hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Sunday, June 28, 2009

mila | geek speak . monitor calibration

up till now i had taken the whole monitor calibration thing for granted. i got it into my head recently that i need to pay attention to those details especially if i'm going to print some of these photos. i started asking around at the [b]school to find out if anyone had any suggestions for the most affordable way to calibrate my monitor. dear alfred replied with..."borrow a calibrator". it's free! lol! so i did! alfred lent me his pantone huey and it worked like a charm. it's amazing how much of a difference it really made! the pictures i tool of alicia a couple of blog entries ago really came out so much better!

so here's the thing... once you calibrate your monitors you have to maintain it. i didn't realize that. i had returned the calibrator back to alfred and kept working on other projects since. i had a sneaking suspicion that my monitor was off again so i jumped down to frys and bought my own calibrator (can't be a mooch forever right?) i purchased the spyder 3 which wasn't much of a price diff from the pantone huey and had uber rave reviews. holy cow!!!! why didn't anyone tell me that the last blog post (with the pictures of my sis) were so dark?!?!?!

my profuse apologies to my sister. here's the calibrated version of her shots. see the diff??? btw... next time you guys see pix of her you'll see a HUGE diff! she's rockin a sassy new haircut now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

mila | stray thoughts . meet my support group

"don't have a plan B and you'll be forced to make plan A work.  plan B is for birds."  those are the words of my good friend john.  he was a successful salesman with an incredible dynamic personality.  today he is retired and enjoying life.  i am fortunate to have him as my mentor.  that statement came in response to a decision i made to pursue photography with everything i've got. i have chosen to turn my back on full time corporate life which is where i spent the last 15 years. this is quite the plunge.  

curtis in all his awesomeness has both feet on my a$$ kicking me out to the big girl photo world.  he's decreed that he would be our stable source of income, slaving away in corporate IT america and that i needed to pursue this dream.  as if that wasn't enough, he spends all his free time working on my website and de-stressing me whenever necessary.... and lemme tell you... it's always necessary.

thank god for my friends and family.  trista, my cousin, is racking her brain for marketing strategies.  my good friend todd sends me notes on technology and encouragement all the way from china.  oh... and here's the latest thing he did for me that i'm indebted to him for life for... he decided to sell me his first generation 5D (originally loaned to me) at a ridiculous discount!  i think he clicked the shutter on it all of two times it's so pristine!  peter keeps me busy with side jobs.  john gives me pep talks and words of wisdom (the guy should write a book!)  and my photo band (hanssie, alice, matt and regis) are a constant source of encouragement and support.

i am surrounded by so much love, even if i fall i wouldn't hit the ground with a thud. 

but i'm not done yet!  i want to tell you guys about my baby sister katrina.  she's the one who feeds me!  she's got a degree in culinary arts.  the kid is a chef ... an excellent one!  there are no words to describe how awesome she is in the kitchen.  you'll just have to come over for a taste test.  she keeps me fed and away from knives whenever possible.  she's a book worm, you wouldn't know it from these pictures but she's the more serious (and quiet) one of the two of us, she likes to tell me how to eat (and i love to listen), she cooks, she gardens, she rocks!  she's recently signed on to be my photo buddy at my 20.20.20 gatherings.  you really should come meet her some time.  she's always lookin for food guinea pigs. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

mila | portraits . alicia

i want you guys to meet alicia. she loves....

  • science -- just like her mom
  • sports -- she's so active she plays a different sport everyday
  • the outdoors
  • ping pong -- well i actually don't know if she loves it but i wouldn't cross her path at ping pong even if could actually play. she's REALLY good.
  • the beach -- ah don't we all??
  • a tree at her school
  • her dog sarah. is that not the cutest name for a dog?
when lil girls grow up they don't stop being the apple of their dad's eye. i was hoping i would finish this in time for today. eking by.... happy father's day to my good friend peter!

Monday, June 15, 2009

mila | stray thoughts . doubting myself

i used to say that i like to fly under the radar and then surprise my employer with my brilliant one two punch move. i'm a quick study and impressing the boss comes easily to me most of the time. but i can't really do that when i am my own employee. the person to impress is the client and they have no clue i even exist. this marketing thing is a royal challenge. here i am ... finger on the shutter, blood pumping through my veins ready to aim my camera at that next session... and i wait. and i keep waiting. my vision starts to blur as my contacts dry out. i'm getting dizzy from holding my breath. i'm still waiting.

a few weeks ago curtis gave me a stern lecture about putting myself down. i am my own worst critic. everyone knows that about themselves. curtis won't allow it where the topic is me + my photography. he truly is my biggest supporter and i appreciate it and if i could love him anymore .. i would. i really want to prove to him and myself that i can make it in this industry. and so i abandon the waiting game and move forward.

the re-branding of milaPhotography is heavily in the works. we were supposed to be done by today but as life goes... we're a little late. i can't wait to share the new site, logo and philosphy with you. it's taking all my willpower to keep my fingers zipped together and my lips sealed. i CAN tell you however that i am branching out a bit. as an extension of my photography, i will be teaching a class on lightroom at the IRVINE FINE ARTS CENTER. it's not till october but in case anyone is interested ... i'm dropping hints. details to follow.

so i figured out that the best cure for a cold is a shot of tequila first thing in the morning and last thing at night. i'm not alcoholic i swear! the video below by zack arias is the best cure for those of you that hit the rut that every photographer seems to hit. same formula as tequila... watch it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. do that for a few days and call me if the symptoms persist.

love you guys and till the next post... over and out!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

mila | one more time . sarah + mark

hanssie invited me to a "trash the dress" session at the beach. i was thrilled! you should have seen my face when i met the couple. GOD LOVES ME! they were gorgeous! i was thrilled-ER!!!

sarah and mark got married three years ago and sarah still fits in her dress. she joked that this would be the last time -- coz after the session she was planning on letting herself go. ha! that's what mark said. ha! we all laughed. they were the perfect couple. omg they were so sweet and lovey and every shot was absolute heaven. hanssie and i were ridiculously giddy. every click was an exclamation of joy and a leap. my calves are so buff from all that jumping.

and as if all this wasn't enough... my friend todd had loaned me his canon 5D (just the first generation one since the mkII stays close to him at all times)..and i had it for the shoot!!!! i was in the heaven past heaven.

p.s. in the mila world ... we're naming these types of sessions "ONE MORE TIME". coz you get to wear the dress... one more time. SNAP! mmm hmm that's right.