Monthly Archives: June 2013

Senior Pictures Thousand Oaks











Senior Pictures & Natural Light

Hayley is one of our 2013 MxB High School Senior Reps & shot her senior pictures with us a few weeks ago at our Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks location.  When Hayley arrived we quickly realized her eyes were going to be a main focal point for these senior pictures ….since they’re a vivid crystal blue.  In order to get the most out of crystal clear eyes is to use natural light.  Shooting indoors in a studio can produce beautiful shots, but very often there isn’t enough “constant” light to open up the iris of the eye & brighten it.  When your subject is outside during the day, there is usually enough light to cause the pupil to get a little smaller, opening up more of the eye color for your camera to see.  That’s definitely part of the trick to getting vivid eyes in a portrait.  Another big part is making sure your shutter speed is at the right setting to allow that sunlight to brighten the eyes.  Of course, if you’re using a simple “point & shoot” type camera, there may not be a way to control shutter speed….but that’s ok.  Point & shoots usually have very good automatic settings & will naturally set a good shutter speed for your picture.  Just take a moment to look at the eyes & make sure they’re getting enough light to brighten & open up without blinding them LOL.  One more consideration to mention when shooting in natural light is to be careful of “blowing out” your subject’s skin.  Even olive & darker skin tones can be lit too brightly causing them to photograph too pale or (as is in the case of very dark skin) to have blown out harsh shine on the skin.  If your camera has a histogram, learn how to use it (it’s pretty easy 🙂 & if you don’t have histogram, just take a test shot & see if your subject’s skin is looking more like white paper than actual skin.  Balance that with the amount of light needed to get vibrant glowing irises & you’ll end up with some gorgeous natural light pictures!

For more examples of SENIOR PICTURES visit our portfolio and our FACEBOOK page 🙂  And if you have any QUESTIONS please feel free to contact us through our contact form & we’ll be happy to help.  ….and remember, yearbook deadline comes before you know it…book your Senior Pictures with us today!


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Kids Headshots Los Angeles











Headshots for Kids

A couple weeks ago, we posted a blog on kids headshots featuring our favorites from Natalie’s shoot….but, NOW her Agency Choices have come in & these are the finished product after removing a few stray hairs & cropping for Internet Casting.  Natalie came to us from a pretty big & well known commercial agency, so we knew they’d appreciate some variety.  Fortunately, Natalie has a great look for camera, since she can sort of morph into so many character types within an instant.  With that long vibrant red hair & piercing blue eyes, we knew we could create several options for her reps.  Below are some tricks that we used to change up the images as we shot – they’re simple concepts that you see used all over film & television….and there’s no reason you can’t use them too!

Long Hair Tricks for Kids Headshots

When you have long hair to work with, remember that you have SO many options at your disposal.  Notice above, the pics with straight hair tucked behind the ears….immediate “Good Kid / Teachers Pet”  So simple!  Then take a look at the green top images – the surfer girl waves give her that “All-American Kid” look that’s so so popular.  For the blue crushed velvet top, we started with fresh curls & pulled them forward on one side to show off all of her thick amazing hair – these felt very “Period Piece” to me & obviously Natalie would be amazing cast in one of those “Sense & Sensibility” type roles 🙂  For the shots in the turquoise tee we loosened up the curls to give her a totally girly “Disney” look.  For the black tank top, we brushed our fingers through the curls to make a more relaxed casual look & get a perfect serious “Theatrical” shot.  These tricks work not only for kids headshots, but also for grown ups 🙂

If you have any QUESTIONS please feel free to contact us through our contact form & we’ll be happy to help.  For more examples of KIDS HEADSHOTS IN LOS ANGELES visit our portfolio and our FACEBOOK page.

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Kids Headshots LA





Briana’s Agent Choices are IN!

We just finished up some final touches on Briana S.’s agent favorites.  So, these will be the images she uploads to sites like Actors Access, LA Casting & the kid on the block, Casting Frontier.

Acting Classes for Kids

Briana is in a really interesting age for casting – she’s still in her early teens, which means the other actors in her age range are starting to to develop some serious technique & on-camera skills.  For kids 10 years & under, casting is often more concerned with the child’s look, their raw talent & their ability to take direction.  Most young kids haven’t had a ton of acting coaching or experience, so everyone’s on pretty equal footing.  HOWEVER, when kids start to hit the 13 & 14 year age range, if they’re serious about acting, they really should start taking a weekly class or at least get a couple on-camera sessions with a coach a couple times a month.  Since they’ll be going up against kids who HAVE had some training, getting them to know the basics, such as “eye lines” for camera, how to hit a mark, & how to properly highlight & deconstruct their sides is pretty important.  Most parents don’t have the time (or money) to spend on a ton of coaching & classes – but, making sure your child has at least the basics gives them a fighting chance – and helps ensure they won’t lose a role over something silly like basic audition etiquette.  Another pitfall to watch out for, however, is not knowing what kind of class you’re putting them in. Is it more along the lines of a theatre/drama type class than one that specifically prepares them for on-camera acting technique?   If your child is very shy & could use some help opening up in social situations, or if your child is more interested in community theatre, then the theatre/drama class is PERFECT.  However, these classes aren’t going to help much if what your kid needs is some basic film/tv skills to nail an audition & get the role.

We’ll be posting on our favorite acting teachers in upcoming blogs, and we’d love to hear your ideas & comments on your favorite acting classes & coaches!

View more examples of our kids headshots

View more examples of our adult actor headshots

“Like” us on facebook to get weekly photo updates featuring our 2013 HS Senior Pictures & of course plenty of LA Actor Headshots…..

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High School Senior Pictures LA




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Senior Pictures Los Angeles

The beauty of shooting editorial style senior pictures is that we aren’t just doing a basic portrait – we get the chance to tell a story with each image.  And each one of those stories captures a different side of our HS Senior.  Above, you’ll see 4 very distinct sides of Jameela captured in very distinctly different settings.  Our Los Angeles Warehouse Location gives us the freedom to shoot everything from industrial, to sleek/modern, to romantic, to Cosmo Girl.

Senior Pictures Los Angeles – Look #1

We started the shoot with a totally industrial feel – using the work trucks in the back of the warehouse to shoot around.  This went perfectly with Jameela’s casual plaid shirt & jeans….but, we had our makeup artist bump up the hair & makeup to give the pictures more of a “Guess Girl” feel…proving that girls can be tough & still pretty  😉

Senior Pictures Los Angeles – Look #2

Next we moved to our Cosmo Girly Girl in Hot Pink, on a white background.  We kept the hair & makeup very young & fresh and encouraged Jameela to just be silly & have fun – there’s plenty of time to do fierce….and we don’t ever want to leave out our silly side in a photoshoot!

Senior Pictures Los Angeles – Look #3

Third, we had our makeup artist give the eyes a bit more of a smokey feel so that we could head out to the train tracks.  We thought the white dress mixed with the gritty tracks would be a beautiful juxtaposition, and giving the eyes a bit of edge was a fun way to keep the shots from being overly traditional.  A nice mix almost always works out better than hitting the same notes over and over.

Senior Pictures Los Angeles – Look #4

Our last look with Jameela was our chance to show the side of her that’s becoming an adult.  The belted sweater looks like a fabulous outfit to wear on your first day interning at a fashion magazine or art gallery.  Jameela did an amazing job of being very present with the camera & letting it capture her serious side.

Senior Pictures Los Angeles INSPIRATION

If you’d like to do a shoot like the one above, begin with charting out 3 to 5 sides of YOU that you’d like to show.  Then begin putting together wardrobe that reflects those aspects.  When you arrive at your shoot, we’ll lay your things out & put together a game plan to make your dream photoshoot happen!

To stay updated on our shoots this summer in los angeles, & see more pics to inspire your shoot, “Like” us on

For more examples of SENIOR PICTURES LOS ANGELES visit our portfolio and our FACEBOOK page 🙂  And if you have any QUESTIONS please feel free to contact us through our contact form & we’ll be happy to help.  ….and remember, yearbook deadline comes before you know it…book your Senior Pictures with us today!

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Senior Pictures Los Angeles




Senior Pictures for Boys (…er…Guys 😉

Rashad came to us for some quick Senior Pics for his graduation announcements.  We were planning on doing 2 looks, but they were primarily interested in getting a snazzy confident & handsome portrait of Rashad looking dapper in a suit – so, they only brought the one change of wardrobe.  NO PROBLEM!  We knew we wanted to get the most out of the day & Rashad’s little sis was there….so we were able to change up Rashad’s look by removing the jacket, loosening the tie & rolling up the sleeves.  His little sis was there with Mom & Dad for the Family Portrait Mini-Session, and everyone was coordinated beautifully (((notice the little purple flowers in Jade’s dress….perfect accent to Rashad’s shirt & tie)))  so after shooting the whole fam, we took Rashad & Jade out to the tracks for a super duper classic & gorgeous sibling portrait.  What we loved about the whole thing is that when Rashad ordered his prints, he & his family were able to order not only from the pictures we shot of Rashad, but they were able to order wallets, 8×10’s, etc. of the family AND of Rashad & his sis.  Regardless of the photographer you go with for your senior pictures, you should consider asking them if they could include a quick shot of your grad with siblings &/or with Mom & Dad.  Usually, they’ll be happy to consider it an “add on”.  Everyone’s so busy that having family portraits done is so tough….everyone’s schedule is crazy.  SO, take this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone!

View more examples of our Senior Portraits

View more examples of our kids headshots

View more examples of our adult actor headshots


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Headshots or Senior Pictures: Shoot “Sexy” the Right Way

Senior Portrait - Headshot Sexy

Shooting for “Sexy” Headshots & Senior Portraits

With over 20 years combined experience as photographers, we’ve shot a LOT of “Sexy” shots…..some that turned out amazing….and some that just didn’t seem right.  To be honest, we hesitate to even use the term “Sexy” when referring to pictures for Senior Girls.  The trend toward high-end fashion editorial type Senior Photography has resulted in a few photographers going WAY out of bounds on what is appropriate for this age.  However, these girls are very close to womanhood & it’s understandable that they may bring at least a couple outfits that would be considered by most people to be on the sexy side.  As female photographers we’re very cognizant of the line that crosses into TOO sexy & we are extremely conscious of going nowhere near it.  Below are some guidelines to pay attention to – not “rules” – just some observations we’ve made that you should be aware of before going for a “Sexy” pic.

For many of our Actors, “Sexy” is a very important shot….obviously.  But, there’s a line that probably shouldn’t be crossed there, as well.  The kinds of over-the-top sexy images you see on some shows & in some movies are NOT representative of what the industry standard is for “Sexy” headshots.  Below are some things to consider to make sure no casting director cringes when looking at your “Sexy” pic 🙂


For Actors

Color is a big big biggie on the “sexy” shot.  Sexy will naturally include a bump up in hair & makeup, and adding in a bright or loud color might grab the casting director’s attention – but, probably not in a good way.  Smokey Eyes, Big Sexy Waves in the Hair AND a vivid magenta dress start to feel a lot like trying TOO hard.  Black is an obvious choice that is classic & always will be.  Black is slimming.  Black is mysterious.  Black is sexy.  However, there are a few other colors that we’ve noticed over the years totally worked:

Navy / Dark Sapphire
Dark Gray
Deep Emerald
Dark Plum
Chocolate Brown

Not that we’re saying these are the ONLY colors that work for “Sexy” – we’re just saying these are probably better choices than hot pink, gold, silver, bright red, magenta or anything sparkly.  And, for prints, we just advise to stay away from them.  For a sexy shot, you’ll often be using a 3 quarter (to the waist or hips) shot, so a print is an unneeded distraction ….that takes attention away from you.

For Senior Girls

Color is still an important consideration for Senior Pics, but you have a LOT more latitude.  Honestly, if a color looks great on you, it’ll probably be great for the pictures.  There are some things to watch out for though:

Looking TOO sexy

You’re 17.  Let’s preserve this moment in time by capturing “Sexy” in an appropriate way.  We’re just not comfortable taking pictures of a minor in a skin tight hot pink spandex dress.  Enough said….

Choosing a color that isn’t flattering
Keep in mind that at least a third of your pictures are going to be 3-quarter or full length.  If you choose a really bright color, or a wild print, sometimes it will sort of “take over” the picture in a full length shot.  Keep these full length shots in mind when choosing color & prints.



For Actors

Stay away from tops & dresses that are billowy & loose fitting.  They look so cute in person….but they’re just terrible in a headshot.  They’re fine for looks where you’ll be cropping into a tight headshot.  But, for “sexy” you generally go for a little more body in the frame, down to the bust or even to the hip-bone (like Nikki’s pic above).  Many people think “Well, I’ll just chip clip the back to bring it in on the sides.  That’s fine – but you should test it before your shoot since very often, clipping tighter in the back creates a ton of wrinkles, gaps & general weirdness in the front.

Neckline is another biggie.  A sleek black mock turtleneck long-sleeve dress might look absolutely fabulous on you – but, in a picture it’s gonna look like you’re being constricted.   Really anything that covers your decollete is just a bad idea.  Shoulders, neck, collarbone – these are the sexiest parts….why cover them up.  Also, a nice neckline makes your neck look longer & makes you look more sleek.

Senior Girls

Senior Pics can definitely get away with more flowy, billowy tops.  For images where we can see your entire body, it actually photographs really cute.  The issue gets problematic though in images shot to the waist.  The bottom of the picture is a big blob of fabric…..not super cute.  So, keep this in mind when considering a loose fitting top or dress.  They’re not all bad for camera – and if you bring plenty of choices in wardrobe, we’ll be able to figure out before we shoot what’s gonna work & what won’t 🙂



For Actors & Senior Girls

Everyone loves getting a “smokey eye” done by a professional makeup artist….but for headshots & senior pictures, it’s often best to keep it a soft smokey eye.  For actors, wearing too much black eyeliner & eyeshadow, too much blush, overly drawn lips, starts to look like a makeup ad, not a headshot.  For Senior Girls AND Actors, too much makeup just looks like you’re trying way way too hard to be sexy – – – and it covers up your natural beauty, which is something we really want to capture.  Our makeup artists are the absolute BEST at creating a sexy makeup & hair look that still feels fresh.



For Actors

The entire point of a headshot is for the casting director to see what you look like.  When you’re acting, you’re rarely posing.  You’re generally standing, sitting, leaning, or walking.  So, in your headshot, you should keep it simple & stick to these basics when posing for the picture.  For “Sexy” you should also remember that the CD needs to see what your body looks like.  So, turning to the side, or contorting yourself into a funky pose keeps them from seeing your silhouette.  A funky or artsy pose might look super cool in a clothing ad, but if casting can’t see your shape, it kinda goes against the entire reason for doing a sexy body shot.  If you’d like to see some examples of “Sexy” shots that worked, view our portfolio:



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For Senior Girls

Natural poses that feel organic are almost always best.  During your shoot we’ll guide you through some ideas that you can incorporate with what comes naturally to you.  Awkward poses & contortions just don’t photograph well (unless you’re a super model w/ years of posing experience).  The biggest consideration we’ll always be on the lookout for are poses that are just too sexy for Senior Pics.  Overly arching the back, etc. can take us into Maxim-land….so we’ll work with you on finding a nice happy medium that looks gorgeous & natural.



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Senior Portraits Los Angeles


Being Comfortable in front of the Camera

So, you’ve got the outfits together, you’ve paired them with super cute shoes, and the perfect accessories.  That’s a lot to prepare, but there’s one more important thing to consider prepping before your Senior Pictures – your smile.  One of the scariest things about shooting with a professional photographer is the fact that you’re most likely not a pro model.  But, DON’T WORRY – it’s easy to practice & get good before your shoot.  You’ll need a camera phone & a willing friend to take the pictures.

1.  You’re gonna want to do a variety of facial expressions at your shoot:

Smirks with Attitude
Small Smiles
Devious Smiles
Romantic Gaze (off into the distance 😉
Big happy Grins
Serious Faces
“Sexy” Serious Faces
Quirky & Shy Smiles (…aw, shucks 🙂

2.  Then review your practice shots & identify what worked and what didn’t….

Here are some classic pitfalls to watch out for:

Serious Expressions can look MAD if you’re not careful.   Usually, putting just a HINT of a smile under the serious face makes it look “fierce”, as Tyra would say.

Big Smiles often look like you’re totally cray-cray.  The way to master big beautiful smiles is make sure your eyes don’t squint too much & keep the lips from pulling back too far.   We wanna see those teeth – but maybe not ALL of your teeth….hehehe.

Subtle Soft Smiles can sometimes look like you’re confused or unsure of what you’re doing.  When doing a Soft Smile, picture someone you have a crush on for the perfect subtle smile.

When you arrive at your shoot

Once you arrive for your session, just let ALL of your practice go.  If you put a tiny bit of time in you’ll be able to just be GENUINE & enjoy the shoot.  …..and regardless of whether you practice or  you’re a natural, you’re in good hands with us!!  We’ve worked with & shot hundreds of people who were brand new to the whole experience.  In fact, most of the people in our portfolio had never been in front of a professional camera for more than the occasional family photo – – – – and we think they look pretty amazing 🙂  And if you don’t believe us, just check out the pics above of actor Isabella Santana – she’s just getting started with acting & but you wouldn’t know if from these pics!


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Senior Portaits | STYLE

Senior Pictures | Blend Trendy & Classic for great Style!

by Journey Filkosky  of  Your Style Journey

It’s that time of year again, high school seniors all over the country are graduating and heading off to do bigger and better things. Senior portraits have long been a part of this process and in recent years have really focused on the student as a whole! Gone are the days of having a single headshot for the yearbook, seniors are now partaking in complete photo shoots to commemorate this milestone. I think this is a great way to capture the student as themselves and really showcase their personalities. What do you wear to a senior photoshoot? It’s totally up to you! Really! Senior portraits represent YOU at this TIME in your life, they are something you can always look back at and reminisce. That being said, you should wear clothes and accessories that are comfortable for you, things you would actually wear. While choosing clothes for a photo shoot of this sort you may be going toward trendy while mom is pulling you to stay classic. The good news is… you can blend the two and everyone wins! In the fashion world there are classic pieces that stay in your closet season after season and there are trendy pieces that will come and go. A great wardrobe incorporates BOTH, whether it’s a 50/50 split or 70/30, you need to find a happy medium and you will always look fresh.

Things to remember:

*Classic doesn’t always mean conservative and boring * Trendy doesn’t always mean ‘only of the moment’ *Some classics were born from trends- hello denim.

Let’s get to the good stuff. EXAMPLES! Here are some examples of some classic and trendy items.

Classic Traditional red nails, black pumps, diamond earrings, white button up shirt, pearls, jeans, pencil skirt, fitted feminine watch, chambray shirt.

Trendy Neon, lace, spikes & studs, nail art, printed pants, animal print, peter pan collar, fringe, high-low skirt, over-sized ‘boyfriend’ watch.

The best way to incorporate both classic and trendy is to get hybrid pieces. For example, a classic shape or silhouette in a trendy color or material will always come through for you.

Classic shape in a trendy neon color. Pumps available at Target.


Classic ballet flat with ankle strap and trendy studs available at Forever21.

ankle strap flat

Classic fit and flare silhouette in lace and ‘of the moment’ mint color available at Nordstrom.

fit & flare mint

Trendy crop top over a classic maxi skirt. This dress is one piece and is available at Nordstrom.

croptop maxi

These are just a few examples of how you can seamlessly blend the two worlds of classic and trendy! Best of luck and have a great Summer!

Senior Portrait Ideas

Looking for MORE INSPIRATION?  Here are some great resources:


Top 10 Tips on how to ROCK your Senior Portraits

Check out other Senior’s ideas in our PORTFOLIO OF SENIOR PICTURES



Images: Target, Forever21, Nordstrom.

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Los Angeles Actor Headshots

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Headshots LA

Get 2 looks in 1

One of the biggest issues since online casting truly took over is the demand agents put on their actors to get several looks.  Actor Headshots used to be simple….remember?  One serious.  One smiling.  Black & White.  Super Basic.  NOW, because you don’t need to get 8×10’s printed up of everything, your agent wants you to get a ton  of looks….”Professional Commercial”  “Professional Theatrical” “Girl Next Door” “Bad Ass” “Sexy” “Cute Sitcom”, “Midwestern / Country Girl”, “Quirky” ……the list goes on!   If that wasn’t enough on  your plate, now pretty much every photographer you talk to lets you know that these are all charged as separate looks….Yikes.  And you can’t blame them for needing to charge extra for what is, in essence” 2 full photoshoots.  From our perspective, a headshot session is 3 to 4 looks max.  That’s what it’s been for years.  So, when you have 8 looks, that’s double our usual work day.  ….not to mention the hours and hours afterward to process your digital negatives….phew!  It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job.  ….So, what are you supposed to do?  Spend a billion dollars every year on headshots?!  No.  There are lots of great ways to get the most out of your shoot & do so without depleting your energy by the 5th look & without depleting all the money from your bank account.

Above is an example of how we got Nikki’s Professional Theatrical AND Pro Commercial in one look.  And we did it without compromising the quality & end result of the picture.

1. Lighting is NOT the same for commercial & theatrical.  Make sure your photographer understands this & knows how to tweak light as you go to give you different vibes throughout a single look.  Above, you’ll see we switched from purely natural light to a strobe when we went from theatrical to commercial.  The strobes were set up….just not turned on….for the theatrical.  This gives us a MOODY dramatic feel.  Once the strobes were turned on, BAM!  There’s an immediate commercial, high energy feel to the image.  And not only was the light on Nikki’s face a strobe – we also had a mini strobe set up to flash on the background behind her to give a crisp white, where there had been a soft caramel faded background.

2. Wardrobe can speak volumes, even when very simple.

Theatrical Nikki is already a gorgeous & pretty sexy individual.  SO, we didn’t go over the top on her Theatrical Professional when it came to wardrdobe.  Of course, she looks like she stepped right off the set of Boston Legal where, no doubt, they’d have her in a totally hot cami with jacket over the top.  That’s great for the show – but there’s something a little “icky” about dressing TOO sexy for your headshots.  It feels like “trying too hard.”  The blue shirt is serious – but we did allow for an extra button to come undone to show off her neck & a little collarbone.

Commercial Because Nikki chose a color that would work with both theatrical AND commercial – such as a medium blue, sage green, plum, etc. – we were able to just remove the jacket, exposing MORE of the vibrant color & giving the pick a more relaxed, casual, friendly feel – which is key to a commercial “Professional” headshot.

3.  Hair is super important, of course.  By keeping the hair in the theatrical around Nikki’s face, we get a character that’s a little more “shadowy” – someone who has a secret.  Then, when we switched to commercial, we let the hair come off the face a bit – opening her up as someone who’s more fun & friendly.  It’s such a small change – but you can see what a difference it makes.


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High School Senior Portraits Manhattan Beach



Senior Pictures South Bay

At Max Brandin Photography we include a family portrait mini session with 3 of our 4 Senior Portrait Session packages.  We encourage you to bring Mom, Dad, Sis, Bro, or even your boyfriend for a mini photoshoot.  We keep it simple, short & sweet – but we always get beautiful images 🙂  We suggest coordinating outfits before the day of the shoot so that everyone’s prepared & the mini shoot can go smoothly.  The pics above are a great example of what “neutrals” photograph like.  Definitely go with what best portrays the vibe & personality of YOUR family.  Some fams are bright & crazy – so, don’t be afraid of color.  Mom can wear a multi colored dress or top & Dad, Siblings & You can wear colors that compliment Mom’s outfit.  If you’re wanting to keep everything very low stress though….and totally uncomplicated….neutrals are always an easy way to go – and they look really nice when printed into wall art for your home.  In case you’re wondering:  YES, you can order from the family mini shoot when placing your order for all the prints & products that come with one of our 4 amazing MxB Collections.

FREE with 3 of our Session Packages:  Family Mini-Photoshoot!

REMINDERS:  Family Mini-Shoot

1.  Mom:  Do makeup & hair before arriving at the shoot

2.  Mom:  Bring a mini touch up kit to touch up hair & makeup.  Usually, just a powder, concealer, gloss.  Our Makeup artist will have any other items you might need, such as hairspray or a little blush to add some color for camera.

3.  ALL family members:  Wear the shirt/outfit you plan on shooting in

4.  If in doubt:  Bring a “back up” shirt, dress, or top

5.  Dad should probably get a little powder on the nose for the shots – our amazing makeup artist can take care of that for you 🙂

Any questions….don’t hesitate to call!  310.622.5819

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Los Angeles Senior Portraits – THE GUYS

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Los Angeles Senior Pics What to wear for guys

These are images we shot for actor Brooks Hall – he’s not a high school senior, but we loved his take on “the suit shot”….and we think this relaxed vibe is perfect for HS Senior Pictures for Guys.   Every mom & dad wants a portrait of their son in a suit – looking very grown up, handsome, dashing & ready to take on the world after high school.  The problem is, these shots often look very stiff & unnatural – and they don’t look up to date and modern.  One of the main reasons for this sort of “old-fashioned” suit pic is that they’re too stuffy – the tie is all the way up, tight & constricting.  The jacket is buttoned.  The poor guy is practically in a straight-jacket.  But, if you look at Brooks’ pics, you don’t see any of that….and the reason is we kept it natural & casual by:

1.  shooting with a LOOSE TIE


2. shooting with Jacket & OPEN COLLARED SHIRT

Does Brooks look any less grown up, handsome, or dashing?  Nope.  He looks like he was born to to wear these clothes.  A couple things to look for when choosing jacket, shirt, tie:

a) FIT.  The jacket & shirt should fit perfect, in the sleeve length, shoulders & waist length.

b) COLOR.  Try mixing classic colors like black & gray with a pop of something unexpected, like Sage Green, Pink, Purple, Apple Green, or Eggshell blue.

c) QUALITY MATERIAL.  If possible, choose a shirt & jacket with high quality construction.  A cheap collar won’t photograph well….

d) CLASSIC TIE.  Steer away from ties that are too overly trendy or too loud.  A little personality or style is great – but try to imagine it in 5 or 6 years….will you be cringing when you walk past your Senior Portrait hanging on the wall?   Something classic will always look great.

Follow these tips for full-proof drop dead gorgeous shot for your high school senior pics!

Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Portraits Los Angeles




What to wear Senior Pictures

One of the first things I like to talk to my Seniors about is the kinds of activities they’re involved in at school.  Most high school students are involved in 2 major school related activities, whether that be School Paper, Student Council, Drama Club, Dance Team, Basketball, or Art Club.  The question is always whether or not to dedicate one of your wardrobe changes to a particular activity.  Obvously, if you’re involved in sports & have a Letterman’s Jacket, that’s a pretty easy thing to throw on for a few shots.  But, what if your activity is dance?  Should we dedicate one of the looks we shoot to dance?  What would you wear for a “Dance” shot?  A recital outfit?  Basic dance class wear?  Really depends on you & your personality – and is something we can help you out with when we discuss your shoot details.  …..Then there are the activities that are a little tougher to capture in a photoshoot.  For example, Nikki, above in the gloves, has been kick-boxing for years & is considered to be pretty amazing at it.  It’s a really big part of her life, and not something she’s ever had professional pictures taken of, so it would have been silly to not include this activity in her shoot.  BUT, we didn’t want to make it look cheesy.    After tossing around a few ideas, we decided to keep the set-up simple & focus on getting great shots of HER, more-so than a bunch of action shots that would have just ended up having really crazy ((& not so pretty lol)) facial expressions.  If Nikki pursues kickboxing in the coming years as a profession, she’ll have some really fierce shots for a personal website for promo purposes – – – and years from now when she’s a mom herself, she’ll have these senior pictures to prove that she can kick some serious butt!!

More tips on preparing for HS Senior Pics



Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Portraits Los Angeles


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 What to wear Senior Pictures

You can never have too many blog posts on what to wear for your Senior Portraits.    We’ve come across a few pinterest boards, blogs & sites that we think have some great ideas & most importantly, some great pictures for INSPIRATION!

We also posted some shots (ABOVE) we did of singer Anna Nalick in Los Angeles – who, obviously was not a HS Senior….she’s a multi-platinum singer/songwriter – but her sense of style & fashion can give us some pretty great ideas.  She went for 3 distinct looks

  • RomanticAnna really nailed it with her first look.  The OFF THE SHOULDER top on the top right is simple & classic, showing off her collarbone, neck & shoulders.  It’s just a little sexy – but mostly beautiful.  The velvet top on the left feels luxe & from another century, which compliments Anna’s timeless features 🙂
  • Hardcore
    A leather bustier might be a little much for Senior Pics – but, it’s worth taking a look at how much fun it can be to do an edgy look.  How many times in  your life are  you going to have a top of the line hair/makeup artist give you several looks in one day??!!!  It’s silly to pass up the opportunity to capture the edgy side of  you – especially in capable hands that will make sure it’s not over-the-top.
  • Edgy Ethereal
    The last look is PURE Anna – – – she’s super ethereal, like a fairy or goddess in our midst….but, she wanted to give it an edge, so it wasn’t too “soft”.  This was a perfect place to use that vivid blue.  The gauzy material gives the image a light & delicate feel – and the camera LOVES color.  It was interesting that she steered clear of accessories in this one & all of them actually….most likely because when hair & makeup is that strong, you don’t want to overdo all the bells & whistles.  A necklace may have just been too much with those super smoky eyes & red hair.

Anna Nalick acoustic version of her song “Breathe” – just in case you needed a moment to sit & breathe 🙂


Senior Picture Ideas

So, below are some links to our newest findings for Senior Portrait wardrobe inspiration!  Enjoy!


And, please accept our apology if you lose several hours lost in the Anthropologie Pinterest page ; )



Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Portraits Thousand Oaks

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Senior Portaits Newbury Park

One of the awesome things that we love about shooting HS Senior Portraits is that we have 2 main locations, instead of just 1.  Of course, you can always shoot destination Senior Pics, or take to the streets….definitely fun – but, let’s be honest, that requires our Senior to be a bit of an extrovert.  Shooting on Santa Monica Pier, or the streets of Venice, CA produces amazing shots….but, there are gonna be a LOT of people staring & the occasional whistle or 2.  Some of our Seniors thrive on that kind of energy, pace & excitement.  Others would rather be comfortable enough to really connect with the camera – and that means we need a little privacy.  Both of our “home base” locations provide a ton of variety for the shoot, and just enough privacy to feel like you can relax.  Every now and then a hiker will come down the trail we shoot on in Newbury Park, but that’s rare 🙂  Sometimes we’ll encounter a couple cars on the street we love to shoot on in Los Angeles – but, that’s also pretty rare.  The pics above are of one of our 2013 MxB HS Senior Model Reps, Baylee.  She shot with us at our Dos Vientos of Newbury Park location – which was so perfect for her crystal clear eyes & blonde hair 🙂  It kept the images feeling fresh & breezy – and the light could not be more gorgeous.  If we’d shot Baylee’s Senior Pics in Los Angeles, we could have still accomplished an outdoors, fresh & breezy look, but it would have had a somewhat “edgier” feel.  That’s what we love….having the options easily available & knowing we can really tailor the photoshoot to the person we’re shooting.  Baylee’s BFF Dani scheduled her shoot on the same day & we were able to do a look together.  They both had brought totally glam dresses, so we thought that’d be a fun one to do together.  Sometimes shooting glam dresses can come off as too stuffy, so we encouraged Baylee & Dani to let loose & just be crazy – – – there are SO many great shots from this group, it was tough to pick favorites!

Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles

Headshots vs. Senor Pictures Los Angeles


Los Angeles Senior Portraits vs. Headshots

One of the biggest differences in LA Senior Pictures & LA Headshots is where the subject is looking.  Are they looking into camera?  Are they looking away?  For headshots, it’s pretty much an unspoken rule that the subject (the actor) should be looking into the camera.  It helps to capture the essence, the personality, the vibe of the actor.  It helps to establish the actor’ level of intensity, or their ability to make us laugh with just a casual smirk..  Sometimes an agent or manager will choose an image where the actor is looking off-camera…but it’s pretty rare.  Mostly, you’d see this with a character type that typically looks away….like a super quirky character type, or a super shy character type.  I’ve also seen a “looking away” shot be chosen by a talent rep for actors whose direct stare is a bit overly intimidating.  It’s never good to scare the casting director, right??  hheheeee…

Well, the opposite is true of HS Senior Portraits.  There is no goal to shoot a certain character type.  We’re not trying to gauge intensity or the kinds of roles that the subject plays.  We’re simply capturing the emotions & feelings & essence of the subject for that moment in time.    Because that’s really what senior pics are : a capsule in time to remember that special phase of going from being a kid…in your parents care…and part of their responsibility….to being an adult.  making your own decisions…or at least most of them!    Senior Pictures are the very last of the baby pictures.  Your parents started when you were a newborn.  They continued documenting your growth at every grade level.  Now, it’s the last of the last – your Sr. Year – and these photos mark the last time your parents officially document your age, development & growth.  It’s not something to be taken lightly…and it’s not something to be taken too seriously.  It’s something to just have fun doing, and leave the rest to us


Posted in LA Actor Headshots | Los Angeles - South Bay, Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Pics Los Angeles

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Senoir Portraits LA

This is our 2nd posting of Ren’s pics….we originally posted our faves – and now that she’s ordered her prints, we thought we’d share HER faves!  The first thing we noticed about Ren when she arrived for her shoot – other than her uber-cuteness, was that she’d really nailed it with the clothes & accessories she brought.  When you look at the images above, you’ll see how they all reflect her personal style, while at the same time each look has it’s own feel.  We loved how the pics we did in the orange print dress were paired with chunky platform heels….whereas the white sundress was worn with simple flip flops – Gorgeous!  Also, notice how all the bracelets in the black top pics & the hat in the white dress pics really give the images a magazine editorial photoshoot vibe.  Speaking of hats….hats off to our amazing makeup artist Bebe Booth, who kept the makeup totally natural while also totally popping the eyes in every look.  LOVE!!!  Ren was down for anything when it came to hair & makeup, but we’ve always found that for HS Senior Pics, you really need to stick with natural makeup…and maybe a little smoky eye for the final look.  It’s very similar to the guidelines we follow when shooting LA Actor headshots – keep it simple….keep the pictures ALL about the person you’re shooting.  If you’re planning your own wardrobe, makeup & hair you might want to visit our blog post:  10 tips to ROCK your HS Senior Portraits We’ve listed everything from hair & skin regimen to reminders on school guidelines & deadlines.  And if you ever feel like you’re stuck when putting everything together, make a quick trip through all of our past blog posts & portfolio – you’ll see lots of wardrobe ideas that you can steal & then make your own 🙂


Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Kids Headshots





Kids Headshots Los Angeles

People always want to know, for headshots what to wear.  There is definitely a lot of advice floating around out there – some of makes sense, and some it’s just silly.  The main piece of advice I hear is “wear bright colors”.  Hmmmmm…..true, colors photograph really nicely – but, there are a lot of ways to screw up your shoot by just following that advice blindly.  I’ve found the best way to approach the question of wardrobe is to think of what kinds of roles you’re going to go out for.  Let’s take a kids headshots for example:  There are 5 or 6 main “types” that a girl 8-15 years old would play….  ((there are lots others, but let’s look at some mainstays….

  • Nickelodeon Kid
  • The “Good” Kid
  • Sporty
  • Super Girly
  • Old Fashioned / Period Drama
  • Edgy Attitude



For Nickelodeon Kid, we’re thinking “Prankster”, mischievous, rough & tumble 100% KID.  Sure, color works for this, but WHAT color works best?  In my opinion, Bright Green, Bright Orange, Red, Royal Blue are all great colors for this look.  If we went with Pink or Yellow, it might read a little softer, or a little girlier, which would detract from the story of the picture.  We want the image to scream:  I AM KID, HEAR ME ROAR!!!

For The Good Kid, we’re thinking “Class President”, Teacher’s Pet, Straight A student – so, go a little preppier, with a hint of nerdy.  Clothing could almost feel like a mini office professional.  A polo shirt for boys – a tank top & cardigan for girls.  Obviously, you’d steer clear of “unprofessional” looking colors like bright orange, lime green & vivid turquoise.  Royal blue, Dark(ish) Purple, Red, Sage Green, and even black can work great for this one.

For the Sporty Kid, layers always work well.  A Gray Tee with Navy Zip Hoodie looks really sporty.  Almost like a version of something they’d wear as a warm up if they were on a sports team.  Kelly Green Hoodie Jacket with yellow tee underneath,,,,,, even just a basic red Tee with V-neck would work great.  Just go with colors that feel like a sports team & keep the clothing something that looks like they could play in it.

For Super Girly we’re picturing the 11 year old girl who does nothing by giggle.  No matter what, she’s in fits of laughter & LOVES pink.  Great girly colors are Pink, Bright Turquoise, Bright Yellow, Peach, Baby Blue & of course purple.  The top can be as simple as a Tee, or as girly as a ruffled strap tank top.

For Period Drama / Theatrical, we’re thinking something classic or simple.  We’re going for soulful, so a color that matches the kid’s eyes exactly is always amazing.  Or, something in a faded fleshy tone, like peach or tan tones.  Black & jewel tones, like ruby, emerald green & sapphire blue work really nice too.

For Edgy / Attitude we’re mostly going to be dealing with girls 12 years to 17 years.  We usually go with more of a Disney version of “Edgy” for most kids ….a little black eyeliner, but nothing crazy.  Colors that work great are Black mixed w/ any “hot” color, like bright pink, purple, aqua, yellow…..   OR, you can take it more theatrical & realistic or urban using mostly grays & blacks with texture & layers – nothing too “new” looking for kids who play grittier characters.  That’s not the norm, but there are always those actors who play dark characters from a young age, like Jodie Foster & Nikki Reed.

Posted in Kids Headshots LA Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Pictures South Bay









Senior Pictures LA

Dominique is one of our 2013 MxB High School Senior Reps.  She shot with us a few weeks ago at our Los Angeles Senior Portraits location.  Usually, the seniors that apply to be MxB reps are extremely outgoing, because they know that they’ll be ambassadors for our photography studio.  Well, even in her application, Dominique admitted that she was shy…but that she thought maybe this might be a good thing, something to help her push the boundaries of her comfort zone with social stuff.  So, when she arrived for her shoot, we were prepared to really have to work at directing & getting great smiles & poses.  ….wow….we were wrong!  Within a matter of a few minutes Dominique was modeling as if she were a total pro!!  Being tall & super athletically built, she honestly photographed very much like a professional model.  To say we were blown away would not be an exaggeration…. So many of the cute poses & all the playing around that we captured on camera came organically from Dominique.  On the train tracks, our main direction was to say “just imagine you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, and you know to follow the tracks to the next city….but, along the way, while you’re walking, give little glances & smiles to the camera”.  That was it!  She took off her shoes & started taking little steps over the pebbles & rocks on the tracks…and when she’s slightly trip on one, she’s laugh & look right at the lens.  To be able to take your actual circumstances & use them to inform your expressions & body language is the very essence of modeling….and obviously, Dominique has it.

Senior Portraits Thousand Oaks

So many of our HS Seniors from Thousand Oaks ask about the urban locations they see in our LA Senior Pictures – and the same is true for our LA & South Bay Seniors….they often ask about the beautiful mountain shots we get at our Newbury Park location.  Both are such awesome locations for shooting HS Senior Pics that it’s tough to choose which location to book.  Our suggestion is to shoot both!!  We offer discounted rates for Seniors who decide to do 2 shoots – and the fun part is, you get double the amount of images at this totally amazing time in your life 🙂

Posted in Senior Pictures Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senior Pics LA

Senior Pictures Los Angeles

Those of you who were lucky enough to get in on our 60% off May discount are asking for tips on how to do makeup for your senior portraits  So, below you’ll find one of our favorite natural makeup tutorials.  The makeup is done by a high school girl with products that most of you already have.  You’ll notice that the makeup is little punched up beyond “natural”, but when shooting pics in full length & even 3-quarter, you really want to make sure the eyes pop.  Using neutral tones & sticking to a simple black top liner & soft subtly smokey under liner, your eyes pop without looking overly made up.   SKIP THESE STEPS:  2 items she applies really don’t work for senior pics though & you should steer clear – the white liner in the inner rim of the eye often washes away with blinking, & can sometimes smear a bit with the under eyeliner.  And it doesn’t look that natural…. Also, the highlighter she uses toward the end of the video on her upper cheekbones is very often “bad for camera”.  What looks dewey and glowy in person, can look sweaty & glaring on camera.  Stick to MATTE powder, MATTE bronzer as well to avoid having a shiny face.  Hope this helps those of you who’re getting that awesome 60% off!

And for the rest of you, we STILL HAVE 40% OFF IN JUNE & 20% OFF IN JULY!!!!

Below is an example of some of our favorite Natural Makeup 🙂  Actor Katrina Law shot these in LA with makeup artist Karishma Ahluwalia, & we thought she achieved a perfect makeup look for each.  The left image is a little edgier, but without going over the top.  The lips & face were kept very natural, letting the eyes take center stage.  The image on the right is classic natural makeup.  The apples of the cheeks pop & the eyes have only a little neutral shadow for depth.  Katrina doesn’t need much, so the makeup artist let her natural beauty shine through 🙂


Posted in High School Senior Pictures | Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Headshots LA

Headshots Los Angeles

Actor Headshots

You’re going to be seeing a lot more of this girl!  Yesterday, I spent a couple hours shooting Natalie’s headshots.  Her parents came with her and I could tell immediately that this was going to be a fun day!  Usually, when a teen’s parents come to their session, I’m immediately apprehensive that the parent is going to try and run the shoot.  That basically never works because the parent isn’t a photographer & unless they’re right behind me, they aren’t seeing what I’m seeing.  Natalie’s Mom & Dad could not have been different….they helped when I needed it ((obviously, natalie’s got a LOT of hair to wrangle, so I asked for Mom when it was necessary :)) but, otherwise, they hung out, made a few calls, peeked their head in from time to time & were a total joy to have on the set!  Actors headshots are pretty different from shooting Los Angeles Senior Pics – mainly, in that the subject has to be looking into camera the entire time.  If you’ve never been a model for 2-3 hours straight, then you really don’t know how hard it is.  It’s work!  and the person in the photos needs to LOVE  what they do.  AND they need to be talented at it.  Simple as that.  Anything less, & you get just “so-so” pics.  I don’t care how great the photographer is – the subject needs to have that “it factor” to successfully shoot for several hours.  I’ll be posting more pics from Natalie’s session & with all the looks we did, you’ll really get a good idea of how a professional connects with the camera & delivers in shot after shot.  …..and let me tell you, adding in super long wavy hair means even more work & patience from our model – – – and it doesn’t hurt to have a pretty great mom helping out with all that hair!  Come to think of it, next time I’m shooting Senior Portraits, I may see if the mom can come ready with hairspray & brush in hand!

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