julia – the getty center.

Howdy, folks! It’s been a while. I’ve been sick for over a month. I tried to tell the germs to go away, but they just wouldn’t listen. Not very obedient little buggers, are they? Luckily, I was able to have more than my fair share of fun before being bedridden. My friend Julia came to visit for two weeks in June and we paraded all over LA. We spent some time in my town, went cherry picking, hung out at the Getty Center, did some shopping in Hollywood, and spent an entire day at Disneyland. It was a pretty great trip, up until I got sick. We then spent the rest of her time in LA watching Doctor Who, but hey, that isn’t bad either. I didn’t take quite as many photos as I had planned to, but Julia and I did have a little photo day while we were at the Getty.

The Getty Center is really one of my favorite places in LA. The exhibits are beautiful, the architecture is stunning, and the garden is magical. Julia and I spent some time looking around one of the touring photography exhibitions (of course), grabbed some lunch at the cafe, and then spent the entire rest of the afternoon in the gardens. At first, we napped. I don’t think that was on purpose. Like I said, the garden is magical; it probably cast some sort of sleeping spell on us. After our brief moment of narcolepsy, we had a mini portrait session!

Isn’t she stunning?
Julia even took a few photos of me! It’s weird to be on the other side of the camera, but I have to admit: it’s kind of fun, too.

But we switched places again. I really can’t go too long without having my camera in hand.

Be sure to check out the rest from this session here!

The new school year is starting, so I’m going to be pretty busy settling in to that for a while. However, I do have a few posts that I would like to make, so I will be getting on that in the not too distant future. I’ve also been making some more adjustments to the blog (scroll up to the header and refresh the page a few times ;D). Plus, I’ve got a senior session coming up soon, as well as what I hope will be a fantastic artistic fashion shoot… thing. I’m not really sure what it is yet. It’s a little pet project that I’m still working out the details of. I hope you are all as excited as I am to see it come to life!

Ciao for now!


Two weeks ago, I had a mini portrait session with my good friend Jaden. We’ve known each other for 12 years, but I haven’t seen her in almost 4 years. It was so nice to finally get to see her again. It was a day full of laughs and nostalgia and general good times. We only had about 20 minutes for our shoot, but we still got some pretty photos!

Check out the rest here! Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my print shop. The 10% off code (GRANDO10) is still in effect until July 4th!


A couple weeks before the move, I met up with Kira in Uptown for a portrait session. She was one of the first people I came into contact with when we moved to Minnesota, and yet through some strange set of circumstances, we had never actually gotten a chance to meet until the day of the photoshoot. Kira is so gorgeous and charismatic and she’s always doing cool stuff with her hair and make up, so I sent her an email to see if she’d do some modeling for me. I really wish I had emailed her sooner. She was so much fun to work with and it wasn’t long before it felt like I was just hanging out with an old friend! We wandered all around Lake Calhoun looking for places to shoot. It was nice and cloudy, but it was also 40 degrees with gusting winds. We had to bundle up and seek shelter every once in a while, which is just ridiculous for mid-April. Five days after that, it snowed. Crazy! Still, we got some photos that I’m pretty happy with, and I am so glad I got a chance to meet Kira.

With her awesome hair, I couldn’t help doing a little bit of crazy editing to highlight it.

I told her to pick a bench, any bench. The one she chose was beyond perfect!

Thanks for hanging with me, Kira, and I hope we can see each other again soon!

See more from this shoot here!


Yesterday, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking Renee’s headshots! We met up at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. The cafe staff was super accommodating, giving us access to the private room in back for our initial photos. There was a huge window on one wall, flooding the entire room with light. Somehow, I keep lucking out in terms of weather for my important shoots. Once again, the sky was just overcast enough to give the world the perfect natural diffused light. It was a little windy, but at just over 50 degrees, it was the perfect day.

With portraits, especially headshots, it is extremely important to draw attention to the eyes. That was a snap with Renee. Her blue-green eyes are absolutely magnetic and are complimented perfectly by her big, warm smile. As soon as I got set up, we jumped right in. We utilized every aspect of that room that we could for our first set of shots. From there, we went outside to the vine-covered wall on the side of the Common Roots building. There was also a great alley full of interesting backdrops just a few feet away. As we started working more, we both started to relax and get more into it. It was great to watch her after I suggested she think of a few of her favorite roles she has played to use as inspiration for posing and facial expressions. That seemed to really loosen her up. She started taking moments to internalize, and then she’d come back up with a brand new look on her face. It was such a theatre thing, and something I can totally identify with. There were also just some great lighthearted moments. At one point, Renee was posing in front of a brick fence next to the back of a house. Next thing we know, someone is coming out of the wooden gate right next to the fence. We casually strolled away as if we’d never been there, but started laughing the second we were out of earshot.

After we finished up at Common Roots, we drove over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There was tons to work with there. Staircases, windows, brightly colored walls, and more. This was my favorite shot, taken just outside the lobby. There were tons of these great red twig plants and they were just the right amount of texture and color to make the perfect backdrop.

We wandered all over the grounds of the MIA, plus went across the street to Washburn Fair Oaks. The park was totally muddy and gross (yay spring?) and we got a lot of weird people walking by, but we still managed to get some shots I’m proud of. I got over 700 photos total in the two hours we spent shooting, 400 of which made the grade to be sent off to Renee for approval. All in all, a very successful session.

I used my L series 50mm for the entire shoot. I played with my aperture and shutter speed a lot, but my ISO was hardly ever above 200. I used a reflector for a few shots, but for the most part, we didn’t really need it. The natural light was just so good. I do wish I had remembered to bring my ladder. While cumbersome, it is so useful for getting a variety of different angles. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thanks to the fine people at Common Roots Cafe for being so helpful, and for making tasty food. I tried a coconut lime tea cake and it was awesome. And of course, thank you, Renee! I had a blast working with you and I hope you like your photos!