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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

mila | scott robert N me . flash

back in may i took a workshop with scott robert and i tried to practice what i learned as much as possible.  it's always easy to fall back into habits.  it's a comfort zone thing and as roberto valenzuela once said, your comfort zone is about a minute long.  but i press on.  the easiest way for me to do this is to practice on my own.  using my clients as guinea pigs for my latest experiment isn't always the best idea so kaya and curtis get the brunt of the shutter exposure.  (mm hmm.. you know it, no pun intended).

first he said "look for the light".  

and that's what i've been doing.  it's helped.  a LOT!  not that i didn't know where to look or what to look for in the past, but i ran on instinct rather than science.  it's the science that makes the doing repeatable.  and in this industry, consistency pays off.  

then he said "bring your own".  

flash can be my friend!  i'm telling you, this man can teach!  the concept of flash for some reason in the most complicated and intimidating lesson amongst my peers (unless you're matt).  after the lesson, i think i got it down!  well ... i thought i did anyway.  i figured out (at a wedding) that i needed to really practice the crap out of this and have it become second nature.  i second shot with joe photo and becker recently.  those guys were sooooo generous to let me tag along at this amazing wedding in malibu.  good thing i was only the 3rd string tag along, they showed me what i forgot to do.  i forgot the first lesson.  look for the light.  just coz i brought light didn't mean that i should "hide" the existing light.  i need to make it all work harmoniously.  practicing, trial and error and perseverance will get me there.  and so i keep on.

here's the experiment shots at the scott robert workshop.  btw... i found it easier for me to learn the lessons on my own with a group of friends rather than work under a time pressure with the models.  this was one of those lessons i really had to think about.  so ... you'll notice that i only have 1 model photo.  not because there weren't any models there.  i just opted out of using them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

mila | smugmug . lessons learned - for free

last month at smugmug roberto valenzuela taught us how to practice properly.  what's that?  you weren't there?  sux to be you!  everyone that was there will give me an amen when i say, i could've listened to that guy talk for 4 more hours.  he was amazing!  so much information, all useful and applicable and to top it off... he was funny!  if you ever get the chance to listen to him teach, call me.  i'll come with you.  and definitely don't miss the opportunity.

this month we have joe photo coming to speak to us.  here's the topic.

  • Hot Albums + Cool Designs = Happy Clients and More Money
  • Do your sample albums suck? Are they old, outdated and boring? Do you make excuses for your albums? What do your sample albums say about your photography style? Are you ready for some new, killer albums? Do you want to make bigger album sales? Do you need to learn how to sell albums after the wedding? Are you ready to feel good about your album designs? 

  • When you get excited about your albums, your clients will get excited and happy clients spend more money. The albums you show are the albums you will sell. Isn’t it time to show your clients bigger and more beautifully designed albums that show off your style? This program will showcase the hottest album companies and the coolest design solutions available. Joe will show his entire system for upgrading after each wedding. Get ready to make more money!

we will also have west coast albums on hand to show us some product.  west coast albums is a local to socal company (based in los angeles).  

July 29 · 6:30pm - 8:30pm

LocationMesa Verde Country Club 3000 Club House Road Costa Mesa, CA 92626

now... don't give me that envious look next month when i tell you about the awesomeness you missed.  just come out and join us!  it's free!  RSVP here or on our Meetup page - http://www.meetup.com/Orange-County-SmugMug-User-Group/

some photos from last month's meet

Thursday, July 15, 2010

mila | kaya updates

  • her ears are pierced!  i took her to claire's the week after she got her DTaP shot at 2 months.  she was sooooo good.  she screamed once for each ear then she was done.
  • she clasps her hands in front of her, stares at them then tries to shove them in her mouth
  • there's a constant collection of lint between her fingers and her toes.  she must be starting a blanket project that i'm not aware of.
  • her nails grow faster than her hair!
  • when i saw her hands and feet for the first time my initial reaction was "she's gonna grow into those right?  just like puppies do? ... it's a sign right?  she's gonna be tall?"  she's finally catching up to them!
  • her cheeks are so filled out they sit on her chest
  • she likes to stand up!  her stance looks like this... belly out, arms back...head bobbing.   like a penguin!
  • she's done with the binky :( she's moved on to sucking on her wrist during sleepy time.
  • she's a drooly, frothy, bubble child.  we think she's teething though it's hard to tell coz she's not fussing.  we're not complaining mind you.  it just looks funny that she always looks wet.
  • she's the bestest travel baby ever!  on the plane ride to virginia she only cried to let us know she was hungry.  as long as you had a bottle ready there really wasn't much noise out of her.
  • she smiles when she wakes up as long as you let her wake up on her own that is.  and she's giggled once so far!  curtis gets major points for that episode.  we're hoping for a repeat performance soon.
  • she's graduated to about 6 ounces of milk per feeding.  unfortunately i can't keep up with her anymore so i've started to wean her off me. 
  • and today.... she rolled over from her belly to her back 5 times!

have you met my little carmen miranda?

what about my wild hair child?

kaya and i, playing model for the socal photog shootout group.  i put my watermark as a deterrent but the photos were taken by the photographers listed underneath the photos.  i'd like to commend kaya for being such a sport that day.  we were there from 11am to 9pm and my trooper of a daughter hung through it all.

top left by sammie b photography, top middle shots by LMP, top right and bottom by nannette photography

and kaya's most recent photo shot by my friend matt saville (using my camera) during our san diego day trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

mila | anaheim photographer . always

always pushing 
... my limits
... buttons
... myself

always hunting 
... for new venues
... for new talent
... for new people

always challenging
... my strengths
... my weaknesses
... my friends


i gotta find beauty in the ordinary.  i have to make ANYTHING work ANYWHERE in a blink and a finger snap. i gotta figure out how to make it happen when it doesn't look like i can.  i gotta gotta gotta.

hangin w my peeps, trying not to blow out the sky.  thanks kristi for playing model for the day!  

to view my portfolio just click on these links mila|weddings by michelle or mila|portraits by michelle. to book sessions please send me a message through milaPhotography.com or contact me via michelle@milaphotography.com | 949.734.0604

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