The Next Phase of My Life

Recently I made my first trip back to my motherland, Vietnam. I hadn’t step foot into this beautiful country since escaping it at age 5 with my mom. It was an eye opening experience that grounded me back to what I sorely missed, family. Growing up I lived with a lot of extended family members, very communal. We spent every weekend together over potlucks and karaoke. As we grew up and entered college, everyone started going their own way and the families dispersed across the country. Little by little each family unit began doing their own thing for birthdays, holidays and vacations. Now I live in the hustle bustle of LA far away from my family, excluding my sister, whom I was able to convince to move here two years ago. I came to Hollywood without knowing a single soul and threw myself into the rat race. Today is my BIG 30th birthday (x 12 – 80 x 20 / 800 + 13 x 2) and looking back upon my life there are many things I wished could have been different but I went through them and it’s made me who I am today and I’m thankful for it. For the second third of my life here are the changes I’m making:

1) Quality Time – Truly spend time with important people in my life. Which means not looking at my phone. Setting it to silent. If I have a time limit, I will set an alarm so I don’t have to be distracted by constantly checking in on the time. When I was in Vietnam this was what I really enjoyed the most. People just spending time with each other. When they had enough of you, they go home. People making eye contact on the street instead of looking at their phones.

2) Volunteer – More specifically, I want to donate my photography to more nonprofits. Right now I’m only donating my photography to a rescue mission here on Skid Row, but I’d like to maybe travel abroad in the future and perhaps work with organizations in Vietnam.

3) Create More Family – Friends are family by choice. I want to send out more energy into the Universe to attract good people into my life. Currently I have a handful of people that are dear to me and we share the same views and values in life. I want to expand this more into my everyday life here in LA.

4) Move Mom – I want to move my mom down here to LA so that I could be closer to her. She’s beginning her last third of her life and I want to spend as much time with her as possible. Plus when I decide to have kids, I want grandma around to teach them Vietnamese and see the joy on her face.

5) Be an Inspiration – For my nephews, nieces, friends, people. I want to live my life full of love and treat people with compassion. I want to be a change in the World and cause a domino effect. I want to have a marriage and family that others will strive for.

So here’s to love, family and giving back.

A few images from Vietnam


The Call – A Short Film By Quavondo

I’m on a roll! Look at that, two blogs back to back after being away for 6 months to focus on projects. This time I would like to share with you another project of mine that’s gotten me all giddy. I think I’ve actually found a new love. For the first time, I can imagine life outside of photography. Crazy I know. I’ve always wanted to make movies, more like I’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera. Be a Hong Kong action star like Andy Lau, but I could never remember lines…maybe I could have been the next Silent Bob. Perhaps in the next life time.

Recently I wrote a short film that I am now directing, dp’ing, and producing. I don’t know how it happened but it just did. Sometimes you’re just thrust into things and it turns out to be a blessing. That’s exactly how I discovered my love for photography and made the career change in 2007. It’s like dejavu all over, except now the transition will be a little easier since I’m already working with lights and camera gear.

After writing this script, I started researching and watching other short films out there and I have to say, I feel really good about this film and it’s potential. I have high hopes for it to do well in the festival circuit. We’ve already started filming and it’s coming together nicely. We have a talented team from top to bottom. The footage looks amazing and so far the actors have delivered. If you would like to find out more about this project, please visit our Indiegogo page:

Like I’ve mentioned, we are halfway done with filming and planning on shooting the rest by the end of the year but in order to do it justice and not cut corners, we need some help financially to take the burden off of our shoulders. If you could help spread the word and perhaps donate $5 to our project, I’d be so appreciative. I know that you will love this film and it will feel good that you’ve made it possible.

Thank you!


Photoshop Actions by Pratik Naik and Quavondo

Wow, has it really been almost 6 months since I’ve blogged? Time really does fly, especially after you past 30. There are many reasons why I’ve been away and many projects to announce. Today, I will announce one.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.37.17 PM

I’ve been working with Pratik Naik of Solstice Retouch over the past 6 months to create Photoshop actions for you photographers out there. We broke it up to 2 different categories, Fashion and Beauty. All the actions are non-destructive to your native file. For the advanced users, the layers are all editable so you can go in and make minor tweaks or changes. You could also combine different actions of top of each other to create various looks. Take a look at our site:

Let me know what you guys think and if there are any specific requests let us know and we’ll create those actions for you. We will continually add to the collection so keep on checking back. Hope you guys dig it!

A New Beginning

Today is my birthday! Like most people, I LOVE my birthday, but not because of all the attention that it brings. For me it’s kinda like a fresh start. I always feel a little wiser on my birthday, not sure if it’s because as I get another year older the dumb brain cells die off or if my brain just releases special chemicals once a year, but the saying is certainly true “with age comes wisdom” or is it “with age comes back problems, grey hair, wrinkles?”

I’m sorry for those who have been following me on here, I have been gone for quite some time. I just needed time. Needed space. I made a quick trip this past week back to Portland to spend some time with friends and then Seattle for my mom’s birthday on Saturday. As I was flying back to Los Angeles late last night, I got a chance to reflect, a chance for me to let go. I’ve always been a sensitive person even at an early age, sensitive to the point that I can feel other people’s energy and emotions around me, almost like emotional ESP. So as I was going through the toughest years of my life, I withdrew from my family, my friends, moved away to a new city, isolated myself with my cat. Everyone has a way of coping, I thought that’s what I needed. But yesterday on the plane, I realized that with my emotional sponge, I should have surrounded myself with friends and family that I can feed off of and take in their love and support to build myself back up. But I was worried that other people might be like me and absorb my sadness, so I left.

I spent the past couple years over analyzing everything, what could have been, should have been, but the conclusion is, what should have been would have been. So it’s time for me to let it all go. Accept the past, it will always be with me, but now I must look forward.

I’m ready to create art again. Inspiration is coming back to me and I’m ready to shoot a bunch of personal projects. I’m looking to build my team here in LA, so if you’re in my field, get in touch with me. Need stylists, locations scouts, hair, makeup, and talent!

Also, I’m ready for more LA friends.

Peace and Love,

Quavondo’s New Website

Finally, it’s here. The release of my new website! I’m SO freaking excited about it. It’s been 5 months in the making. It only took this long because my attention was always needed else where, so my personal website got pushed to the back burners. Built from the ground up by one truly talented designer and programmer, Marcel Ganz of Flambe Agency. I had all these ideas in my head on what I wanted my site to do and I was blown away that Marcel was able to make every wish come true. Finally I’m able to rid myself of the Flash based website that can’t be seen on mobile devices and iPads! Amen. There are still minor kinks to work out for the mobile site, we’re working on that. Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if you have any suggestions to make my website better. Thanks so much!


Now that I’m pretty much done with this project, I want to let you guys know that I have two other pet projects in the works for you photographers out there. Both should be done by the end of the year if not sooner. One is with Marcel and the other one is with Pratik of Solstice Retouch. Stay tuned!


Quavondo’s Lighting Techniques Volume 2

I was driving a couple months ago and the thought of writing the second book on my lighting techniques came to mind. The thought stayed with me for about a couple of minutes until Avicii’s Wake Me UP came on, I started rocking out, the thought slipped away. That was the last time I’d thought about it until this morning when I received this email.


I just finished reading your book. It is WONDERFUL! The information is clear and well organized. The text compliments the images and diagrams extremly well. In particular I find that your “voice” is friend, fun and honest. Including the stories about mistakes you made (leaving your slave at home etc) creates you on level with others who have done the same. They will, I think, make it easier for a shooter to look for a work~around instead of freezing up in a panic. Also, having to change a plan and idea on the fly when circumstances change will have the same effect especially for the beginning or novice getting started. Another valuable piece of instruction and information is about the use of on camera flash as is the natural light and clip lamp information. It shows that great photography is possible on a very small budget and the book has no feel of “brand” selling. 

In closing, I can say that if I were to teach again, I would use your book as the book to teach lighting. It would be wonderful to find such books for photoshop etc.

I remain most sincere,”



Thank you Jacqueline for the wonderful email. In a World where you usually only hear from people when they aren’t happy with the product, it’s rewarding to get an email such as this. Perhaps it is time to start on volume 2. 

Quavondo’s Lighting Book is Best Seller on PhotoWhoa


I am truly flattered, PhotoWhoa recently did a review on my lighting book and had good things to say about it. They liked it so much that they are now carrying it. Good news for you if you’ve wanted to get a hold of my lighting book but haven’t gone around to it. It’s currently available in PDF format at PhotoWhoa for $5! I’m also proud to say that it’s one of their best sellers! It’s available until Oct. 25th. Don’t miss out!

Signed paperbacks are also available for purchase through me.