Changing Focus // Commercial Work // Los Angeles Commercial Photographer

Hello you little lovers. I’m so glad you’re here because it is today that I want to tell you a little story on why next year in 2019 I will be focused primarily in commercial work. I will still be shooting weddings, but in a much smaller capacity (only taking on 10 weddings to be exact) and being extra intentional of the ones I take on. I’m so excited for this new chapter and so, I thought it would be nice to give you a little background on why I came to this decision as well as include some of my favorite editorial images I shot the last couple of years. Thanks for being here :)

When I first started shooting I had all these dreams of being a commercial photographer.  I imagined my work up in galleries, I would be known for my love of series (if you follow me on Instagram, now you know where my love of ongoing stories such as the wig series, walks home, morning bangs, etc. comes from) and I would consistently work with publications and brands who believed in me and I in them. 

Despite these hopes and dreams, I realized early on that the world of commercial photography isn’t as user friendly as the wedding industry and I found myself being drawn to weddings more and more.  I found my inspirations and my idols and learned a lot from them as far as how I could shoot weddings in my own way. 

I didn’t have to be the pinnacle of Pinterest vibes with my images.  I didn’t have to love mason jars.  I didn’t have to love the color pink.  I didn’t have to be the traditional wedding photographer and I could shoot with an editorial edge.  I could embrace shadows and lines and steer clear of what was expected and just be true to who I am as an artist.  How refreshing.  And so, my journey began in the wedding industry and I have LOVED every minute of it.

I really focused my energies into working with clients that fed my soul and my relationships with them have been one of the most amazing things in my business. I’ve gotten to travel as far as Italy and my business has even brought me to a new city I now call home. The past five years have been life changing to say the least.

>> During this time however, there has always been a small ache in my heart for the kind of work I always imagined myself doing full time. Commercial work.

I have slipped editorial projects and conceptualized shoots for brands into my schedule as much as possible in the past few years, but it never feels like enough and I’m always yearning for more.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this, lost sleep over it and ultimately have realized I need to make some changes in my business, focusing more on where my love of photography began and being true to my heart. It’s going to be hard and scary, but I’m currently putting things in place for next year to help me navigate this slightly foreign industry. I just know it’s what I need to do.

Taking only a very limited amount of weddings next year makes me really excited because that just means I can give my 2019 couples even more undivided attention. I won’t need to balance as much and I can really lay the ground work for what’s in store.

// I want my LA roots come through my images stronger than ever. 

// I want sunshine and palm trees and my love for the ocean and friendly faces on the street back into my images. 

// I want to tell stories through imagery and I want to tell the stories of the brands I work with.

I can’t wait to continue this journey I’m on and keep filling you in on all that is my life and business. I have a really good feeling for 2019 :)

Cheers xo

Ethereal Spring // Seattle Editorial Photographer

I was thinking the other day about how much I avoid shooting in nature. 

// I mean, I love nature. 

// It's beautiful. 

// It smells good. 

// I like surrounding myself in it. 

I don't however, shoot in it often, typically enjoy editing images I've shot in it or feel regularly inspired by it.  So, in an effort to constantly be challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided it was time I conceptualized a shoot solely based on Spring, greenery and the way it feels to be laying out under the sun in the middle of the afternoon.  Just you, your love and the smell of April enveloping your senses.

I also wanted this shoot to be a twist on engagement sessions.  All you engaged couples out there, this one's for you.  Always remember that your photos don't have to be the norm.  They don't have to look like engagement photos.  They don't have to stick to the wedding industry standards, which can often feel very formulaic and overdone.  

>> Your photos can be different, they can tell a story, they can be colorful, they can be editorial without you being a professional model (yes, this is possible. Call me.) and they can be anti engagement photo-esque.  They can be whatever the hell you want them to be because the photos you ultimately go home with are about YOU and the art you created with your photographer. <<

These 40 something photos were created with you in mind, my little lovers, but remember that you don't need to be engaged to invest in a shoot like this or be represented by LA Models.  Everyone deserves to have themselves documented by someone who wants to give you images that scream anything but basic, cheezy shit. It's also important to remember that you're going to have the best time, laugh A LOT, and question why you didn't do this sooner.  That's a promise.

Thank you to the team that helped me make this little story come to life.  This industry has introduced me to such talented people who embrace my loud shooting style and childish sense of wonder.  Thank you, thank you :)

Photography > Elizabeth Zuluaga // HUMA > Oliver Villafuerte for Oliver Beauty // Styling > Elise Muetterties // Models > Leslie Carvitto and Josh Gracia

Talitha Bullock // Seattle Editorial Photographer

So much of what I shoot is done outdoors.  I am highly inspired by the city, natural light, street fashion and human interaction.  However, something I've always loved doing is bringing someone into my home and photographing them without any distractions.  It's just us, light and my camera.  I'm not worried about the technicalities or mechanics of photography (I never really am).  I'm just focused on who they are and that's it.  Because when I see you, I see you. 

Talitha, thank you for coming into my space and being vulnerable with me.  You allowed me to capture you just the way I see you.  A gentle, beautiful ethereal soul.  Love you, girl.

Tiarra Sorte // Sayulita Editorial Photographer

Tiarra Sorte.  I could sit here and write out bullet points on all the things I love about her, but we could be here until next month....or longer.  Instead, I give you a brief description of why she is so important to me and photos that showcase her radiant beauty.  

She came into my life when I needed her the most.  Good ol' Instagram brought us together (yes, that actually does happen) and our long distance friendship began.  Our text chain goes back two years now and it's still going strong.  We talk almost every day, counseling each other on the ways of the photography industry, ingredients for salads (she makes amazing salads fyi) and new things that are inspiring us.  

// When our friendship was new I thought how interesting it was that someone who is a bit quiet, shy and introverted is also so outspoken, laughs loudly (I'm obsessed with her laugh) and so goofy.  She tells me being around people who are extroverted brings those qualities out in her and I've always loved that.  I realized we balance each other out; a recipe for a beautiful dynamic.

Surrounding yourself with people who challenge you, inspire you and make you pause for admiration is everything and that's what Tiarra is for me.  Her effortless way of managing her business, her family of six and her relationships astound me.  I want be just like her when I grow up and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if every single person she knows feels the same way.

// Love you, girl.  Thank you for allowing me to photograph you the way I always imagined. \\ 

Moorea Seal // Seattle Editorial Photographer

Sometimes when I take meetings with new clients, may it be couples or brands, they ask me how I got started in photography.  What was my first inspiration?  The answer is storytelling through fashion meets emotion.  I really think that's the best way to put it?

I always loved dressing up my friends and taking them somewhere in the city and bringing the images in my head onto my camera.  I think that's why I love working with brands so much.  It's an opportunity for me to bring that first love and first instincts to life over and over again.

// Moorea Seal thank you for creating such amazing pieces and consistently bringing together local artists into one place.  Seattle is so lucky to have you.

// THE TEAM \\

Photography >> Elizabeth Zuluaga

Jewelry >> Moorea Seal

HMUA >> Oliver Beauty

Styling >> Claudia Brady

Model >> Emilee West

Something New // Seattle Editorial Photographer

There are days when I'm tired and feel worn down and not really feeling like creating anything new.  It's these days when I know that I need to push myself and do exactly that.  Walk down unfamiliar streets, use light in a different way, use angles that I shy away from often.  Make something new. 

// Styling by yours truly, Alejandra Aguirre and Chelsea Abril  // Modeling by the beautiful Emily Forsberg

 

Ohme // Bad Ass in all the Right Ways // Seattle Editorial Photographer

Oh Em Gee.  Women coming together to create unique, beautiful imagery together.  That's my jam and what I love doing most.

In case you haven't heard, Mia Stephenson of Ohme Shop is the coolest. She has recently dropped all things to focus 100% on her jewelry business and I just want to applause the hell out of that because it takes guts and ambition.  She's killing it and I'm so happy for her.

The way she and I met is quite the meet cute.  I was having dinner with some friends and Mia happened to be our server.  Being a jewelry lover myself, I noticed the most amazing necklace she was wearing and asked her where she got it.  She told me she made it and I was blown away.  I gave her my business card and a few weeks later she wanted to discuss the possibility of working together.  

Well...we did and it was fucking awesome.  

I listened to what Mia's vision was and what she wanted out of the shoot and helped fine tune things so everything was super solid.  I can't say it enough.  Working with people who trust me, like my style and identify with who I am always produces the best work.  I'm so proud of us and what all these ladies did that day.  

<< THE TEAM >>

Photography // Me, myself and I

Jewelry // Ohme Shop

Makeup // Krystal Strifert

Model //  Adria GarciaKim Selling

Chelsea Abril // A Love Story // Hawaii Lifestyle Photographer

A mutual friend of ours introduced us just a few months ago (thank you Alex!) and it was literally love at first sight.  We clicked instantly and knew we would be long time friends.  We've been inseparable ever since and it's been one of the many gifts I've been given here in Seattle in just a short amount of time.

We've become so close in fact, that she invited me to shoot a wedding with her in Hawaii where she spends half her time (other half in Seattle).  I bought a ticket immediately and flew off to meet her in Maui.  

// There was no way I was going to leave that island though without shooting this gorgeous woman amongst the water where she grew up.  

A princess born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii who has not only stolen my heart, but also every person that sees her walk by.  That face, that body.  Girl, stop it (jay k, don't stop).

Cheers to friendship and finding soulmates of all calibers no matter where you are in the world. Chelsea Abril, everyone.

Shoot for You // Stay Inspired

Sometimes as photographers we tend to fall into a pattern of only producing work we are hired to do.  It's important to step out of that and create work that's just for us.  Bringing to life those images that are floating around in our heads and into the camera.  Bringing together the people you love to work with, or in this case, you've never worked with, and create something you love simply for the sake of staying inspired. 

Always, always, always shoot personal work.  Always, always, always stay inspired.

A big, beautiful thank you to my team who came to my loft and worked their magic with me. 

Model // Marlee Olsen

Hair and Makeup // Karla Alvarez 

Stylist // Claudia Brady

Vulnerability // Let's Grow a Pair

Ive been thinking a lot about vulnerability lately. How it can propel us forward, how it can show the person we love our true selves, the rawness of our hearts, the honesty we've been hiding out of fear.  It can bring us everything we've always wanted if we just let it.  Why are we so afraid to let go? 

When you're dating and meeting different kinds of people it's interesting what you learn.  What has stuck out to me the most is how AFRAID people are to let you in at the risk of getting hurt. They keep their distance, they show just enough affection to keep you close, but not too close.  They share their secrets with you, but don't include you in future plans (because, you know, just in case). They want to see you all the time, but don't express how they really feel about you.  I mean, the sky might cave in on us and then what would we do?

Subsequently, you begin to build walls brick by brick, covering up your excitement. That excitement quickly turns into anxiety and inevitably, you are in this constant state of panic. You're suddenly confused all the time, questioning if it's your fault. You begin to hesitate holding their hand for fear you might scare them away.  You look at them adoringly, but would NEVER tell them what you really think (because naturally, they will run for the hills).  Before you know it you're the one who's terrified of letting anyone in.  It's good times all around.

I used to be the kind of person who wore her heart on her sleeve. I used to be raw with emotion and trusted myself. I never used to hesitate telling someone I loved them or that I felt disrespected or that I needed more from them. I never feared putting myself out there.  

I've got to be honest. I liked myself better when I was a bleeding heart kind of person. I wasn't worried about getting hurt. I knew if that happened at least it was real. At least I tried something. At least I was true to myself. Somewhere along the way that changed.  I started building those walls.

I want to find the younger Liz again.  I want us all to be the kind of people who are honest about love and consequences be damned.  I want us to shed the "what ifs."  I want us to stop hesitating and just grow a pair.  What if we just gave in?  What if we just let ourselves fall?  What if we embraced what is right in front of us?  What if we were fearless in love?

WHAT IF WE WERE VULNERABLE?

What are YOUR thoughts?  Comment below? Email? Whatever. Let's give in and do the unthinkable.  Let's be real.

Models // Christiana Bueno &

Hair & Makeup // Valerie Garcia