Category Archives: Photojournalism

International Swingers at Studio 606 ~ Music Photography Los Angeles ~

What an experience!  I had the opportunity to photograph The International Swingers when they recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 recently.  The mixing board has it’s own amazing story which you can check here soundcitymovie.com.  Not knowing what to expect had me a little apprehensive and nervous and definitely anxious.  But the band, consisting of Clem Burke, Glen Matlock, James Stevenson and Gary Twinn could not have been easier to work with at all.  They were open and approachable and truly just fun.  I mean, I was in their faces all day and they could do what they had to do and well, not hold it against me if I was a nuisance.  It was my first time documenting during a recording or even seeing the process for that matter.  It was quite impressive and done old school on tape and produced by Brett Gurewitz which will then be released on–wait for it–a 45! I was truly impressed by the process and all those who are truly amazing in their fields.  Thanks for letting me be a part and so happy for the new friendships and experience.  There is an amazing relationship between photographers and musicians and this was exactly that.

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

 

The International Swingers at Studio 606

Blog by Misti Layne

Sandy, New York City and Me ~ San Francisco Photographer ~

Every year for many, many years I have gone to NYC once or twice a year.  I first went when I was 18, went to NYU and it holds a little bit of my soul.  This year was a bit different. I got caught in Hurricane Sandy.  It wasn’t so bad in Manhattan for me.  We were left in darkness but on 30th Street so walking to 39th Street wasn’t so bad.  For those downtown, it was a very different story.  My friend and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge then caught a cab back home.  Driving through Chinatown made me feel like it was war torn Vietnam.  No lights, nothing recognizable, no people and no English signs.  It left me with a sort of discombobulated feeling.  It didn’t feel like the place I’d known for so long.  I am glad I experienced it and of course, got home but for those who are still dealing with it I cannot fathom the pain and agony it has caused.    These images were taken with not the right equipment–I came prepared for head shots not a hurricane but I hope leaves some sense of what it was like to be there.

Napa Wine Auction, Colgin Cellars ~Napa Event Photography~

Every year I photograph the Napa Wine Auction dinner at Colgin Cellars in St. Helena.  It’s truly an incredibly beautiful place.  Thomas Keller of French Laundry personally caters the event for guests from all over the world who have come for the Napa Auction.  It’s fun to watch Thomas in the kitchen and just how smooth the process is especially when compared to me in the kitchen.

Colgin Cellars is high above Lake Hennessy in St. Helena and provides the most gorgeous of sunsets.  The wine is to die for and the furry residents are most adorable!  Ann and Joe always provide a great time.  Dancing, music, amazing food and a setting not open to the public provide an amazing time.   It’s truly a privilege to photograph this wine country corporate event and all its glory.

Los Angeles Music Photography and Musicians

Jimi Hendrix said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

Music photographers and musicians just go together.  Jimi Hendrix, like so many musicians I know, was an artist through and through and his passion coupled with his talent made him who he was.  If he was just a guitar player, even a great guitar player, he’d been off on the side of the stage for someone else to lead the show.   But instead because of quotes like this we know him to be the passionate, profound and intelligent person that he was too.  As a music photographer and capturing musicians live or in stills this persons passion and mine for who they are and for photography can create amazing, iconic music photographs with feeling and emotion hitting you viscerally.

An utterly amazing and talented friend of mine Johnny Ceravolo, the lead singer for When In Rome, recently posted on Facebook “More and more I want to say less and less.”  Johnny shares everything on Facebook and this was just one of many things he had to say one day.  His quotes can vary from the intelligent and critically thinking on the topic of religion or filled with swear words about the most mundane chores of life.

I have photographed When In Rome live as well as taken portraits of Johnny  Ceravolo just one on one.   He’s an amazing singer and talented guitar player and like Jimi Hendrix is an amazingly intelligent and passionate person.   His desires to share his music with the world, change the world, share his unique perspective and passion with people is great.  His love of music and people is tangible in minutes of meeting him or hearing his music.   I can’t imagine the sad day it would be if he did start to “say less and less.”   Of course there are moments we all feel this way but Johnny puts them out into the world and shares what the rest of us just think.

When I have photographed Johnny just as any other musician or band I can’t help but photograph them with my own feelings and emotions taking over or just becoming entwined with theirs.  That is why music photographers and musicians just go together.   The bond and love I have for musicians is just innate within me and I love photographing them and just being with them!

Here are just a few of my favorite images I’ve done and then there are these images on my blog Band Photos.

Johnny Ceravolo, When In Rome
Tara Novick, Live Music Photography
Tara Novick Music Portraits

 

Engagement Sessions Before Your Wedding ~Engagement Photographer San Francisco~

I love doing engagement sessions and I love doing engagement portraits in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The reasons are simple really. First I get to know you as a couple, no wedding stress and just us photographing in the environment. I’ve done engagement portraits at the standard Chrissy Field, Baker Beach and Ferry Building and unique places like a wine bar, cigar bar and Flora Grubb.    I get to see how you act and are with each other.  This is really important.  A lot of people don’t think them necessary and they certainly are not.  However, we get to learn about each other during this time.  You get to see how I work too and then know what to expect on the day of your wedding.  Then when I walk in you don’t see me as a stranger but as the photographer you trust, know will make everything right and have fun with!

I’m not about posing people in my images.  It’s actually just not my forte.  I also believe that if I just let you “be” as a couple the images will say SO very much more than some standard pose.  If you look at the images in this post.  Not one is posed.  Not one and bring your pets!  But anyway, I may have directed things a little bit and yes, I instigate!  But I want you to feel comfortable to be who you are.  I look for those moments that say something.  That make me feel something about you.   I think this is the way that when you look back at that day and like your wedding day you will be able to say I remember it all like it was yesterday.  Success!

Name Change Party On Style Me Pretty

I came across a posting on StyleMePretty that was totally unique.  If you aren’t aware of this site and are getting married you should surely check it out.  It’s a great resource of ideas and vendors that you know are reputable and should check out.  I had a wedding of mine posted on it for the wedding  theme of red, white and blue which was fabulous.

It was about two women who were both recently married and contemplating changing their names to their spouse’s last name.  They totally surprised their husbands and brought back the officiant that married them to have a “ceremony” celebrating the name change.  They included wedding photographs and many of their guests that had been there that day.  By incorporating all of these things they brought together all the best moments of the celebration of their weddings and kept the fun going in their marriages and with friends!

They women (remember the husbands were surprised!) went all out on the theme of “Maiden Voyage”. You do get that right?  Emphasis on MAIDEN!   The colors were yellow, blue and white and the theme nautical of course.  Their professional photographer did a great job of capturing the event, the people and definitely the details.

While they went all out on this idea you could do it with your own special spin in the backyard of your home and just keeping it intimate with your closest friends and family and a Do It Yourself or hire professionals to help you out with resourcing vendors and supplies.  DIY does bring on other issues like finding vendors, supplies and all the time it can consume.  I have come across many unique ideas when I’ve done DIY weddings but the common comment I hear is just how time consuming it is!  Remember this of all things though to be sure to research your vendors thouroghly before hiring them.  This is on you in DIY as a planner will be able to make great recommendations based on experience with them personally.

This is an amazing idea.  So many of my couples get married not deciding on the whole thing about doing the name change.  This is a great idea and one I’m going to be sure to pass on!

Here is my original post on my blog for the red, white, blue theme.

Holiday Abroad in South Africa

So I have been away for quite awhile and I hope you noticed!  I’ve actually been traveling in South Africa and just returned last week.  It was truly amazing and one of my most favorite trips ever.  I’m a total animal lover and spent time on safari but also at a monkey, lion, elephant and cheetah sanctuary.  This was the most amazing thing ever.  The people were so passionate about their jobs and the animals and were quite proud of their country and the conservation efforts that are being made.  We obviously have nothing like it here!  But here are some of my most favorite images and boy was it hard to get it down this far.  So I hope you enjoy a bit of my passion which are travel and animals and this was a lot of both!

A Colorful Indian Wedding ~San Francisco Wedding Photographer~

This couple is hilarious.  I can’t say that enough.  Really I laughed so much during my 3 days with them and especially at the engagement session where I first met the groom.  He HATES his photograph taken so it was just fun to tease him and embarrass him to get him to just crack a smile.  But he took it in stride and said he actually did have a good time.  How was it going to go for him at the ceremony at the Shiva-Vishnu Temple in Livermore.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the ceremony, while I didn’t understand a word of it, was beautiful.  The ancient Hindu wedding customs and rituals are always interesting to watch and the colorful guests and family make for great images.  Next post is the wedding ceremony at Beaulieu Gardens in Napa!  Beautiful!

Photography isn’t just about a camera!

Why do you really need more than just your images on a CD?  Let me explain!  You won’t save money and you wont’ get the best that you deserve.

Since the dawn of digital I get asked a lot “I just want the raw files on CD”.   Well, if only it was so simple.  I once thought of this situation when I saw an advertisement for doing self-surgery and I think it was removal of a kidney!  My thinking is to leave it to the professionals and this is why…too much can go wrong.  I’m a photographer specializing in people so things like wedding photography, event photography and corporate and head shot portraits.  I wouldn’t imagine going in to an industrial commercial situation and say I know what I’m doing.  I definitely do not!

I recently got an email from someone who wanted engagement photos taken and wanted the raw files.  He mentioned he was a photographer but I saw he actually had another full time career.  So the dilemma for me is, as an artist, the image I take doesn’t end at just the push of a button and do I want someone else to not let me finish my process.  It’s a whole lot more.  I often run into amateur photographers who ask why I don’t do this or have that or tell me their Nikon is better than my Canon etc.  The best thing about photography is that there are a million ways to do it and all of them your way if you choose it to be that way.  But there are things that can wrong.

The process of being a photographer isn’t just about owning a camera. It is a whole lot more and I won’t even begin to discuss the business aspect of it in this post.   Experience, vision, education, tools, passion and creativity are all a part of it.  It starts with “seeing” the image. You have to see something, maybe manipulate it to make it better, make some technical choices and then perhaps change your mind again because it wasn’t right.  Oddly enough the biggest part of taking an image for me is getting my subject to connect to me and forgetting the camera.  Yes, you read that right.  I want us BOTH to forget the camera.  When the subject is in front of me whether for a wedding portrait during their wedding or acting head shots or a family portrait the camera is just a tool and believe it or not I mostly shoot in P.  Yes, you read that right too.  Once I have my basic settings and choices in equipment I use P or A and nothing else (this is in Canon I’m not sure about Nikon settings).  If I fiddle with the camera and try to think about technical things then my client can get restless, lose mood or feel uncomfortable.  If this happens the shot is lost and I have nothing anyway.  This is why you see emotion, expression and feeling in my images and not a perfectly posed, placed portrait.  Cameras today are built with a zillion different algorithms so why not trust them?

Once that part is done there is the post production which with digital is more complicated than film.  Developing choices in film can be made and then labs will still look at all your negatives and work with the color or adjust chemicals for a different grain or you can push or pull your negatives.  All of these processes lead to the final “image” that was in my mind’s eye when I pushed that button.  If you get the chance Google Ansel Adams and look at the extensive notes he did when printing his images.  They were never straight out of the camera and there was never just one print.  When I develop prints there are other choices that need to be made and all of this my artistic expression.  In regards to post production on digital images the process is all on your computer but those choices of intensity, brightness, color, filters are all the same thing leading again to my choice as my final image.  Here is a sample of images that about post production choices that made the images stand out and feel “finished”  Intimate Weddings, Documentary Weddings, Head Shots

So when you are choosing a photographer for your wedding or family portraits or even just head shots remember it isn’t just about owning a camera and while your friend is “into” photography it’s always best to hire a professional and trust them and let them do what they do best.  It is NOT about the camera and definitely not a good idea when it is your wedding and no chance for a do-over.  What about head shots?  You only get the one chance for that first impression.  Do you want to risk that to an image that isn’t finished?  Let’s be honest, will you ever make that album or retouch those photos yourself within the next couple of years even?  Most likely not!

While digital photography has brought cameras to the masses and some amazing pictures taken there is a big difference with a professional photographer.  Find the right one for you and you won’t be sorry.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

Ellie and Legs

Marine Memorial San Francisco Wedding ~San Francisco Wedding Photographer~

Stephanie and Chris are just the cutest couple.  We had so much fun with them and their wedding party.  The laughs really never stopped!  The wedding took place at St. Peter and Paul in San Francisco and the Marine’s Memorial ballroom.  The flowers were by Dianna Vigil and the cake by Aileen Chang in San Leandro.    We had a great time shooting the portraits down by the arrow sculpture on the Embarcadero all in about 14 minutes with no time to spare!  It was  an amazing day and the photos live up to that.

Researching for the right Wedding Photographer

Researching wedding photographers and making the right choice…

This time of year I get inundated with tons of inquiries for weddings by brides.  So many couples get engaged on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and most are on the internet quick!  I love to hear their excitement and enthusiasm for this new endeavor in their lives.  But it doesn’t take long either to hear brides say how overwhelming, time consuming and daunting the process is.  I absolutely understand!

The search for a wedding photographer usually begins with images the couple likes from websites, is narrowed down to who is in the budget and hopefully based on who the couple really like as a person and their work.  When you meet with someone and feel that click with a photographer that is huge!

Here are the steps I recommend in researching your possible wedding photographer:

1.     Start with reputable websites and blogs.  Some to check out would be www.weddingwire.comwww.yelp.comwww.theknot.com,www.stylemepretty.comwww.theflirtyguide.com.  If you are Facebook you can find lots of connections in this regard.  I try to keep my business page, Misti Layne, updated with new photos and news of what I’m doing.

2.    Look at photography associations like www.wpja.comwww.ppa.comwww.wipa.comwww.ispwp.com.  A good association will require a membership process and this means a photographer has been through a screening process.

3.    It may be tempting but stay away from craigslist and the like.  I’m a business person with insurance, rent, over-head and costs just like a normal business.  I’m constantly updating equipment and software and keeping myself educated.  You take risks with people who shoot on weekends or are just starting out.  Having a camera does not a wedding photographer make!

4.    Ask a wedding planner!  I really do recommend wedding planners.  They have the resources and the knowledge and will save you time and are so worth it!   Even having a planner for “day-of” wedding planning is going to be a huge relief and allow you to truly enjoy your day.

5.    Ask friends who love their photos and you like as well!  This is a great resource but as I said make sure they LOVED their photographer.

6.    Narrow down your favorite photographers based on their images.  The internet is a great resource but try to stay under five.  Having 16 favorite photographers is still overwhelming.  If the images make you react emotionally in some way like a tear or a laugh—keep them!

7.    Contact them by email or phone and ask about availability and pricing.  Does the email or conversation with the photographer feel right to you?  Keep them on the list.  A lot of personality can come through this way and if you don’t feel a connection or wary, take them off the list.

8.    Narrow the list down to your most favorite three; more than this wastes time.  If in that three you don’t feel the connection go back to some of the others but at this point you should have a good feel about them.

Next post will be the questions that are important to ask once you narrow down that list!  So stay tuned!

Wedding Photography, Arista Winery, Misti Layne Photographer

Ten tips for Travel Photography

The world is a much smaller place now than ever before and travel photography is something that is no longer done by a few professionals. Black and white photographs, portrait photography of locals and documentary or editorial photography is something we all do now with even the cameras in our phones. I recently returned from a Middle East tour of Egypt and Jordan. Both places I had been dreaming about going to for as long as I can remember. I travel a lot and it’s my biggest “vice” in life by far. Learning from other cultures and experiencing different ways of life can only enhance yours in a better way. It was a wonderful trip filled with amazing places and lovely people. So here is my 10 point bullet list for travel photography!

Click to continue reading “Ten tips for Travel Photography”

Holiday in the Middle East

I’ve always dreamed of seeing the Pyramids of Egypt and Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan and finally made that dream happen this month.  It is an amazing place full of amazing people and just the best experience!  We had a very full 10 days but our tour director did a great job getting us around and seeing the most important things and learning a thing or two as well.  It’s a different world to be sure but we also share so many things and I walked away with great memories and many new friends.  A few marriage proposals too but alas I had to turn those down.   The Pyramids of Egypt were incredible and possibly the most amazing place I’ve ever been is Wadi Rum.  Truly breathtaking.

The people were so kind and fun.  At a mosque I was inundated by about 20 kids on a school outing who were asking me a bunch of questions and just as intrigued by me as I was of them.   I rode a camel that decided it didn’t want to go up the mountain but back home to dinner at a gallop but fortunately I was saved by my Bedouin who ran down to get him back.  That was fun!  But here are just  slight few of my favorites from an amazing holiday abroad to the Middle East.

Michelle and Dan at Arista Winery ~Napa Wedding Photographer~

Michelle and Dan had their wedding during my most favorite time of the year–Fall!  The wedding was at Arista Winery in Healdsburg, one of my favorite spots.  The cake was from Patisserie Angelica and the flowers by Dragonfly.  It was such a beautiful day.  The weather rained the day before and the day after but not that day!  The vines were a deep gold, the sky a beautiful blue and clouds made for perfect texture and depth.  It was my first time to meet them as they planned the day from New Jersey.  Their friends and family brought the East Coast to the West and made for a lot of laughs and memories.  All the best to you guys.  Come back and visit!

Annie and Joel at Russian River Vineyards ~Napa Wedding Photographer~

Annie and Joel are the cutest couple.  Their wedding at Russian River Vineyards was just beautiful.   There was a long walk to the ceremony site under a beautiful tree, dining under the redwoods and dancing like crazy!  There was so much love and joy and tears at this wedding!  But good happy tears and a great time was had by all.    All the best to you guys!