Big Sur is the place I will miss most when I decide to call somewhere new my home. California's hidden jem is on the coast between Santa Barbara and San Fransisco. This was the second trip I shot with my new Fuji xT20 and I played around with the film settings, and shooting black and white. I normally am not a fan of black and white images, but I think I have a new love for it.
This was my first time to the Joshua Tree National Park, I've been to Joshua Tree before, but never went into the park. I have been missing out all this time, because I had no idea how pretty it was! We went to a hiking trail to see one of the oasis' in the park and ended up leaving the trail. We put our bags with the water and keys on a rock somewhere and proceeded to climb up, over and around this mountain of rocks. 4 hours later we made it back to the start of the trail, found our bags and finally a sip of water. I brought my Fuji xt20 with me everywhere we went and captured some really awesome moments. I hope you enjoy!
I always say my latest shoot is my favorite, but really this has to be my favorite (just wait till the next blog post). Misako is an absolute angel and I had a blast shooting with her. Cracking jokes, singing to sza, and comparing what we eat for breakfast. This will not be the last time you see her! Check out her youtube channel and give this lady some love. https://www.youtube.com/user/MisakoElodeEnvela
Raced the sun for this shoot, (literally ran up multiple hills) but somehow got perfect lighting during sunset. More to come with Sunny in the future
Recently I wrote on Instagram about how I un followed over 50 people. I un followed people that inspire me, because I realized they were ruining my creativity and thus ruining my business. No matter how hard you try on social media you are constantly being influenced in some sort of way whether it is positive or negative. I love following and supporting other photographers and people I would consider my photography "idols", but that is where the problem lies. I will see a project or image from my favorite photographer that makes me wish I was them and wish I was creating that content. That mindset of comparison kills your creativity and inspiration. It is hard to avoid copying others because so much is out there already.
One of my favorite photographers did similar to something I had written down in my "ideas" journal. I first thought, oh no! Now I can't do that or I will be copying her. When of course in reality my execution, editing, models, locations, etc would have been different thus looking nothing like her shoot. But in the past that would have stopped me from creating, from doing anything and I would have kept looking on Instagram or a blog and be fed beautiful work that in the end makes me not create more art. So in reality I am not inspired by those other photographers, I am jealous and I stop shooting because of fears of copying. Even now realizing that my shoot will come out so much different than hers I will compare it to that shoot, or accidentally do a similar pose because that photo has been in my mind subconsciously. I still follow a few photographers that do different work than me or friends that have a different style than me so I just admire them but do not have any fear of comparison.
Since then I have been shooting more, trying new things, new ideas, and new poses. I am drawing inspiration from myself, movies, music, other art, nature, colors, etc. I think in the beginning as a photographer it is important to look at others and try what they're doing to see what you like and don't like and to create your own style. But as you grow there comes a point where you need to no longer take inspiration from them and start being inspire by your own work.
This is work from my latest shoot, where I tried different things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I hope to keep improving and making myself proud of my work instead of feeling like I am not being authentic to me. Let me know your own thoughts and experiences with social media and if you think it can be harmful at times for artists!
Stella Rae is an inspiring 19 year old entrepreneur, social media influencer, youtuber and podcaster. We shot at sunset in Santa Monica and the lighting could not be more perfect.
Kelsey and Chris are some of the sweetest people I know. Being apart of celebrating their love and engagement was so special for me. These two are from New York and both had a dream to move to California which brought them close together to eventually move here together. Which I am so glad they did because I now get to call them my friends! Hanging out, drinking wine, eating hummus and seeing them in their element was so beautiful. They live on an amazing property in the hills of San Clemente, complete with a back deck and garden. Talk about goals! They are going back home to New York next fall to be with friends and family for their wedding day, and I could not be more happy for them!
Meet Tilly, their rescue pup that is such an angel.
Thank you for sharing your home, hummus, dinner, and laughs with me.
On December 31st I walked into a gallery in Laguna Beach and walked away with my first piece of real art. Before walking out with the painting I stood there for almost an hour debating which one to get after my boyfriend said "treat yo self". I was sweating, nervous and had to leave the gallery only to come back to buy the painting I was initially attracted to. Never in my life have I invested that much in art or anything that was not a practical item. I do not regret it one bit. The artist and painting I bought from was Laura Berger, but my particular painting is not on her site. All of them are equally as powerful and beautiful and I wish I could fill my home with all of them. I quickly became a huge fan of her work and now keep up with her on Instagram and I recommend you follow her, clearly I am obsessed.
I became so inspired by her that I knew I had to do a shoot inspired by her work and the feeling and meaning behind it, or my interpretation at least. Laura's work to me means femininity, vulnerability, freedom, friendship, beauty, love for yourself, love for others, and love for the earth. From this bloomed my series I titled 'Sisterhood'. I had an idea of all the shots I wanted and them went into deciding who to cast for the shoot. I knew my friend Hannah would be perfect and came to realize her sister Leah would be the perfect pair to execute my idea. They are both experienced in modeling and acting and made the day so fun and effortless. Thankfully I planned all of this during the super bloom we had here in California, so we headed to San Diego to find the flowers. We never actually ended up finding the flowers I was seeing in all the photos. We were chasing the sun, but made what we did find work. I am so happy with the shoot, of course looking back I have a million more ideas. This was my first styled shoot that I made for pure fun and I can't wait to do more projects like it soon. Without further ado...
I got to meet Sammi through an online photography community I am apart of. We explored a new place and talked about all things cameras and photography. She is as beautiful as she is talented! Yay for meeting new friends.
Syd wanted to give Jeffery the gift of photos of them for his 25th birthday, so sweet. When she asked if they can bring their dogs, of course I said YES! They were so cute and photogenic, I had so much fun taking photos of the 4 of them.
Isle and Sabrina's love for each other is contagious and was so effortless to capture. Being able to capture Isle in his element in his van was awesome. This couple loves to surf, do yoga, cook, and enjoy nature. Enjoy looking at my shots from their session!
I spent 1 month traveling across the whole country of Japan. Being my first time out of the country, I was very nervous and excited. I was mostly nervous to be in a box in the sky for a full 12 hours, man planes are stressful! After a 12 hour plane ride and 4 hour train ride we made it to our first destination, Kyoto.
There is a whole island filled with bunnies and if that isn't heaven I don't know what is. They were so sweet and cute, I could play with them all day!
We visited Nara, hoping to sneak into the old abandoned knock off Disney theme park called Nara Dreamland. Sadly, we found out that it had been demolished a month prior. We still got to see the deer park which was much more frightening then expected. Ethan decided to put deer food in my pocket without me knowing. After being crowded by a group of deer, one bit my jacket and ripped it. I ran away and can never look at deer the same again.
We arrived in Japan in November and was there right before Christmas. Being able to see two seasons was incredible.
Being vegan in Japan, a country who's meals always include vegetables is surprisingly hard. The current food culture in Japan is very meat, fish, and dairy based. KFC is super popular especially around Christmas time. We managed to survive despite going to bed hungry sometimes, but we got to experience some of the best food we've had! Do not worry about the little mistakes because you will make them.
Google translate will be your biggest friend. When shopping you can take a photo of the ingredients and it will translate it for you. Sometimes it can be difficult and will take a few times, but will be worth it in the end. Find a few staple items and stick with those! The "Eat Away" app is also awesome, it will translate a message saying what you don't eat and you can show the server. Or just write it down on a card!
2// Stay in Hostels/Airbnb
Your biggest mistake would be to stay in hotels. We recommend choosing Airbnb or hostels with kitchens. Buying and cooking your own food is the safest, easiest way to stay vegan in Japan.
3//Research Local Vegan Restaurants
Eating vegan at a non-vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Japan is almost impossible. Almost everything in Japan has fish in it, even the rice sometimes has fish flakes in it. Even if things are labeled vegetarian in a normal restaurant that does not guarantee it is fish free. Finding a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is going to be the only way to know you are safe. If it seems vegan, assume it isn't. Japan loves to add meat and cheese to everything even bread! Some chains in Japan have vegan options like, Coco Ichibanya in Tokyo has a separate vegetarian menu with vegan curries, they are fully vegan but only at the locations with the vegetarian menu. Any sushi place that has veggie rolls is a great option as well.
4//Eat at Convinence Stores
7/11 and Lawson are two great stores to get edamame, chips, salad Inari Sushi (usually always vegan) just check that it is plain inside with no fish, veggie rolls, etc. We ate so much Inari, potato chips, and edamame on our trip.
5// Random Tips
You can request vegan meals on your flight, we also found a vegan bagel with hummus and veggies and vegan soup at the airport. Some stores and street vendors sell roasted Japanese sweet potatoes that are insanely delicious. Check happy cow and yelp, of course! Natural House is a natural/vegan store in Japan that is so awesome for snacks and food.
Our favorite restaurants in Japan// T's Tan Tan, Salunpowaku, Otis, Bon on Shya, Kinatei, Papurika, Sujata, Veg Out, Veganic To Go, Ain Soph Ripple, Organic Kaemon (vegan buffet), and 8ablish.