New Series! "Phone Photo Tips" 

So in this weekly series I will be updating the blog every Sunday for the foreseeable future with quick tips and tricks to help spice up your phone photography game. These tips will apply to everyone, beginner or advanced, and will (hopefully) provide a bit of inspiration! So for PPT #1 (Phone Photo Tips) I would like to stress the importance of composition. Composition is a huge deal, in fact it's the most important aspect of a photo. You can edit colors, remove objects, add objects, flip, rotate, and crop a photo but once the image is made you can not easily alter composition. So unless you're a photoshop wizard or someone who has unlimited time to edit their photos, I suggest putting a lot of thought into your composition BEFORE you make an image. Why is comp so important? Well, for starters if your composition is off then the viewers of your photo may not be able to tell what the subject is. A photo without a clear subject is a bad photo, plain and simple. Each photo should highlight or give clear direction to lead the viewer to the subject. So with that said let's get into it! 

Tip #1: Use Grids

The "Rule of Thirds" is a good way to visually place objects within the frame. You can divide a photo in three parts by using two horizontal and two vertical lines.  Usually, placing an object directly in the center of the frame tells the viewer, "Hey look right here this is the subject." Now if you place every subject in the middle then this leads to some pretty repetitive photos. So to mix things up, place objects on the intersecting lines on the grid. Here's an example:    

Notice how in the first image I centered the cup within the middle box with the edges of the cup resting on the intersections of the grid. In the second image, the top of the cup and the highlight in the cup's shadow are placed right on the intersections. The photos are well balanced and we can what the subject is immediately. 

Tip #2

Lighting is HUGE! Good lighting helps you frame the subject and create a mood. If you're a baller on a budget like me then you might not have lighting equipment yet, no worries there's a giant ball on fire in the sky that provides plenty of light for photos. Best part is that it's free, bad part you can't always control it to your advantage. The best times for soft, controllable light, is an hour before and after sunrise and sunset. These times are referred to as "The golden hour", as the light is usually yellow golden-ish. Referring back to the images above, notice how I place the cup directly in the light coming from the windows in the back. This technique is called "Back lit" (Light coming from behind the subject) and can create stunning portraits like the one below.         

Tip #3

Ok so last tip for now is editing on mobile. There are a few options out there for apps, I know "Vsco" and "Instagram" are the popular ones. There are a ton of other apps that all basically do the same thing. I personally like Instagram's editing features I feel like they provide all the essential editing tools needed, oh and it's free which is nice. If you have Adobe Lightroom CC there is a iPhone app that allows you to use the program On your phone too. What I want to highlight here is not what software you use but rather how you use it. Filters are great for quick edits, but I would suggest you learn how to edit without them or use them in moderation. This is especially true with portraits and selfies. The most important aspect of a portrait is skin tone and using the wrong filter could have your subjects looking like Cheetos. 

Ok so that's going to do it for now, hope you all enjoyed these tips! Who knows maybe you'll take the best iPhone photograph of all time now, or start your selfie modeling career selling "Fit-Tea" on the gram. Either way glad you stoped by and I'll see you next time!

-DL     

Life

So far in my life I have experienced two very humbling events that have shaped who I am as person and my outlook on life. The first being my experiences with depression in high school. It was during this time I learned the powers of perspective and perception. At the time my perspective on life was bleak. I felt that everything was always my fault and that no one else had made the same mistakes as me. Even things that I had no control over were somehow my fault. Once I learned how to alter my perspective; in that I was not alone and that not everything was my fault, I was able to fully accept myself. This led to a shift in my perception of life, for the first time I looked to face my challenges head on. I no longer believed that the world was against me, but rather, an opportunity to express myself and grow as a person.   

The second humbling experience is still happening as I write this post. For the past few weeks I have been experiencing respiratory problems that landed me in the ER twice in a week. To keep a long story short, I have been diagnosed with "Respiratory Airway Disease" (irritation in the airways causing coughing, short breath)  and "Bronchospams" ( muscle spasms in bronchial tubes) which has made sleeping for long periods of time nearly impossible. This past week I have awoken almost every night wheezing and unable to breathe. The good news is that I have seen a wide variety of doctors, specialists and all of them have informed me that this is non-life threatening (although at times it feels like it) and I should be making a recovery in the next few days. As for now I have no choice but to take it easy and try to rest as much as possible.

I think that most of us only tend to appreciate certain aspects of life only after they have been taken away. In my opinion , the most common thing we take for granted is our health. Not being able to participate in the daily activities that I love, such as photography/hockey has been difficult. However, I know that there are other people out there who have much more significant health issues than I. I have learned to fully appreciate the moment and cherish everything that life throws at me, good or bad, for that is the best option to deal with life itself. I've been extremely blessed and fortunate in my life, I recognize that I have been given many opportunities that some people do not have access too. This past week as only reaffirmed by utter gratitude and appreciation for everyone that has helped me get to where I am today.

I am looking forward to creating new photographs in the near future, but for now the only thing I'll be doing is Netflix and sleeping.

Until next time,

-DL

Upcoming Projects 

It's been awhile since I've updated the blog. I seem to forget about this section of my site too often. Usually I am focusing on school work, small photo shoots and of course playing hockey. Amid all of the normal trails of life, my photography always finds a way back in. Just to keep you updated I recently finished a short documentary about firefighters in Ashland, Oregon, I've begun working at a commercial real estate company as the "research intern", and am starting production on two new projects; "Colors" and "Our Day In The Sun", I'll start with "Colors".

The holy grail for most photographers is to have your work featured in a magazine, photo book, or a museum. Having your work immortalize in print forever is why most if us in the industry peruse our work as intensely as we do. I began my career in photojournalism and street photography. Story is everything with photography and I felt that photojournalism provided impactful stories of the human experience. I miss that, I miss photojournalism and people that come with it. So I figured why not return to my roots again. So, "Colors", is a photo series about ethnicity and culture. I want to celebrate people of color and interview them on what their family heritage. I want to explore the trials and tribulations associated with being a minority in the United States. I have not begun production yet as there are some details I need to work out before I am ready to share the work!

The next project is “Our Day In The Sun”, this is a short film directed by my friend Evan Friedman. I had originally created the story for the film and Evan agreed to direct and write the film. I will be Director of Photography for the project. This project is currently in the works and should be released by the end of the summer.  

I'll try to update this page with in-progress photos of "Colors" and behind the scenes images of "Our Day In The Sun" in the coming weeks. 

Till next time!

-DL

New Work, New Adventures

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I looked out my window and saw that soft golden light I have been chasing for the past three years. That late afternoon golden light peering through the trees outside was calling my name. So I gathered all my camera equipment as quickly as I could, got in my car and headed up I-5 following the sunlight. I had originally planned on going to a place called Upper Table Rock, just outside of Medford Oregon. After 30 minutes or so I could see both the Upper and Lower Table Rocks. Here's when it all went downhill, Siri and Apple Maps directed me to a private road blocked by a large gate, held together by a chain and a lock bigger than my head. It was clear I was not getting through that way, I had to go back and find another way in without the Maps. With only a few minutes of sunlight left I decided that I would not have enough time to hike up Upper Table Rock as planned and instead I pulled off into a small park called TouVelle. The images came out well but this is a very important lesson in photography, always be prepared for the worst. If your first location does not work, you have to get creative and use what you can. The best in business make it look easy and trust me it's not. But after many ruined shoots, tons of sunsets missed and hundreds of terrible images, I feel comfortable in most situations like the one last night. It's all apart of the game. Here are some Before and Afters from my adventures. 

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The Store is Here! 

After a few days of filling out legal documents, and creating a secure system for accepting payments the store is live! Currently, I am featuring 5 images, "Shasta, "Winter Get-Away", "Last Ride", "The Valley", and "Varsity" as well as a bundle which contains all images in one package! I wanted to ensure your security when purchasing my work, which is why I spent extra time to make sure your payment details remain private. In addition to the Store, you'll notice "Donate" buttons located on the buttons of certain pages. This is completely optional, however, if you feel like supporting my work there are custom donation options available. I can't thank you enough for supporting my work, I can not put into word the feeling I get when I am able to pursue my passions. It is because of people like you that I am able to do what makes me happy. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Demo Reel

I had a lot of fun putting together my demo reel, the video featured some of my work from Arizona, Southern Oregon University, my film 21 Spartans and various other projects. Its crazy to think that two years of work can be summed up in a two-minute video! I try to push myself to produce better content with each project while maintaining a continuous style. The song was downloaded from Epidemic Sound. I can't thank them enough for the immense catalog of songs, I am not being paid to say this, I just really appreciate what they do.  This demo reel has me really excited for the future, I can't wait to one day look back at this video and remember all the projects I competed in the early stages of my career. 

Here is a link to Epidemic Sound if you're interested: https://player.epidemicsound.com/      

 New Work

Feature 1

I recently took a trip to the Oregon Caves in Southern Oregon.  I was on a team of 4 photographers, each tasked with varying responsibilities. My job was lighting the inside if the caves and certain rock formations. The above photo was taken on our way to the first location. Over all it was a very fun process!

Feature 2

Here is a still from a shoot I did back in December in the Bay Area. This was my first music video shoot, I was surprised to see that the majority of my other film work carried over to music video production. Definitely looking to work more in this field soon!  

Feature 3

This photo is was taken on my campus, Southern Oregon University. Winter is not my favorite season, living in the Bay Area for most of my life has thought me that I have not experienced a "real" winter. However, I will say snow makes for great photos! I take a lot of pride in places that I live, shooting locally is a big part of my work. I can support my community through capturing the best moments, which showcases just how powerful photography is!

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