Friday, February 27, 2009

Vlog Update - Logos, SWAT Teams, & E-Sessions!

New logo ideas, SWAT team photo op and an Engagement Session workshop with mystery models... things that make you go "hmmm" ;)



Upcoming E-Sessions in March:
  • Regina & Dan
  • Reanna & Jeremy
  • Sandra & Toby
  • "Mystery Couple", sure to be fun especially for the photography community =)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More from Vegas...

I had an amazing week at WPPI in Las Vegas, the biggest Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention! Huge trade show, dozens of workshops, and lots of parties! It was so great to catch up and hang out with old friends and make new ones in the industry. What made this trip even more worthwhile is that my personal album designer Grace Chou of Grace Chou Designs attended the convention too! We spent time reviewing so many album companies, critiquing the quality of craftsmanship, and discussing action plans and our future plans for this year's brides. In short, we got work done! But we definitely made some time for play and fun memories! Here are some photos courtesy of me from my iPhone and my good friends Kenny Kim, Tisha McCuiston, and David Escalante...

Here's one of the big DC/Baltimore dinner...plus two friends from Tampa, FL =)
Moshe Zusman, Hadar Goren, Laura Kay, Kimberly Brooke, Shelby Leigh, Kristen Leigh, Noah Hayes, Erin & Chris Harvey, (not pictured) Kristie Blake, Megan Beth, and Christine Bentley (our Orange County friend!).


Somehow I found myself at Studio Cafe 3 times while at MGM Grand, lol.
Once with the DC/Baltimore folks, once with my friends Laura Kay and Brooke Schwab. And here I am with Kristie, Bob, & Ray.


... the lovely Dawn Davis!


I had the pleasure of assisting my friends at the booth for A PORTRAIT PROJECT, Christine's vision. Here I am with Kristie & Christine. The non-profit organization effort is to provide photography for family victims of domestic violence.


A little gambling! Here's Noah, Shelby & Tiffani deep into the games... and Tisha deep into shooting as usual! Total violation of casino rules - NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED! Ha!


My good friend Erin Harvey of http://www.erinchris.com, Tampa, FL


No trip out west is complete without a stop at In-N-Out Burger!
Funny story... Asim, Tiffani, Noah, Tisha, Grace & I took two cabs to the burger joint. Only to realize we'll need cab rides back. No such luck, no cabs were around the parking lot. Asim had the bright idea of asking a random stranger for a ride back to MGM Grand. Surprisingly enough, one of the In-N-Out Burger employees was on break and his girlfriend was visiting. They were kind enough to offer us a ride back, LOL! We had a good feeling about them so none of my spidey senses were going off =) Good times!


Of course, the lovely Kristie & Christine, haha!


I was saddened I didn't get a photo with Laura Kay, not sure why we didn't think about it(?!). But I did manage to snap a pic of her dinner with my iPhone.


Grace & I working the trade show floor


Here's Grace & I chatting with Kevin Swan of http://www.kissweddingbooks.com


Haha, not sure why I was the only guy standing with the girls in this pic!



Here's one of the group & our friendly server... not really, hehe!

I seemed to be caught twittering on my iPhone 3G constantly!



Here we are losing our wages, haha!


At the big GO|BEE & PhotographyMentor party, Tiffani, Erin, Chris & I made fools of ourselves in the fun photo booth!


My friends & I got to spend some time with a group of about 100 shooters from all over the country (and world probably) having a fun night shoot with celebrity wedding photographer Bob Davis (Eva Longoria, Eddie Murphy, etc.). Here are just a few shots I got from the fun event.




We had maybe 4 models with us so we could break into groups. As you can imagine, shooting with large groups is challenging, most shots are random. Here's just one side shot I was able to get of one of the models.


We had fun shooting a couple, Roberto & Kim Valenzuela. Roberto happens to be a well-known wedding photographer based in Beverly Hills, CA.



I loved using video light to bring some depth to these shots...




Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Jordan!!!!


My girl is 2 today! I'm so happy for the little one, but she's growing too fast. We'll be throwing her a Dora The Explorer themed birthday party this Saturday with family & friends. Should be fun!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WPPI 09


An eventful week at WPPI 09 so far... more to come!

(photo of photographer & friend Roberto Valenzuela & his wife in Las Vegas, NV)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winner of Wedding Wire's Bride's Choice 2009 Awards!


2009 Bride's Choice Awards presented by WeddingWire | Wedding Cakes, Wedding Venues, Wedding Photographers & More


WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that Armin DeFiesta Photography has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™!

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means Armin DeFiesta Photography is one of the very best wedding photographers.

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews.

“We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.”

Armin DeFiesta Photography would like to thank our past clients for speaking on our behalf and helping us win the 2009 Bride’s Choice Award! CLICK HERE to read the reviews!

And have a Happy Valentine's Day!!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Inside Southern Maryland Weddings Magazine

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW THE FULL FEATURE

Kristen Leigh & I are at it again getting published in Southern Maryland Weddings.

Yes... it's from May, 2008. I'm not sure what the delay was but we're happy it made it! Click on the image above to read the full article or just click here.

Back in May 2008, I had the pleasure of shooting Jennifer & Jeff's wedding. Kristen was my trusty 2nd shooter and we somehow managed NOT to get drenched on one of the rainiest wedding days I've had. Luckily the skies cleared up just in time before the 6pm sunset ceremony!

Big thanks to Kristen Leigh who 2nd shot with me! It was so great to work with her again, we have such different shooting styles that it made for some interesting & amazing images. This is the second time we've been published together, must be working for us! Please be sure to leave her some comments on her blog! If you haven't seen it already, read more about our last wedding together in I DO FOR BRIDES magazine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Winter Wedding Sale thru March 14th




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Two Week Flip Mino HD Review


Two weeks of ownership and I'm still a happy owner of the Flip Mino HD by Pure Digital.

BUY ONE at B&H Photo!


PROS:
  • Simple to use
  • Great image quality
  • Small, very light, and convenient to carry with you anywhere
  • 4BG hard drive, 60 minutes of video, plenty for me
  • Perfect companion for your laptop (works great with my MacBook Pro & iMovie 09)
  • Easy to transfer video to your computer with the built-in USB
CONS:
  • Prone to plenty of camera shake due to its diminutive size
  • HD files are big so it takes a while to render and upload onto the web
  • Digital zoom instead of a mechanical zoom
  • White balance is a little on the warm side, especially in low light
  • Wishing it had a wider angle lens like the Creative VADO video camera

The video below was shot after 3 or 4 test videos under my belt. My goal was to operate it and capture the smoothest tracking shots possible on such a small camera. I pretty much tried to make my arms work like a Steadicam device by walking a certain way (e.g., the Groucho walk) and isolating my arm muscles from the rest of my body. Yeah it sounds complicated but with a little practice it's easy to do. In terms of my handling and operation of the camera, this result was an improvement over my initial tests. This video was compressed down to 129mb (720p HD) to make uploading faster on the web so it might look a little grainy than the original. The original file is 450mb.




If you're looking into a pocket HD video camera, you can't go wrong with the Flip Mino HD, the Creative Vado or the Kodak zi6. Google the reviews on comparisons and decide which one you feel is best for you. Each has their pros & cons. Check out more of my Flip Mino in action in the blog post just before this one.

I will be in Vegas starting this weekend so stay tuned for some HD video from Sin City!

UPDATE:
It was a balmy 70 degrees today, so we couldn't help but enjoy some playtime again outside! I was able to upload the original file of this video (374mb).




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun with My Mino HD at the P.U.G. Meeting

Last night I met up with some friends at our monthly D.C. Pictage Users Group (PUG) meeting in Bethesda, MD. It was a chance to play around with my Flip Mino HD, I got a few minutes of fun "shaky" footage. Have fun watching, lol!




The simplicity of the Mino is just wonderful. While anything is possible with this tiny camera, don't think for a second this is the budget answer to shooting your next cinematic masterpiece. It's not made for that. The image quality is pretty nice at 720p, but the white balance is a little warm for my tastes. The lens is fixed and at one focal length. It has a digital zoom, not a mechanical zoom. Handholding something this tiny can result in camera shake as you can tell. Just minimize your movement as much as possible and your shots should be fine. And if you have iMovie 09, their new image stabilization feature might help.

One last thing about HD. Great image quality, but eats up lots of space on your hard drive. And when you export a movie file, it's a BIG file. I'm storing all my personal videos on my SmugMug account. Can't wait to shoot more with this!

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Random Facts & Thoughts From Armin

This Top 25 list of random facts & thoughts have been going around Facebook. After dozens of friends tagging me to participate I gave in. As most of you know I HARDLY participate in these random surveys, I prefer to keep some things to myself. BUT I figured a little sharing won't hurt.

The rules are that once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

TOP 25:

1. Speed is fun, particularly fast cars and cars that can handle really well. I love carving the hilly back roads. My personal favs are the BMW 3 series and the Subaru WRX cars.

2. I love the automobile, some of my friends say I'm a walking automobile encyclopedia. It's only because I read Motor Trend, Edmunds.com, and a whole list of other car stuff. Although I'm a little rusty these days.

3. I wanted to be a record producer when I was a kid and drool over mixing consoles, although I haven't touched one in years!

4. I love carving the roads with my Subaru WRX. Next to my friend's 2004 BMW M3, it's one of the most fun cars I've ever driven. If you'd like me to test drive your car to ensure it meets the manufacturer's claims, call me ;)

5. These lists are silly, I'm only doing it because too many of my FB friends are bugging me to.

6. I was almost shot by a gang banger who was armed with a .38 revolver 10 yards away. That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

7. Dark chocolate is my weakness, it's my kryptonite. If it's within 10 feet I feel very weak and need to consume a piece of it in order to regain my superhero strength.

8. Oh about #6, I was not a rival gangbanger. I was with cop '97 to '03 and chasing the dude down. I really thought he was going to fire, but I raised my Glock to the firing position and he thought twice =)

9. I took piano lessons growing up, I was classically trained.

10. I've seen things many of you will never ever see in your lifetime, and most of them were bad.

11. My wife, son & daughter are the best things in my life, words cannot describe my love for them.

12. I am blessed to be doing what I do for a living. I am happier and more fulfilled than when I was working for others. It would be hard to go back.

13. I share my wife's love for pizza! Although we haven't had it in a long time, lol.

14. I get to shoot some of the most amazing weddings of amazing couples around the country. I love my job, http://www.armindefiesta.com!

15. I love watching my son grow up, he's going to be a wonderful adult one day =) He'll be 7 this year.

16. My guy friends that have daughters told me that if I ever have a little girl of my own they can do no wrong... I totally get it now. Jordan's my little angel. I'm going to be a mess on her wedding day.

17. Traffic & congestion is my enemy, lol. I make an effort to plan my day & timing around known congested roadways and peak hours. I got it down to a science =)

18. I never got over 9/11, it really had an impact on me when I was a cop and it still does today.

19. I love helping others grow their photography business. I'm giving private workshops now and plan on launching a larger scale workshop in 2 years.

20. I like to do donuts in snow covered empty parking lots when no one is watching. Sometimes I have my kids with me and they love it.

21. Our future is still unwritten, but I have a strange feeling ours will have some good fortune.

22. The lines from Star Wars, Ep IV are engrained in my head. I think I watched it 1000 times as a kid.

23. I have to agree with my wife on HER #17 & 21 on her TOP 25 ;)

24. ... is the number of one of my favorite NASCAR drivers. Do YOU know who I'm talking about? Go ahead, hate away, lol. 4 Championships ain't nothing to sneeze at!

25. I believe the Mid-Atlantic has some of the most talented wedding & portrait photographers around. The world is in for a surprise.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ah what a rough life ....



... need I say more? =)

(taken with my iPhone 3G, I love that thing! Yup that's my angel, I'm gonna be a mess when I walk her down the aisle)

On another topic I got to spend time with my friend & photographer Kristie Blake. We had fun talking business, photography, kids, life, and everything in between. We'll be at the WPPI "A Portrait Project" booth in Las Vegas so stop on by!

I snapped an iPhone photo of her ordering us lunch... she's not one to wanna be in front of the lens so it was a lucky shot =)