Tag Archives: Senior Photography South Bay

MxB Senior Pictures Los Angeles & Ventura Counties CA

Senior Pictures Los Angeles & Ventura

Max Brandin has been shooting High School Senior Pictures Los Angeles & Ventura counties for over a decade.

Female photographers Brandin Shaeffer & Amanda Max Weber combine a strong sense of traditional & classic with just enough edge to keep images current, yet timeless.  Years of experience, experts in their field, and strong opinions have made them the first choice for high school senior pictures in Southern California.


The beauty of shooting editorial style senior pics 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.
~Brandin Shaeffer & Amanda Max Weber


To book your senior pictures (los angeles or ventura counties) CONTACT MxB through our site, or by phone: 310.622.5819

Stay comnected!  www.facebook.com/MaxBrandinPhotography

Senior Pictures Los Angeles









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Choosing a Senior Portrait Photographer, Los Angeles


Los Angeles Senior Portrait Photographers

The following are some suggestions on how to choose a Senior Portrait Photographer Los Angeles.

LA is absolutely covered in photographers that shoot Senior Portraits.  It’s not surprising actually…there’s a higher than average concentration of artistic people in Los Angeles in general.  But, that makes finding the right one even tougher!  Below are some suggestions on things to look for when deciding who to book with.

Shooting IN los angeles?

You don’t necessarily have to shoot in the middle of LA.  At MxB, we’re proud of our ability to shoot pretty much anywhere ….as far south as Hermosa Beach, Long Beach, & even Huntington Beach.  We also have gorgeous locations in Newbury Park, Venice Beach, & Malibu.  Of course, if you’re looking to shoot something with an urban vibe, one of our favorite spots is our family owned urban warehouse in Los Angeles, which is absolutely perfect for edgy Senior Portraits.

What products are you looking to get?

Lots of portrait photographers can get you really great images.  The issue then becomes “how many millions will it cost to buy prints, canvas & an album?”  Just keep in mind when booking your session, that no matter how much you love the pics, they won’t mean as much to you in years to come if they’re only ever seen on facebook & in a couple 8×10’s.  We pride ourselves in having the absolute BEST & most inclusive print & product Collections of any photographer in Southern California…for the best prices.

Hair & Makeup can make or break your Senior Portraits

We include professional hair & makeup with EVER session, because it’s just so so important.  Not only do pros do a flawless job, they leave you with more energy to focus on being a model.  It’s just too exhausting to spend half your time making hair & makeup changes…and then have to go right back out & keep shooting.  You need that time to sit & relax and let our people work their magic!

For more examples, visit our PORTFOLIO and our FACEBOOK page 🙂  And if you have any QUESTIONS please feel free to contact us through our site’s contact form & we’ll be happy to help you book Max Brandin as your Senior Portrait Photographer Los Angeles!

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Senior Pictures Los Angeles – Where to shoot



Shoot your Senior Portraits in ONE location that offers almost ENDLESS possibilities!

One of the absolute coolest things about shooting Senior Pictures Los Angeles is that there are just so so so many places to shoot.  Most of our Seniors want several looks & they want each of those to be shot in a unique location.  However, driving from location to location is a time & energy killer – it’s no fun for anyone.  The best bet is to find ONE spot that offers lots of possible areas to shoot in.  Choosing that main location is really determined by the vibe you want for your Senior Pictures.  Want something funky & edgy?  Venice Beach has super awesome alleyways with tons of color & textures to play with – – – plus the buildings offer shadow from the mid day sun, meaning, light is always pretty perfect 🙂  Then, for the last look of the day, we just walk a few steps and BAM!  you’re on the beach!  a great way to end any Senior Photography session.  Want something classic & pastoral?  Just get out of the main city part of LA & find a hiking trail!  The canopy of trees in most hikes gives perfect shade from the sun for soft light – which is imperative for getting gorgeous Senior Pictures.

Our team makes shooting your Senior Pictures an experience you’ll never forget…

See the image above of our model getting her makeup touched up?  While she was getting a little tweak to hair & makeup, our photography assistant was setting our light perfectly for the romantic glow you see in the black & white image.  Little touches like back lighting make the difference between just “so-so” images, and images that are amaaaaaazing.  Having our hair/makeup artist present while we shoot is also a huge bonus, since she makes little changes as we go to get the MOST out of the day.  And it’s not such a bad thing to be treated like a supermodel for the day 🙂

For more examples, visit our SENIOR PICTURES LOS ANGELES PORTFOLIO and our FACEBOOK page 🙂  And if you have any QUESTIONS please feel free to contact us through our site’s contact form & we’ll be happy to help.  And remember, yearbook deadline comes fast….book your Los Angeles Senior Pictures today!

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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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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 www.Facebook.com/MaxBrandinPhotography

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:  http://www.maxbrandinphotography.com/portfolio/actor-headshots/



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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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