraits

Looking back at 2009

By on January 1, 2010

Over the past couple weeks I have been digging through the archives to pull images for this year’s slide show. The slideshow represents all the assignments I shot in 2009 as well as follows the growth of our 20 month old daughter Grace.

It’s great to reflect on what worked and what didn’t and it has planted a few seeds for new business plans for 2010. The slide show is laid out chronologically so if the newborn shot next to the architecture shot next to the model seems out of place, now you know why.

Enjoy the show. Hopefully you will see some new images as well as think back to our photo shoot together. Maybe you’ll even see some images that will inspire another shoot for 2010. Thanks for your support and referrals, they keep my business alive.

The song is 28 butts by Little Jackie. I was introduced to Little Jackie by our local friend Jason Bently at KCRW. Enjoy and thanks for a great year.

If you missed last years check out the following from 2008:

Chuck Espinoza Photography – A Slideshow of 2008 Photography from Chuck Espinoza on Vimeo.

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