What Has Quavondo Been Up To?

You’ve probably been wondering what I’ve been up to lately (or not HAHA)…for the past three months I’ve been laying low, staying away from Facebook, blog, twitter and everything else that was just distracting. I was working on 3 major projects. Two of them I can’t share with you yet but will be ready in a couple months, one of them is about to launch, or should I say relaunch. I’m super stoked to share with you the NEW Cliché Magazine!

Around the time of my disappearance, I took on the Creative Director position at Cliché Magazine. I saw a magazine with great potential that just needed a fresh pair of eyes. With my design, photography, and ad agency background I was eager to take on this daunting task of rebranding a magazine. The first step was the logo.

Here’s the old logo:
Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 8.15.53 AM

Here’s the new logo that I designed:
Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 8.16.42 AM

I wanted our logo to exemplify elegance and sex appeal. I designed the logo so that when viewers see it their subconscious mind sees the word chic. Well I guess I let that pony out of the barn. We also just launched the new website this week. I don’t have the before/after for this, but trust me when I say that this is way better! It’s not up there yet, but webitorials will be launching on the site too!Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 7.44.31 AM

And finally, the relaunch issue of the magazine is set to release this weekend. It’s packed with so much content and fashion editorials, I hope you guys enjoy it. Would love to hear your feedback.


Announcing Photography Lighting Workshop for June and July

Putting on a photography workshop is a lot of work, especially when it’s out of the comfort of my own backyard. I’ve been going back and forth on the pricing and ultimately the desire to teach people won over the desire to make a huge profit. So I decided to have it at a price point where it’s affordable, allow me to cover my travel, hire local talent and studio space, and still make a little bit of money to pay some bills.

How does $225 sound? It sounds dang good to me!

What I need from you to help keep the cost down and to keep me wanting to put on workshops is to spread the word. The more people register, the longer I can do these workshops at this price. Obviously I won’t have a huge network or following in your town, please share it with fellow photographers. Also, I’ll need recommendation on MUA, Hair and models in your town. Also, space is limited, so book fast. Future workshops will depend on how these two go.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.15.03 AM

here’s a link to register:

For Seattle, June 29th

For San Francisco, July 20th

I’m also available for one-on-one or smaller workshops up to 5 people. $750/person. Contact me for more info.

How to Be a Happy Successful Photographer

Being successful in photography is, well, objective. We all have different definitions of success and we all have different goals. Am I a successful photographer? Some people think so, but if you put me next to Annie Leibovitz or 1/2 of the photographers out there, I pale in comparison. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing my own work. I look at other photographer’s work and I’m just amazed. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it just puts me in a funk, not the type you wanna boogie down to. Over the course of time, I’ve learned a few things that has helped me with my success and happiness. I’m not saying this will work for you, but it has worked for me.

1) Everyone shoots shitty images. Everyone. Your job as the photographer is to be the gate keeper. If you’re going through and making selects of your shoot, don’t even show the client the images you don’t like, because they WILL pick them as the hero shots. Trust your eyes, they came to you for your expertise, if they were capable, they would have shot it themselves.

2) Do not throw pictures up on the internet and include a disclaimer (images are unretouched, straight out of camera). What is the f’in point? It’s not your best foot forward, so take the freaking time to edit the photo. Let’s say the model grabs the image, throws it on her site and gives you credit, next the makeup artist does the same, what happens in the end is that your image is going to be floating around the internet with credit to you and some potential client is going to see it and think, “Wow this guy doesn’t pay attention to the details, like that big zit on the model’s nose.” You think they will want to give you the $10k gig? Probably not.

3) Association. You hang out with crappy photographers, you will remain crappy. Just like anything else in life, you hang out with thieves, you’re most likely a thief. If you want to grow and improve as a photographer, surround yourself with photographers who inspire you, produce great work, people you can learn from. If you’re the top dog in your group, you won’t grow.

4) If you’re just starting out, don’t watermark your photos. No one wants to steal them. You think your images are great but just know that your taste will grow and your images will improve. What will happen is 3 years from now, you will do a google search on yourself and all these shitty images will pop up with your name on them. Once you start producing great work, people will know that it came from you.

5) You need a GREAT team. You can’t do it by yourself. If I gave you Annie’s team, including set design, do you think you can create stunning photos? I bet you could. Find these people, feed them, keep them happy.

6) Let go of your ego. No one likes working with know-it-alls or divas. Be humble, be hungry. Help other photographers, mentor them, assist them, it’s rewarding.

7) Make the money, but don’t forsaken everything else in chase of the paper. The best way to be happy is to live in the present. Don’t put things off til the future, the future may never come.

8) Shoot often.



Part Time Lover

Models: Richard Rocco/Mei Teng
Special thanks to designers: Ms Wood, Zong Jian, Creative Soul













Another Year Older

Yesterday was my birthday. Definitely mixed emotions. I’ve been on this planet for a while now, still searching and trying to find my way. Most of us spend our lives looking for something, a niche, a love, a passion, a career. I count my blessings that I’ve found my passion, but I’ve also lost a love, and my career is in my hands.

Time goes by so quickly, half a year is almost gone. I feel like I’m running out of time. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself, but I think it was ingrained in me at an early age that I was going to be the one in the family to succeed in America and be the one to support the family. My mom’s birthday is two days before mine. She didn’t sound to well when I called her to wish her a happy birthday. It seems like she’s been getting sick a lot lately, so I have this inherent pressure that my time to succeed is running out. I want to provide my mom with everything that she wants and take her on as many trips as possible, but I’m a small fish in a big sea here in LA. How am I to get noticed, get known, get requested? I know that I have the talent, I just need the opportunity just like the rest of the talented people here in LA. What makes me any different? Does it come down to luck then? Who you know? Well God, let those people I must know meet me, bring them into my life, I want to succeed so badly for my mom. I want her to look at me and be proud. Proud of the son that she snuck out of Vietnam in the dead of night on a fishing boat. Proud of me. That’s my birthday wish for this year.

Street Magician

Sometimes I wish I could read people’s minds. People just fascinate me. I went to school for Sociology with a minor in Psychology. I study people. I read people. I guess becoming a photographer was the inevitable step for me. I love getting to know my subjects and being able to capture a sense of them in the photographs. I love people’s backstories. Everyone’s got one. Sometimes I people watch, I make up backstories for them.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Kamyar texted me and asked if I would like to work with him again, only this time he wants to model for me. He had this idea of a panhandler who used to be someone, but now people just pass him by. We threw ideas back and forth and this is the final result.


A Hero’s Tradegy

I’ll admit it, sometimes it can be frustrating to work with an artist, especially the ones who are OCD and ADD. The best thing you can do when you work with someone like us is to just forget about it once the shoot is done, don’t check in on us (especially at odd hours of the night, like 3AM), we know. We know those images are sitting on our hard drives begging to be shown to the world, but as artist we have bills to pay and mouths to feed too, thus we prioritize paid work above all else. And once we do have free time to go back to the project, us OCD’s want to make sure that everything is perfect before we release it. I still laugh every time a model ask, “Does it need to be retouch?” No, not really, but I want to. It would help if you laid off on all the soft drinks and sugar because your skin is horrendous to edit. Ok, I got sidetracked…

Anyways, I bought this Superhero outfit 3 years ago because I love the whole Marvel Comics thing. I knew who I wanted to play that part, the ever handsome KC Guyer. He’s been in quite a few of my personal projects. For this project, I wanted to do something different, so I waited. Like a retired Superhero, the outfit laid in my office closet for over a year. One day, a model writes me and tells me that he loves my work and would love to shoot with me someday. I stalked through his photos and saw that he was an artist himself, a very talented one. I asked him if he wanted to meet for coffee so I could tell him about this idea that I had.

The idea was that my Superhero was trapped in a comic book world, his environment would be etched like one. Part of him and some characters would be half sketched and half real. Does that make sense? So essentially it’s a photograph combined with a drawing, but they bleed into each other so the line between his comic character and his real self is blurred. Kamyar Jahan (you should really get a website Kamyar) was really excited about the idea. We talked about perhaps doing a whole comic series in this style.

We sent some sketches and layouts back and forth, finally it was time to shoot! Here’s the sketch that we green lighted back in March of last year.



A year later, after sending it back and forth with Kamyar, it’s done. Well actually it’s been done since Christmas, I’m just finally getting around to blogging about it. =P I want to thank those that were involved in this project. Thank you for your patience and accepting that I’m an artist and knowing and understanding that I’m not neglecting our project, I want it done as much as you. Thank you for giving me the time and space to do it right. I wish you could see this in high resolution, it’s much better. Oh and the dying beauty is none other than Camille Collard.


BTS by Chris Goddard416691_3226808184293_387532727_o (1)