Welcome to the M Palma Photo Blog

Hi, my name is Mike, a professional wedding and portrait photographer born, raised, and based here in beautiful, Silverlake, Los Angeles, California.

On this blog, you'll find the daily inspirations, images and musings of my life.

I love photographing people, places, and anything else that catches my eye. I describe my style of photography as modern, fun, and energetic. So stay a while, check out my work, and get to know me better through my images and entries.

If you'd like to visit my main wedding and portrait site, click on this link, or click on the "connect" button up top to drop me a line via e-mail.

Like I said, stay awhile, and enjoy the entries. And please, do leave a comment. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter (via the icons above this paragraph) for even more up-to-date happenings (don't worry, I won't put up meager posts like "I'm standing in line at Starbucks" (my favorite coffee spot!). Only the really cool and important stuff!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for 'Headshots'

Happy holidays everyone! We’re in full holiday swing now. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Been busy with a few projects and with Christmas and new years coming up. Just wanted to say hello, and post a photo up of my photo muse Jully, who was in the studio recently helping me work on stuff! Enjoy!

Happy holidays :)

Mike

 

 

 

2013, m palma photography, studio strobes, headshots, actress, asian american, einstein strobe, alien bees, jully lee, los angeles photographer, silverlake

Happy Thursday everyone! Last week at this time, it was approximately 90 frickin’ degrees! Today, showers throughout the greater L.A. area. What the heck Mother Nature?!!! Hope you’re all keeping dry out there, wherever you are, and be careful when you drive as well :)

I know, I’ve been out for about a week now. I got sick one of those weeks, had a few shoots, and just LIFE got in the way. Ah well. I’m back now, and happy to be sharing with you my headshot session with my good buddy Dennis Yen. Dennis and I have known  each other for some time now, ever since we both took part in a play years ago (I think 10 years ago! Whoa, how time flies!). Dennis is an uber talented sound designer, multi-ethnic dialect impersonator, a realtor, and an overall cool-dude guy! If you need his services for any of the aforementioned skills, please look him up!

Yesterday, he came in to have some commercial headshots taken, as he is interested in throwing his hat into the commercial acting ring. Finally! I was honored to have been asked, and as always, when he came in, we had such a great time, mostly laughing our @$$’es off, but getting some terrific photos as well.

Here are our results, and as usual, a guest appearance by a certain four-legged “talent”. Oh, and as for the “Pitbull” reference? He looks like the musical, rap artist Pitbull. Then again, most bald guys do. ;p

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

 

2013, M Palma Photography, headshots, actor, los angeles, natural light, Nikon d700

 

 

 

There you have it. Dennis Yen. Go out and HIRE him will you?!

A huge thanks to Dennis for allowing me to photograph him. Thanks dude!

Have a great week everyone!

Mike

Happy Thursday everyone! Well, it’s official, we are now past the half way point of July, and thus, the true half way point of the year. I may have mentioned this last post, but now it’s for real. 5 1/2 more months till Christmas! LOL

Last week I was privileged to photograph East West Players’ (EWP) Artistic Director, Tim Dang. My relationship with EWP goes back about 14 years when I too was a burgeoning actor, and through the years, I’ve been able to work for and with them in various projects, and one main stage production. I’ve always loved my time there, as their theater is always filled with such great, talented people that are all so fun to be around! When EWP asked me to photograph Tim for his headshot/portrait updates, I was more than honored and happy to, and of course, as usual, nervous once again! (I always get nervous before any big shoot. It’s just me).

It took me a few days to visualize the concept in my head prior to the shoot, as others have already photographed Tim in the ways that most would associate the theater and him – him in front of the theater, Tim seated in the audience with the stage behind him, etc. So while racking my brain for something new, I figured, why not make Tim the main attraction, Tim the “performer”. He did start off as a successful actor before becoming Artistic Director, so why not photograph him on stage with the lights on him?!

With the help of my trusty assistant Will (thanks Will!), we put up a rather simple lighting set -up:  A single parabolic umbrella camera right, reflector left, and let the house/stage lights rim-light him. Thus, illuminating Tim under the bright lights of the theater. It is by far my favorite photo of the shoot.

 

 

 

 

m palma photography, headshot, executive headshot, executive portrait, theater, east west players, ewp, tim dang, artistic director tim dang, stage, parabolic, los angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all photo shoots, you want your clients to have a variety of looks, so from the photo above, I went in to photograph a closer, 3/4 headshot.

 

 

 

m palma photography, headshot, executive headshot, executive portrait, theater, east west players, ewp, tim dang, artistic director tim dang, stage, parabolic, los angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a quick lighting change up, we sat Tim down in the audience to get this photo.

 

 

 

m palma photography, headshot, executive headshot, executive portrait, theater, east west players, ewp, tim dang, artistic director tim dang, stage, parabolic, los angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally,  a series of white seamless photos for publications or other purposes. Again, a simple set up, main light camera left, gridded hair light, reflector camera right held by my VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand, or in this case, Reflector Holder – VARH! Thanks again Will!)

 

 

 

m palma photography, headshot, executive headshot, executive portrait, theater, east west players, ewp, tim dang, artistic director tim dang, stage, parabolic, los angeles, portrait photographer, executive portrait photographer, commercial photographer

 

 

 

And there you have it. The makings of an executive, editorial style headshot. HUGE thanks goes out to EWP, Kat C., Will C., Andy L., and of course Tim for being such a great sport during our entire shoot. Great times!!!

Till next time! Thanks for stopping by, and start getting those Christmas lists ready, will ya?!

Mike

 

 

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope your week is going by swimmingly (besides, now that it’s summer, wouldn’t it be nice to be near a pool? Just saying.)

It’s always a pleasure to work with friends, especially good friends. This past weekend, I had the great privilege and honor  to photograph some long time cohorts of ours, Artists At Play (AAP). Through the years we’ve worked with them on various projects, attended their productions, or just plain hung out, and each time, it has always been a blast to say the least. I’ve photographed some of their events as well, and this  weekend, they asked me to photograph their official AAP group photo. When you’re working with people you admire and have fun with, it’s definitely not work, just a good time all around!

AAP is a collective of Asian American artists and professionals who have come together to produce some great theater, selecting works that tell the stories of underrepresented communities. Please be sure to visit their page by clicking on this link here. They are in pre-production for their next play “Cowboy versus Samurai” scheduled to be presented in the fall. As with all their productions, it’s definitely a must see! So check out their page, keep up to date with their happenings, and you too could be a fan of AAP like I am :) Enjoy!

So here it is, our results from the shoot. For all you techies out there, it was shot with 9′ white seamless, an Einstein 640WS strobe with 72″ parabolic with diffusion panel for the main, and a strobed umbrella for fill. All done with my Nikon D700, and 50mm lens. Wow, that’s pretty nerdy. NONETHELESS, the photos are what count.

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

Artists At Play founders – (L-R) Julia Cho, Marie-Reine Velez, Peter Kuo, Stefanie Lau

 

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

This photo is unofficial, but basically showing you the shenanigans on set.

 

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

 

 

 

 

AAP_M Palma Photography-4

Here’s one with associate producer (far right), Nicholas Pilapil

 

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

Such a fun group of peeps!

 

 

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

Finally, the gang doing the “Amelia” face for the little one in the middle. Such a sweetie!

 

 

 

m palma photography, artists at play, studio, Einstein 640ws, Asian American Theater, actors, producers, white seamless, studio strobe, group shots, julia cho

In the end, this is why we do it :) Thanks Amelia :)

 

 

What a great time with these guys! Thanks for allowing me to photograph you! And for everyone else visiting this post, be sure to visit their blog to see what they’re up to, and to go out and watch their upcoming production(s)! Definitely support Asian American theater, you won’t regret it :)

Have a great week everyone!

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, I had the distinct honor and privilege to photograph the President and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), Dr. Greg Kimura,  here in L.A. I have known Greg for a few months now,  talking to him at the various museum functions over the past months, albeit briefly due to the many responsibilities that he has during events, but each time, it was always  a pleasure to share our common interests in the world’s best camera (Nikon, of course!) and Panerai watches, among other interesting topics. So when he approached me to photograph him for a new set of headshots for the museum, I was definitely thrilled but nervous at the same time! Why, you might ask? Photographing the President and CEO of the largest Japanese-American institution in L.A. is a big deal! Plus, I thought to myself, what if they don’t come out right? What if they (gasp!) sucked?!!! (Double gasp!!!). What if he doesn’t like them?!!! (OMG!!! [faints]).

The week leading up to the session, I was racking my brain, wondering how I would go about photographing Greg, going through all the lighting diagrams in my head, wondering what lenses to use, what angles, what compositions, etc. Basically, stressing myself out! The day before the shoot, I went over to the museum to scout out a few locations, bringing my trusty new Fujifilm X100s to do the honor of location scouting, and I came up with three possible locales, but ended up using just two. That day I took some scouting photos, went home, and once again proceeded to worry and get nervous about the shoot. This was the President and CEO of JANM, and my whole photographic career hinged upon this one portrait session! (Not really, but that’s what it felt like! Lest I forget to mention that I once photographed Rose Ochi, who served on President Clinton’s cabinet during his tenure – but that was then, and this is now!)

There I was, roughly 24 hours away from doing what I love most, stressing out about what and how to do it. And then it hit me – a calm sense of “You can do it!”,”You’ve done it before, and this is no different, just you stressing out again as usual!” (I tend to have to listen to the voices in my head before important gigs like this). I quickly began to get some ideas for how to light it, where to photograph it, and what angles, and compositions to use. Wow. Talk about divine inspiration.

So the next day, I woke up, bright and early, looked over my gear that I packed the night before, ate breakfast, and looked at the clock until it was time to go. I asked my friend Mike P. to assist me on the shoot, to help with the setting- up, and breaking down of equipment. Plus I needed him as a stand-in before we got Greg into the photo. It’s always a great relief to have an assistant. You can totally “mess” up on them before the real talent gets there. What a luxury.

So here’s our first set up. Location #1 – Greg’s office. Photo taken the day before the shoot (Fuji x100s).

 

office, windows

 

Nothing  spectacular. Conference table, harsh light coming in from large floor to ceiling windows.

 

Here’s my trusty assistant for the day, Mike, sitting in under my lighting set up. I apologize for not photographing the entire set up, but what you see here is a gelled CTO 24×24 lastolite softbox camera left, at 45 degrees up and to the left, a bounce-carded rim behind my subject, and my camera’s white balance set to tungsten to turn the daylight blue.

 

tungsten white balance, gelled cto flash

Once I got that dialed in, it was time to bring in our main subject Greg and begin the session. It took me about 5-10 minutes to get my settings right (I forget the actual shutter/aperture), but once I had it, I settled in, had Greg sit in the chair, and proceeded to talk a bit. I think the most important part of any photo session, be it a headshot, a portrait, etc., is to get to know your subject, get them comfortable. Talk about stuff that really inspires and interests them. Sitting to get your picture taken can be a nerve wracking experience, and by talking to them and making them feel at ease will definitely help you both get the image you are trying to create.

So, from the photo above of Mike sitting in as my test subject, and the harsh window lit room, to this series of photos of Greg, comfortable, relaxed, and looking confident as President and CEO.

 

Greg Kimura_JANM_M Palma Photography-1

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

For all you tech geeks out there, I was using my Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8. Setting the white balance to Tungsten (as mentioned) turns daylight into a bluish color. By gelling my flash with a CTO (color temperature orange), it brings my subject back to what looks “correct”, thus giving me some interesting light to work with, and making an impactful photo vs. just one lit with a strobe.

My next set up, location #2, started off with this lighting. Taken again the day before the shoot using my amazing Fujifilm X100s. (Yes, I do love that little camera!)

 

natural light, hallway, brown tones, skylight

Again, nothing amazing. Just overhead, diffused lighting from a skylight. Nice hallway tones in the stone walls and floor.

 

 

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

Good ‘ol Mike standing in once again, next to my makeshift spike mark on the floor. We later taped a spike mark for our subject.

Using the same technique as above, we made these photos:

 

 

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

JANM, Greg Kimura, executive portrait, executive headshot, m palma photography, strobes,

This one is my personal favorite.

 

 

 

And there you have it! The making of an executive portrait. In the end, I think the most important element in making this all come together successfully was the rapport I was able to build with Greg during our shoot. Making sure he was comfortable and at ease so he can bring out the best in himself and deliver a stunning photograph. Of course, you have to make sure you get the technical aspects down first, but in the end, a great photo comes from a great partnership between you, your team, and of course your subject.

A huge thanks goes out to Dr. Kimura and JANM for allowing me to photograph him, and for “choosing” me (what an honor!), to Mike Park, for helping me out and being my voice activated reflector, stand-in, and bag carrier. :)

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Have a great week and Memorial day weekend!