Los Angeles Photography

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 has 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 to 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

A Fairy Named Mollie

Once upon a time, I was hiking up a mountain in Griffith Park and to my surprise, came across a beautiful pregnant fairy. She stood there smiling at me so I approached her and introduced myself.  We got acquainted and had the loveliest chat as we walked through the trees together. I couldn’t help but ask her if I could photograph her and she asked if that was really necessary? I reminded her that she was only going to be pregnant once with this particular child and how wonderful it would be to look back on these days of anticipation.

 

Remember what she looked like.

Remember how she felt.

Remember how pregnancy changed her over the course of nine months.

 

It would all be documented in photographs that she could have forever. She smiled with agreement and so we continued walking through the forest stopping when I felt inspired.

Before we knew it, we were losing light as the sun quickly hid behind the mountains.  She offered to walk me back to my car and with delight, I accepted.  We spoke about our lives and how much has changed for the both of us in the last year.  We spoke about friendship and the different chapters we are both in at the moment.  In the midst of this fairy/girl talk we also realized that we are so much alike.  Though we are living very different lives, we are living very similar lives as well.  Both living one adventure to the next, both living very closely to our loved ones, both inspired by fashion and nature.  The list goes on.

 

The lesson I learned that magical afternoon is this:  Enjoy each chapter of your life no matter what it is because it will end one day and a new chapter will begin. Oh, and that fairies are the best and should be handled with the utmost respect. They also love peanut butter and popcorn.

The end.

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Travis

Travis Peery.  What a guy.  An amazing singer/musician with so much talent, but you would never know upon meeting him. He's humble and has this wonderful way of making you feel important and somehow you know that he truly believes that.  He's interested in who YOU are and what YOU have to say. travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

One day we were sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and he asked me if I would work with him to create the artwork for his band's upcoming album. I didn't think twice about it.  He then proceeded to make me one of his famous Moscow mules (with candied ginger of course) and I proceeded to write ridiculous notes on his typewriter (it's a thing).travis_peerytravis_peery

Fast forward a few weeks, we were driving all around LA scouting locations and stopping for cocktails here and there.  We really focused on areas that meant something to Travis because ultimately, he wanted to pay homage to LA, which is where he spent the last two years writing his newest album.  After all the cocktails, all the laughs and all the long talks about what this album means to him, we finally decided on his Silverlake apartment (the best bachelor pad that ever lived), Echo Park and Downtown.  The shoot turned out to be one of the most meaningful projects I've worked on this year and it felt so good shooting in my hometown.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

If there's anything I've learned about friendship over the years it's this. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, make you laugh and teach you not only about yourself, but how to be better.  I think above all else, friends should lift you up. That's what Travis does for me. He lifts me up and that's something I can always count on.  I'm proud of him, proud to call him my friend and proud of the photos we made together.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

// P.S  You can check out the band's website HERE!  Word to the wise, go to one of his next shows.  You won't regret it.

Cheers to friendship :)

 

Holiday Traditions and a New Year

I'm not going to write a recap of 2014.  I'm not going to tell you all the things I succeeded and failed at either.  What I am going to tell you is that 2014 was one of the most amazing years of my life that brought me closer to my friends, closer to my family and a better understanding to who I am as a person and as a photographer.  I made a promise to myself at the end of 2013 that I would fall in love (without fear) as much as possible and meet new people, travel more and work harder than I ever have before.  I did all those things and more and in just the past few months one of the most amazing things happened to me.  A dream come true if you will.  I can't tell you what that is yet, but I am DYING to tell you my secret soon.  Just you wait! I hope you start this year with realistic goals, love in your heart and the determination to become your best self.  I would love to know what your holiday traditions are and how you spent your new year's eve!  For now, please enjoy photos from one of my favorite holiday traditions my girlfriends and I share each December.  Our holiday brunch is a day we look forward to all year and it never disappoints (click here to learn about our story).  The word "brunch" should be used loosely as we end up hanging out for eight plus hours straight - literally (our calendar invite always says "10-noon, but you know...").

Happy new year :)

*A little note for my girls:  my loves, my ladies, you may not realize this, but you have been some of the best things that LA has given me and I am so grateful.  Some of us have moved far away and some of us may be moving in the future, but no distance has or could break what we share.  No one knows what we have nor should they.  We are a random group of girls brought together by the lion and I know we are friends for life.  I love you.

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McCarver Family

Anyone who knows me knows I am absolutely, ridiculously obsessed with babies.  Now that my friends are starting to have them I couldn't be happier for them, but more importantly I couldn't be happier for me!  I get to come over and squish them and kiss them and spoil them for as long as I want and it's fantastic.  I mean, it's really all about satisfying my love for chunky baby thighs and arm rolls.  There is nothing better. When Mike and Stephanie asked me to come over to do just that, but also capture all the special moments they are having with their new little one I got SO excited.  Friends having babies - check.  Babies getting chubby and delicious - check.  Camera - check.  Beautiful images - check.

I'm so happy the way the photos turned out and after Stephanie emailed me the most awesome thank you email ever, I knew she and Mike were just as happy.  I mean, look at himmmmmmm.  How could one take a bad picture?  Needless to say, I had the BEST time with all of them (including their adorable puppies).  Everything about the McCarvers is fabulous.  The end.

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Thanks. I Love You.

I just want to say I am feeling so humbled lately at all the amazing connections I made with my family and friends this year and how happy I am I made the effort to travel and even date ;)  Ha!  What a fun roller coaster that has been.  Going through such ups and downs this year makes me smile at how in the moment of distress you think everything is falling apart when really, things are just working themselves out the way they should. I have SO many things coming up in the new year and I can't wait to share them all with you!  A LOT of new exciting things happening over here including shoots, travel, weddings and style posts.  In the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos taken over Thanksgiving weekend with my family.  Have yourself a happy little Tuesday.

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Friendship in your 30s + a Dance Party

October was crazy with work and planning new shoots so adding travel to the mix was a little stressful, but very worth the stress.  If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have been back and forth between LA and San Francisco lately.  A big reason for that is some of my closest friends live there so we spend a lot of time visiting each other as much as possible.  Every year they become more and more important to me and I smile knowing they feel the same way about me.  If there is anything I have learned in the last couple of years it's that the circle of people in your life is something you create; it's not something that just happens. I have friends who are like family and I know it's not because I just got lucky.  In your 30s you start to reevaluate friendship and who you really want around you for the long haul.  It's not about convenience and quantity anymore, it's about quality.  Its incredible that my closest friends not only date back to high school and college, but also just five or six years ago and still going strong.  They make the effort to stay close just as much as I do and I'm so grateful.  It only gets harder to do as we get older and I'm so proud that I have surrounded myself with people that not only find it equally as important, but also don't consider it a chore.  Whether we live down the street from one another or across the country, we make the effort to check in, facetime, etc. and it never feels like an obligation.  It feels like a necessity and that is amazing.  When we have a trip planned it's all we talk about for weeks and literally count down to our next dance party (it's a thing).  Speaking of which...please click here, turn up the volume and scroll down.  You're welcome.

Thanks for capturing this ridiculous moment in time Elyse :)

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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

A Nod to Summer's Ending + Photos from Cancun Mexico

Oh Summer.  It really IS all it's cracked up to be.  Every spring I think to myself, this summer is going to be better than the last and you know what?  I'm usually right.  I was so inspired this summer and I realized that I shot more these past few months than ever before.  I went on more trips, I saw more friends, I threw more parties, I mended a broken heart (including my own), I watched dolphins swim in the ocean and I ate my way through LA.  The list goes on and on.  I hope the following reminds you of your summer and perhaps inspires you in some way.  

* The sun coming in through my window every morning telling me to wake up and get outside.

* Iced coffee I chilled the night before.

* Welcoming home friends that moved back to LA from the east coast and beyond.

* Dinner parties in my apartment filled with music, laughter, hugs and twinkle lights.

* Days at the beach that started at 11am and ended at 7pm (or longer).

* A Road trip with the windows down to watch two of your most special friends get married.

* A Road trip to your cousin's wedding in Palm Springs and being honored with the responsibility of photographing it for her.

* A sweet, short flight to San Francisco to visit your friend that moved and forced everything to change.  That first beer together in the bar never tasted so good.  Maybe it was because we missed each other or maybe it was because catching up over a beer felt familiar and that in itself felt like nothing had changed.

* Driving to the desert to photograph a girl with the most stunning skin I've ever seen and capture that beautiful warm light.

* Allowing myself to cry due to a broken heart, but better yet, allowing a friend in during such a dark time to comfort me (something that is hard for me to do at times).

* Taking walks at night with my girlfriend who lives next door to buy salted caramel ice cream followed by long talks on my couch.  Sometimes we laugh so hard I wonder what life was like before we shared a wall.  There is nothing like a delicious laugh attack.

* Singing on the top of my lungs while driving to orange county with the sun roof open and all the windows down.

* Getting to orange county and being greeted by an old friend who reminds me every single day that I'm worth it.

* Taking a long overdue trip to a beautiful country to lay in the sun with a friend.

* Stumbling upon a new friend at the beach who not only makes everything better, but shares cupcakes with me on a weekly basis and realizing they are one of the best surprises that summer could bring...

* Letting go of the past and allowing that sweet, warm summer air to take the pain away.

* The ocean whispering to keep my heart open because anything can happen if I just listen.

* Watching my bedroom turn bright tangerine orange as the sun sets over the city and then just like that, it is dark, cool and I am fast asleep (kind of like falling in love).

* Getting all your friends together for no reason at all and enjoying cocktails under a blanket of soft lights.  Looking around the room that night my heart was full and never have I been more proud of the friends I have made in my life.

 

Photos I took on my mini digital camera in Cancun last month.  We stayed at The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya and it was by far the most beautiful resort I have ever been to and I can't wait to go back.  We made nothing but warm memories there.  Here's to summer...

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