Jasmine Star's Instagram Challenge!

This week we are excitedly participating in Jasmine Star's Instagram Challenge! Are you following us on Instagram yet? If not - do so NOW!

Blackwell Photography on Instagram

Blackwell Photography on Instagram

I couldn't be more excited to grow our audience and share more about ourselves and our business as we get to know you and better serve you - starting now!

Day One was a "introduction" post where we shared a brief profile on me - Marc - and what my passions are as a photographer.

Day Two was a challenge to share our workspace. Never done that before! It's exciting to let you see into the centralized hub of where e-mails get replied to, marketing decisions get made and photos get processed.

What will day Three hold? No idea! But start following our Insta to find out!

Happy Instagraming! 

-marc

Michelle and Josh Engagement Shoot

We woke up early a couple weeks ago and beat the crowds at Griffith Park Observatory to get these awesome photos of Michelle and Josh. Crazy back story - he proposed to her THE DAY BEFORE! She was still glowing in engagement bliss and super giggly as we walked around the classic Los Angeles icon snappin' pics. He surprised her with the photoshoot as a gift and they both were ecstatic to get the photos back.

Best of luck to both of you as you plan your wedding and start your life together... officially! 

Cheers,
-marc

Pena Family Shoot in Malibu

We've been friends with Sheena since middle school! When they decided to up root their family from the midwest and plant themselves in the heart of Los Angeles, we couldn't have been more excited!

Then they asked us to take their family photos! EVEN BETTER! 

We got a lot of great shots in between laughing our asses off and reminiscing about the past. To top it all off we had Mexican and Margaritas after the shoot was complete. Good times.

Cheers!
-marc

How to Back up Your Photos

THE BEST TIME TO START BACKING UP YOUR PHOTOS IS YESTERDAY!

One of the most important aspects of being a professional photographer is keeping your client's photos backed up and safe. One never knows when so and so from 2006 is going to ask for IMG_1245.jpg from that random event. A true professional should be able to find a specific file in a matter of hours and deliver the highest resolution copy to whomever asks.

This photo of Sterling Sulieman was featured in COSMOPOLITAN. I took it in 2010 and the article came out in 2012. I originally had photographed this series to be black and white but the magazine wanted the color version. Good thing I backed up the RAW files! If I hadn't had the color versions my work would never have been published in a worldwide circulating popular magazine. See the importance?

I could tell countless stories of how many times clients have come back to me YEARS later asking for a specific photo. As I've started a family over the years I've learned the importance of backing up our personal photos as well which brings me to this post.

HOW TO BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS.

So you're not a professional photographer but everyone has photos. Wether you're shooting your kid's soccer game on your iphone, your fiance in Rome or that super important selfie of you and Ellen Degeneres, saving your memories for later is crazy important. When I photograph newborns I always stress the importance of creating a back up system for new parents because the last thing you want is to lose the first photos you ever took of your children.

Here are some help tips to back up your photos. For simplicity purposes, let's stick with cell phone images as that tends to be what people have on a wider scale. 

1.) Find a Photography Program or an App and STICK TO IT!

Consistency is key. You will get confused if you start backing up your files with the Photos App for Apple and then move to Google's Picasa. I use Adobe Lightroom for all my professional images and Apple's Photos App for my iPhone photos. 

 

2. ) Organize your images by date!

After you have chosen your weapon of choice, it's important to create a consistent process of organization so you are never confused and can find your files from years ago very easily. One way I've learned over the years is to organize photos by date. You can always go back to your calendar or remember a birth date to help you find images fast. Here is the folder hierarchy I use when organizing my photos.

2016>August 2016>2016_08_16

This is a screenshot of my Finder. You'll see it's not PERFECT but it works for me!

This is a screenshot of my Finder. You'll see it's not PERFECT but it works for me!

Backing up is important but one of the most important facts usually missed while backing up is having your files in multiple locations. I usually have my professional images in 3-4 places at any given time. A.) My Memory cards don't get wiped until all the files are backed up on my computer and harddrive. B.) I upload all the original files to my computer and then an external harddrive. C.) I think back up the RAW files to the Cloud. An

3.) Back up to an EXTERNAL HARDDRIVE! 

After you have downloaded the photos to your computer it's time to start copying them to multiple places. External Harddrives are tried and true resources for securely backing up your data.

I have used Western Digital My Books for years and never had a problem with them. I make a carbon copy of what is on my computer on my externals. I can usually fit about 6 months of photos on a 2 terabyte drive, but if you're not shooting as much or with a Digital SLR these bad boys can last you for years. And they will! They also come with a 2 year warranty so if anything starts to sound out of whack, just call Wester Digital's Customer Support and they'll send you a brand new one.

I back up my photos every week but you could do every other week or once a month depending on how many photos you take and how much time you want to commit to the process. But know! A lot can happen in 30 days. If your photos are only on your computer and the external harddrive sitting next to it and your house burns down (I pray that doesn't happen) - well, you've lost your data. That's what brings me to backing up your photos to the cloud.

If you want to get real crazy, make carbon copies of your external harddrives and store them in a secure location off site from your office or computer. Some people I know have a safety deposit box of harddrives just in case. But know that these harddrives use dated technology that will change eventually. Who knows, USB ports may not be a thing in 10 years.

4.) Back Up to the Cloud!

It's 2016! There is no reason why you should not be backing your photos up to the cloud. With most smartphones today, you don't even know that it's happening! But you can run out of space quickly which why I think it's important to invest a little bit of money and get that extra storage space. Again I stress the importance of consistency. If you're going to use iCloud then commit to it for the rest of your freakin' life. If you want to use AMAZON Backup Solutions, STICK TO IT!

We use SmugMug for our professional images and iCloud for our iPhones. However, I just switched from Android where I was using Google Drive for my back up solutions. I'm going to leave all those images there and back them up to an external harddrive for now until I have time to transfer everything over.

Wanna get real crazy? Back up to 2 different cloud solutions. Why not? Space is cheap!

5.) PRINT! PRINT! PRINT!

Last but not least - print your photos!! I don't care if you use our professional printing services via an amazing lab in San Fransisco called BayPhoto or if you run down to Target and print out 200 4x6s. Print your shit out. You never know what will happen to your computer. Or if Apple will suddenly DISAPPEAR one day and take all your photos with them. You never know! 

We love Blurb and have used them for professional projects and personal. They have books starting at $14.99! It only takes a few minutes to create and the quality is top notch. Print a few of these bad boys for your physical back up solution and rest assured you can cherish the images forever. Print more than 1 copy and mail to your friends and family! 

Let's recap. First; find an app or a program on your computer that you like. Adobe's Lightroom, Google's Picasa or Apple's Photos are all great programs - pick one and stick to it! Second; Organize your photos by Date. Come up with a good plan and commit to it. It'll make your life so much easier years down the road. Three; back up your photos to an external harddrive and be consistent! Don't let too much time pass between backups or you'll be hitting yourself in the face when your computer crashes and you haven't backed anything up for 2 months. Fourth; back up to the cloud! If you're just using a cell phone for photo taking, purchase that extra space on your systems platform and let it do it's thing. But check your settings and make sure you're backing up the high resolution images! And last but not least - PRINT PRINT PRINT!! There's nothing like a physical print of a photo to make it that more special. Bring large and small and enjoy knowing even in a digital apocalypse you're photos will be safe.

One last fun project I'm working on ... my mother created this blue album of photos back in the day, cuz that's what you did before the internet and cell phone photography. I loved looking at it as a kid and was worried it would get lost or destroyed by accident somehow so I borrowed it from my father. I scanned all the images and started creating a new version of it with BookWright, page for page, to print and give to my brothers. Here's a screenshot: 

Let me know if you have any questions with your backup solutions. I'm more than happy to help. I sorta get nerdy about all this stuff - can you tell? It's super important, especially in this day and age so get to it! The best time to start backing up is yesterday!!

Happy Shooting!

-marc

 

 

Kelsey and Stephen Engagement

Have you ever been the Vasquez Rocks? When we started working with this unique couple we knew we were going to need a unique location to capture their love. Plus, to add to the awesomeness of this shoot, we stopped a Vineyard on our way to the rocks and shared a tasty bottle of red. 

If Blazing Saddles, MacGyver, The Flinstones, Stark Trek and even Murder She Wrote could use the Vasquez scenery as a backdrop, so could we! Check out these amazing photos of this amazing power couple! BTW - They're getting married THIS WEEKEND and we're honored to be the chosen ones to document it. 

Sometimes when the couple doesn't know the camera is turned on the most intimate moments can be captured. 

Thanks for the fun day, Kelsey and Stephen! Here's to an even better wedding day!!

-marc

Melissa and Maor Engagement Shoot

Malibu Engagement shoots are the best!

We had a great time romping around Malibu with Melissa and Maor for this fun engagement shoot! We even got to hang out with the cutest Pomeranian on Instagram! @Mickey_Pom

These two are grossly in love. They just fit together and it's obviously they will have a long and happy life. We are still down to shoot your wedding in Israel! 

 

Welcome to 4.0

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We are always trying to evolve and better our craft of photography. Our goal is to always provide you with the best art at the highest quality.

We changed our back links so if you're trying to view your gallery - DON'T WORRY! Your photos are safe. The links that we previously e-mailed you to view your galleries are now inactive. E-mail us and we'll send you a new link ASAP.  

We thank everyone for your continued support, love and business.

Cheers!
marc & stacey

Candice and Jason Wedding iPhone Photos

3 years ago today these beautiful people tied the knot. Stacey and I were fortunate enough to have the privilege of photographing their wedding. While we lugged along our big ole professional cameras, I was really into the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone at the time. More specifically this black and white filter that came with it. Jason and Candice were cool enough and open enough to allow me to shoot with my iPhone after I had gotten the shot with my DSLR. Imagine a professional wedding photographer running around snapping photos on his phone, I'm sure it was quiet the site to see. Anyway - a lot of the photos came out great and I love that old timey film look that came out of it. Happy 3 year anniversary Jason and Candice! F44D015C-30A2-4838-BE06-3730CDDA86B3

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Alexa's Headshots

Check out my new friend Alexa's headshots! This girl was great. We went into a new studio with an awesome Make Up Artist and took so many shots it was hard to narrow them down for final selections. Alexa is a budding new actress ready to make it big in H-Town so keep an eye out for her.

We worked at NoHo Photo Studios (http://www.nohostudiorentals.com/) and Miss Kristen rocked the make up (https://about.me/kristestouchoftrash).

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What Camera Should I Buy? Version 2!

In July 2012 I posted our most popular blog post yet, "What Camera Should I Buy" and seeing as that was almost 3 years ago and the photography game has changed a little bit - I figured it's time to update that post. Like I say all the time; I am partial to Canon cameras. While they don't sponsor me (YET!) this is the brand I've used since I began, it's the brand my mother used, and it's the brand I'll probably always use. I love the functionality of the menus, the color of images Canon's produces, and the quality of the lenses that are sold. Nikon also produces some amazing cameras and lenses which get JUST AS GREAT as a final product as Canon. The brands I would stay away from are brands that produce other electronic equipment. Stick with camera companies who specialize only in making cameras.

In retrospect it all boils down to what you will be doing with your camera. Are you planning on only taking pictures on birthdays, soccer games and vacations? Do you see beautiful things out and about and your iPhone just isn't cutting it quality wise? Or do you want to become a professional photographer and are looking to invest in some serious gear. Either way - sit back, relax, for Version 2 of the most popular question professional photographers get.

The Dabbler:

You've got cute kids, you do fun things and you want something a little bit better than the camera on your smart phone. We'll call you "The Dabbler". What camera should you get? While it wouldn't hurt to buy a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Camera, that's bulky and cumbersome. It'd be nice to have something yo can throw in a diaper bag or backpack and just throw in auto mode and get great pictures. My professional advice would be to go with any Canon Powershot that fits within your price range.

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I would personally go with the Canon Powershow S120. This baby is rockin' 12.1 Megapixels, a super fast 1.8 f/stop lens, full 1080 HD Movie mode and can go up to 12800 ISO. No idea what all that means? Check out our blog post on the Trinity of Camera Settings. This little guy will only cost you $449.99 via the Canon Website.

Too much? Check out the PowerShot SX170 ISIt's 16 Megapixels, 28 mm wide, 1600 ISO and shoots in HD. It's not as great as the S120 but it's not always about the camera! Plus it's only $179!

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Hobbyist:

EOS 70D

$1,199.00

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Professional:

EOS-1D X

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1d_x_586x186

18.1 Megapixels, 25600 ISO, 1080 FullHD mode

$5,999.00

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5d_marklll_586x186

EOS 5D Mark III

22.3 Megapixels, 25600 ISO, 1080 FullDH Mode

$2,799.00

Taryn Southern Portraits

YouTuber, Comedian & Cat lady. Miss Taryn Southern graciously donated to the ALS Foundation where we had just as graciously donated a photoshoot. That's how our paths crossed and that's how these photos came to be! We had a blast exploring downtown creating some awesome shots. Make sure to check her out via all the social media hubs and we wish her the best of luck in the future! Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

Taryn Southern and Blackwell Photography

If you would like to support the ALS Foundation like Taryn has, click on the image below.

Devin DeGroot Circa 2003 TBT

The first portraits I took were of my girlfriend at the time, Devin. She was a brave soul for stepping infront of a budding photographer's lens but even shooting film, in my parents garage, on stolen black paper, lit only by lamps I had in my house, I think these shots turned out alright! This is where it all began folk... right here. 1

Look at that master posing! This one may be going into the portfolio!

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We even threw a ladder in for good measure...

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So this is where it all started. Thanks Devin for letting me share these!

Cheers, -marc