Yjastros Flamenco Company - Albuquerque Journal

In April I got to shoot some of Albuquerque's professional flamenco dancers. Below are just a few of my favorite photos from one of their rehearsals before a performance. This recent shoot for the Albuquerque Journal of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company ended up being the cover of the Life in New Mexico section for the week.

Read the full story by Adrian Gomez here: Dancing a way of life for Yjastros members

Enjoy!

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Holiday Photo Gift Guide 2015

It's the time of year to make and give gifts! As a photographer, every Christmas one of my favorite things to give to family and friends are photographs. Why? Because more often than not, the photographs that document our daily lives are forever hidden to the world on our phones or on our computers, unlikely to ever be printed and hung up in our own homes. Everyone appreciates a photo gift. Here is my personal gift guide with my top four options to give photo gifts for 2015.

1. Chatbooks

I discovered Chatbooks only recently. I ordered my first book yesterday, and even though I haven't received the book in the mail yet, I have to admit, I'm pretty smitten with the concept and the interface (it's an app for your phone).

Through Chatbooks you can assemble a series of books from your social media accounts (instagram and facebook) or your camera roll on your phone. The program produces books in 60-page volumes. Each of these books is only $8 (add $5 if you want a hardcover). This is great if you've been on instagram for a while and never made a book! Suddenly you can have all your photos in volume by volume editions!

I have already been making instagram books by year, actually the last I printed was 2012, so I'm a little behind. I created a custom book in the app and chose all my instagram photos from a year. I was done in 5 mins from start to end. Custom books start at $8 for 30 pages, then +$1 for each set of 10 pages added, and an additional $5 for hardcover.

You can also create a book from a hashtag. For example, if you wanted a book of just photos you've taken of your dog and posted on instagram, and you always use the same hashtag of #myfavoritedog, you would type that in when making a custom book. Poof. You have a book of just the photos with that hashtag!

The company also sells gift certificates, which would be great to gift someone you know who's posting lots of photos on instagram or facebook!

*You'll want to order by Dec. 14 for orders to arrive by Christmas.

gift guide
gift guide

2. Artifact Uprising

Artifact Uprising is both an app and a website where you can print numerous photo related things: gifts, cards, prints, wall art, and even albums. I haven't ordered anything yet, but after shopping around, a few friends and family will likely get some custom photo gifts from Artifact Uprising this year. If you create and edit through the app you have a few less options of gifts to create. The Artifact Uprising Mobile app lets you pull images from instagram, dropbox, your photo library, and your VSCO library.

*You'll want to order by Dec. 14 for orders to arrive by Christmas.

My two favorites for gifts: the Wood Calendar ($29.99) & Wood Block + Prints ($23.99)

gift guide
gift guide
gift guide
gift guide

3. Tree Ornaments

This has become a tradition of mine. Every year I head to Michael's Craft Store and buy photo frame ornaments (approximately $5 each). Every year the selection changes. Some end up being kinda cheesy, but there's always enough that are a bit simpler and more classic. I give these as a yearly gift to my close friends and always make one for our tree as well. I love taking them out every year as we decorate the tree and remember the past years. It's a tradition I plan on continuing as long as I can.

photo gift guide_ornaments-4225
photo gift guide_ornaments-4225

4. A classic - framed photo print

And the classic staple. A framed (or more modern, mounted) print large and proud, ready to be hung on a wall. I always suggest this gift, but make sure your recipient has wall space or is ready to switch out some wall art with some new photos before you hit BUY. No doubt these can be a bit more expensive, but they are worth every cent.

As far as where to buy prints from, I know everyone has a different budget out there, but if it's a professional photo you had taken, I strongly recommend purchasing through the photographer. Most photographers have a preferred print lab that their computers are calibrated to and produce the best results in the end. Nothing's worse than ordering a large print, opening it up and seeing that the skintones look nothing like the original photo. Grandma won't be happy if her skin is looking a bit green.

Wondering what size photo to order for grandma? Here's a handy guide to help you decide.

Photo Size Comparison - gift guide
Photo Size Comparison - gift guide

Looking back

Growing up my mom took photos all the time. And each one was printed out and put in a photo album. Photo albums upon photo albums grew until the digital camera world took over. We now have an entire dresser full of photo albums at my mom's house that I still love to flip through every time I go home. The special photographs were printed larger and displayed with pride throughout our house.

But what will my stepdaughter look at when she's older and wants to remember her childhood in photos? Will she go dig up my old facebook profile to flip through photos? Maybe, if facebook is still around. Will she sift through terabytes of photos on old harddrives? Probably not. But that's where all the photos live. I've made it a point to make books of my instagram photos; year by year editions that I love to flip through. Other than instagram though, I have to admit I've slacked on printing photos. I want that to change. I'll start by giving memories to family and friends so they too remember that photos need to live on in print.

I hope this gift guide has helped you. Leave me a comment with some of your photo gift choices for 2015!

Swingin' Denver - Promo Photos

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SwinginDenverLogo

What happens when you have 21 amazing dancers and you have under three hours to photograph them? You move fast and have them on their feet and in the air as much as possible! (And making the occasional silly face.)

If you've kept up with my blog you might remember I photographed the Steve & Chanzie Denver Workshop back in December that Swingin' Denver put on. So when Kenny asked me to shoot some promotional photos of Swingin' Denver's instructors and new dance troupe (The Ladies and Gentlemen) I couldn't wait! I knew this was going to be a fun afternoon!

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Albuquerque Prep Athletes of the Year - Portraits

New Mexico sunset + Sandia foothills + high school athletes = memorable portraits for this year's Albuquerque Journal prep athletes of the year. First of all, congratulations to these two, their accomplishments gained them this well deserved honor. The Albuquerque Journal named Brady Patterson the prep male athlete of the year and Natasha Bernal the prep female athlete of the year. In the fall, Patterson is headed to ENMU and Bernal is headed to UNM.

Each year we try to do some kind of portrait of the two athletes of the year together somewhere in the city. This year we decided we wanted to see the city behind them. We told them we wanted to do a shoot as the sun was setting in the foothills and then wait for the city to glow after sunset, which ended up being a little later in the day than I realized, but they were up for it. The wait was worth it. Thanks again to these two who kept smiling even after we stayed a little longer than we originally planned to get that final city glow photo. The very last frame of the night ended up being my favorite. I saw it on the back of the camera and knew we were done. It's the first photo below.

Senior Portrait Albuquerque
Senior Portrait Albuquerque
Senior Portrait Albuquerque
Senior Portrait Albuquerque