Derrick Rose for Adidas


Although I don’t follow the NBA anymore, ever since my heartbreak from when the Denver Nuggets crushed my Seattle SuperSonics. I’m now solely a Seahawks, one sport kinda guy. And even though I no longer watch the NBA, I knew who Derrick Rose was. Everyone knows about the NBA MVP. So when I got the call to shoot him along with a whole list of players in LA, I was pretty stoked! I was told that Derrick would be my last guy at the end of the day and that I had 30 mins max with him to do video and stills. The shots had to look like he was in a gym. So we created this 30×30 canvas of a blurred gym background, lit it so that it matched the ambience.

When Derrick got on my set, he was pretty much worn out by the long day of commercials and photoshoots, I was told I had 15 mins to do it all. Anticipating this, I had tested out the shots with my assistant and had her write down the settings for all the lights and camera, for both the video and the photography aspect. As soon as Derrick’s foot hit my floor, we pounced on him like Crouching Assistant, Hidden Photographer. After the video was done, we quickly switched over to photography mode. I gotta say, when you’re on a tight deadline and a big budget shoot like this, it’s a must to have a team that you can depend on because one error could ruin the whole production. Luckily everything went smoothly. Whew. We celebrated by hitting the pool.

Behind the Scenes with Quavondo

In this behind the scenes video (consider this part II), I talk about what’s in my camera bag for the Popina Swimwear photoshoot and what memory cards to use, along with never before seen footage from the photoshoot that I didn’t include into the original behind the scenes video.

Planning the Photoshoot
When Popina called me, I knew exactly who I wanted to use as a model for this shoot. We scheduled a fitting time and I brought Natalie in. They fell in love with her right away. Who wouldn’t? Originally Popina wanted to do the photoshoot by a pool or at a beach, but I thought that was too expected, so I suggested a rooftop with some cityscape in the background. They liked the idea and we penciled in a date for the shoot. Pamela (owner and designer) had about two weeks to work on the swimsuits that she wanted to feature for the photoshoot.

The Intern Who Got Fired
One of my interns missed call time and unfortunately I had to release him from the internship. When you’re dealing with budgets and clients, time is important and I need people around me that I can rely on. Luckily I had two other interns on-set along with my trusted assistant Darren. It was a long hot day, but we managed to crank out 30+ swimsuits for Popina Swimwear catalog…and we ate Quizno’s because it has a Q in it. =)

Chromeo Love
When I created the original behind the scenes video for this shoot two days ago, I used Chromeo’s “Needy Girl” which I felt was perfect for my vid, only to have Youtube strip my video of all audio because of copyright violations or some crap. Anyways, for this video, I snuck in some more love for Chromeo. I had no idea that they were coming to Portland Oregon. They were actually playing at the Roseland last night, sad that I’m in LA for a photoshoot and missed it. If you don’t know who they are, definitely check them out!

Behind the Scenes of Popina Swimwear Shoot

Well my assistant Darren and I had a challenge going to see who can create the best behind the scenes video for this shoot, but Darren decided not to show up for the battle. He would have gotten a beat down anyways. This video is a little longer than my usual, only because this one is packed with goodies and tips. I’m blabbing more than I normally do, but only because Darren made me. He said that you guys wanted to hear me explain stuff more instead of just the visuals. I hope he’s not right, because that means I’ll have to talk more. =P

Plus now the video is like 8 minutes long, who has time to sit there and watch it? Let me know if you like these longer videos or if I should go back to my 3-4 minute videos, that way I’ll know how to film and cut it for future shoots.

I uploaded it to Youtube but those bastards disabled my audio because of the song I chose. So i had to edit with a new song, but i still like the original better. Hope you enjoy this behind the scenes of Popina Swimwear photoshoot!

Here’s the original song on my Vimeo channel but it’s not hi-def because of the 500 megabytes limit.

Photoshoot with Three Dolls

Karen Wu of Three Dolls Boutique found me through Madeline Roosevelt. About 3 years ago, Karen started her own design label. Before designing, she was a boutique owner in Sherman Oaks, Ca carrying contemporary brands. Now with Three Dolls Boutique, she’s carrying the brands online. Her website will be launched soon. She said that she needed editorial images for her front page of the website as well as some pages which features/showcase some key pieces.

At first it didn’t look like the shoot was going to happen, because Karen needed the photos ASAP but my schedule couldn’t accommodate. I was booked the entire month of September, but as luck would have it, a few things got moved and Karen came down from Seattle for the last minute photoshoot.

The challenge for this shoot was shooting in mid day with no clouds. Oh how I miss the sunshine already. Damn you Portland. Check out the behind the scenes video for a little tip on how to shoot in broad daylight using strobes. Oh and did you get your tickets?

I can’t thank Darren Utt enough for his great behind the scenes video captures. If you’re a photographer and need behind the scenes videos to promote yourself, Darren is your guy!

Behind The Scenes Video of Kerry Yu’s Photoshoot

Let’s bring it back old school style. I think if this video was finished sooner, I might have started doing more behind the scenes for you earlier. But alas, this video wasn’t edited until yesterday. I ran into the videographer at the Scott Kelby’s seminar last week. He said that he still had the footage, so I teased him a little bit saying that I’ll probably never see it…then it finally arrived in my inbox!

A little over two years ago, I shot for designer Kerry Yu. We packed a pool with a bunch of beautiful models and shot into the night. Being around these stud models made me feel fat. I think this is when I decided that I wanted a six pack. Damn you Rocky, Sam and Trevor! The beautiful lady models were Jillian and Mandi, who’ve I’ve shot many times after this shoot because they are superstars! Make-up and hair by Katherine Ross.

Going into this shoot, the challenge was that we were going to have to shoot all day and into the evening. I made sure to confirm with Kerry that it was okay to make the images different, if she wanted all of them to have the same feel, it was going to be a 2 day shoot. She gave the “okay” and we were set. I kept the “day” set looking the same so she could use it as a campaign, and then the “evening” shots were just going to be single pickups that she could use where ever she wanted.

I’ve never had so much fun shooting a group of models! I’ve remained good friends with all of them since and often use them in my personal projects now.

In this video, you will see how we created the shot of Jillian falling into the pool. Originally we were just going to do it with just one take, but I didn’t want to risk it. The first thing I thought of was extension cords…but then I had to figure out a way for it not to tear into Jillian’s stomach. Hence she’s walking around with a baby towel gut. =)

Video by Rameses Abdallah, check it out.

Quavondo Burns Down a House

Ok, well not exactly. I’ve had this personal project in my head for quite some time. A year and a half to be exact. It took awhile to get this project off the ground because of snafus along the way. My original model for this shot was suppose to be Sam Coy, I’ve used him numerous times in my project and knew that he had the physique to pull off the fireman shot. I wanted him to grow out his hair, but he kept cutting it. =) I needed my fireman to be more rugged looking, Sam was too clean.

Then there was KC Guyer. I met him on a shoot and we clicked right away. I really enjoy working with KC because he’s also an actor and he brings emotions that sometimes models have a hard time conveying through the lens. Since I didn’t know who was going to be able to pull it off better, I decided to ask both of them, I was sure that each was going to bring something to the table.

Finding the location was the hard part. I didn’t want it all to be photoshopped. Compositing a bunch of images together is not something I’m excited about, I prefer to shoot on location and then add any missing elements in post, in this case, I envisioned a house that’s engulfed in flames. I did try to set something up with the fire department, but since I had live models and a little baby, they weren’t going to let me get closer than 500 feet from the burning house. So I drove around and found two homes in the Portland area that was burnt down and every time I think that we have our location, the city would tear it down.

One day I was driving back from wine tasting in Dundee, I spotted this house that was perfect for the project. I knew that I had to act fast before the city got to it. I called up the models, Sam was only avail for a few hours but that was fine since I had KC as well. As for the female model, I wanted someone who could cry on Q  queue. I had worked with Michelle Lummus on a few projects and loved her to death. She’s also an actress in town, so she was going to be able to give me the raw emotion that I needed. Finally, the best model of them all, Mischa Roosevelt. She’s my hair/make-up artist’s daughter. She probably won’t remember this shoot when she gets older, but I’m sure she’ll get a kick seeing the photos.

We met up at Starbucks at 5:30 am on Sunday. The drive was going to be an hour long and I wanted to do it early for the light and also to avoid the police. I wish that I had more of a behind the scenes for you, but I shot this back in April before I decided that I was going to start blogging and making a conscious effort to film behind the scenes to take you guys on my shoots. It didn’t help that my G9 decided not to work this day, and I didn’t ask my assistant Darren to bring the Canon 5D Mark II. So what ended up happening is Darren got a few clips with my iPhone before the battery died. The footage off of the iPhone is the worse thing I’ve ever seen. It’s like stop motion. Horrible. Shame on you Apple. Can’t wait for the new iPhone though, heard you can film in hi-def and the camera is 8 mega pixels!

Since the flames were going to be added in post production, I threw some red gels on the strobes to give the red hue on the house. Here’s the video, not the best quality ever and beware of motion sickness.

Beaches of Maui

I really can’t wait to go back to Maui! Here are two more awesome models that I got a chance to shoot while there this past June. I’m heading back to Maui for my buddy’s wedding and my birthday. He certainly picked an awesome day to get marry on, April 7th, my actual birthday. You can be sure that I’ll make time to photograph these two models again. =) And of course Ry-n.

When traveling, sometimes you gotta go light on equipment, but it doesn’t mean that your image quality should suffer. On this shoot, I decided to go extra light, one reflector. The reflector plus the Sun, equals two light source, anywhere in the World.

Special thanks to Daniel Benjy for the connections.

Hair/Make-up: Ry-n Shimabuku
Models: Alana and Malia