Author: Anjanette

Double Published in Vegas Runway Magazine and ELEGANT Magazine

Credits:
Model / Makeup Artist: Katia (Instagram)
Stylist / Creative Director/ Jewelry Designer: Elena (Website)

To create content for Vegas Runway’s Spring Edition, we did a shoot all the way back in February 2018 during the China Lights Festival at Craig Ranch Park. Presented by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., it was the first year Vegas held such an event.

The lantern displays were beautiful and a great setting for a shoot. Throughout most of the duration of the festival, the weather was warm. Unfortunately, we visited the festival as the weather dropped down to its normal temperature for February. Katia was such a trooper dealing with the cold. Luckily for her, she wore a kimono between takes.

View Vegas Runway Magazine Spring Edition online.

Doing this photo shoot was an automatic publication for Vegas Runway, but Elena had other publications in mind. She submitted these images to ELEGANT Magazine, which had a much higher following with over 37,000 followers on Facebook and over 43,000 Instagram followers. Because of the higher social media following and therefore, more submissions, it is harder to get published. After many unsuccessful attempts by Elena the past, they finally accepted this submission!

View ELEGANT Magazine March 2018 Fashion #3 issue online.

Dirt in the Skirt 2018

Dirt in the Skirt (a.k.a. DITS) is an event where “outdoor lifestyle meets the world of digital photography”. Organized by Mike Lee of Polarpics, he invited people to bring in their off-road vehicles, as well as models and photographers. It was a fun day filled with food, babes and hunks, dirt toys, and friendship.

This was my second year attending this event. It was held at the dry lake bed in Jean, which is more secluded than Boulder City, where last year’s event was held.

Dirt in the Skirt has gotten bigger over the years, and this year was no exception. All attendees, regardless of their role (as a photographer, model, rider, etc.), paid a fee which went towards catered food, a porta-potty, raffle prizes, and firewood.

All weapons (that were used as props) were provided by Empire Armory.

Locations in SoCal I Would Love to Revisit

I usually get tired of the same locations in Vegas. Whenever I go to Cali to visit my parents or just to get away from Vegas, I always try to squeeze in a shoot with anyone who is willing to get in front of my camera (preferably an aspiring model).

Throughout my photography journey, I have done at least one shoot at these locations and I’m dying to do more, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.  I mostly blame traffic, distance, and simply just time. I can only spend weekends in Cali, so my time is limited.

Here are the locations I would love to revisit, in no particular order:

“Urban Light” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

“Urban Light” is pretty much considered LACMA’s landmark, located right on Wilshire Boulevard. It’s a very popular location for photographers and gets pretty crowded, especially on the weekends. The last time I visited LACMA, there were people in my shots, especially rude pre-teens trying to “photobomb” my shot.

I would love to revisit this location, but there are many reasons why I haven’t. First of all, I would love to do an epic high-fashion shoot with beautiful, flowing evening gowns, but it’s very tough to find the right people and wardrobe to pull off such a shoot. Also, I would have to do the shoot very late in the evening or early morning before dawn to avoid people in my shot. Second, the location, traffic, and parking make it cumbersome just to visit. It’s right in the heart of LA after all!

Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach is one of my favorite LA County beaches. It’s a clean beach and not overly crowded, unlike Venice Beach or Santa Monica. The pier is very nice too. It’s not as popular as the pier at Manhattan Beach, but it’s still nice.

Again, location, traffic, and parking are the biggest reasons why I haven’t revisited Hermosa Beach. It’s close to the LAX airport, which makes traffic even more annoying!

Disney Concert Hall

Disney Concert Hall is an amazing place to shoot. I love the architecture of the building, and you can do so many different things at this location. However, I haven’t revisited this location mostly because security told me to stop shooting towards the end, which put a damper on everything. They were okay with doing a shoot there, but tripods and stands were not allowed. I was using off-camera flash the last time I shot there. Next time, I will have to just shoot with natural light.

Disney Concert Hall shares the same characteristics as the other two locations. You have to deal with traffic and parking, especially since it’s located in Downtown LA.

Cal Poly Pomona

I may use location and traffic as my excuse for the other three locations, but I cannot use it as an excuse for Cal Poly Pomona, especially since it’s only five miles away from my parent’s house! I can only blame the “It’s always going to be there” attitude when it comes to locations nearby.

The last time I did a shoot at Cal Poly Pomona, it was dark and I didn’t really get to utilize the area very well. The shoot was at the Union Plaza, a beautiful courtyard area with Spanish-style horse stables and a fountain. However, these horse stables have been converted into offices for the various student clubs around the campus.

I have been wanting to do a shoot at “the stables” and the Japanese and rose gardens near the administration building (a.k.a. “the pointy building”), but I haven’t gotten around to doing it because I want to set up a styled shoot. Again, it’s tough to find the right people and wardrobe to pull off a shoot. Also, Sundays would be the best day because weddings are held on campus as well.

Honorable Mention – Dana Point Harbor

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Dana Point Harbor is my go-to place because it’s peaceful and easy to access. Distance-wise, it’s just as far as Hermosa Beach, but I hardly run into traffic, so it’s not as annoying.

Fashion Magazine Look on a Budget

One of my most favorite looks in photography is the bright and flashy look that you see in fashion magazines and editorials. Typically, the model is brightly lit and pops out from the background. I can thank watching America’s Next Top Model for that.

When I first got into fashion photography, I would watch re-runs of Top Model. The drama among the contestants and the challenges were ridiculous to watch, so I just skip to the photo shoots.  While watching a few episodes, I have always wondered why they would need a strobe in the daytime.

Throughout my photography journey, I’m glad to say I finally figured out why photographers would need a flash or a strobe in the daytime. It is used as a fill light, especially in harsh lighting with no shade.

I attended a photographer-model networking event at the Arts District. During this event, you basically grab a model or “human subject” and start shooting. Because the event was held earlier in the day, the lighting was harsh. There was plenty of shaded areas around, but I didn’t want to shoot the same thing as every one else, so I brought my models out in the sun.

It was one of those instances where I wish I brought more speedlights and a diffuser to spread and soften the light, but you work with what you have. So in both instances, I just used one bare speedlight at about 1/2 power. It didn’t spread the light as I hoped, but it did an alright job.

Credits:
Models – Landon (Instagram) | Reyna (Instagram)

Shooting with Natural Light on a Budget

I’m looking to shoot more natural light in 2018. As much as I love off-camera flash, it’s annoying to bring a light stand to every shoot. I can get away with shooting with the flash on camera if I don’t have a light stand, but sometimes the lighting can be a bit harsh and flat.

I pride myself in being able to shoot with both natural light and off-camera flash, but my goal is to make my natural light portfolio just as good as my off-camera flash work.

A small group of photographers and I spent the day in Mt. Charleston to shoot in the snow. One of the photographers brought her aspiring model friend to be our “subject”. Vegas people get very excited about snow, so Mt. Charleston was pretty packed. My car was parked far and I didn’t want to haul my light stands while walking up the hill, so I just left it in the trunk.

I felt a little out of my element for various reasons. First of all, I’ve been so used to off-camera flash, that I felt it’s been my “crutch”. I now had to read the light and move the model accordingly. Second of all, I was using my Dad’s Canon Rebel T1i, which I still have from my Philippines vacation. I’m still trying to get used to the dials and buttons, but they’re so much different than my higher-end Nikons. Back-button focusing (BBF) felt weird on the T1i, so I switched and re-learned shutter-button focusing. Finally, I only had the kit lenses, which are sometimes not ideal with shooting natural light portraits because of it’s not-so-wide apertures.

Many photography beginners think that shooting at an aperture of f/1.8 with the 50mm lens is the only way to get a blurry and “bokeh-riffic” background. However, depth of field is also determined by the distance between the subject and the background, as well as the subject and the photographer. To get the blurriness, there needs to be a good amount of distance between the subject and the background and the photographer. With that in mind, I used the 55-250mm kit lens only.

My Trip to the Philippines

I’ve spent the first 2 weeks of 2018 in the Philippines. New Year’s Eve was spent in a plane with free champagne from the flight attendants. By the time my parents and I arrived, it was already the evening of New Year’s Day.

The last time I’ve visited the Philippines was during the holidays in 2001, arriving back to the States on New Year’s Day 2002. Things definitely changed 16 years later. The most notable changes were paved roads within the neighborhood (or “village” as they call it) of my Aunt’s house, working and flushable toilets 99% of the time, and my little nieces and nephews who were around 1-6 years of age in 2001 are now young adults. Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed is the major traffic around Metro Manila and the nearby provinces.

The first week in the Philippines was mostly spent with family, seeing relatives I haven’t seen in a very long time. The week ended with a beautiful outdoor wedding with the bride wearing a dress that would put Kate Middleton’s wedding dress to shame.

The second week was spent with more family, especially on my Dad’s side. We ended the week spending it at Boracay, which is a huge tourist destination.

I didn’t want to bring my bulky Nikon cameras that I normally use for paid work, so I used my Dad’s Canon Rebel T1i during this trip. It was a great camera to use, but also frustrating because this camera is entry level, and therefore had less features than my Nikon cameras. Some pictures were from my cell phone, a Samsung S7 Galaxy Edge.

Yes…You Can Shoot a Wedding with Budget Gear

But I highly DO NOT RECOMMEND IT!

There is a saying that “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer behind it.” That’s true for the most part, but when it comes to weddings, it’s a different story.

Wedding photography is expensive for a reason. It’s because you are paying for the photographer’s experience and their usage of high-end equipment, as well as the photographer’s time coordinating before the wedding and editing the pictures after. In 2017, I have booked 4 weddings on my own and have worked as either the main or second shooter for other people. For all these weddings, I have used my higher-end Nikon D750 (with my Nikon D300 as a backup) and quality lenses with fixed apertures. A few lenses alone were way over $400. Per my “Shooting on a Budget” project, all my equipment had to total at $400 or less!

During my cousin’s wedding, not only I used “downgraded” equipment, but I also used a system I was not very familiar with. I did not want to use my money-making equipment during my trip to the Philippines, so I used my Dad’s entry-level Canon Rebel T1i and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 55-250mm f/4-5.6 kit lenses. To ensure I had decent shots, I had to quickly learn how to use the camera prior to my trip. I also had to adjust my way of focusing. I was using back-button focusing (BBF) on my Nikon, but it was a pain to do BBF on the T1i, so I had to re-learn how to use shutter button focusing.

It was extremely frustrating using my Dad’s camera. It was a pain setting the focus points, so I had a few out-of-focus shots. Because of the lenses’ changing apertures (if you’re shooting at its widest possible) as you zoom in and out, I had to constantly adjust the shutter speed to get a well-exposed shot. I missed the first kiss because of this. The closest thing I got was the bride and groom about to kiss, but the shot was pretty under-exposed. Thank goodness I shot in RAW!

Even though I was shooting this wedding with entry-level Canon gear, I would have just as much frustration shooting with comparable entry-level Nikon gear. Learning the Canon wasn’t that much of a huge learning curve for me.

In summary…yes, you can shoot a wedding with entry-level gear. However, it’s best to use that gear if you’re sitting in the audience as a guest, NOT as the main shooter.

I hope I didn’t lead you all to believe I was the main shooter of this wedding! Fortunately, I was just a guest and took pictures from my seat in the back rows. The wedding had 2 photographers and 3 videographers in a pretty small space, so I didn’t want to get in their way!

I know the main photographers did a much better job than I did, but here are a few shots I took during the ceremony.

Holiday Shoot at the Smith Center

I wanted to do one holiday shoot before the end of 2017, so when Kayla posted on a Facbook group that she was looking for a photographer for holiday shoot, I jumped at the chance.

I chose the Smith Center as the location because there was plenty of lighting at night and it’s one of the most photography-friendly spots in Vegas. Also, there was a 30-foot Christmas tree at Symphony Park. My goal was to get a couple “bokeh-rific” shots with Christmas lights.

I have not purchased any additional gear since I started the project. Unfortunately, I did not purchase the Nikon D50 yet because I’m still looking for one at the right price. However, I’m looking to forego the Nikon D50 because I really want to take a slimmer camera for my trip to the Philippines during the first 2 weeks of January. I’m looking at either a Sony A6000, a GoPro, or something with better video capabilities.

During this shoot, I used the same equipment as before.

  • Nikon D300 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens – $180
  • Nikon 50m f/1.8G AF-S lens – $150
  • Yongnuo YN-560III speedlight – $60
  • Yongnuo YN-560-TX receiver – $45
  • White shoot-through umbrella – $8.50
  • Lightstand – $30
  • Flash bracket – $7.50

Total = $481 ($81 over budget)

I bought this camera somewhat on a whim because I really needed a second body for weddings. However, when I first used this camera, it just didn’t feel right to me and it was so beat up, I regret selling my first D300 in 2015. Because I didn’t really like the camera too much, I just kept it around just in case my Nikon D750 would malfunction.

Thanks to this project, I’m actually appreciating my D300 more. Using the Nikon D750 really has spoiled me prior to the project, especially when it comes to high ISO, but I think I will be okay. I’m not too bothered by pushing the ISO on the D300 to 1600.

Credits :
Model – Kayla (Instagram)

Trash the Dress at Dana Point

Dana Point Harbor, especially the Ocean Institute, is my favorite spot to visit whenever I’m in Cali. Even though it’s 50 miles away from my parent’s house in Walnut, it’s well worth the drive. It’s peaceful, calming, and the water is easy to access. It’s also a great place for photo shoots!

I did a casting call on Model Mayhem, looking for a model with specific measurements. I have a used wedding dress I purchased on eBay for only $50. I previously bought it for a wedding simulation workshop with my photography group. Because the dress is inexpensive and just sitting in my closet, I’ve always wanted to do a trash the dress session. It was very important for the dress to fit the model like a glove. Luckily it did!

I was able to get my hands on my Dad’s camera, which is a Canon Rebel t1i with the 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 kit lens. He received the camera and lens brand new as a Christmas present back in 2009. I researched on eBay and the lowest price the camera now is selling for is $155 and about $70 for the lens, so everything totals about $225. The pricing is based on the “Buy It Now” price.

I studied the Canon’s button layout and menu a little bit prior to the shoot. Thanks to a Google search, I was able to setup back-button focusing. During the shoot, I had the model stand near the water, which was far away from me. With the waves crashing in, it was hard for her to hear my voice and the camera’s shutter. I felt a little bit out of place shooting with the Canon, especially with the focus points. The button functions were much different than what I’m used to. I had to stop periodically to make sure I had her in focus. I didn’t want to use my off-camera flash system because I needed to gain more familiarity with the Canon.

I switched back and forth between the Canon and my same Nikon setup, the D300 with the 50mm f/1.8 lens and Yongnuo YN-560III speedlight. Since I didn’t use the 18-55mm kit lens, even though it came with the D300, everything totals slightly over $400.

I also switched back and forth between using natural light and off-camera flash. In addition to my “Shooting on a Budget” project, I also wanted to scale back and just use natural light. Unfortunately, because the lighting was a little harsh (even on a partly cloudy day), I wasn’t enjoying the washed-out white skies and flat lighting that comes with shooting with natural light. Lighting was much more gorgeous when I shot away from the sun, with the model having to look at the sun.

Credits:
Model – Katie (Model Mayhem)
Dress and Veil – All purchased from eBay

Camera description is included in each pictures. The first 3 images are from the Canon camera and the last 3 images are from the Nikon camera.

 

 

Harley Quinn Balloon Shoot

My “Shooting on a Budget” project got off on a rocky start. First of all, I was supposed to do my first shoot for this project last Sunday, but my model cancelled at the very last minute. Second, I was not successful with getting the Nikon D50 within my budget. I made bids for two separate eBay auctions, but unfortunately they were not the winning bids.

I’m part of many local Facebook modeling/photography groups. If I need to do a shoot with a model, these groups are great resources to find models. Within an hour’s notice, a model posted that she was looking for a photographer to do a Harley Quinn-inspired shoot. While posting, she was wearing a dress made out of twisted balloons and was hair and makeup ready. All she needed was a photographer on a trade-for-print (TFP) basis.

Since I had my equipment ready from last week’s cancellation (just needed to throw in my 50mm), I was ready to drive to the Arts District near Downtown Las Vegas to meet with the model and the balloon dress designer. I brought the following equipment with me:

  • Nikon D300 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens – $180
  • Nikon 50m f/1.8G AF-S lens – $150
  • Yongnuo YN-560III speedlight – $60
  • Yongnuo YN-560-TX receiver – $45
  • White shoot-through umbrella – $8.50
  • Lightstand – $30
  • Flash bracket – $7.50

Total = $481 ($81 over budget)

I did the majority of the shoot with my Nikon D300 and 18-55mm kit lens. Because it was already dark, the lens had some limitations. I struggled with exposing for the ambient light because I wasn’t able to lower my f-stop to f/2.8 or lower. I need to increase ISO, but I didn’t want to crank it up past ISO 1600 because I didn’t want so much grain in my shots. Because of the lens’ specifications, I would have to adjust the power of my speedlight if I were to zoom in at 55mm, as well as adjusting my camera to a slower shutter speed. The more I zoom in, the less light the lens allows. I was at f/5.6 zoomed in.

I was reluctant to use my 50mm lens, but in order to get the Stratosphere in the backdrop, I had use it because of its low-lighting capabilities.

Credits:
Model – Charlie (Instagram) | Balloon Dress Designer – Ronnie (Instagram)

Shooting on a Budget – Introduction

I’m not sure what prompted me to join yet another Facebook photography group, especially targeted towards beginners, but I joined this specific one because a friend is a member. (Unfortunately, she’s not very active, LOL!) I’ve been trying to find ways to re-gain my passion for photography and I joined the group in hopes to get some inspiration. I also wanted pay it forward and help people with their own photography journey.

The most common questions posted are, “What camera should I buy?”, “What camera should I upgrade to?”, and “What lens should I get?”. Many people in the group are convinced that upgrading to a new camera (especially to a full-frame) will help make their pictures better, and that the “Nifty Fifty” (50mm f/1.8 lens) is the magical lens that gives you a blurred background in your pictures (known as shallow depth of field).

There’s this admin in the group (bless his heart), that is constantly telling people the best camera is the one you have in your hand and that you can achieve a blurred background with kit lenses (the lenses that comes with your new camera). Whenever someone posts about upgrading, he asks “Why?” Some people perceive him as rude because he is truthful and direct with his responses, but for the most part, him and I agree on almost everything. Also, when I try to play the voice of reason in the group, he always likes my posts, so I guess I’m not off the mark!

Since I joined around Halloween, I’ve been very active in this group. As I got more and more involved in the group, trying to help people out and answering questions, it made me think of a local Vegas photographer who created a blog about shooting with budget gear (Shooting on a Budget). Thanks to both the group and the blog, it inspired me to do a personal project where I only shoot with minimal gear.

I’m putting away my $5,000 gear! (Except the 50mm)

Gear List

Here is my list and how much I’ve spent out-of-pocket on each item:

    • Nikon D300 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 “kit” lens – $180 from OfferUp
    • Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens – $150 from Craig’s List
    • Yongnuo YN-560III speedlight – $60 from Amazon
    • Yongnuo YN-560IV speedlight – $75 from Amazon
    • Yongnuo YN-560-TX receiver – $45 from YongnuoUSA.net
    • White shoot-through umbrella – $8.50 from eBay
    • Beauty dish with sock – $58 from eBay
    • Lightstand – $30 from Amazon
    • S-type Bowens mount – $17 from eBay
    • Flash bracket – $7.50 from eBay
    • Working on getting a Nikon D50 for under $100

Rules

  • The value of all equipment used must be $400 or lower COMBINED!
  • 3rd party equipment (external lighting and modifiers, light stands, tripods, etc.) are allowed just as long as it stays on budget.
  • Cannot pair Nikon D300 lens with 50mm f/1.8 lens unless it’s a low-lighting situation.
    (Even though I’ve spent only $180, the D300 is not considered an entry-level camera. Only the 18-55mm lens is entry-level. I feel using the Nikon D300 with the 50mm lens will not stay true to the project.)
  • 50mm lens can only be used on low-lighting shoots.

Yes…My Ass is Still Shooting

So a few months ago, I was in a slump. I was debating whether or not to hang up photography in 2018 after finishing any outstanding photo shoots scheduled for the reminder of 2017.

At the time when I started feeling the slump, I told myself I wasn’t going to take on any more projects or work in 2017 other than what I have previously scheduled, unless it’s paid and I really needed the money. Well, lo’ and behold, I really needed the money, so I took on MORE paid work!

My paid work came from various sources. I’ve done a few photo shoots for tourists from Mexico through a travel photography website that connects tourists with local photographers worldwide. I’ve also done a couple portrait sessions and weddings as the second shooter.

I have also done a couple unpaid projects. I did a couple shoots to test out my Nikon D300, in which I re-acquired. I previously had one a couple years ago and I regret selling it. This particular D300 was from Offer Up and it’s not in the greatest shape, but at least it’s working and I have a backup. I did a few head shots to test it out.

Yes! One of the pictures in the gallery is a person standing in front of the milky way. It’s was a very tough shot and the night was very COLD to boot!

Varoma Flor by Mauricio Montebello

One of my major projects during 2017 was to photograph Mauricio Montebello’s entire “Varoma Flor” collection. This was his very first collection that he launched a couple years ago. I also did a few shoots with some one-off dresses that he made while he was in fashion school. I started this project in January and completed it a few months later. It was a huge accomplishment to have photographed all 21 of his dresses! Whew!

J Summer Fashion Show at the Hoover Dam

The J Summer Fashion show was produced by model and “Queen of the Catwalk” Jessica Minh Anh. She’s had experience turning the world’s most iconic locations into her own personal fashion runway, including the Eiffel Tower, London’s Tower Bridge, One World Trade Center, and the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This summer, she added the Hoover Dam to her impressive resumé.

It was a privilege to accompany Victoria of Fashion One to this event. We arrived at the Hoover Dam a little bit after dawn and met at Hoover Dam’s event space, the Spillway House. After having breakfast and cooling off before heading outside in the heat for the fashion show, we took our seat right on top of the Hoover Dam.

The show lasted about an hour and featured designs by various designers all over the world. The models who walked in the show with Jessica were represented by LA Models and TNG Models. Despite sitting in the heat with the sun facing us, it was a enjoyable show.

After the show, we went back inside the Spillway House to meet with the designers and Jessica, as well as cooling off. The fashion show received a great amount of publicity with the local Vegas news, Telemundo, a Vietnamese news network, among others present.

This is the official video of the fashion show, recapping the event. It’s easy to spot me in the audience because I wasn’t using an umbrella for shade. It was hard to hold the umbrella and take pictures at the same time, so I had the sun blazing at me to the point where it almost overheated my camera.

I’m at a Crossroads…

Normally, when I launch a new website, I announce it on all my social media accounts with enough fanfare to hopefully get visitors.  Then I go about my business and start updating my brand-spanking new site.

Last night, on August 16, 2017 at around 11pm, I did my obligatory “Visit my new website” post with the link on my personal Facebook. That same night, I was going to announce it on my newly changed Instagram account, @anjanettearnold, but unfortunately, I was watching “So You Think You Can Dance” clips on YouTube in a zombie-like state. This eventually put me to sleep at around 4:00 in the morning.

Today, I was about to announce my new website on IG, but I think I need to explain to my combined few-hundred social media followers why little ol’ me has THREE photography websites and Instagram accounts.

Here is a simple answer to a complex situation…I’m at a crossroads!

I originally was going to call this blog post “See You at the Crossroads” like that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song, but I held back because, well, that song is about memorializing death or at least the end of something. Don’t worry, I’m physically fine and I don’t think I’m going to die any time soon. However, I’m at a crossroad where I’m contemplating ending something that consumed my life for the past 5 years…photography.

This all started back around May or June when I announced to my 600+ friends on Facebook that I’m going to hang it up after finishing all my outstanding shoots for 2017. At the time, I was feeling burned-out and felt it was showing in my work. I was also getting mad at myself for not opening a book to study for the GMAT (to apply for grad school) because I said to myself I was going to start in March. I basically was “over it”.

Since then, I was trying to make a conscious effort not to add on any more work on top of my other photography obligations, and I think I’m doing a pretty decent job. I haven’t added more trade-for-print (TFP) shoots lately and I may try to continue that for the rest of the year. I’ve also stepped down as an organizer for my Aspiring Photographers group on Meetup.com and just demoted myself to just a member.

Sorry for rambling, but every reason needs a back story. I’m now going to cut to the chase and explain why I have added more work with 3 websites and 3 IG accounts. I have decided to make 2018 my last-ditch effort to actually making some REAL money with photography, and assess from there whether to make it a business or just a hobby.

I love all aspects of photography, but I can’t be the jack-of-all trades photographer. I need to find my niche.

I really want my niche to be fashion photography. It’s my ultimate dream is to be on the same level of the people I look up to like Nigel Barker, Matthew Rolston, Herb Ritts, Russell James, etc. Unfortunately, the chances of reaching that level are the same as becoming a celebrity. I’m going to be doing TFP’s for the rest of my life and resort to teaching and conducting workshops to earn money, which I absolutely don’t want to do!

Well, what about wedding photography? It’s great and all, and I can make decent money out of it, but it’s so much hard work and stressful! Also, I live in the wedding capital of the world…Las Vegas. It’s hard to compete with the chapels and more established wedding photographers. To be honest, I don’t see myself doing only wedding photography long-term.

I asked for advice in a Facebook group on finding a niche, and someone suggested I do glamour photography, which really resonated with me. Instead of working with models, I can make potential clients feel like a model for the day. They were so popular in the 80’s and 90’s. I just need to bring a 2010’s spin to it!

From that point forward, I decided to do a whole re-brand overhaul. I plan to re-brand Vogue Shots (@vogueshotsphoto) as a boutique glamour photography “studio”. Once the Vegas weather cools down in the Fall, I may do a few model calls to help market my new brand and get up and ready for early to mid-2018.

With 2 more weddings down the pipe for 2017, including one in the San Francisco area, I may still want to do weddings every now and then. I have great wedding and engagement work to share, so I made a new IG account, @photosbyanjanette.

But then, I still have dreams and aspirations of being a fashion photographer too. This prompted me to change @anjanettearnold to a personal IG account. I may still want to do cool and exciting shoots that I would like to share. Maybe I will go the blogging route with this, if I can keep up!

Sigh…I’m truly at a crossroads indeed!

Jeneration Apparel Mansion Shoot

When I heard from a Facebook group about a fashion “shoot out” in a mansion, I jumped at the chance! I didn’t let a tiring and hot day of photographing soccer kids the morning before stop me from taking advantage of this event.

The location is in a quiet neighborhood near the Lone Mountain area of Las Vegas. It’s a spacious property that sits on about half an acre of land. There was a pool in the backyard, as well as a mini-tavern and gorgeous gates and doors with intricate designs. The biggest plus of the house was the clawfoot tub in one of the bathrooms, which is rare in many homes.

All the models wore dresses by Jeneration Apparel, a clothing company based out of Denver.

Staysi Lee Bridal Boutique – Designer Spotlight

Staysi Lee is a very talented designer, whose designs embrace vintage and pin-up flare. She started off designing and selling her ever-popular infinity convertible dress, where you can wrap and twist the dress to create many designs. Taking inspiration from her own personal style, especially from her wedding, she expanded into creating customized wedding dresses.

Her wedding dress designs takes elements of both couture and vintage, with a nod to old Hollywood glamour. Want a dash of color to spice up your wedding dress? It’s customized, so why not?

She took notes from clients that would only like certain aspects of a dress, but not the whole thing. To solve that problem, she designed 2-piece wedding dresses where you can mix and match the top and the bottom. The greatest thing is that you can use an overlay or sash to make it look like one dress.

Staysi is also a collector of vintage dresses, where she buys many of them from an “undisclosed” location, fixes them up, and sells them again. If you truly want a vintage wedding with styles from the 1940’s through 1990’s, Staysi is your girl!

Visit Staysi’s online shops:

Custom couture wedding gowns – https://www.etsy.com/shop/StaysiLeeCouture
Infinity convertible dresses – https://www.etsy.com/shop/StaysiLee
Vintage dresses – https://www.etsy.com/shop/localovespirate

Published in Vegas Runway Magazine’s “Golden Eras” Edition

After about a year of “schmoozing” and networking with her, I finally got to collaborate with IShinensparkle founder, Elena, and photograph her GORGEOUS statement jewelry pieces. She was setting up series of shoots with other photographers to fill the pages for the second issue of Vegas Runway Magazine’s “Golden Eras” edition, where she is the editor-in-chief.

Credits:
Model: Gissell (Instagram)
Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Janeth (Facebook)
Jewelry Designer and Stylist: Elena (Website)

Janeth has been a licensed makeup artist for a few years, but to help take her skills to the next level, she attended a special hair-styling and makeup school in California not too long before the shoot. She did an amazing job applying the skills she learned on this shoot!

We took inspiration from the 1910’s and 1920’s and gave them a modern 21st century look!

View full magazine online.

The Dry Lake Bed Chronicles

I’m not sure if “chronicles” is a good word, but I wanted a more flashier title to highlight the locations I frequently go to for photo shoots.

There are many wonderful places for photo shoots in the Las Vegas area, but they are also limiting. Some areas, like Red Rock Canyon, are owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which requires an exorbitant permit fee. The various hotels on The Strip, which are privately owned, absolutely prohibits professional photography onsite.

Because of this, I have six locations I frequently shoot at. In this blog post, I’m highlighting or “chronicling” a very versatile location – the dry lake beds.

There are two dry lake beds in town – one in Jean, NV and the other one just outside of Boulder City. Out of the two lake beds, I prefer the Boulder City lake bed for these various reasons: easy to access, not too far from Nelson, no hassles from the “permit police” (as far as I know), and to reiterate, EASY TO ACCESS! It’s right along US-95, which is the same highway you use to go to Searchlight and Laughlin.

I don’t go to the dry lake in Jean very often mainly because it’s land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Because it’s BLM land, I’ve heard stories from other people that there are rangers who approach photographers and check for permits. However, of all the times I’ve visited, I have not seen anyone, but I always proceed with caution when planning to do a shoot. Just with like any Vegas location, I keep my equipment minimal and discreet as much as possible.

Here is the map of the Jean dry lake bed with directions coming from The M Resort. These directions are the easiest way to get down there. Drive about 11 miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. Although the map said to make a left on Ranch Rd. after 11 miles, it is not marked. I always remind myself that Ranch Rd. is the “second white sign that is less obvious”. If you make a left on the “first white sign”, you will find yourself driving away from the dry lake bed. After a few miles down Ranch Rd., make a left on the unpaved path into the dry lake bed. There is a pretty tall clearance between the paved road and the unpaved road as you enter, so I advise you all to drive with a high-clearance vehicle. If you have a lowered car, I suggest not taking your car there.

Here’s a collection of photos from the dry lake bed dated back from 2013 to present: