Editorial

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

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

Work that Empowers Me // Promo Shoot

// DAY ONE - THE DESERT \\

I had been itching to create work that left me feeling...different.  I wanted to walk away knowing I had grown artistically.  I wanted to to create work that empowers me.

That's always my goal when I'm sitting at home dreaming up shoots and planning where I'm going to go next in my work and well, in life.  There is something that happens when I'm free to take my time and watch my client or friend or couple or whomever it is, and capture what they may not see themselves.

I create my best work when I'm free.

// When I can sketch out those visions on paper, when I can hand pick my team, when I can pull together looks I love and want to showcase through strong women.  That's when I'm at my best.  I can be myself completely and let go.  Show everything that's been bottled up inside and just explode with all those thoughts and pictures in my head.

A month of planning and it was over in a second.  I brought six women together and drove us out to the desert.  Just us in the middle of nowhere, free to roam and play and make magic together.

// I want more of this.  I want to work with amazing teams like this.  I want it all.

All you brands out there, you fashion bloggers, you lifestyle contributors.  I want you too.

//DAY TWO - THE ROOF\\

I love working working with couples.   There's something that happens when they forget a camera is attached to me.  They let go.  They get lost in themselves and that's when I lose my mind and can't stop shooting.  I give direction and let them make adjustments, be still, laugh, walk away and check if I'm still there.  

We snuck up to the roof and watched the sun set as the wind tried to carry us away.  We got to know each other as we waited for the light to be just right.  We talked about faith and what church was like for us growing up.  They told me how they met and what they do for a living and I told them how much I love L.A. and how I want to see the world.  How I hope photography takes me to all those places.

// It was an afternoon of all my favorite things and what I strive for with each couple.  I walked away from that shoot feeling inspired and how glad I am to have started a business three years ago.  

Hiring a photographer isn't just about showing up and ending up with pretty pictures.  It's about a connection.  It's about the experience.  It's about the the process of how you got those pretty pictures.  That's what this whole shoot was about and what I wanted to convey to anyone I work with in the future.  

THIS is what it looks like and what I want to share with you.  I hope you'll join me.

 

// SO MANY THANK YOU'S \\

My ladies and CJ!  My little team.  I couldn't have done this without you and I'm so grateful.  I want to take over the world together.

// Vivian Silva - The best videographer that ever lived.  You understood what I wanted from the beginning and made it happen effortlessly.  I knew you were the one.  THANK YOU.

// Jessica Zimmerman - One of the sweetest, kindest, creative hair/makeup ARTISTS I've had the pleasure of working with.  You're never getting rid of me.

// Tata Tickaradze - I can't.  I just love the way we found each other.  It was meant to be and you absolutely killed it.

// Rebecca Mullins, Lindsay Hundley, Jessickah Hart, CJ Meston - My beautiful muses.  You are the faces of this shoot and I couldn't be happier.  You were so easy to work with and weren't afraid of getting dirty and freeze your asses off with me in the desert/rooftop.  I'll never forget it.  I heart you all so hard. 

Marissa Christiansen for Haute Deity

Ah, fashion.  It's one of my favorite things and being hired to photograph it is always such a joy for me.  Marissa came to me some months back to inquire about a shoot.  It would be a fashion editorial shoot featuring a collection of ethereal garments she created for women called Haute Deity.  Not only that, but she wanted it shot in the ever amazing Joshua Tree.  I mean....I was ecstatic.  Fashion plus the desert equals my heaven. We started planning it and after some emails back and forth a location was chosen, mood boards were made and a date was set.  We literally kept emailing each other just to say how excited we were for the shoot.  When I showed up to the house she had rented (which by the way was ridiculously amazing) and saw all of the unique pieces hanging in the closet my mouth dropped.  I did not expect them to be so exquisite in person.

Each piece is intricately detailed to perfection and one of a kind, made by hand.  Her hands.  She sewed and designed every part of the collection herself and I'm so honored she chose me to essentially shoot the lookbook, which will help launch the website soon!

Here are some of my favorites from that magical day.

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Erin Connors Long | Sunset Secrets

Often times I will look at someone and KNOW they will photograph so beautifully.  Other times I will be talking to a close friend and suddenly it's like I'm seeing them for the first time and I am instantly inspired to create a shoot based around who they are and how I see them.  I'm so grateful for this intuition and this fearlessness to ask these strangers and friends to trust me and model for me.  It's this constant need to get the pictures I have in my head out into the world that keeps me going, keeps me creative and makes me better. Meet Erin Connors Long.  One of the most stunning, gentle creatures I know.

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A Little Promo for You | Editoirial Portaiture

Sayyyy whaaaaa??????  Something special is going on over here and by special, I mean A SPECIAL little promo just for you.  I know times are tough and spending money on yourself isn't usually at the top of the list this time of year.  That's why if you have been wanting updated portraits for your blog, for your website or simply just to do something nice for yourself, now is the time.  Even better, if you want to give the gift of photography to someone you love, I'm your girl.  Help me help you! I am taking 15% off your portrait session if you book before December 31, 2014.  Usually hair and makeup is an extra fee, but this time around it is included!  You are getting a whole package of awesomeness for a discounted price so I'm really excited about that.  I can't wait to talk about your ideas, your wardrobe, your style and all things you.  Holla at your girl (liz@elizabethzuluaga.com) and tell me everything!

elizabeth zuluaga photography

"INTO THE NOIR" ft. Aja Dang

It really is something when I look back to college (we don't need to discuss how long ago that was) and remember how much I wanted to become a photographer and all the things I did to try and figure out what kind of photographer I wanted to be.  Did I want to shoot weddings?  Did I want to become a photo journalist?  Did I want to shoot fashion?  I started by dressing up in different wigs and outfits and doing a lot of self portraiture.  To this day, I still do that just for practice.  Hmmm maybe I should post one of those one of these days! I then started photographing my friends and coming up with concepts for the shoots.  That's when I realized how much I love photographing people and putting together different ideas to make one beautiful photograph.  I love working with a team and how fun it is to collaborate on artistic points of view.  Over the past few years I came to realize my love for shooting weddings as well and what a surprise that has been (more on that in a post coming soon)!

Today I am still chasing my dreams and every day I try to do little (and big) things to get me closer.  Working with Vannga Nguyen, founder of The Advnt Society, felt like I was doing just that.  I'm so proud of what we did together.  From makeup to hair to the overall concept, it was all so fantastic and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the day in downtown LA.  Check out the photos here and I've included some extras that didn't make it in the final piece below!

creative dir / stylist: @vannganguyen
makeup: @soniaresh
model:  @ajadang
photo asst: @charlesrenfrow 

The Advnt Society

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The ADVNT Society