Welcome to Bleu Cotton Photography's Blog

Please feel free to look around and check back often to stay up-to- date with our studio

Please subscribe if you would like to receive an e-mail when we post something new...

...and don't forget to leave a comment on anything that catches your eye!

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!

First Lady Nancy Reagan

What an honor to photograph Mrs. Reagan at a birthday celebration a few years back.  Bleu captured wonderful moments during this event.  We send prayers to her family, and know she lived an amazing long life...now she is in the arms of her husband.  What a beautiful thought.

Bleu's News February 2016

InfraManteum Portraits by Ali Cotton

We love experimenting with cameras and lighting.  One of these experiments led Ali to a new series of commissioned images for her clients.  InfraManteum Portraits are designed with infrared cameras and lighting, and with her special techniques, Ali now creates one of a kind art pieces.  Her clients love the dark, mysterious, underwater feel.

InfraManteum Portraits

Cherry Blossom Portraits

It's that time of year in So Cal...we see the Cherry Blossoms right next to the Palm Trees!  It is time to take advantage of the unique backdrop that we have in the next few weeks.  Call us today for special session pricing during the month of February!  This is one of our favorites images, and very dear friends of ours.  Dad, Marco Mendoza is an accomplished musician and singer who is part of the Rock Group, Dead Daisies.  Please check out his site at www.marcomendoza.com.

Next Page »