2012 A Look Back

A few years ago I made a slideshow using  photos from every assignment I shot during the year. The idea stuck and has become a great way for me to reflect on what I did right and what I did wrong during the year. 2012 was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. All of those experiences brought one theme to the forefront – Family is Everything. And by family I’m not limiting myself to the family I was born into or married into. It’s the people that I have chosen to surround myself with. This year we have had the warm blanket of family wrapped around us when we needed it and we were able to be that same blanket of warmth and strength for others when they needed it. This year was life-changing for so many of our friends and loved ones.

Over the past couple years I’ve skipped using photos of my family in the slideshow, after all they weren’t paid assignments and so many were just snapshots. This year I’ve included them because my wife and kids are my world and are definitely the most photographed subject in my life. I also opted to include more than one image from the assignments. Limiting myself  to one single image per shoot didn’t represent the scope and the fruits of my labor.

As with every slide show I always struggle with music. Each year I want to use a song that I fell in love with during the year. This year there were a couple of contenders.

Mumford & Sons – I will wait
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop I dare you to not bounce your head while listening to this song. I was bouncing  my head for a couple weeks before I even listened to the words.
Ryan Adams – From The Ashes   In January NPR streamed a pre-lease of this entire album. I listened to it over and over until the day it was released. Go buy it directly from his label/website. 
Walk the Moon – Anna Sun  
This is probably my favorite song on the album but I opted for Tightrope becaue it matched the tempo I wanted for the slideshow.


For those of you that supported me and helped me create this year I owe you a world of thanks. Without you I’d be stuck behind some desk.

Year End Review Slide Show 2012 from Chuck Espinoza on Vimeo.



Thanks for a great year

Thanks to all my clients, friends and family that helped to make 2010 a great year.

I have been reading a book by Michael Lewis called “The Big Short” about the sub-prime mortgage mess and the related meltdown. It starts with him describing his work as a broker at Salomon Brothers straight out of college and how as a 24 year old without any financial experience was paid a lot of money to give financial “advice”. He later talks about the investment banking business and all the shenanigans involved. He put into words what I had not been able to describe about my work as a sell-side analyst. We were paid to sell dreams. As much as they paid me I could no longer continue hating my job day after day. Leaving that industry, despite my passion for the market, was the best decisions I ever made.

Now I get paid to take pictures and I love it. As you’ll see in the video it’s not always glorious. Not everyone is a super model, not every house is a beautifully decorated mansion but to me it doesn’t matter. I’m my own boss, I set my hours, I pick my jobs, I get to sleep at night and as a result of my career and lifestyle I’m a different person. Thanks. Thanks to everyone who reads this or took part in one of the shoots. Your help and support allows me to continue doing what I love.

This is the third year I’ve made a year-end review  slide show. The video is a slide show set to a song I found and fell in love with in 2010. It includes a photo from every assignment and photo shoot I had in 2010. Like I mentioned above, they are not always glorious photo shoots but I’m grateful for all of them. My main areas of work are real estate, architecture and interior design, children, weddings and family, head shots and executive portraits and shots of and for models.  Last year a friend noted that it seemed odd that there would be a photo of a baby followed by a swimsuit model… this year instead of chronological order I’ve grouped the images by type.  I’ve also omitted the great majority of the photos of my daughter Grace. This year she’ll get her own slideshow. For those of you who can’t view flash you can see the video on my site: I also re-edited last years video organizing the images by subject.

Music is huge to me and every year I’ve agonized over what song to use. This year I went with C’Mon by The Soft Pack They are an indie rock band out of San Diego. I found and fell in love with them because their music takes me back to the time I started taking pictures. They remind me of the music I was listening to in middle school which was when I first picked up a camera.


My Need to Create

The past couple weeks have been full. I’ve been working on the sets of TV commercials, shooting business head shots, property listings, corporate events and a golf tournament for USC.  None of these shoots resulted in photos that I felt inspired to share. They are the bread and butter that helps pay the rent. Over the past week I’ve felt and realized that I need to shoot for me. For me that typically means working with a model to create something interesting or beautiful. I’m working on lining that up.

In the mean time a family adventure netted some photos I did like. For those of you not in southern California, the blue whales are migrating south to Costa Rica and because of our cold summer they are only a few miles off shore. We booked a boat trip and saw a handful of whales. I spent half the time shooting the coast and water and 40% of the time trying convince myself that I wasn’t sea sick (I lost that battle).

Malibu California

Malibu California

Whale Fluke

Whale Fluke

Blue Whale Spout

Blue whale Spout


Everyone's shooting the whale's and I want to shoot this spectacle


I’m not a travel photographer

We just got back from a week long trip to Cancun. Although I love to travel and I love shooting new locations, a travel photographer I am not.  I look at and admire travel photographs; I love seeing the ordinary made beautiful by focusing on color, shapes and details. I just don’t see like that. I pick up a camera and look at the shelves full of Mexican “souvenirs” and I don’t see anything worth shooting. When I do take the shot I typically think they are boring and/or cliche.

I typically photograph people and architecture (and my fam). When I look back at the travel photos I’ve taken they inevitably have people in the shot or a building I found interesting. While reviewing the shots I took in Cancun and I noticed that I shot with my iPhone more than my 5D and you’ll only find a handful of scenic photos, the following being the only one I like and it was shot with my iPhone.

Cancun - Moon Palace

There’s a handful of travel photos that I’ve shot over the years that I like. When I was digging for photos to use I noticed that a lot of my travel shots have a sense of a story line. At least they do to me. The following was shot in Tokyo. Want to walk around with a camera and have a great time? Tokyo is the place.

The following shot was taken on a trip to New York. There’s a lot of things I don’t like about it. I hate that I used a fish-eye lens and I’m not a fan of how “hot” the red is. What keeps me coming back to this photo is the guy in the window.  If you’ve never been to the Empire State Building, it’s basically a series of long-ass lines you have to wait in before you get to the top. This was the last line we had to wait in before going to the top. I just happened to shove my camera out an open window and rest it on the sill.

Empire State Building NYC

Man looks out 86th floor window of Empire state Building