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!

Happy last week of April folks. Sheesh. Heading into the fifth month of 2015, can you believe it?! Is it just me, or the older you get, the quicker time goes by? I’m sure I may have posed this question to everyone before, but with the passage of time, your brain cells also pass, pass away! Just kidding, hope not! It just feels that way.

As my title implies, when I’m not photographing, I’m STILL photographing. It’s what every artist HAS to do. You get inspired, try things out, fail, succeed, try, and try again. It’s what makes you better at your craft. Plus, it’s fun. Downright fun!

Always looking for inspiration, I find myself following a lot of pages, and photographers on FB and other sources. The other week, I came across a blog entry from Sue Bryce, an uber talented photographer I’ve been following for quite sometime since first sitting in on a class of hers during a WPPI event/workshop. She’s a great inspiration overall, not only with her photo work, but as a person as well. She posted a story about her latest lighting set-ups, and how she achieved her particular lighting for a specific shoot. (You can view the post here). In her post, she talked about how she set up her lights, what equipment she used, and then, some examples from her shoot. I’ve been doing the same every so often, so it was nice to see another photog’s work, and then try and apply it to my own work.

Inspiration in hand from Sue, and I was off to try her set-up. Not duplicate it, as no one can ever really duplicate someone else’s work, but definitely try it and see what type of images I can get.

Here’s my set-up:

2015, lighting diagram, lighting set-up, m palma photography, einstein

 

In Sue’s set-up (see photos in link above), her set isn’t as “cluttered” as mine, plus she was using a deep Octobox, similar to this set-up below:

 

 

2015, lighting diagram, lighting set-up, m palma photography, einstein

 

I’m using a large Octobox camera left, skimming my cousin Johanna from the front, and then filling her left side with the silver reflector camera right. In the set-up above, with my lovely assistant Jully, you’ll see that I went with a magnum reflector instead of the octobox cause I wanted more contrast in the light for her shoot.

Check out Sue’s work with this similar set-up, and then see how my images fared.

 

2015, lighting diagram, lighting set-up, m palma photography, einstein

 

This above image was done using the octobox with my Einstein 640WS. Jully is rimmed with a Lumopro from the back, camera right. The silver fill fills in her left side. (Processed with LR, Exposure 7)

 

2015, lighting diagram, lighting set-up, m palma photography, einstein

 

Here’s one done without the octobox, but with the bare, reflector. Note the more contrast in the shadow to highlight detail; not as “soft” as the previous photo.

 

 

 

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Here’s what it looks like, straight out of the camera (SOOC). No editing done whatsoever. You can see the higher contrast in the shadows, and the slight fill from the strobe behind her, with that highlight on her left shoulder. (Hope Jully doesn’t mind!)

 

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Here’s a screen shot of some of the other images we made during this session.

Side note: I still “freak” out that these photos are taken in my small studio. You’d never know it unless you saw it (as you have been with my behind the scenes posts). See? You can make beautiful photos anywhere!

And there you have it! You look around, find something that inspires you, you try it, and you get what you YOU get! I’d like to thank Sue Bryce for her post and for inspiring myself and other photographers. Thanks Sue! A huge thank you to my cousin Johanna T. for the use of her hats (awesome hats!), and for my muse Jully for slaving away with me in my quest for the perfect light! Thanks Jully.

Finally, for no reason at all, here’s a photo of our dog Baxter:

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, fuji x100s, dogs, family

 

 

Thanks for stopping by everyone. See you in MAY!

Mike

 

April 16, 2015 in Weddings

Hi everyone! Pardon my absence from the interwebs the past two weeks. Sadly, I got sick, and then the week after that, I was out and about with another project with me doubling for a certain famous boxing fighter. More to come with that.

Before all that happened, I was honored and grateful to photograph the wedding day of Michelle and Shannon (that cute couple I featured here a few weeks ago with their E-session). What I love most about these two (and all my couples) are how down to earth, open, friendly, and downright fun to be around during a full wedding day! I guess you can say that I’ve been blessed with some really cool couples :) For these two, it was a doubly awesome day, as not only do I know them really well,  but I know a lot of their families and friends, making the day all that more fun to photograph.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the moments and memories from their wedding day. The ceremony took place at their alma mater, Cal State L.A., and their reception at the Empress Harbor Restaurant in Monterey Park. The wedding venue was especially great as it took place in one of the music school’s theaters! One of my favorite places!

Oh, and after the vows were made, the entire wedding party, led by Michelle and Shannon, did a wrestling pose – what?!!! Awesome-sauce!!! Both sets of families did it too during the formals, grandmas included. See, gotta love great couples ;p

Enjoy!

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

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2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco, ring shots

 

 

 

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2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, mpalmaphotography.com, weddings, cal state los angeles weddings, theater weddings, asian, filipino-american wedding, pj, photojournalistic wedding, los angeles wedding photographer, nikon, vsco

 

 

 

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Thanks again to Michelle and Shannon for letting me photograph their big day; blessed and honored to have done so :) And to my second shooter Andy Ito of Andrew Ito Photography. And thank you to Caroline Tamayose of In2itive Weddings for coordinating the day – you rock Caroline :)

 

One of the best things about being a professional photographer is that you get to work with a lot of people. Actors, company heads, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, artists, etc., all of whom are interesting. You get to learn new things about their respective professions, learn about them as people, and most importantly, you get to meet someone new, someone interesting, and you get to take their photograph. When you add all these qualities up and wrap them up in a family, especially your own family, it makes for an even more special session! As was the case this past weekend, as I was asked to take the family photos of my own cousins and uncle, in beautiful San Diego, a place that I hold dear to my heart, as I spent a lot of time there growing up back BEFORE the internet! (Yes, those days DID exist!).

Now, if you ask any of my cousins, they’ll all tell you that I rarely get to see them. Or that we only see one another (sadly and as of late) at funerals. So I was definitely DUE to go back down and visit everyone.  I was there a month ago for the funeral of my Uncle Ben, and for only one day, so getting to go down for a weekend for a “happy” occasion made for a great time.

I got there Saturday afternoon around 2:00pm, after leaving L.A. at 11:00am, thinking that it would ONLY take me 2 hours (yeah right!; note to self: don’t drive to SD on Saturday at 11:00am). But once I got there, it felt good to be around everyone again. Felt like old times :) I relaxed a bit, got something to eat from an old mexican food haunt, and hung out with my new nephew Andy, affectionately nicknamed “Guppy”. Sure, I may sound like I’m being biased, BUT, Andy is one of the happiest babies I know! Seriously always smiling, laughing, and in a good mood! Sure, he got fussy here and there, but a lot less than a lot of other kids. This kid is just one happy baby! A true joy to be around!

Soon after, we packed up the entire gang, along with my other cousins Tod and Johanna (designated assistants to M Palma Photography for a day), and headed  to downtown S.D., to the New Children’s Museum. There’s this really cool play area with a chalk wall where kids and families draw pictures on. My cousin Marianne chose this location cause she wanted an urban look to the photos, and you know me, I love urban backdrops!

The cool thing about Marianne (Mae as we call her) and her family is that they’re fun people. Especially husband ‘Pen (Stephen). He fits in well with the Palmas with his wit and sense of humor. Plus, Mae’s dad, my Uncle Pete, is a fun guy too! If you ask him, he’ll beat you at every game or endeavor ever created! (Probably will too!). We always have a lot of laughs with him. He’s easy to hang out with cause he’s down with everything.

So what you’re about to see are the fruits of our labor. Some silliness, family warmth, funny faces, but most importantly, their love and closeness. I had such a great time photographing everyone, that I forgot to get into the picture! (Darn it!).

At one point, when I decided to photograph just Mae and Pen, a group of tourists (or seniors) decided that they wanted to be in the photograph as well! I think they thought I was doing an engagement session. We definitely obliged! After that, a dog happily decided to walk into the frame as well. I made sure I was going to get that photo! You’ll see Pen’s reactions and playfulness in those photos as well as in the other ones as well.

Most importantly, I like to think that in the future, when the “Guppy” grows up, he’ll see these photos and think to himself how cool Uncle Mike was for taking these photos (LOL).  If not, he’ll get to see how we all spent a beautiful afternoon in San Diego, a long, long, time ago, when he was young.

(A side moral to this story is: Get your family photos done! If not by me (LOL- darn it!), then find someone to do them for you! And when you do, PRINT THEM!!! Make canvases, acrylics, enlargements, keychains, coffee cups, t-shirts, blankets, etc., you name it! Cause you can’t experience or relive the memories of everyone, or that special day if you have to turn something “on” just to view them! Just do it! (Okay, forgive my soap-box moment there, I just want you all to have some amazing photo memories all over you homes).)

A huge thanks to my cousins, Mae, Pen, Andy, Allie, and Uncle Pete; and to Tod and Johanna to helping out as well :) Love you guys mucho!!! Let’s make this an annual thing, shall we?

 

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

 

 

 

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2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

See Pen in the background? He’s really shy.

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

I’d say the entire clan are introverts. It was tough. LOL!

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

Allie :)

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

The “Guppy” himself, Andrew (Andy).

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

I guess that makes Pen “the Big Fish.”

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

We had that sign especially made for this portrait session.

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

From these two…

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

… came these two!

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

But not before this guy (and my late aunt, Tita Becky :) )

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Tourists.

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Hey! Who let that dog into the picture?!!!!

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

In the end, this is what it’s all about :)

2015, m palma photography, family portraits, family, portrait session, san diego, new children's museum san diego, filipino family, los angeles photographer, nikon d810, strobes, vsco, alien skin exposure, kids

Or is it this?

Thanks again guys :) Glad I was there to do this for you. Till next time!

Kuya Michael

 

 

 

 

Technical info: Nikon D810, SB900 strobe in umbrella, controlled via Nikon CLS. Available light; reflector where applicable. Thanks Thaddo for the extra hands (you too Johanna!)

Happy Thursday everyone! This past weekend, I was given the honor and privilege to photograph the engagement session of good friends Michelle and Shannon for their upcoming wedding in less than two weeks! Yup, less than two weeks from now, we’ll be having even more fun photographing their big day! But before that, we were able to sit back, relax a bit, take our time, and photograph at the historic Pico House building in downtown Los Angeles, by Olvera Street. The Pico house itself has been around for over 100+ years and it was so cool to be able to photograph there, in the essentially empty building. We were given special permission to use the building’s inner courtyard for our shoot, and it turned out to be a fantastic session. I was LITERALLY giddy the entire time! Plus, Michelle and Shannon are two of the cutest people you’ll ever meet, and boy can that Michelle rock a photo session! Seriously! Love it when my brides to be are just so free and comfortable in front of a camera. Shannon was a rock star too, but let’s face it, the women tend to rock more than the men. Just saying!

The surrounding areas next to the Pico House are also very picturesque as well, and afterwards, we took a few photos in front of the Chinese American Museum (CAM). Shannon and Michelle have an affiliation with the museum, and because of them, we were able to photograph at the Pico House, so why not photograph the CAM as well? Plus, the brick building and the light we were getting were spectacular!

I had so much fun on this shoot, and want to thank Michelle and Shannon for being such great models for the day. Loved what they did! A big thanks to CAM and Pico House as well for letting us photograph in and around the building. What a beautiful venue!

And now, here is a sampling of our work from Saturday. Enjoy!

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

 

 

 

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2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

Love this series!

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

Their wedding day shoes are going to rock even harder than these! So dapper though!

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

A quiet moment :)

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2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

 

2015, m palma photography, e-session, engagement session, pico house, chinese american museum, downtown los angeles, olvera street, los angeles photographer, vsco, modern, fun, energetic

Thanks again you two :) So excited for your big day!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by :) See you next time!

Mike

Happy Thursday everyone! I was absent from my blog last week cause I made the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to attend the yearly Wedding and Portrait Photographers Int’l conference. It’s where pros and enthusiasts alike get our leaning on, see new equipment, have a great time, and just do everything photography for nearly 24 hours a day! (Like we don’t do that already!). It’s such a great conference, and is open to anyone interested in the business, art and retail of photography. Like I said, you don’t have to be a pro, just an enthusiast! Although you WILL meet the top of the tops of the industry when you do attend. It’s so inspiring, so check it out! WPPI.

After all the partying was done, I was back in L.A. to get back to work with a new friend’s website/lifestyle photos. She’s a reiki practitioner/master, by the name of Jaclyn, and is an awesome person! We originally started working on her images about a month ago, and we’re still not entirely done! It’s great when you get to work with cool people. It doesn’t feel like work ;p

We photographed around the arts district last Friday here in L.A., using available light. When I first started out, I used to be be “afraid” of “harsh” light (contrasty, mid-day type), but now, I embrace it, as light is just light. It comes in so many forms that you use it the way you want your images to look. So, for all your photographers out there, don’t be afraid of mid-day light!

Here are a few of the photos we made last week.

http://www.reikiwithjaclyn.com/,   2015, m palma photography, lifestyle, vsco, alien skin exposure 7, nikon d810, downtown l.a., reiki, jacklyn Kalkhurst, los angeles photographer

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I’m still catching up on stuff from last week, so check back next week for more from this shoot and other new stuff coming up, like a fun engagement session coming up this weekend, at a historic building in downtown L.A.

Thanks for clicking by everyone! See you soon,

Mike

Check out Jaclyn’s website here.