Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! Welcome 2009!

Hi readers, happy new year! 2008 has been pretty exciting for me, as it's when I bought my first dSLR and started to shoot more seriously. In the mere 8 months, I have already racked up $3200 in camera gears! Oh well, more to come anyways, ha ha...

I want to share with you a slide show I found, made by MSNBC. It has some of the most amazing photos I have seen. You will just have to check it out for yourself to see what I mean. The images are so powerful! I have much to learn... :)

The Year in Pictures 2008

Please comments so I know who is reading my blog! Thanks!

- Mike

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Amanda (Studio Shoot)

Sorry about the lateness in updates, haven't had many shoots due to the cold weather, no girls wants to come out... :(

But, I do have some photos from my last shoot with Amanda. This was shot in a studio style setting, as my friends had some lights for me to play with. Since this was my very first studio shoot, I probably made a lot of mistakes. I didn't know the background was going to be black, so Amanda wore black also, but some shots it came out pretty cool. These were done with 2 flash umbrellas, and mostly at f/4-5.6, with shutter at ~1/250 second.

Watch closely at the curves of the dress, there are highlights to distinguish it from the background! :D

Different outfit, kinda nice!

Portrait style shot

I always love a close up headshot!

Heh, the classic headshot...

Remember to hit the full portfolio link on the right side bar for more photos!

Broken SD card...

I was just reading another blog today, and came across this story. It's about how a photographer worked so hard to get into the White House to photograph the President, George W. Bush, but came across so many road blocks, only to have the SD card literally fall apart! Read the article to see what happened at the end... :)

Maybe that dual card setup in the expensive cameras ain't such a bad idea afterall... Ha ha...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Amanda W.

Met Amanda when we had classes together at college, always thought she had a unique look, so asked her for a photoshoot. Since she is 2 hours drive away, I didn't get to photograph her until recently. I was going for the same casual fall style as Nikki and Jessica's, since most people seems to like them. Anyways, picture time! :)

It was actually snowing/flurry when we shot this!

Looks like she is modeling for the coat or something...

Trying to use the natural light from the big window she was looking at.

Added a little effect...

I like the green background.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jessica S.

I have actually already shot this girl before at the House of Styles; if you don't remember, you can see her here. I had a nice experience shoot with her, and she happens to live in the same city as me, we decided to just shoot by a local lake. We got lucky because that weekend was actually a lot warmer than the previous days, still a bit chilly though.

By the lake

Strike a pose!

Always like a little B&W... :)

My shoots always have to have a headshot!

Blog Change/Update

I have decided to make a little change for my posts. Usually in the very beginning of the post, I will have a link to the album that shows ALL the photos. Well, since I am following a very important rule of a photographer, Only show your best photos!, that link will be gone. If you want to see rest of the photos, you can hit up the "Full Portfolio" or "Flickr" link on the right sidebar.

I will also be archiving the photos of an old shoot and put only my favorites in the Best of the Best album, while the rest will be gone. Anyways, here is a random photo to make this post look pretty... :)

Honda Shadow Bike

Friday, November 21, 2008


Sheena's Shoot Album

I am always striving to be better with each shoot, but shooting with Sheena was definitely better than "better", I think it's my BEST so far! Although, I have to credit 80% of the awesome work to her, because she is a professional model. During the shoot, I didn't have to say a thing, she posed herself, and all I had to do was click away.

I shot ~725 photos in about 3 hours, which is a pretty high for me. I was mainly using the newly bought Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, but did use the 50mm for a couple of shots. Most shots were done in the shade, but it turns out Sheena doesn't squint in the sun! To a photographer, the sun is usually bad due to harsh shadows, but when you can use it straight on, it's like heaven!

Anyways, enough of this blabbering, check out the photos below! I am going to try to shoot with her again sometime.

Edgy pose

Sexy pose, but I wish I had shot a bit lower angle...

I think I am liking boots more and more now! Ha ha...

Directly under the sun! I love it...

Her legs makes a nice nice flowing through the frame

Sheena has such a nicely framed face!

I am in love with her eyes. Simple as that. I wish you can see the high resolution pictures, because they are THAT much better!

Including some fall colors!

There are many more superb photos in the album, be sure to check it out! Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Review

OK, I have been having too much fun with this lens that I didn't even get a chance to review it! Ha ha... Anyways, thought I should do it sooner or later. I have my eye on this lens (and the 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM) for a while, and just on the edge, until I learned about the recent Canon instant rebate, and I just couldn't resist anymore. I went to and clicked that "Buy" button... Wow, that feeling of spending $1575... :P

Images from

If you don't know about Canon lenses:
  • "EF" is a type of mount, it basically fits all current cameras.
  • "70-200mm" is the focal length, and in this range, it's a telephoto zoom lens, great for portraits because due to lens compression (for example, ladies, it makes you look thinner... :D )
  • "f/2.8" is the aperture value, and the lower the number, the better bokeh it creates. Bokeh is the creamy background you get, and it is essential for me to make the subject pop up.
  • "L" is the luxury line of Canon lenses, best of the best! Another sign this lens is the high quality expensive line is the the off-white body. When you see a white lens, be very afraid... ha ha!
  • "IS" stands for Image Stabilizer, it compensates for your hand shake. Works quite well actually.
  • "USM" is the Ultrasonic Motor for the focus mechanism. I really needed a accurate and fast focus lens so my head shots will have sharp eyes.
This is a pretty big lens... On my tiny Canon Rebel XSi, it's a "glorified rear lens cap"! When I have all the lenses I want, I will upgrade to a bigger body. Together with my Canon 580EX II Speedlite, the whole thing weighs 6 lb. 3 oz. Yeah... But it's really not that bad when I am busy shooting.

Canon XSi shown with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens and the Canon 580EX II Speedlite

The previous post (Nikki) was my first shoot with this lens. I really like how fast and accurate the focus was. The 50mm f/1.8 II was not very accurate, so this was a blessing. Shooting at f/2.8 was a bit soft, but when stopped down to f/4 or so, this lens may challenge the prime lenses. I will post more about this lens as I shoot more with it.


Nikki's Shoot Album

First thing first: Check out the full album! I couldn't fit every picture in the post!

I met Nikki back from the House of Styles shoot, and she was just awesome with facial expressions that I wanted to shoot her again. She says all her photos so far are fashion/sexy style, so I offered a casual shoot to change things up for her portfolio.

This is also the first time I got to use my new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, which is probably the best portrait telephoto lens Canon makes. I just had to get it due to a current Canon instant rebate (ends 1/17/09!). But more on that later in a different post, I know you want pictures now! :)

P.S. Sorry, also want to note the new logo, thought it was more fitting for this style... And I think I may start using the big photos!

My favorite one from the shoot, her facial expressions are just pretty/soothing/cute/adorable/whatever else!

Another one of my favorites! I am sure you have seen the same compositions before, but I really like it!

I LOVE this photo! Not only it looks awesome (I copied the style from another awesome photographer), but I couldn't have gotten this shot without my new lens! So worth it...

Isn't she just so pretty when she smiles?! :D

I thought this one was pretty good too...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Carmen & Lauren

Carmen & Lauren's Shoot Album

I actually shot this set before the Chiefs cheerleader set, but I think this one is better, so save the best for last right? :) We shot these about a week before Halloween, so I thought the orange/black color was a good theme. They wore their prom dresses, and Carmen took us to this "secret" bridge that she found on the side of the road. Pretty cool!

Group shot

I wanted to use this effect again since everyone seems to like it very much

Lauren - portrait shot

Lauren - full body shot

Carmen - full body shot

Carmen - portrait shot

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carmen & Lauren (Chiefs)

Carmen & Lauren's Chiefs Shoot Album

Aww yes, new pictures! I met Carmen on a modeling site, and we agreed to do a shoot. Then she found another girl who came along for some group shots. Since it's close to Halloween, they dressed up as Chiefs cheerleaders! I really like the boots, they are pretty sexy... :)

Same as before, I used the 580EX II on camera, and the 580EX I on a tripod wirelessly. The sun was still very harsh, so I had to put their back to it and use the flash to light up the faces. I am really liking this two flash set up now!

I find the poses in this photo is very edgy/sexy!

Carmen close up shot

Lauren with an edgy pose

Hehe, don't mess with these girls!

Used the tonal contrast effect to give it the "harsh dirty" look, I kinda like it!

I really like this one, I kinda want to print a calender size of it... :)

I threw in this effect since it looks like a lot of people liked it... and they do still!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Christy C #2

Christy's Shoot Album

Awww yes... Sorry about the long wait! Finally another REAL post, one that has photos! If you recall, Christy was actually the very first model I shot, she volunteered to help me start my portfolio. Well, I kinda sucked at the time, so giving her a proper reshoot was the only way I can repay her. She seemed to like them... phew!

This shoot was also my first shoot with two flash units, a Canon 580EX II (that I recently bought) and a 580EX I that I borrowed from a friend. The 580EX II was on my camera with a sto-fen diffuser, and the 580EX I was on a tripod, being triggered wirelessly via the Canon's trigger technology. I still have much to learn, but I think I am getting better!

Normal portrait shot

The slave flash was placed to the picture left, pointing at her. The flash on my camera filled her face.

Slave flash to picture right, giving the hair some highlights.

Slave flash from left, natural light from the windows on the right.

Gotta have a full body shot! :)

And we end with a beautiful B&W! She was actually fixing her cloths, but I saw this shot later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blog Statistics

So I regularly check to see if there are anyone even reading my blog, and to my surprise, there are! Here are some stats (for the past 30 days) that may interest you, meanwhile, please bookmark this blog because I will regularly update it, sometimes with new pictures!

- Most visitor in a day: 26
- City that contribute the most visit: Mission, KS (weird, I am from MO...)
- Best referring site: (which I visit daily!)
- Most used browser: Mozilla Firefox @ 47%
- Number of different countries: 17 (Thanks people!)

I think that's all, not sure what else you want to know... Leave in the comments and I will try to find it. Also, I took more pictures this past weekend, so more pictures coming soon! Yay!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First paid shoot!

Woohoo! One of the models from the House of Style shoot really liked my work, so he wants me to give him a one-on-one session shoot, which I will get paid for!

Buddy - House of Productions

Speaking of charging, I am officially open for business! My rate is simple:

$10 per edited hi-res photo (without logo) sent via e-mail. We will shoot, I give you a gallery to choose the ones you want me to edit, pay for it, and I will edit and e-mail. You can then print them however you want. Good thing about this is that if you don't see any photos you like, don't need to pay a cent. Although I'd have to deal with flakes, it's no risk to you.

OR, $100 for 15 photos, $5 each after that.

If you want a makeup artist, you can provide your own or I can get you one for $20, let me know ahead of time.