Category Archives: Gallery

Off to the mountains, finally!

I’m heading up to Breckenridge, CO to shoot engagement pictures for friends. I will be shooting their wedding next month as well, so this is like a rehearsal for all three of us. After the shoot, I’m heading to Pacific Peak, a Colorado mountain that if it had just eaten its Wheaties a few more times, it would be in the exclusive fourteeners club. I’ll be playing around with night shots on this moonless night, and hopefully will be able to catch some pretty sunrise shots. Fingers crossed!

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Online store now available!

If you would like to buy a print of my work, now is the time. I created an online store through a company that provides high-quality prints on paper, canvas, metal and more.

I have uploaded some highlights from my portfolio already, and will add to the collection. If there is anything in particular you would like to see available for purchase, please let me know!

The store has a great return policy, so if you do not like the quality of their prints, they will happily refund your money. Shipping is available worldwide. To kick things off, I am discounting all prints buy 10%. Simply enter the discount code below during checkout:

Discount code: TVXLNK

The online store can be found here:

Happy shopping!







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Shoot like a pro : 7 ways to drastically improve photos of your children.

Are you frustrated with the fact that most of the pictures you take of your children are repetitive, boring or just don’t look good? Check out these seven tips to mix things up, and break through some of the stubborn habits that prevent your pictures from looking more exciting.

Boy kissing sky


If you venture out with the specific purpose of doing a photo shoot with your children, plenty of options are available, and simplicity is key. Since the goal of your shoot is to come home with great shots of the children, the backdrop is not all that important. Any open space that adds to the ambiance of what you are shooting will do. In the fall, any scene that contains fall foliage will get the point across, and in the summer, you do not need to be on top of Longs Peak to get great mountain shots. Remember, the kids are your subjects, not the scenery. Look for wide, neutral spaces like open fields – this will make your subjects stand out way more than in overly dramatic scenery. In short: don’t try to combine portrait photography and landscape photography: you won’t do justice to either one. Simplicity in the background is the key to making your children shine.


Take everything you’ve ever learned, and do the exact opposite. NEVER make a photo with your back towards the sun. Instead, position yourself so that sunlight hits your subject sideways or even from behind.

Mid-day sunlight is to be avoided at all cost – it is harsh, contrasty, makes kids squint, and casts unattractive shadows on faces. On sunny days, head out early morning or late afternoon. You don’t need a degree in photography to recognize the famous “golden hour”.

Cloudy, overcast and even rainy days are the absolute best time to go out and shoot portraits of the children! Make them wear bright, colorful clothes and your little models will pop right of your screen or paper!

Equipment: from DSLR to camera phone

Surprisingly, this is the least important ingredient. Sure, you will have more control over your photos with a DSLR, but point-and-shoot cameras and even smartphone cameras these days are amazingly sophisticated and capable of producing great results. Added benefit of the camera phone: it is such a small, unobtrusive object that your kids are familiar with. It is therefore much less of a distraction than a hefty DSLR and will inspire natural and spontaneous behavior.

Position: get uncomfortable

Do not ask your models to make things more comfortable for you. The best shots are taken at or below their eye level. And since they are much closer to the ground: so should you! So be prepared to get dirty and roll around in the dirt to get that perfect shot. And if they decide to climb a tree, climb the tree with them.


Don’t worry about it. That’s right: shoot away. Be like your kids: spontaneous, creative and color outside the lines.

Stop smiling!

The vast majority of kids’ portraits are ruined by very unnatural smiles. It is a deeply ingrained and culturally determined habit to fold one’s face in a cramp-like tooth-baring grimace that I would like to eradicate for once and for all. Please teach your children to act naturally in front of a camera. As the photographer, it is your job to elicit a natural, relaxed facial expression. You want a smile? Ask a 10 year old girl about whether or not she has a crush on someone. Ask a 5 year old boy if he’d like ice cream after the shoot. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a serious, pensive, relaxed, bored, or mischievous facial expression. They make for much, much better photos than the forced “Smile!”.

Be the movie director, not the photographer

All too often, family portraits are sub-par because everyone involved realizes the photographer is working on a picture. One fraction of a second where everyone freezes and looks uncomfortably in the same direction.

Rather than preparing your models for that one shot, consider yourself a movie director. Set a scene, where you ask specific tasks from your models, and move around, work the scene, and disappear into the background, shooting away while your little movie unfolds. Rather than asking your children to hold a prop and pose a certain way, ask them to build a sandcastle, make a dam in the river, play a game of hide-and-seek, and blend in with the action. The result: natural, real photos that are much more memorable for everyone involved than those shots where mom or dad asked to pose uncomfortably for what seemed like hours.

Happy shooting!


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The importance of shooting RAW

I sound like a broken record to some of my friends, but if there is one piece of advice I can give fellow photographers, this is it: if your camera is capable of shooting RAW, shoot RAW. Always.

By not using the built-in compression algorithms your camera uses to turn your photos into JPEGS, you buy yourself an incredible amount of post-processing bandwidth. A lot of people are tempted to shoot JPEGS, because the files are much, much smaller. Shooting RAW maintains the information captured on your sensor for all three channels that make up a pixel, while JPEG compression decides for you what the scene should look like.

While cameras are actually amazingly smart at deciding how a picture should look given the light quality and exposure of any given frame, in a lot of cases, the photo you imagine as a photographer may not align with what the camera interprets the scene to be. By shooting JPEGS, you shortchange yourself in the creative process that is post-production.

The key advantages of shooting RAW:

Full control over white balance and temperature. In any kind of extreme light situation (sunrise, sunset, indoors mixed light, etc.) your camera will have a much harder time finding the right white balance. By shooting RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop allows you to override the white balance after the fact, to more accurately reflect what the picture should look like, and that can go from minor adjustments to obtain a more realistic representation, all the way to turning a warm sunny sunset into a cool sunrise.

Dynamic range: since photos in RAW format maintain the absolute maximum in information, they lend themselves much better to making adjustments in high dynamic range situations. I have managed to make animals magically appear out of a dark forest by bumping up their exposure by as much as 4 stops. While this results in some noise in these extreme cases, for most of my work I make at least some adjustments in the highlights and shadows to pull the dynamic range in a bit. This is again much harder to accomplish in a JPEG where most of the decisions have been made for you by the camera.

Hue/saturation/vibrance: same story here. In most cases, the camera makes decisions about the appropriate levels of saturation in a scene, and leaves you hanging in the darkroom in post-production if you used the JPEG format. Instead, use RAW, and retain full control of how colors are managed in your envisioned photo.

The only drawbacks to shooting RAW are again file size (but investing in some bigger memory cards is well worth it, once you see the creative possibilities you will have at your disposal) and burst speed. Since only the very highest level of DSLR’s can keep up with continuous RAW burst shooting at 6 frames per second or more, you may want to consider temporarily switching to JPEG if you are shooting a sporting event, for example, where getting the shot at the right time is more important than the post-processing creative flexibility.

As an example of what RAW can do for you, check out how I processed a mountain scene from a hike in the San Juans last year. First is how the photo was registered by the camera, the end result is what I envisioned the scene to look like when I made the shot.


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Sunrise in Indian Peaks Wilderness

Sometimes, the best shots are the ones you did not plan for. While meticulously setting up the perfect shot of some East-facing cliffs that would soon catch the first sun rays, I turned around and took a quick shot of the orange clouds behind me. The warmth of the rising sun seems to chase away the cold and eerie feeling of the night. The dead tree almost looks like it is being chased away by the sun.

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