Posts Tagged ‘portraiture’

The Mew Crew

October 18, 2013

Lilly and Oliver (I think the foster mom is never really going to part with them :) Who can blame her.

What’s more fun than a litter of kittens?  Knowing that they will all have good homes.  I recently shot this litter for the good folks at FOCHP (Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets. They are all looking for homes so if you find yourself feeling a little lonely or in need of about 17+ years of fun, you might want to bring one  of these babies home.


Dora in the basket.

Wild thing! You make my heart sing. Not really wild though as you can see Nora just sat pretty for her portrait. She did like the feather toy we had in the studio though:)

“Hanging out and waiting for my new family,” says Nora.

To Hercules with Love

May 2, 2013

My good friend Hercules, the pit bull, has about 2-10 weeks to live.  Cancer is getting the best of him and his time with us running out.  Many of you know him, have met him at events or know him through the portraits of him that I have taken in the last few years. He has marched in several Luv-a-Bully marches, first with 4 legs and then with 3 legs and served as an “ambassadog” at many rescue events around Orange County.

I met Hercules in 2009 at a Luv-a-Bully march in Brea.  The march was a gathering of about 200+ pit bulls and their owners to dispel the public opinions that pit bulls were mean fighting dogs and protest BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dr. Paula Terifaj (now the owner of DogSpa) asked me to photograph the event and that is how I met Hercules and his family, Kylie (now 5) and mom Leslie.  I snapped some photos of Herc and Kylie at the event and a few months later Leslie contacted me, in a panic, to do portraits of Kylie with Hercules because Hercules had cancer and she did not know how long he would live. Kylie was two then and Leslie was afraid that without photos Kylie would not be able to remember Hercules when she grew up.    Since that time, the bond that Hercules shares with his girl Kylie has become a personal photographic project for me.  The images of Kylie and Hercules together have touched many people and helped to change the negative perception some people have of the pit bull breed.  The portrait work has served as a medium to communicate the true nature of pit bulls as protectors and kid-loving, furry balls of love.

I know a lot of pit bulls!!!   Of all of them, Hercules is the most loving, the most patient, and the best ambassador for the breed I’ve ever met.  His work here on earth is just about done.  I’ve captured some memories with the photography we’ve done, but it’s still so difficult for Kylie and Leslie to deal with the loss they will grieve someday very soon.    I have been trying to think of something to do to help them and then today it hit me . . . I know we are all busy people, but I would like to make a simple but heartfelt request . . . send Hercules and/or his girl Kylie (who is now 5) a card or a note before he goes.  Wish Hercules the best, send hugs, send notes of gratitude for allowing us to see what dedication and love is all about. Tell Hercules how brave he is to have fought cancer for 5 years.  Tell Kylie and Leslie how you admire that they have cared for him so well these five years while Hercules had numerous treatments to keep his cancer at bay.

I have tried to remember all of the people that Hercules has touched in his life, but I’m sure there are so many more.  Feel free to share this message with anyone you know, that might know Hercules or be interested in his story.  Tell everyone about him and spread his story far and wide.  He’s a good dog and good pit bull and he’s leaving a big ‘ole pawprint on my heart and the hearts of many.

I have also posted this on my Facebook page at

Please send cards and love to:

Hercules c/o FOCHP
26423 Scott Rd.
Menifee CA 92584

Thank you so very much for caring about the breed we love.


P.S.   If you haven’t already read it, Roni Raczkowski wrote a wonderful article about Hercules and it was published on the Best Friends site and went viral a couple of years ago.,-God–It-s-Me,-Hercules/

P.S.S.  For those of you who do not know, a portrait from 2012 of Kylie and Hercules are featured as the month of July in the Unexpected Pit Bull calendar



One of the first portraits of Hercules and his girl Kylie (Summer of 2010). This image is up on display in several Orange County location, has traveled all over the internet, and has been seen by thousands of people.

Here are some shots from the session we did last summer. Some of these images are featured in the Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar 2013.

This portrait was shot on April 24th. Hercules still seemed to be feeling OK but he was a bit slower and got tired a bit quicker. He still enjoyed being with his girl and I got more than a few kisses from him.

When I was done shooting I handed Leslie the camera and asked her to take a photo of me and Herc. I am so glad I did. Thanks Leslie for everything.

Here is what happens when you come to the studio for portraits. This is pretty typical. Doggies have fun, people have fun and of course we get some really nice images . . .

Fashion Diva Photo Shoot

November 9, 2010

Every once in a while you gotta do a photoshoot just for the fun of it . . . and then you gotta make a rockin’ slide show from the fun image you get.

First Birthday Cake Smash!!

September 17, 2010

There is nothing cuter than a baby, but add a cake, a tutu and her best friend and then you have something really sticky sweet!  Here is Roxanne in her first birthday photo session.  She thoroughly enjoyed herself and her doggie did too.









Last week I packed up the studio in my van, recruited the assistance of a couple talented colleagues and headed west with stars in my eyes and a lint roller  at hand.  I did a photo session with Shorty Rossi and four of his playful pooches, Hercules, Valentino, Bebi & Dominico.  Shorty and his furry sidekicks star in the HUGE show, Pit Boss on Animal Planet.  If you haven’t seen the show you need to check it out (click for show times). It’s always interesting photographing stars. You see them on the big screen and you wonder if they are really like that in person or if it’s all just an act. I was stunned at how totally cool, warm, and down to earth everybody was. Shorty was truly charming and such a great guy. He’s got attitude and a huge heart . . . my kinda guy.  No stranger to Hollywood, he runs his own talent agency called Shortywood, but also runs his own rescue called Shorty’s Rescue and he is committed to spreading the word that pits are really misunderstood “underdogs” who deserve our love and respect. So thanks to Shorty and his team for so much talent, drool (you’ll understand when you scroll down), fur and photographic fun. Here are some of my favorite pix/picks of the litter . . . er, I mean session.


Shorty and his main man Hercules.


Hercules was goofy and adorable and always had some spit for me to sop up with a  towel.




Bebi stole my heart with her “sweet as molasses” nature.


Valentino was just a pup and wasn’t exaclty diggin’ my lighting equipment, but for a seven month old puppy he did a pro job posing.



Dominco well he is just as handsome as he could possibly be and I think he knows it too.


When the work was done, Shorty took some time out to play with Dominico.

srossi-539After the shoot we all wanted a group shot (or at least a partial group shot).  Here I am with Shorty, David Edelstein (top left-the video master), Elizabeth Gonzalez (top-middle -my awesome assistant), Candy Clemente (right- lead dog trainer/handler for Shorty’s rescue) and Hercules, Bebi, Dominico and Valentino.

Special Thanks to Christian Duran for lending a hand on several levels, Candy Clemente who helped so graciously with getting the doggies to pose.  I owe ya a bag of cheese & meaty treats :) And to Shorty for putting up with so many flashes of light.  I might need to buy some of your sweet smelling cigars.

About Face

March 5, 2010

Sometimes I photograph a kid and they just have the best face!  I mean all kids are cute.  Seriously, I think they are all adorable and I just love photographing them and bringing to light their unique beauty.  But there are certain kids who just give you a huge “range of face”.    This boy Lucas has got it all going on man!! I originally scheduled a modeling session with his little brother but his mom sent photos of each of them and there was something in those pix that I knew I needed to get in front of my lens.  I am so glad I asked her to  bring both boys along. (both super cute)  I got the best shots.  Here are just a couple, with more to come.  I’m just swamped right now and literally stealing moments to edit them.   I also shot some for a promo I want to do, so I won’t be showing those off ’til later . . .


Color or Black & White . . . Can’t decide which I like better.



And here is the little brother, Rylan.


My Furry Valentine Photo Shoot

February 15, 2010

Who’s your favorite Valentine?  Your best friend . . . of course.  The day before Valentine’s Day I did a workshop with Cindy Scott of Dogs Etc. The good folks at Founders Veterinary were kind enough to host our “shindig” for the day.    I photographed a few furry cuties and REALLY, I could hardly edit any of the shots out.   They were all adorable!!!!  Here are my top picks from the sessions.  Doggie moms, I’ll get your full gallery  up in a couple of days with the motherload of “adorableness” (if adorableness is not a word, it is now).


Jake, the cutest little pup!


Bruno in a stunning composition.  He’s such a beauty.



Love the little paw lift on this one.


This is Max.  He was a pro model.  His mom has him photographed all the time.


My fave shot of Max.  He looked like a stuffed animal.  You just wanted to cuddle him.


A little walk on the wild side with Mr. Bosley.  Note the dyed red “do”.


Jake again with a different lens and wider aperture.  Just look at that face . . . if that doesn’t melt your heart . . . nothing will.

It’s Black and White

February 10, 2010

I don’t show a lot of black and white in my portfolio.  Maybe it’s because I do have a strong preference for color.  But I think some of my hesitation was that I wasn’t always excited about the results of my conversions.  This past Monday I attended a workshop and learned a few new tricks from Brianna Graham.  One of the little golden nuggets I got out of the day, was better  black and white image conversions.  Brianna showed us her methods for tinkering with the images so that  you can get more tones in the conversions and retain a lot more details in the dark and light areas.  Here are two examples of my images that I converted today.  I think these look amazing . . . lots of tonal range . . . good snap.  Just better all the way around.  Of course it helps that the models are gorgeous! Wonder who they are?


This first one is a little more contrasty but you can still see all the tones in her scarf, hair and hat.


This next one is a little less contrasty and a bit warmer but there is still a ton of detail in the shirt and hair.

I had noticed a trend:  I do a session.  I post the images on a gallery. The client loves them.  They tell me, “There are so many I want, I don’t think I can choose. Which ones do I order, what shapes and what sizes?”  They fret.  Will this print look good with that one?   They think. We talk.  They try to visualize what certain images will look like in their home or in their office, but it’s tough to have that kind of vision without a little help.   So, after much research, chatting with collegues, and a LOT of coffee consumption,  I have added a whole new service to my “menu” of cool photo stuff.   I call it an “in-home deciding session”.   It’s optional, it’s free* and best of all, it makes ordering prints so easy.   (*I might ask for coffee though.)  

How does this work you say?  Well, you do a session and you have a bunch of images you like, but you don’t know what to get or where to put them.  We set up an appointment to get together.   We cull through your picks and determine which ones are “must haves”.  We then figure out where to put them and what sizes and then . . . best of all . . . I put together “to scale” layouts of your picks (with this magical software I have), right there on the spot.   This way you can see what your prints will look like together before you order them.   So far everyone who has done an “in-home deciding session” has raved about it.  It takes the work (and worry) out of the picture -picking process (say that three times fast).    

Here are the results of one  “in-home deciding session”.    All these image were shot in one very furry session. The client’s home decor has a contemporary feel, so we went with all gallery wrap canvas prints with black borders on the sides.    I even arranged for an art installer to come to the client’s home to do the installation, making the whole process easy-peasy.    


ten wall cluster 1

ten wall cluster 2