Lean Goddess [Manhattan Beach Lifestyle Portraits]



Amy Yamada and Katie Wygant are the owners of Lean Goddess, a really inspired collaboration that is helping clients embrace who they are, while pursuing avenues of self-improvement through fitness and confidence building.  I'm paraphrasing here, but it's really about discovering and evolving "the best you", both in body and soul.  

What I love about their business model is that they really want clients to be genuine to themselves.  They're not looking to reshape or reprogram folks.   They want to help you build upon what's working in your life and then, push what you'd like to see improve.  After spending only a few hours with Amy and Katie on this shoot, I can tell they're great motivators, and we even had a helpful discussion about how these issues of esteem and goal setting apply to photography, as well as my own business. After all, successful portraiture is about more than just technical skills, it's also very much about making people feel comfortable and accepting of who they are in front of the camera.

As Lean Goddess continues to grow, Amy and Katie scheduled this session to capture the enthusiasm and energy they're hoping to share with the clients they work with.  We explored both downtown Manhattan Beach and along the pier — almost like a dual senior portrait session — and the surf and smoky sunset did not disappoint.  Then again, we could have stayed in an alley all day and come away with great pictures.  It's their attitude that shoots, scores, and wins here.

Thanks for the memorable shoot, Amy and Katie!  Read more about Lean Goddess on the website or Facebook.

9 Lives [San Diego Lifestyle Portraits]



Imagine this familiar scenario: you're having a special get together with friends, a night on the town, or maybe a birthday bash. The time comes to take a group picture. This usually means one person skipping out on the photograph to snap the shot, or entrusting your camera to a stranger to capture the image. You might even program the camera's timer, make a mad dash into frame, and hope for the best. But remember, this is a special occasion. Once in a lifetime perhaps. You're dressed to the nines, looking sharp, and among cherished company. Shouldn't your photographs be equally special?

Marlina had this exact idea in mind when planning a long-overdue reunion with her second cousins: Melissa, Jiji, Tina, Aimee, Monique, Tatiana, Nina, and Ginger. Among them, they share four grandmothers who are sisters, and these beloved family matriarchs -- through constant nurturing and love -- blessed these nine young women with a sense of sisterhood all their own. As teenagers, Marlina and her cousins would gather for parties and holidays, but one or two of the girls would always be absent -- always falling short of that special magic that happens when family comes together as a whole. Separated across the miles and by obligations, this would be the first time the nine of them would reunite as adults.

San Diego was the destination, many flying into town. The girls treated themselves to new dresses, professional make-up and hair styling, and I was the photographer entrusted to commit the day to film. Smoke from the recent forest fires and the prospect of rain threatened to damper our event, but the overcast sun was ideal for photography, and the haze made for some wild heavenly skies. It was a time to celebrate -- Melissa was recently engaged, and Marlina surprised her by gifting everyone a giant candy diamond ring. It was also a time for remembrance -- honoring the passing of their youngest grandmother, Pat, her memory reminding them of the importance of family and keeping in touch.

I could not have asked for a more enjoyable shoot, nor a better group to spend the afternoon with. Truly, this was a blast! Everyone looked like stars, and their commitment to life-long friendship is inspiring. Who knows when the next reunion will be. Life is busy, life is fast. One thing is certain -- no matter the distance between them, this special nine will always be reunited everyday in pictures, forever.

Enjoy, everyone!