Best of 2017: Travel

If you haven’t seen part 1 of my Best of 2017 posts, go check out my favorite portraits from this year here.

Ah, travel. Like a lot of other college students, I don’t often get the chance to travel. Most of my summers are spent taking classes or working, and my student-sized budget limits my travel options. However, I took a few weeks off from all things academic this past summer to travel in the western U.S. I visited a handful of national parks, spent some time eating myself to death in Vegas (I wasn’t 21 yet so my options were limited) and took a few (okay, a lot) of photos.

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I feel the need to preface this section by saying that I am absolutely not a travel or landscape photographer, but I did my best! This past summer was actually the first time that I carried my DSLR with me throughout an entire trip, most of which was hiking in various national parks in the U.S. I ended up loving some of these photos so much that I printed a selection of them to hang in my apartment, so enjoy!

The first photos in this set are from my visit to Zion National Park in southwest Utah. I was only there for a few short days, but Zion quickly became one of my favorite parks ever for its mixture of towering rock cliffs, beautiful rivers, and lively wildlife. I hope to go back soon!

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This last image above from Zion is weirdly one of my favorite shots ever, even though four out of five of the people in the photo are complete strangers. (My father is the one with the backpack and the tan cap on the right.) Something about the winding path along the steep cliff face combined with the centered hiker in the wide-brimmed hat, I guess.

Bryce Canyon, captured in the images of below, creates some really striking images with its vibrant red-orange rocks and towering spires. I spent most of my time hiking around the upper rim, where I could photograph the sprawl of the canyon from up high. The hoodoos (the rock towers) are actually massive, towering pillars, but I liked that they looked almost like little soldiers in formation from a distance. I spent a few hours navigating the steep switchbacks that lead into the canyon, pictured in the last photo.

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Arches National Park and Monument Valley were two really fun places to photograph, though the rock formations are much more impressive in person. While they don’t look that intimidating in the photos, I challenge you to look for people, roads, and cars in the images that will give you an idea of the scale of these monuments. Arizona’s Monument Valley at sunset, in particular, was a joy to shoot. The blaze of the sun lent so much rich color and drama to the images, making them some of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken.

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I’ll admit to being kind of obsessed with the the West and East Mitten Buttes, both for their unique shape and adorable name. The above photograph was taken on foot from one of the trails, while the ones below were taken from a higher vantage point near sunset. Look at the difference that the light makes!

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The last set of travel images I wanted to share is from Antelope Canyon in Arizona. I was absolutely thrilled to get to take my camera with me as we descended into the lower part of the canyon and wove our way through. Most of the passages are very narrow, making it so that I had to turn sideways to squeeze through some areas. The walls also block out a great deal of sunlight, making it somewhat dark (but blessedly much cooler than the desert outside). Before visiting, I was skeptical of the photos I’d seen, with their vibrant reds and purples. I thought the photographers had just pumped up the vibrance and saturation during editing, but as you can see below, the colors in the canyon are absolutely real. The guide told us that they shift throughout the day based on the angle of the light filtering down through the canyon, so that no two photos of the canyon are ever identical.

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That’s a wrap on 2017 travel photos, thanks for sticking around! I’m looking to take another trip this summer, so please send me your suggestions! I have never traveled to Europe or the majority of Asia, and would especially love to shoot in both places. And don’t forget to check out part 1 of this post!

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Best of 2017: Portraits

2017 was full of amazing photographic experiences for me. I got to work with so many great clients, from my spring and fall seniors to local bloggers, and document some really memorable experiences of my own. I am so excited to be able to share my favorite portraits from this past year all in one blog post! (Stay tuned for travel photos, coming soon in a separate post.)

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Real talk: senior portraits are my bread and butter. It’s what I first started shooting three years ago, and it still makes up the bulk of my work! I have so much fun shooting with my fellow Longhorns and every graduation shoot makes me even more excited for my own this spring. This year I also incorporated some more work with couples, which has been a really fun change!

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I also wanted to include some of the amazing collaborations I participated in this year. For those of you that didn’t know, I actually got my start in photography as a blogger back in the day. (Surprise!) Shocking, I know, since I currently can’t be bothered to wear makeup, do my hair, or wear anything other than workout clothes. Still, I always love working with local fashion and lifestyle bloggers. Enjoy some of my favorite shots from shoots with bloggers and brands below.

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I shot these product images for Love Your Melon and Sume Jewelry, two businesses that make products that I absolutely love. (LYM also benefits a great cause!)

I met Jesse Coulter towards the end of the year, and got to shoot some winter and holiday outfits with her. She’s so funny and spunky, and I loved her style!

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Next up is my friend Jane, who is talented, genuine, and much more fashionable than me. Shooting with her is always such a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to more sessions as she builds her blog!

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Over the summer I also had the opportunity to shoot with Rachel Spross (a Longhorn alum) for the first time. I loved her outfits, and I would definitely recommend checking out her feed if you ever need style inspiration!

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Working with bloggers is something I’m looking to do more of next year, especially after I graduate college! If you’re a local blogger (or know someone who is), let me know! I would love to work with you.

And that wraps up my favorite portraits of 2017! It was such a great year for me, in that I had plenty of new experiences and got to push myself to learn new skills and further develop my style. I can’t wait for what 2018 has in store!

Didn’t get enough from this post? Part two is coming soon, with the best of my travel photos from 2017. Stay tuned!

 

 

UT Austin Class of 2016 Seniors | Mahrukh

Graduation shoots with my seniors are always so much fun, and it makes me so happy to be a part of a big milestone in their lives. Mahrukh graduated from UT Austin with her degree in Public Health, and we had a great time at her shoot (despite the chilly weather).

It was early Monday morning, so campus was still pretty quiet and we got to visit a lot of my favorite locations. We even had time to go downtown to Auditorium Shores to shoot with the Austin skyline in the background. She brought a friend to help her carry her outfits, and we squeezed in a few shots of them together at the end. Mahrukh is so sweet and smart, and I can’t wait to see where she’s headed next!

Catch some of my favorite shots from her session below.

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Glitter + Confetti Shots | Tips & Tricks

Throwing glitter or confetti in the air makes for a great photo, and it’s one of my most frequent requests from my seniors! They are so much fun to do, and I love that each and every one of them comes out unique.

In celebration of the beginning of 2017, I put together some of my favorite glitter photos from 2016, and included some of my favorite tips on how to capture a great confetti toss photo.

Tips + Tricks

  1. Get the good stuff: You’re looking for medium-sized pieces of glitter or confetti. If they’re too small, they won’t show up well in the photos, and if they’re too big, they’ll obscure your subject’s face. I particularly like sparkly and metallic types because they catch the light well and stand out.
  2. Watch the wind: If the wind is blowing from the left or right side of the subject, it’ll carry the pieces to one side and out of the frame while you’re shooting. You also don’t want the wind blowing into your subject’s face, since you don’t want glitter getting into their eyes and mouth. If it’s just a light breeze, put your subject’s back to the wind. If it’s especially gusty out, try to find a wall or overhang to protect you from the wind. (This is also a good reason to do your toss at the end of the shoot, so you don’t have to worry about glitter that’s stuck to clothes or in hair in later shots.)
  3. No puffer fish allowed: I prefer throwing the confetti in the air over having my seniors blow it to avoid “puffer fish face”, but a gentle reminder to pretend like they’re blowing a kiss generally helps 😉
  4. The low-high rule: For my camera setting savvy friends, shoot at a low aperture, like f2.8, and a high shutter speed around 1/200 or faster. The low aperture will blur out distracting background elements and make your subject and the glitter stand out crisply, and the fast shutter will help you avoid motion blur.
  5. Clean-up: If you’re shooting outside, do your glitter toss on pavement, not in the grass. It’ll make sweeping up the mess afterwards much easier. Alternatively, look for biodegradable confetti (yes, that exists), that you can safely leave behind. Leaving traditional glitter behind is inconsiderate and could harm wildlife.

Have questions? Leave them for me in the comments and I’ll get back to you! Now, enjoy my favorites from 2016 🙂

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Summer Elopement | Desiree + JP

Ahh, Texas summers. Summer is the season of scorching heat and blinding sun, and surprisingly, a lot of weddings. When Desiree contacted me about photographing her intimate summer wedding at Chapel Dulcinea, I jumped at the opportunity. There’s something about simple ceremonies, with just close family and friends present, that connects with me. I love how the day is focused so completely on the couple and their love for each other, and their transition into a new life together.

JP and Desiree were staying in the guesthouse of a charming South Austin home, and I met them there to photograph them while they got ready. Everyone then drove to Chapel Dulcinea, a beautiful outdoor chapel that sits atop a cliff that overlooks the hill country. The chapel is especially unique because it allows couples to get married there at no cost.

Desiree put her finishing touches on, and then headed down the path to the chapel. JP and Desiree exchanged the vows that they wrote, slipped on their rings, and were married. In Chapel Dulcinea’s signature tradition, they got to ring the chapel’s church bell after the ceremony in celebration.

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Special thanks to the talented Alyssa Jarae Photography for second shooting.

Fall Golden Hour | Stephanie Wang

Golden hour is so much fun to work with, especially when the weather’s nice. There’s so much beautiful, warm light that gives all of the photos a unique feel. After having our original session rained out, I was thrilled to see the sun come out again!

I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot with Stephanie, a friend of mine from high school. She brought her amazing sense of style and her gorgeous smile, and we had loads of fun exploring different places around the UT Austin campus. (Can we just take a minute to talk about how cute both of her outfits were?) I had such a great time catching up with her, and love the photos. Check out some of my favorites below!

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UT Austin Social Work Council Officers

Fun fact: I got my start in photography by taking new headshots for college students. Every fall, I return to my roots and take fresh headshots for all of the UT Austin students looking to update their LinkedIn profiles and resumes before job and internship recruiting begins.

For the third year in a row, I got to photograph the UT Austin Social Work Council Officers, and could not have had more fun. One of my very first paid shoots was with the SWC Officers in 2014, and it has been an amazing experience getting to work with them every year as I learn and improve.

These women are so incredible, with their leadership and commitment to serving the community, and it is always an honor to get to shoot with them! They were definitely one of my favorite shoots this year, so check out some of the photos from their session below.

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South Congress Styled Shoot | Tiffany Chan

The South Congress area is one of my favorite parts of Austin to explore. From the kitschy boutiques and cafes to the posh hotels and cozy coffee shops, it has a little bit of everything that Austin has to offer.

We went for a slightly vintage feel with this shoot, opting for a clean-cut gown, soft curls, and a rosy lip. Tiffany is a good friend of mine, and is always so much fun to work with. (Plus, she’s absolutely gorgeous!) We also had the incredibly talented Maiya Evans doing hair and makeup, and she did an amazing job executing my vision. Despite the hot, sticky weather, I loved every minute of it, and am so thrilled with how the photos turned out.

Vintage bridal inspiration, anyone?

Enjoy some highlights from her shoot below.

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