Lighting Beauty & Post Production Workshop Announced



Had an amazing time last month with my second workshop in Lighting for Beauty and Post Production. The workshop sold out in less than 2 weeks after it was announced. Back by popular demand is the return of my workshop for lighting for beauty and how to achieve professional results in post production. I will teach my students my very own techniques in achieveing the perfect images right out of camera and giving it that extra commercial ad quality in photoshop. This is an 8 hour intensive class that is geared towards the intermediate level photographer. If your thinking about signing up, do it before April to get the early bird special.


Lara Jade Teaches 3 Day Workshop on CreativeLive

For all you fashion photographers out there, here’s a show your not going to want to miss. If you don’t know who Lara Jade is then shame on you! She’s an amazing, young, and gorgeous, fashion photographer. Her work can be seen in many fashion magazines around the world and it’s very inspiring.

Lara will be teaching a 3-Day workshop on CreativeLive October 22-24th. You can catch this workshop completely FREE if you watch it during the live stream, otherwise it will cost you to download. Get ready to call the boss and tell him/her your not feeling to well, must be a flu virus going around. ūüôā


Shooting New York Fashion Week S/S 2013

New York, the big city of dreams. I was always fascinated with the city. My parents lived there for a while, my sister was born there, I didn’t come into the picture until a couple years later when my parents moved back to Lima, Peru.

About 2 years ago one of my good friends invited me to New York. He told me he’d reserved a hotel in the middle of Times Square for five days and wanted to know if I wanted to join him. Being that I had never been to New York, I jumped on the¬†opportunity.

Arriving in New York I had no idea what would be waiting for us. We walked around Times Square snapping away. Some street photography and some shots of the cityscape. After a day or two I noticed that there was something fashionable going on. Turned out to be the Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion week. For the next few days I dragged my friend to the Lincoln Center where we would take pictures of the people walking in and out of the tents. There was no chance in hell of actually getting into one of the shows because security was really tight. We came back with some great images but I wasn’t finished. I was determined to get into those tents and experience it for myself.

New York Fashion week happens twice a year, in February for the Fall/Winter and in September for the Spring/Summer collections. ¬†In the beginning it was held at Bryant Park, in the heart of downtown New York. Years later they moved fashion week to the Lincoln Center. There’s a documentary on how it all started here.¬†

Fast Forward to S/S 2013 (Spring and Summer collection for 2013) an opportunity  presented itself to shoot for a fashion stock agency based in New York. I was thrilled, for the next 10 days I would be right in the middle of it all. I had no clue what to expect and boy was I in for a big surprise.

I arrived in New York on a Wednesday, the night before Fashion’s Night Out. At base camp we went over some fine details and I was taught in literally 2 hours how to shoot the runways! Granted I’ve shot a few fashion shows in the Bay Area but nothing like what I was about to encounter.

The very next morning I already had a schedule of shoots starting around 10AM at Lincoln Center for BCBG Max Azria. 41 shows would follow this for the remaining 9 days! After re-familiarizing¬†myself with the subway system, I was on my way to Adorama Rentals to rent a Canon 70-200 2.8L with a 1.4x converter (for all you photo techies). It’s important to have REACH from your camera and I was lacking. My longest lens is a Canon 135 2.0.

BCBG turned out to be a big show and being my first show I didn’t know exactly how the¬†etiquette¬†worked in the photo pit so I ended up with a less than¬†favorable¬†position. I think the shots still came out great for my first show.

A few shows later and I was starting to get into the¬†rhythm. Subways and taxi’s would take me from the Lincoln Center on 66th ave down to the Meat Packing District at Milk Studios and Highline Studios where many shows were held. These are top notch studios in New York that during NYFW are converted into runways. A few shows were also held on Pier 57 and 59 at Chelsea Piers. Any given day would amount to 2-3 subway routes and 2-3 taxis. Other times I would walk from one show to another trying to grab a bite fro local street vendors whenever I had a couple of minutes to spare which was, hardly ever! The tight schedule would have a show ending at 2PM with the next one starting at 3PM. Here’s were you have to get creative to figure out the shortest and fastest route from one venue to another.

I met a few photographers who have worked NYFW for several years. I was open to any advise they could offer. I learned about the different “Teams” or ¬†“Gangs” that work closely together. You see, all the photographers in the pits are all going for one thing, the perfect shot! When you have over 100 photographers shooting one show and the perfect shot is a matter of a few inches of lens positioning, you can see how stressful and heated a situation can become.

Photographer sections are taped off reserving their spots.

I was informed about this before my first show. Watch out for the bullies. The guy that will try and push you around, get in front of you, yell at you, etc. Needles to say I never had a bad experience with anyone. For the most part everyone was cool. I did see them go off from time to time with other photographers but as for me, I flew under the radar, took my spot and waited for the shows to start. I would shoot next to big agency photographers shooting for Getty Images, AP Press, Reuters, top fashion magazine including Vogue and Haarpers Baazer, they were all there. Teams from Germany, Italy, France and London, would fly in to shoot NYFW and I quickly learned who there guys were. Their accent was the first thing to give them away. They worked in teams, I would see them show after show. One of the team members would arrive at a show very earlier to secure the spots for the other members, they would hire assistants in NY to give them rides from one show to the next and handle miscellaneous tasks. After shooting countless years they have their routine down to a science.

A typical runway show would last between 7-15 minutes. Arriving 2 hours before the show (when possible) I would head backstage and shoot the models getting ready which included hair, makeup and the fitting. They would also do a practice walk-through exactly like the actual show to make sure that everyone knew where they needed to be and the timing was perfect. After this, more backstage shooting. About 1/2 hour before showtime I head back to the photo pit and get ready securing my spot which was already pre-designated with my Pelican Case (priceless). As the crowds roll in, they mingle a bit, some paparazzi style photographers shoot all the crowd photos and the PR organizers show people to their seats.

A typical Photo Pit at NYFW

At exactly 30 minutes past the scheduled time, the shows begin. I can hear the Italian Mafia photographers start to shush the crowd! Their voices project as they yell for everyone to uncross their legs in the front row. What they hate the most is getting a foot sticking out in one of their shots.

As the first model rolls out, you start a¬†rhythm¬†in your head, You see, it’s all about timing. The models forward foot needs to be flat on the ground to make a good shot. If the toe is facing up the shot is garbage and not usable. In order to get these shots you would have to time it perfectly. Doing this while¬†constantly¬†focusing¬†and zooming your lens was not an easy challenge. Other factors were getting the correct white balance for the house lights and also the correct exposure. An average metering would be something like 1/320 F5.6 at ISO 800. This would ensure that I freeze the models movement while maintaining everything in focus.

I was using a Canon 5D Mark II for the task and it did have some down-falls. The focusing system on the 5D Mark II is not the greatest. I used AI servo and all focus points most of the time and once in a while it would be a hit or miss, depending on the light. Another downfall was the FPS (Frames Per Second) in burst mode. I can’t remember the exact number but i think its between 3-4 FPS in burst mode. Too slow for runway in my opinion. Guys next to me were shooting what seemed like 18FPS bursts. I plan to rent a camera next time. The Canon 1DX sounds like a good choice.

Shooting NYFW was a great experience. If it wasn’t for the long hours, no time to grab a bite schedule, and some non-creative robot style shooting on the runways, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. This time I will hesitate for a minute, pack my gear, and do it all over again…

Calvin Klein Show

isQED 12th International Symposium

As most of you already know, my passion is fashion photography. I’m a firm believer that you have to put in your time to make it where you want to be, in other words, your goal. On the road to my goal I’ll venture into new territory because at the end of the day, I still have bills to pay. Fashion will hopefully one day pay all my bills.

I had the opportunity to shoot the 12th Annual International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design. The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Santa Clara, CA.

The conference was hosted by Dr. Ali Iranmanesh, a Stanford University graduate who holds an impressive background in Electrical Engineering. I have no real interest in electrical engineering myself ¬†but what I did appreciate at this conference was the wealth of knowledge that these individuals have. During a keynote speech, most of the time is not actually taking pictures but waiting for the right moment to take the shot. All other times I’m trying to listen in and gather any piece of information that would make any sense to me. To my surprise I didn’t understand one word of anything these guys were talking about but it opened up a new appreciation to the power of knowledge.

Dr. Kamran Eshraghian receiving isQED award



Dr. Kamran Eshraghian, President at Innovation Labs & Distiguished Professor at World Class University (WCU) Korea receiving an award from isQED.




R. Fabian W. Pease




From our very own Stanford University, Professor R. Fabian W. Pease delivers a keynote speech on Moore’s Law.





Rich Morse from Springsoft


During lunch, Rich Morse from Springsoft delivers a speech on Custom Physical design. Rich Morse is a Technical Marketing and EDA Alliances Manager for the Physical Design Product Group at SpringSoft.

Fashion Photography Meetup

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Fashion Photography Meetup happened at Black Pulse Studios in Santa Clara. It was such a great event with an amazing turnout of models, photographers, make up artists, hair stylists and designers. We even had a DJ spinning the latest grooves. A big thanks to everyone that attended the event. Thanks to all the models that took some time out of their schedules to look fabulous! I’d like to personally thank Jackie Tran, Mikel Sessions, Heather Killen, Steve Tolevski and the DJ for making this a great event. Here’s a short video of the event to give you an idea of what went down.