Behind the scenes – Venice Beach Portrait Series

This is a time-lapse showing the second of two amazing days spent producing a portrait series on the Venice Beach Boardwalk last week. With the invaluable help of Erinn and our assistant Marlena I shot 144 people from all walks of life and numerous countries. The plan as of now is to share the finished body of work in March and then go on to create a book and gallery show. Please check back next month!

Michigan 2; Heidi and Seth’s wedding

The primary reason for my trip to Michigan last month was to attend and photograph the wedding of Erinn’s sister Heidi and now-brother-in-law Seth. Seth’s family has deep roots in Hart, Mich., which is halfway up the state near the shores of Lake Michigan. In fact, the 80-acre property where the reception was held has been in the family for some 150 years. The wedding was in a very cute country church, made of stone and exceptionally dark wood. Both settings made for a very photogenic wedding. For the week prior, Erinn and family had been vacationing and preparing for the wedding in a lovely rental home on nearby Pentwater Lake, while Seth’s family prepared the property and readied enough food for 200 guests from his parents’ home, which sits on the above mentioned property. Meanwhile, I was traveling to Lake Orion and northern Ohio to visit my sisters and their families.

Michigan during the summer is pretty damn beautiful and is one of the most lush, green places you’ll ever see. However, to keep it that green requires plenty of rain, which the weather forecast had been predicting unwaveringly in the form of thunderstorms, from 10 days out all the way to the night before the wedding. The wedding itself would have gone off without a hitch, but bad weather would have been trouble for a reception protected only by three wall-free tents. Fingers crossed, everyone kept their heads up and proceeded as planned. What else can you do? I was actually pretty confident that there would be no rain, since it was AccuWeather making the prediction. They’re pretty consistently wrong in my experience ,and had they been predicting sunshine, I would have been worried.

On the morning of the wedding, we awoke relieved to the pleasant surprise of clear skies in all directions. The girls headed out early to have their hair done and, upon returning, everyone started hustling to get ready. At which point I started clicking. Long story short, it was a great wedding and went off without a hitch. The setting was beautiful, everyone was in good spirits. It was also great to see how much family participation went into making the day special. Seth’s mother and sister spent countless hours in the preceding week preparing enormous amounts of food for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. The main entree was fresh pork, which Seth and his brothers prepared themselves from a locally bought pig. And by prepared, I mean bought, killed and dressed before cooking on a giant barrel grill. The slideshow omits those photos, but I may post some later. His brother Cody also did the flower arrangements while his father, Heidi’s father and Seth spent an entire afternoon in the sweltering heat building the dance floor. They even put in extra effort by screwing the boards together so the floor could be recycled for later use in refurbishing a garage. Though Erinn says that, judging by the way Seth’s parents danced, she wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t just keep it as a dance floor. It was great to see that all of their hard work paid off.

Everyone danced into the night with things wrapping up around 2 a.m. Not a cloud formed all day. The next morning I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to thunder and the sound of rain on the window, causing me to smile before falling back into slumber. Whatever force that had held off the rain for the day had finally let go, and the clouds had rolled in. I don’t care what they say about rain being good luck on your wedding. The amount that fell that Sunday would surely have ruined the reception. That afternoon, as Erinn and I drove south to Muskegon, the rain fell so hard that we almost had to pull over for lack of sight. I’m sure it made the following day’s cleanup a pain, but in terms of the wedding I’d say we all lucked out.

See more great wedding photos.

Mike and Camilla wedding video

Last March I had the opportunity to produce a video for Mike and Camilla’s wedding in downtown Los Angeles. While I’m usually a photographer when it comes to weddings (and anything else!) I decided to take the multimedia and video skills I have (I was a film student and multimedia journalist after all) and put them to use.

Camilla is a successful wedding planner, so of course the wedding was extravagant, beautifully decorated and extremely well organized! The wedding day started with the bride, groom friends and family all preparing for the ceremony at the luxurious Millennium Biltmore downtown. Then everyone hopped in their limos and headed over to the First Congregational Church, an enormous old gothic revival cathedral built in 1932. Following a beautiful ceremony they all gathered for pictures outside before hopping in their limos once again to finish the night at the very stylish Pacific Electric Lofts. The penthouse loft, with its three story high ceilings and great views of downtown was a great place for the reception. Before the reception kicked off though, they held an additional wedding ceremony in the Korean tradition, which was both beautiful and educational, as I’d never been witness to that tradition. The night then wound down with dinner, some heartfelt toasts, an impressive round of a capella singing,  and a whole lot of dancing.

The video they wanted was a simple highlight reel featuring the best moments of the night and set to the song of their choice. The original version we tried out was much longer, coming in at 9 minutes. At first the idea was to produce a piece that was set to music, but that would also fade out so you could hear the vows and later the toasts. But we agreed that the length was just too long and the fading in and out was more distracting than beneficial. So, with a heavy hand I knocked it down to just the length of the song and produced a much tighter highlight reel that really highlights the mood of the day nicely and is short enough to keep your attention. I’m happy with the piece and judging by the three word review from Camilla  – “We love it!” – so are they!

See more Los Angeles wedding photography

Mustang Sally

Mustang Sally on the Santa Monica Pier from David Zentz on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago I borrowed my friend Matt’s 5D Mark II to try out its video capabilities. I hadn’t shot video using a DSLR, so I thought we’d go out to the Santa Monica Pier to give it a try. Of course it turned out to be cloudy, but there was enough going on that I could test it out at least. Fortunately we found this kid dancing around to a rendition of Mustang Sally, which is both entertaining and gave me some natural sound to cut the video to. Enjoy.