Dama Tropical

dä ma

feminine noun


Dama Tropical A tropical lady – a fun, flirty woman; vibrant, and elegant; playful, and captivating.


One of the things I love most about portraits is that they can be a platform to create and allow your artistry to shine. Especially when working with the artist (in this case, the artist is the lovely Kat, once again). When you create an artistic bond with someone, it transforms your photo shoots into fun projects. Everything begins to fall into place perfectly, and the results are infinitely more satisfying.

In this project, Kat created the fun character of la Dama Tropical. Here’s her artistry explanation on the make up she used to create this fun character:IMG 5183-2

Kat: “As much as I love having short hair, I feel like my looks mostly lean towards a more edgy style. Which I love! Its who I am. However, I wanted to step out of my usual fierce mode and shoot something bright, pretty and lighten the mood. With that being my mindset while I was combating an emotional funk I was in, I began with the bright look. As I was doing my makeup, I was picking happy colors that made me feel better with each brush stroke. I arrived to the studio in full bright makeup ready to be a sunny tropical princess.

I used the Urban Decay Skin foundation. I love how it wears, alone. It has a very natural finish and a medium yet build-able coverage.

The lipstick I used was also by Urban Decay,  “Fire bird”. I love the way it photographs with its high shine and vibrant fuchsia color with a deep violet/blue undertone.

I opted out of filling in my brows since I wanted the yellow circles in the makeup to be pronounced. I used a creamy yellow paint by Cinema Secrets and set it with a neon yellow Kryolan shadow on the lid.

I used blush from my Morphe blush pallette, such as the pink around my eyes.


I usually start with the light/natural look first, then do a more dramatic look after but in this case I did it backwards. I wiped my face clean from look number one and reapplied. I really wanted a glowing look, so I used cream EVERYTHING! (minus my eyeshadow)

Cream blush by Tarte, cream highlight by Becca Cosmetics. After I wiped off the lipstick from the previous look, it left this nice stain that I kept on my lips.

It was fun to play with the looks by switching up the order of things, playing with colors and taking in the tropical rhythms bumping on the speakers. Summer Vibin’!”

“All we need really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind” – Marjory Stoneman Douglas

To see more of Kat’s beautiful glam creations, please visit her website: Glam By Kat

You can also follow her on social media:

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Mamá: Happy Mother’s Day!


mä dray

feminine noun

(relative) mother
Today, Latin America celebrates a very special person: Mamá!
And because we also celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday in the US, I thought I would dedicate this blog to the most important women in all of our lives.
I often find myself telling my clients how every woman should have their portraits taken, especially mom. There’s always a warm and tender feeling when you find an old picture or portrait of mom – and let’s be honest, mom’s make the best models. Am I right?
But seriously,  take some time off from all your photo projects, and take some time to capture that wonderful woman in your life. Glam her up, and make her feel like the most beautiful woman on Earth. Because she really is beautiful and wonderful.
Capture her in her favorite environment. Take a candid picture of her while she smiles, or of her showing that oh-so-memorable raw emotion that defines her. If that raw emotion is her not smiling, capture that. As long as you capture her in her true nature, you’ll capture her true beauty.
You’re not simply enjoying this moment. You are capturing the matriarchal legacy in your family history. You never know what generation you’re capturing the essence of her for.
This is my mother. We admire the strength, wisdom, and patient nurturing that our mothers show us. Personally, I also admire the consistent capability my mother has learned how to be a better human – te amo belleza de mujer!

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”



As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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In the Frame: Framing Composition


gerund or present participle: framing
  • surround so as to create a sharp or attractive image.
A fun and great way to emphasize on your subject is by using a frame to direct the viewer’s attention directly to the subject. A frame can be a literal frame (doors, windows, etc.), surrounding objects, light (lack of, or bright lights), and/or colors.
This composition helps bring context to your images. For example, a person in the middle of a crowd. By blurring out the people surrounding him/her, you will enhance the moment and emotion.
It also enhances architecture, and nature.
Before choosing the frame for your subject, consider the following questions:
  • Is the frame taking away from what I want the viewer to pay attention to?
  • Is it leading the eye to your main focal point?
  • Does it add depth of field?

With just a bit a practice and attention, you can master this composition, in no time.

“You can frame a moment. But you can´t frame life.”
― Armin Houman

Be creative, think outside the box, and always follow your intuition.


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As always, I’d love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

Depth of Field

depth of field
the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that give an image judged to be in focus in a camera.

Depth of Field is best captured (but not always required) with a wide lens by factoring three factors: aperture (f-stop), distance from the subject to the camera, and focal length of the lens on your camera.

Let’s start with aperture. Remember, aperture (f-stop) refers to the access given to light by the lens to the camera sensors. So, the lower your f-number, the smaller your depth of field and vice versa. (See chart below.)


When it comes to distance, the closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower your depth of field becomes. Therefor, moving further away from your subject will deepen your dept of field.


When considering your focal length, try to keep it short for best results;  the longer you set your focal length, the more shallow the depth of field will be.
focal point





 Depth of field can be used in any style of photography; from landscapes to head shot portraits, macro photography to bokeh(the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens). Keep these three factors in mind, and let your intuition guide you.

“Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field”

– Peter Adams


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As always, I’d love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

Eye of the Beholder

In this week alone, I spoke to three different people who just started their journey in photography. All three asked the same question: “What do you shoot with? What lighting equipment do you use?”. I laughed underneath my breath each time and said “Nothing fancy at all”. So, I thought that maybe this week I can detour a bit from giving the “how-to’s”, and focus a bit on those two questions.

My very trusty and loving Canon Rebel T3i is all I need. I have my faithful lenses, and my two humble soft boxes that I’m very happy with.  Yes, I am due for an upgrade (…soon), but I shoot with confidence and I deliver the images my clients ask  for – and I receive very positive feed back. Which, in turn, makes me a very happy photographer.

You see, it’s not the camera that makes the photographer, it’s the skill. I know this line has become much of a cliche, but it is absolutely true. Anyone can point and shoot a camera – or camera-phone nowadays. To have that keen eye, now that’s a skill that can only come from intuition, and practice. Even if your taking a photo on your phone (Visit my VSCO profile to view images taken with my camera phone) Remember what I said: Just Shoot -Become a Spontaneous Photographer blog? Well, those same ideas apply to this as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I love buying and playing with new equipment. But, they are only add-on’s to enhance a visual that I already have in mind to create.


“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.”

-Arnold Newman

(click here to view some of Arnold Newman’s beautiful images)

Click on the image to view full size – all images in this blog were either taken with a Nikon Cool Pix (circa 2008), or a camera phone

As always, I’d love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work…especially if you have work created with minimal photography equipment.



Point of View: Fitness Portraits

point of view

the position from which something or someone is observed.


Last week I spoke about the 10 Basic Photo Compositions in Photography, and I promised to go in detail on each composition. I’m going out of order a bit  because as I was shooting these portraits when I realized it would be a great example of how to apply Rule #3: Point of View in portraits.

There are four points of view: Birds-eye, Eye level, Becoming the subject, and Worm’s-eye view.

Since we are shooting portraits, we want to enhance the subject’s body and face. Therefore, we want to stay away from the Worm’s-eye view – to avoid capturing the oh-so-unwanted much-maligned double chin”, and it also carries the hyphen theme] double chin. So we’ll stick to Bird’s-eye, and Eye level (I will give an example of what would be considered opposite of Becoming the subject).

Bird’s-Eye View is when you are photographing a subject from above. In this case, “above” means a three-step ladder. But, it can also be from a sky view (when possible)wm040517_004


Eye Level. The name says it all. As a beginner, I liked combining this rule with the Rule of Thirds when photographing portraits. I would make sure my subject’s eyes were in the middle box, and my focus was on the eyes.

Becoming the Subject is when you shoot the photo from the angle of the subject. The subject’s hands may be visible, but the face and/or body, won’t be. These shots allow the viewer to feel like they are experiencing the event, first hand.

(In this case the picture would be considered opposite of Becoming the Subject, since we are looking at the subjects face and shooting from the point of view of the prop used)


I had the pleasure to shoot a very wonderful human: Veronica Elle. She has a great energy, and it was so much fun to shoot this session with her.

Veronica Elle  is living inspired and making life gainz! Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a power lifter and passionate student of life. She is obsessed with personal development and is always looking for ways to better her best and that of those around her. When she isn’t exploring how to help others live an inspired life, you can find her in the gym, training for the next power lifting meet or obstacle course race.


Follow her training and lifestyle log @_VeronicaElle on Instagram

Veronica Elle wore:


As always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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“…it’s time to get strong” – Veronica Elle



Back to Basics: Photo Composition


placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject.


Basic composition in photography is a guide that will help you improve your skill and will help develop a better eye when shooting an image.

I have seen many photographs loose the essence, and sometimes the message of the photo due to the lack of photo composition. And, although I am a huge believer that there are no “set in stone” rules in photography, I do feel as though there are guidelines that will help you enhance the impact of your images.

I promise to go more in depth into each one individually, but for now here’s a quick list of 10 basic composition rules you may use as your guideline:

#1 Rule of Thirds suggests that important elements of a photograph should cross these grid lines or the intersections of two vertical lines and two horizontal lines equally spaced over your image. Many cameras offer this on their LCD screens.

The idea is to place the important element(s) of the scene along one or more of the lines, or where the lines intersect. Many have the tendency of placing the subject in the middle, but here’s where thinking outside the box comes into place: if you place your subject on either the left or right side of the screen, and you have a beautiful background or even a blurry background, you will bring a beautiful balance to your image.

#2 Symmetry is a subject that I’ve blogged about before: “Symmetry is a vague sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance”. It is the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis.

The most common places you’ll find great symmetry for photos are buildings, skyscrapers, doors, windows, ceiling patterns,  corridors, garden designs, in viewing palm trees, and even in a body of water’s reflection.

#3 Point of View refers to the position the camera is in when viewing a scene. The common point of view tends to be eye level (which is great for portraits – most of the time), but if you try different points of view like a “bird’s eye view” (looking from top to bottom), or “worm’s eye view” (laying down and shooting upwards), you will find yourself taking great photos from different angles.

#4 Depth of Field (also called focus range or effective focus range) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image (according to Wikipedia).

Depth of field is best captured with a wide lens by factoring three factors: aperture (f-stop), distance from the subject to the camera, and focal length of the lens on your camera.

#5 Framing your shots by using the elements in either the background or foreground that will focus the eye on the subject. You can use an actual frame like a window, window sill, door frame, etc. Or you can use a crowd of people (see sample below)


#6 Leading lines are used to draw the viewer’s eye through a photograph intentionally or unintentionally. Anything with a line can be used as a leading line. I would suggest to allow the lines in your image to have a more natural flow, and focusing onto the main subject or focal point to create a nice movement and flow.DSC_0912-01

#7 Cropping  is the removal of the outer parts of an image to improve framing and accentuate the subject. The idea is simply to crop tight to eliminate any distractions so that the viewer’s primary focus is on the subject.

#8 Background helps accentuate your subject. One thing to be very careful of when choosing your background (especially in the out-of-doors), is to avoid a busy image and to avoid having your subject blend into the background. Balance is key. If you have a lot of elements on your subject, try using a plain background; if you have a busy background, try to have a simple subject.

#9 Balancing Elements can be both formal and informal. Formal being symmetrical, and informal would be asymmetrical. It requires the correct combination of colors, shapes, and areas of light and dark that complement one another – when different parts of a photo command your attention equally, perfect balance is achieved.DSC_0908-01

#10 Juxtaposition is a conceptual contrast that we often shoot without noticing it, particularly when shooting street photography. It happens when there are two or more elements in a scene that either contrast with each other, or one element contributes towards the other to create an overall theme.IMG_4476.JPG

This is a very artistic composition in photography that will make the viewer think deeper, ponder, and try to dissect the image.

Again, these are just guidelines  that should help you take better photos. Guides are meant to help, not control your creativity.

As always, I’d love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

“In photography, color and composition are inseparable. I see in color” – William Albert Allard