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Porsche at Pelican Hill



Last week, we had the pleasure of photographing Porsche at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Coast. They certainly put on quite the show for their company and (of course) had an awesome display of their newest line. We set up at the 9th hole as each foursome made their way through the course. We were able to grab a quick shot, print it and have ready that night as a gift. Even with all the rainy weather we've been having lately, it was nice to have a little glimpse of sunshine to get us through this event. Thank you Porsche and Pelican Hill for a fun weekend.

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Sizzle Reels



This is the time of year that we are doing Sizzle Reels of events at their awards ceremonies.  Call us today so we can tell you what we do and why your group will be talking about it all year!

Sizzle Reels for your corporate events, incentive trips, and awards nights





2017 Wedding Photography Thoughts



Bleu and I love meeting with new brides and grooms who are getting married this year.  We are booking some incredible weddings, both small and large, intimate and extravagant.  When it comes to your day, remember that the photography is pretty much all you have left (except the groom and the top tier of the cake for freezer!).

We know that it is an investment, so a great way to calculate what you should spend on photography is making it 10% of your budget.  Our studio may or may not be in your range.  We customize plans to get you the most for your money, but understand that we do not cut corners...which is what you want to hear come out of all of your vendor's mouths for such an important event.

You want to look at receiving the best quality printed images, including retouching, a leather bound album, and options for canvassed prints or desk prints printed professionally.  (think of living with no electricity.... you need to have printed pieces and not rely on keeping images solely on the web and your laptop).  But, social media files are important too, so ask for a set.  If your photographer does not include high res jpg files (printable), in the original plans, it means that they most likely can add them on after, once you allow them to create their professional finished products, first.  Wait and you can add on at a better pricing than if you negotiate up front. Remember, they are artists...and they need to make a living with their amazing talent.

I hope these facts help you in your search for the perfect documentation of your wedding.  Remember...there are no do - overs in your wedding.  We are truly blessed with the couples who trust us with their memories.  It is a big deal to get great images.

 





Works of Living Art Sessions by Ali - NOW Offered!



 

Works of Living Art

Works of Living Art

I'm having the best time combining my two loves, photography with black and white painting. I am now in the process of offering this session to my clients. I want to share some behind the scenes info on a recent session and how you can get one too!

This session was a challenging one as I painted myself first and then had to wrangle up my nine year old son, Fisher, to paint him. It takes about an hour per person to paint. The white dress I wore worked perfect in this shoot. I paint from the waist up. So you can wear a bra or, or a white or black top or outfit which will be trashed after the session, or no shirt like Fisher. I am looking forward to adding hats to the mix...that will really be interesting!

Fisher was a trooper as I used him as my canvas. He kept spinning the stool to check out the progress in the mirror. It's exciting to watch the transformation!

The background is a new addition to my collection. It was also hand painted. Right now I have 5 different backdrops and plan on adding more.

When I finished art on both Fisher and I, I did test shots to make sure the paint photographed as I wanted it to. I usually touch up a little bit to soften or emphasize details i see missing. The photography portion takes less time than than the painting itself. I strive to get different expressions from my subject with one catch...they cannot show their teeth. As you see with this session and my solo session shown further down this page that the painting is all one of a kind. It will never look the same from session to session or sitter to sitter.

After the session is over there is probably about 30 minutes needed in the shower to wash off the paint. I have the coolest soap that I am offering as a gift to my clients to help speed up the process. It's my expert solution for the best clean up.

Once the images are captured, will do magic in my computer to complete the finished art. Then the best are narrowed down and available as various finished pieces.

So I bet you're wondering how to book your session with me and some specifics on it...

It is about four hours from start to finish for a solo session, and a little more if it is for two people in the image. We can discuss clothing ideas and the final feel of your image...sexy, stoic, modern, etc. Plan on tossing your painted top in the garbage as it will get ruined. Also I will paint your hair!

The body paints I use are industry standards. Please let me know of you want to do a sample on your skin to make sure no allergies show up if you are sensitive. I use fresh bottles and brushes each session.

Because the finished piece involves the painting, photography and the artwork combined together I ask that's no cell phones are allowed for grab shots that you may be tempted to take and post. I want your friends to see the finished art as one of a kind pieces by me. It's like if you were watching the Beatles shooting their famous Abby Road photo and you snapped an image from the side ...I want to put you on a one of a kind art piece. 🙂 I have an agreement that I'll send you to read and sign that goes over this and other points. No worries. It's only a little bit shorter than Willy Wonka has for guests to sign before entering his Chocolate Factory....Wink.

As a bonus with the session, I will include a Moving Pictures Video of you as you've seen me do, which is great for your own social media. It's almost as cool as the finished pieces! So this BONUS video is yours as part of the plan!

Here is the fun part! After the session if a shower is not available I will have towels and soap for your face. As you clean up I will prep and share images with you right then and have you choose your finished products!

Included in the session is the Moving Picture Video, and a Canvas Wap up to 16x16 in size. I also include three Social Media images for you to post and share with your friends ! You can order additional products if you wish.

This session is all about capturing YOU as the work of art that you already are. This makes a great gift to yourself or a loved one. Your one-time investment is, right now, at a limited time special price of $1150 for one sitter and $1250 for 2 sitters. (& tax).

This includes the Canvas Wrap up to 16x16, the 3 Social Media Files (not printable but unlimited personal usage on web) the Moving Picture Video (we can talk about what message you want.), the one of a kind Painting Creation Session, the Photo Session, and your very own.....Bar of DoTerra Oatmeal Soap!

Call, email or message me for more details or to book a session before the Holidays!

Xoxo Ali3i7a1455-c2016-alicotton-photo





Sales tax on photography



Over 15 years ago when I joined Bleu, we talked to our CPA about sales tax on our photography coverages and we confirmed our knowledge was correct...that we must charge sales tax on the creation fee, and we have been doing this properly.

Recently, I have gotten clients who ask this question now that we shoot digital, and we do not have to purchase and shoot on physical "film"....But the same laws are in effect when we shoot digitally...because the final product could never exist without the service of a photo coverage.

I just read a wonderful article that explains this state sales tax concept, by Kristin Korpos, attorney and MBA specializing in the business of photography.  I wanted to share the overview of her way of explaining why we charge sales tax on the creation of images.  Her entire article is in the 2/2014 archives of Rangefinder, a brilliant magazine published for professional photographers. The article is "The Sales Tax Primer: What to Charge, How to Charge and Why."

 





Some thoughts on which moments need to be photographed... by Ali



Sometimes I think people overuse their cell phone camera. I was at the last day of school ceremony and I noticed all of the parents who spent more time trying to take photos then just enjoy the moment.

I think people should consider what they should photograph and what will be enjoyed as a moment frozen in time.

They set up the ceremony so it was really hard to see the kids as they moved from one grade seating area to another. So NO ONE got good images. I know that for a fact. I took a really cool image of my son and his friend before it started when I could get their attention for a great posed shot.

I began to video the ceremony but turned off my camera knowing that it was not the "made for tv moment". I'd rather enjoy it in real time.

I'm going to go back and print that one perfect posed memory of Fisher and Franco and put that in our family album. That tells the whole story. That is all I need. Think about when we used film. Would you really shoot 3 rolls of 36 images and put them all in your family album? Pick and choose the moments you want to capture. And hire a professional if your event is really important. So you can enjoy it in "real time"..... Thanks for reading!  - Ali





42nd Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix 2016



It has been over 5 years now that Bleu has had the privilege of being on the team of Official Photographers for the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix.  He spends 3 days in April, from dawn until dusk geared up with earplugs, baseball hat, photo vest, cameras, lenses, water bottles, monopod, and credential badge.  He walks up and down the track photographing through holes cut out in the wired fencing to get the perfect image of vehicles zooming over 200 miles an hour only a few feet from where he is stationed. It takes much practice to capture the images with the proper control and vision...signage in the shot is a must, panning to recreate the movement of the car is a must, and being ready for the unexpected is a must.  Wow!

This year he hit the jackpot with many images.  We wanted to share with you Bleu's portrait of Mario Andretti as he gets ready to race on Thursday.  We also wanted to share with you the winner of the 2016 Grand Prix, Simon Pagenaud..not only his celebratory moment surroundedby confetti, but also that EXACT moment he went over the finish line.  Picture Perfect, wouldn't you say?  

 





Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, 5th District OC Board of Supervisors



I am a member of a fabulous Women's Group called Contacts...we meet once a month for a breakfast meeting, and then have various socials throughout the month.  I love it because it is not a marketing group..."Contacts is a group of professional women in Orange County whose purpose is to promote the professional, social, cultural, and economic enrichment of its members and the community."

Today the speaker was Lisa A Bartlett, Supervisor of the 5th District of Orange County Board of Supervisors.  It was very informative! It is unbelievable what the board of 5 Supervisors do for the OC...I have to say if you are not informed, you should take a closer look at how they keep our County running!  Check out Lisa's facebook at www.facebook.com/SupervisorLisaBartlett.    - Ali





Cerritos Library



Bleu and I had a great time photographing a very special couple who had their wedding at the Cerritos Library.  Wow...I have to say this is an amazing location for an event.  This library is a hidden gem that one should visit with kids, too!  The architecture is truly awesome.

We worked with Turnip Rose, the onsite caterer, who always runs events with the best food and service. We truly recommend them for you! www.turniprose.com.  It is always a pleasure working side by side with their team.

There are so many photo ops for a professional photographer.   You do need to know how to work in bright sun and smaller areas of shade if you do portraits outside in the afternoon.  And you will work around the library visitors until the library closes, but if you are able to have a little patience, it is picture perfect!  We were fortunate that the couple saw each other before the ceremony, so we could get some awesome shots that would not have happened if they stayed separate before the ceremony.

Remember to be very low key (it is a library!...shhhh!)  But you can get great images in the library entrance, and even inside the kids section if you want a dinosaur to photobomb your image.

The ceremony itself is located on a balcony which is backed up to a gorgeous golden wall.  Talk about an incredible spot for photos and a wonderful view of the mountains.  The ballroom is conveniently located inside so the guests don't have to go far for the reception.

Remember to enjoy the architecture once the sun sets, as the lighting is beautiful after dark.

The website and information is http://menu.ci.cerritos.ca.us/  Check it out in person!

Congratulations to our wonderful couple,  Dominic and Lora!  Thank you for trusting us with your memories! - Ali





Bleu's News April 2016



We have a fun first quarter, and we are ready to continue making 2016 the best in our photography business!   We pressed the trigger many times to capture images in sports, corporate and social events, and believe it or not, family sessions and holiday cards for next Christmas season!  We love what we do, and hope you love it too!  Play Ball!





















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