Category Archives: Sets


Hanging with Bikes


I love bikes, especially well designed and functional urban bikes and accessories. Naturally, I was excited when Dwell approached me to photograph some beautiful bike gear.

The idea was to photograph 3 bikes hanging on colored backgrounds. Normally, we would paint the walls the day before the job but the client wanted the flexibility to change the colors once we had decided on what items would be in each shot. In order to achieve this, we hung paper on the wall instead of painting. I was worried that the strong side lighting would show all the wrinkles in the paper. We were really careful and it turned out extremely well. The side lighting gave the sets great depth.

It was great working with the stylist, Janis, and the talented team at Dwell. Now I just have to curb my bike envy!

Look for the magazine on newsstands or check out Dwell for more great info.





The Brokenmusicbox Full Album

The cover for the single, “We Will” was a teaser for the full album—which I’m excited to say is out in it’s full glory. The music, design and photography have all come together in harmony to form an exciting album.


How was it all done??


We met with Tony and Kim from The Brokenmusicbox in September of last year. In the meeting we talked about what the album meant to them and what they were trying to convey with it. During the meeting we came up with some basic ideas and then narrowed it down to one. After the meeting I gave them a final sketch of my idea which they approved before I started photographing.



The technical part:

The dirt was pilled up in front of a turquoise background. Once I was happy with the shape of the top dirt I placed the flower. I test photographed about 6 flowers but only one was used for the final image. The dirt was lit from above with a long strip box. This gave the dirt a nice edge light. The lighting also left the front of the dirt dark, making it easier to blend with the “underground” dirt photo. I had one light with a 7″ reflector coming from the back to give the photo lens flare. The flower that I picked didn’t have any leaves so I had to photograph them from a different flower. Once I was happy with the dirt and the flower I used a water spray bottle to add the rain.

The “underground” portion of the photo was taken separately and upside down. This way I had gravity working in my favor rather then against me. The root for the actual  flower in the final image wasn’t very photographic so I picked a different plant that had a nice root. I then used scissors to trim the root so it didn’t look too busy. Once the bottom image was photographed I just rotated it 180 degrees and blended it with the top photo.


It was great working with The Brokenmusicbox and Amy Gregg from A1 Design.


Listen to the full Album here I love all the songs but my favorite is “California Year.” Listen to the album and post which song is your favorite.

Macworld January Cover


The iPhone 4s has been unleashed all over Macworld Magazine, inside and out. The cover may look nice and clean but the set to light it was a mess.


If you’re traveling for the holidays, load your iPad up with the Zinio version or look for the analog version at your airport news stand.

Red, Red, Red


San Francisco Magazine approached us with a fun idea for “The Trend” section of the December 2011 issue.  They wanted to incorporate the color red in an over-the-top fashion.  They provided a selection of red products to pick from to form the groups. Rather than washing the photos with a red overlay in Photoshop, we went old school and used red gels.  Each grouping was giving it’s own surface and gel treatment. This allowed the photos to have their own identity while relating to each other as a series.






city lights


It’s always fun when we collaborate with clients and come up with bright ideas.  This time we captured the luminance of lamps against a city background for the Dec/Jan 2011 issue of Dwell Magazine. It took a few extension cords to get all the lamps lit.  We also got to roam the streets of downtown San Francisco pretending we were tourists and photographed various city backgrounds.

You can find it on newsstands or


Dwell: Desks


For the September issue of Dwell magazine we photographed desks. We worked with a set builder to make custom pedestals, which looked great but moving things around was no easy task! When asked if we could move a pedestal “a little to the left” we had to really question if it was needed. When we did move things, it took considerable effort not to scratch the floor or anything. Even with all the heavy lifting it was a really fun job. After we assembled all the desks Jamie, the editor, tried them all out for her story.

For the September issue of Dwell magazine we photographed desks. We worked with a set builder to make custom pedestals, which looked great but moving things around was no easy task! When asked if we could move a pedestal “a little to the left” we had to really question if it was needed. When we did move things, it took considerable effort not to scratch the floor or anything.
Even with all the heavy lifting it was a really fun job. After we assembled all the desks Jamie, the editor, tried them all out for her story

DIY Macworld



Rob and Kate from Macworld were on set for the “Do It Yourself” feature of the magazine. Kate doubled as the hand model in two of the photos. In the spirit of “Do It Yourself” I ended up making a rig to support the iPad Kate was holding to help keep it in the same spot. It made lighting and focus a lot easier. In the photo of the audio system I created the wall with a sheet of foam core, which made it easy to cut a hole for the outlet which the Airport Express plugged into.




Dwell House Party


Who doesn’t love a House Party? It’s always great working with Dwell, this time it was especially cool because we got to work with their kids. We spent the morning organizing various playhouses and lighting. I decided to use a more spotted lighting arrangement to add some depth to the photo. In doing this I had to predict the areas where I thought the kids might play. Once the kids arrived we let them play as I snapped the photos. After that we had them each play in predetermined areas so that all the kids were evenly dispersed among the playhouses. Of course once we got a successful photo, all the adults jumped in to join the fun! You can find the issue on newsstands now.


Snakes with SF Magazine


When SF magazine approach us to photograph snakes and shoes I was very excited. Michael my assistant wasn’t, he has an extreme fear of snakes. Luckily the snake handler (what a cool job title) from the Academy of Science took care of all the snake handling. This helped keep Michael on job.

I knew that the snakes weren’t going to be cooperative so I built a set to be modified on the fly. The light was also set up to be pretty forgiving. The one thing I didn’t foresee was the snakes twitching every time the strobes when off. Because of how the snakes reacted to the lights, the snake handler limited our time with each snake. We were only able to photograph each snake 10-15 times, which meant I had to really think before taking the photo. The snakes moved fast exploring their new environment. Nothing was off limits. They curled around light and stands, slithered up the plexiglass, knocked down the shoes and two took bathroom breaks on set. One snake even got stuck through an open toe Alexander Wang sandal that we debated on cutting the $900 shoe. Luckily, he freed himself a couple minutes later. If we are to shoot snakes again in the future, we will photograph them using HMI or hot lights instead.

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Macworld Beyond Cable


For this feature, Macworld wanted to showcase each product from the review in their own setting. In order to keep the set budget down, we got furnishings from West Elm and Ikea in exchange for giving them credit in the magazine. For the opening photo, we didn’t hang the TV on the wall because we didn’t have a wall bracket. As a stand in, we used a foam core cut out. This allowed us to see how the TV would look in the photo as we worked on the crop. We also only had one chair so it was photographed in each position. Unfortunately, the nice floor didn’t make the final layout because of the crop.

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