Artist Profile: Tatiana Plakhova

Words can't even begin to describe the mathematical wonder of Russian artist Tatiana Plakhova's work, so I'll let the images speak for themselves. Be sure to check out her portfolio at

Krysta Youngs Music Videos

Over the past four months I did a once-a-month series of 4 music videos with Krysta Youngs, an LA-via-Nashville based singer/songwriter. We started with an original song video then did three cover videos... each progressively crazier as we let our imaginations run away from us. They were all ridiculously fun, and the last one we shot in Tao Ruspoli's amazing backyard in Venice Beach to a loosely-based Alice in Wonderland theme. We're done with the series (for now) so enjoy this four-part saga of videos!

"Merry Go Round" Cover (Original by Kacey Musgraves)

"Thrift Shop" Cover (original by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

"Locked Out of Heaven" Cover (original by Bruno Mars)

"Old Piano" (Krysta Youngs original)

Baz Luhrmann

With The Great Gatsby about to explode onto the summer cinema scene I felt it a perfect time to wax poetic about my undying and fervent love for Baz Luhrmann and his filmmaking.


It all started with Strictly Ballroom when I was about 7 or 8 years old - which would have been the year 1995. I'm pretty sure my dad just rented it from Blockbuster because one of his students recommended he see it. We all fell in love with it. At the time we had never seen a "mockumentary" before (and have since discovered all of Christopher Guest's brilliant mockumentaries) and Strictly Ballroom fascinated us with it's realistic documentary style filmmaking and plot about the "Pan Pacific Ballroom Championships" and it's participants. Even with his first film which was extremely low budget, there is a surreal, magical quality about the sets, lighting, and music. Baz never fails with his soundtrack.






A year or so later Baz's "Romeo + Juliet" came out right around the time I was old enough to appreciate Shakespeare and his brilliance, and again I was enraptured with another Baz masterpiece. In this film, Baz got even wilder with his saturated color palates, period throwbacks (even though the movie is set in a quasi-modern world, the main characters tend to find themselves in outfits for most the movie that would be more appropriate in Shakespeare's time. Baz's tactic for this was for the main characters to meet at a costume party where Romeo is dressed as a knight) and then of course we have the theatrical elements draped throughout - at one point we even see the characters on a decrepit, abandoned stage on the beach.




Then Moulin Rouge! came out my freshman year of high school, and every girl my age was obsessed. This movie was by far the most hightened example of Baz's Red Curtain style - it was full-on period piece, but in classic Baz fashion instead of staying true to that period 100%, he added a few drops of modern day pop culture and music, gave it a good stir and let it turn radioactive. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he set the stage (pun intended) for directors to cross-market the title track and soundtrack of their films with the movie by selecting huge current pop stars to collaborate on the soundtrack for the film. There was huge hype surrounding the movie before it ever came out because of the "Lady Marmalade" song and video released by the biggest pop acts of the day - Christina Agulera, Pink!, Mya and Lil' Kim. Genius. Baz has done it again with The Great Gatsby - collaborating with Jay-Z for a soundtrack that juxtaposes 1920's era speakeasy jazz with modern rock, hiphop and indie/alterative artists like Lana Del Rey, Fergie, and Beyonce.




Those three movies would complete Baz's "Red Curtain Trilogy" - although none of the story lines are interconnected at all, the Red Curtain Trilogy has been described by Luhrmann as following a specific filmmaking technique, and each film contains a theatre motif that reappears throughout the film.

baz luhrmann red curtain trilogy

Baz's filmmaking is clearly influenced by Bollywood styles and the multi-facetted emotional roller coaster of them. You've got comedy, high drama, heavy theatrical and even sometimes musical elements all blended together in an intoxicating experience. All the films have an almost gaudy opulence about them, but it's balanced out by raw, emotional realism in the acting performances and overarching (usually tragic) statements about the fragility of the human condition and passion of the human spirit.

Even though most people disagree with me, I have to give kuddos to Baz for Australia as well. I will never understand why some movies are panned that I think are masterpieces - perhaps I am simply blinded because I love Baz so much, but I thought Australia was an epic that deserved so much more credit than what it received, which at best was critics saying it was beautiful mess. This film was stunning in every way, superbly acted, and not since seeing "The Rescuers Down Under" do I remember seeing Australia portrayed so brilliantly on film, and The Rescuers was an animated kids movie!! Sure, Australia went a little long. But so did a lot of the greatest films ever made.





Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Australia.

On top of everything else awesome about Baz, the dude could be a model. He looks just as awesome in front of the camera as he does behind it and his signature style shines through in his own appearance as well as his films, which is so rare for a director.

Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman


Artist Profile: Michael Cina

Michael Cina is a visual artist based in Minneapolis, MN. His company Cina Associates has created work for companies such as Facebook, HP, Disney, Coca-cola and Pepsi among others. He is also a painter and sells his fine art on his website - and he also blogs along with other visionary designers on Below is a collection of some of his works.













Best Album Covers of 2012

 The Flaming Lips "And Heady Fwends" | Artist: n/a (random computer generated image)

Shigeto "Lineage" | Artist: Michael Cina

Young Magic | Artist: Leif Podhajsky

My Best Friend "In Ghostlike Fading" | Artist: Leif Podhajsky

John Mayer "Born and Raised" | Artist: David A. Smith

Hey Ocean! "Is" | Artist: Justin Broadbent

Sigor Ros "Valtari" | Artist: Lilja and Inga Birgisdóttir

Oneida "A List of the Burning Mountains" | Artist: Dan Schechter

Best Coast "The Only Place" | Artist: Dan Schechter

Cold War Kids "Minimum Day" & "Minimum Mistake" | Artist: Matt Maust / Cold War Kids


Freelance Photography Rates

A big challenge for freelance photographers is what to charge. Being talented at photography doesn't automatically equip you with the skills necessary to run a photography business (for more on that topic, I recommend reading The E-Myth by Michael Gerber).

Dealing with the business side can be extremely difficult. There are many resources online - but nowhere that gives a concise, straight-forward answer for every category. We'd like to grow and develop this article into the most accurate the internet has to offer on this topic. So if you have any suggestions for improvement please leave it in the comments. We'd love to develop a rate calculator in the future for photographers to use as well.

wedding photography rates


Full day including Ceremony & Reception; Solo; 10hrs max. base fee - $1500

Have an assistant? (Charge $500 per assistant) - $2000

Will it be more than 10 hours? - $2500

Do you have more than 10 weddings under your belt? - $3000

Do you have 25+ weddings under your belt? - $3500

Have your wedding photos been published in well-circulated wedding magazines? - $5000

Are you one of the top wedding photographers in your city/state/country? - $6000

All of the above + destination weddings and/or super wealthy client? - $10k+

Shooting your first wedding but have other pro photo experience? - $500

Shooting a close friend/family members wedding? (Never, ever shoot weddings for free!) - $500

Shooting an acquaintances wedding? - Give them a 10% discount, if they truly deserve it.

Live in NY or LA and/or have a long commute or added expenses? - Add on $200+


engagement shoot photography rates

Engagement Shoot: 

1/4 day, 1 loc,  3-4 setups, all pics, 10 final edits - $300

1/2 day, 1-2 loc, 4-6 setups, all pics, 10-15 final edits - $500

Do you have more than 5 engagement shoots under your belt? + Add $50

Do you have 10+ engagement shoots under your belt? + Add $100

Have your engagement shoots been published online or in print? Are you in high demand? + Add $100

All of the above and/or super wealthy client + Add $200 (1/4 day $500 | 1/2 day $700)

Is it your first engagement shoot but you have other photo experience? - $50-150

Shooting a good friend's engagement pics? - $150

Shooting an acquaintances engagement pics? - $250


Freelance Music Photography Rates


1/2 day solo photographer w/ solo artist 1-3 loc 4-5 setups for album packaging/promo w/ 10 edited finals - $500

1/2 day solo photographer w/ band (3-6 members) 1-3 loc 4-5 setups for album packaging/promo w/ 10 edited finals - $1,000

Full day solo photographer w/ solo artist 3-5loc 5-10 setups for album packaging/promo w/ 20 edited finals - $750

Full day solo photographer w/ band (3-6 members) 3-5 loc 5-10 setups for album packaging/promo w/ 20 edited finals - $1,250

Have an assistant? - Add $100 for 1/2 day & $250 for full day

Have a make-up artist? - Add their fee, don't subtract it from yours.

Have wardrobe? - Add their fee, don't subtract it from yours.

Paying for a location? - Add the location fee.

Have you done more than 10 photoshoots with musicians and/or are you in high demand? - Add $100 - $1k

Is the musician an extremely good friend that can't afford you? - Discount your services up to 50% but never lower.



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Capitol Records iTunes Session w/ David Crowder

Had the awesome privilage of filming b-roll footage and taking behind-the-scenes photos for David Crowder during the recording process for his iTunes session album (available on iTunes here). They did the full recording in one day at the mecca of recording studios - Studio A at Capitol Records in the heart of Hollywood. It's always a strange and wonderful experience to be the only person not part of the band allowed inside the recording studios while incredible music is being made.

Here's the final video (Directed by my amazingly talented friend Chris Corrado):

Here's some of the behind-the-scenes photos I took. The staff was kind enough to let us all up on the roof for a break mid-session. Best view in Hollywood.

View the full set on Flickr

Artist Profile: Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid is an Iraqi-British architect based in London, England. I've met architecture enthusiasts who have never heard of her, which to me is tragic since she is one of the greatest living architects, which is why I chose her for my second Artist Spotlight! I had the extreme luck and pleasure of catching her show at the Guggenheim in New York City when it was there in the summer of 2006, which featured not only her architecture but paintings and crazy installations as well. Her work is the first I've ever seen that when gazing upon it I feel as if I've truly been transported into the future. Without futher ado, I give you a selection of her remarkable creations!



Did a photoshoot for the incredibly talented up-and-coming husband & wife duo Johnnyswim a few weeks ago! You can download their music for free from their website, which I highly recommend doing! I also updated my Photography Portfolio site with a lot of new pics! Woohoo!