Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here are some of my favorite ice photos from my last new year living in "normal" and what some would call "real" weather. Now that I'm in LA again, I have a really great appreciation for warmth...But for the rest of the country, I hope that New Years' Eve is amazing - snow and all!

My favorite icy place? New York of course! Although Denver is a very close second! Happy NYE!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Shelf Therapy

Today I had a huge photo shoot in Santa Barbara that involved me designing, styling and photographing a big empty condo! As soon as I get the shots done I will post some before and after shots of what went down, but for tonight I thought it would be great to post about something we all say we way to do as we head into the new year…..ORGANIZE!

A friend had me completely redo her bookshelves in her apartment in NY and WOW - the difference was nuts! As I was styling the condo today I remembered her shelves as I worked quickly to create a beautiful bookshelf for the living room photo.

Here are the before and after shots and some great tips:

(you can click the photo to enlarge)

Start by coordinating colors and sizes with like books so your shelf will have a cohesive look. Find objects around your house that look like dust catchers in their current spot and place them on top of books that you stack sideways (ex: right side, 3rd shelf down in shot above). You can do the same thing with framed photos or small art that is getting lost in your house (ex: the after shot #1, 2nd shelf down on left side between orangey books and black books). If you have a series of books (like in after shot #1, bottom left shelf), keep them together for a simple yet dramatic row. This looks great when the books colors match and when they are simply a set. Make sure that you give as much care to what you do (OR DON'T) place on top of the bookshelves as well (see before #1 vs. after #1). And finally, the sad but honest truth is that the only way I've found to do this properly is to take EVERYTHING out of your bookshelves and organize it and THEN put it back. It gives you a fresh perspective and helps you create something new! Good luck!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Artist's Space

My good friend Sasha and her husband, Mason, are amazing artists that live beautifully in so many ways. Beyond having exquisite art all over their home, they "style" their apartment with a natural grace that many professional stylists in my field spend hours trying to create. From Sasha's painting studio to the salt and pepper shakers on the table, I love the details in their home and taking snapshots of their artsy lives.
Here are some of my favorite shots from a recent visit to their house:

a painting is born

these cats definitely have the life

Even Sasha's shelves double as a still life worth capturing.

I love that one of the bedrooms looks into the studio through an old window!

Love her work? Check out Sasha's website:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fake it 'til you Make it

People constantly ask me what I do on photo shoots to make houses look the way they do in magazines. I think they often assume I'll give them a quick answer about how I cut some flowers and adjust my camera. In a few homes that is the extent of my labor, but in most cases it is a highly intense, furniture moving, prop styling, faking light with equipment process.

In the case of the house below, it is even more. There is no furniture in the top unit of this 3 story condo and the owners would like to photograph it two days from today, "furnished" and prop styled. So, today I spent the day finding furniture to memo, gathering props, creating a list for the project manager of finishing touches, and using my camera to do test shots to figure out how to "fake" my shoot on Thursday.

Here are some before shots of what will be completely transformed this Thursday. Check in later this week for some finished shots of what today was simply an empty condo with a great view.

Want to learn more about this project? It's going to be one of the greenest and highest rated LEED certified homes in the country! Check it out:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Something to Salivate Over...

While designing my new site I took some new food shots that I'll be adding and wanted to give a little preview. Just in time for dinner!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family Traditions

While I'm sure it's not the average American family's Christmas tradition to eat dim sum and wander the streets of Chinatown, it is most certainly what my family looks forward to every year. We enjoy a fabulous traditional Christmas Day with turkey and mulled wine, but every year we gather together in downtown LA and eat cha siu bao until we think our stomachs will explode. This year that blessed event happened today. I figure if you are reading my blog and as it is Christmas, you might as well get a taste of my family since that's what this holiday is all about.

The best part left to mention is that after we stuff ourselves, we head over to the "wishing well" on Broadway, throw pennies, and then….we jump. I honestly can't remember how this tradition started, but this year we were a ridiculous spectacle. I refused to let any kind passerby take the photos when they offered and instead I rigged my camera to a bench and used the timer to start the madness. There are about 20 photos of us laughing as we miss the flash and correct timer. I will save you from the all the rejects but one. We joked about putting out a hat to collect money seeing as we had a large crowd by the time we got one decent shot.

So, here is a very fun way to end the holiday and laugh at some people that are NOT your family:

as close as we got to the money shot…

Want to start your own family tradition in China town? Our favorite restaurant is Empress Pavilion.
And you can get to the wishing well where these photos were taken by walking around the corner to here:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

While I could post some Christmas-like photos today (and I'm sure I will later this week), this year I want to share some photos of a very special place that I recently visited. These shots are from a ranch in northern California that I just returned from and it had a huge impact on my work, life, and excitement for the year to come. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Website

I'm finally creating a new website to be proud of and I wanted to share a sneak preview of a few shots of the work I'll be updating my site with. This year has been profoundly intense for me and I feel lucky to be working with all of my new clients. I adore everyone's style that I worked with this year, but wanted to post a few stand outs on this special eve. I hope you are spending the day with loved ones and enjoying some egg nog!

Designers: Kathy Bush, Santa Barbara; Wendy Labrum, Chicago; Emily Ruddo, Los Angeles

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shell Love

I was recently hired to design the office space for Working For Green in Santa Monica. As part of the project I photographed these shells to fill the space with nautical photos that were fresh and serene. I love the drama and natural beauty of the shells in black and white, and they look great in the office. WFG is doing an amazing job at bringing the environment into our everyday lives!
Check out their site:
Here are a few of my favorites:

Love them? Let me know! I am setting up a site to sell prints directly, but I can sell them now via email:

the long road

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Barbara Canyon Magic

Dennis Allen, a recognized green builder in Santa Barbara recently hired me to take some shots of the home he personally built for his family more than 20 years ago. The amazing light, beautiful views and inspiring wood work left me feeling excited behind the camera.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day:

Love it? He’s renting it. Here’s the info: