Archive for August 2009

New Blog

Actually it’s the same blog but I’m updating to a new format and technology. After many years of using blogger I figured it was time for an upgrade. I switched to wordpress  and I’m still getting used to all the bells and whistles. Pardon the mess while I work on getting everything working.  Please email or comment with any problems you encounter.


Photo Books and Wedding Albums

The past couple weeks have been a bit of a computer nightmare. My old computer is dying and one of my hard drives started failing. Although I back-up my photos on a regular basis I often let the process slide for a couple weeks. The hard drive failure reminded me how important it is to stay current on backing-up my work and photos. Not only are my images important to my family they are my livelihood.

In the age of digital cameras we often forget to make prints and albums. I send a batch of images to the printer every couple months so that we have a printed copy of our family photographs but I have a lot of friends who tend to view and share their images online only. My experience with almost losing several months worth of photos has prompted me to add a new product to my children and family portrait offerings, Soft cover photo books. I provide something similar to all of my wedding clients so that they have a keepsake to last a lifetime. I think that it’s important that my clients walk away with something tangible from our experience together. Many times it’s prints but the photo books will offer an inexpensive way to have copies of all or most of the photos from our photo shoot.

This week UPS delivered Jenn and Nick’s wedding album. As I’ve mentioned my album of choice is made by GraphiStudio based in Italy. I haven’t seen anything that compares. Jenn and Nick went with a 30 page album with a die-cut, cream leather cover. We also embossed their names and had the album printed on metallic paper. My assistant Grace helped with the photos.


New Construction Modern Home in Mar Vista

Last week I shot three homes, the Beach Avenue modern home in Venice Beach seen in the previous post, another property in Santa Monica’s sunset Park neighborhood and a new construction modern home in Mar Vista. The Mar Vista home was professionally staged to offer potential buyers a glimpse of how the house could look when decorated. Sometimes walking into a big empty room can be overwhelming to potential home buyers because it’s hard to get a sense of size and imagine what it would look like if you moved in.

Many of my real estate clients professionally stage homes because it increases the curb appeal and it helps to remove the emotional attachment people have for their belongings and decor. If a professional comes in with a job to improve the overall appearance of the house there is no judgment of the homeowner’s taste or cleanliness; everyone has the same goal, to sell the home.

Not all homes need to be professionally staged but I wanted to share my experience as a photographer and point out easy and inexpensive ways to improve the look of your home for the sake of photography and prospective buyers.
1. Clean the house. This may seem simple yet I’ve been in to shoot homes where both the agent and I were mortified and how dirty the house is.
2. Remove the clutter. That stack of bills on the coffee table? The stack of newspapers you have been meaning to recycle? All those cute magnets on the fridge? Put it away, toss it or hide it.
3. Mow the lawn. Another no brainer yet some people forget that an unkempt yard doesn’t read well in photographs or in person.
4. Thin it out. A simple rule of thumb is to remove a third of your furnishings and artwork. You may love the velvet Elvis Presley blacklight poster over your bed but others may not share your opinion. Same goes for family photos and that recliner you inherited but have been meaning to get reupholstered.
5. If you can’t clean it hide it. I run into this case a lot with kid’s rooms. Prepping to sell your house can be stressful enough without having to tell your kid that you’ve got to box up and take away most of his toys. In that case, try to clean, try to hide and if all else fails just be honest that the room won’t photograph well.

People are emotionally invested in their homes and belongings but the reality is that selling a home is a business transaction. Take the emotionality out of it and prepare your home for sale as any good salesperson would prepare their best product. If you can’t do it yourself; hire a professional.


Hot Air Balloon Rides in Temecula

Last year Robin decided that because I was so hard to shop for she would no longer buy me gifts. From that point forward she would buy me experiences. This year it was another surprise. I was told to mark off two days on my calendar and that we would be going away for the night.

When we left on tuesday morning I didn’t know where we were going or what we were doing. We ended up in Temecula which is southern California’s version of wine country. We checked into a winery and robin told me we were getting massages courtesy of Remy and Casey. Rob finally caved and told me what my experience was to be; we were going on a hot air balloon ride at 6AM the next day.

I was pretty stoked. The following is just a sample of all the images I shot. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it.


Modern Home in Venice Beach

It’s been a busy week. In addition to taking a trip down to Temecula with Robin I shot two new properties for Deasy Penner.

The first house is located at 2345 Beach Ave in Venice. Sometimes modern architecture can come across as cold; this house is warm, open and inviting.

This is the second time I have been brought in to re-shoot a house that had already been photographed by a previous “photographer”.

When looking to invest almost two million dollars in a home would you be drawn to visit the leaning tower of Venice (as seen here in the image shot by the previous photographer)?

(Shot by previous photographer)

Or would the following images lead you to believe that this home is not only stylish and beautiful but it has great character and craftsmanship and therefore worth taking the time to see for yourself?


Hospital visit baby photography

Newborn Photos shot at the Hospital
Before Grace was born I rationalized to Robin that I needed a $1500 lens that would enable me to get really great shots in low-light conditions, without needing a flash. My rationalization and investment worked out great and we got so many incredible the images that will always touch our heart.

Since then I have had the pleasure of visiting and photographing several newborn babies while they were still in the hospital. This is a very intimate shoot. Let’s face it; mom’s been working hard for nine months, dad’s been sleeping in a chair for a couple days and the baby is trying to figure out why everything is so different. This isn’t exactly the best time for a photo session. That being said the images I’ve shot of grandparents or big sister seeing the newborn for the first time are the most cherished by my clients.

If you think this type of shoot and the resulting images are for you, please give me a call to discuss the session. Chuck Espinoza 310.922.5094