I'm an advertising photographer/videographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods. I'm currently teaching classes at College of the Canyons in video production for professional photographers and photography students. I give workshops, seminars and lectures on short form video production at colleges, organizations and conferences around the world.

The Zone System Overly Simplified

Posted: September 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Workflow | No Comments »

Starting as an advertising and editorial photographer in the 80’s I had the advantage of large format Polaroid and using a view camera. This meant with a little experience I had the ability to see a fairly good approximation of what the film would look like after inspecting the Polaroid which was very helpful for a advertising photographer. It also meant I could adjust the film by the individual sheet of film. As just a means of expediency, I would bracket my exposure and run a series of developments so if I was a little off I could compensate. Since almost all of my advertising and even editorial subjects allowed me to light them, I had control over contrast and form. So all this means I had little use for the formal use of the Zone System. I exclusively shot transparency film which is very much like today’s digital in that it was very unforgiving to over exposure. I would expose of the highlight and light for the shadows and form.

There sere some areas that were similar to the Zone System in careful consideration of exposure and the individual processing of sheets of film. I also use Pre-visualization to the degree I carefully worked toward a controlled result.

Now, I have an opportunity to revisit the methods of the Zone System and see how it can apply to my work. As a whole, I think a working understanding of the traditional Black and White process is very beneficial to photographers. Right off film is organic and I think people and especially artists (photographers) respond positively to its inherent natural qualities. I think we perceive the different between the random nature of film emulsions compared to the structured nature of pixels this includes film images that have been scanned. Then there is the craft in that very few steps in film can be poorly handled and satisfactorily adjusted for later which to a great degree is the value of the Zone System. Digital allows for a number of postproduction adjustment that appear to correct poor craftsman ship. This is especially true when the only platform for viewing is the already glowing monitor. 

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Poorman’s Copyright Myth or Fact?

Posted: May 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education | No Comments »

Poorman’s copyright is where you mail a copy of the work to yourself.  “It is not a form of registering copyright and will not hold up in any legal action,” Copyright Office, website.


I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV so this is only my understanding of the copyright situation and is not legal advice.  You should always seek out your legal advice from a qualified attorney.

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© how do you register your copyright?

Posted: May 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production, Workflow | Comments Off

Registering your copyright is fairly easy.  You can register your copyright of images online, by mail or by hand.  Registering online is the less expensive costing $35 and quickest way.  By mail is the next easiest but takes longer and is more expensive at $60.  By hand is the least convenient unless you live near the copyright office in Washington DC and costs the same as by mail which is $60 and more than online.

You can register online at http://www.copyright.gov/eco/notice.html

Why go to the trouble of registering your copyright if you get it by simply take the images?  See the next post.

I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV so this is only my understanding of the copyright situation and is not legal advice.  You should always seek out your legal advice from a qualified attorney. 

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© why register your copyright?

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production, Workflow | Comments Off

Why register your copyright? “Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation.”  Copyright Office, Website.


I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV so this is only my understanding of the copyright situation and is not legal advice.  You should always seek out your legal advice from a qualified attorney.

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© copyright when is it created?

Posted: May 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production, Workflow | No Comments »

The copyright of a image or motion picture – video is created as soon as the image, be it a still or video frame, is created.  In other words push the shutter and you create a copyright of the frame as you create the frame itself. 

But what about registering that copyright?  Is that automatically done as well?  Find out about that in the next post.


I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV so this is only my understanding of the copyright situation and is not legal advice.  You should always seek out your legal advice from a qualified attorney.

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© copyright what is it?

Posted: May 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production, Workflow | Comments Off

As a professional photographer and videographer in Los Angeles shooting advertising and editorial assignments, I copyright everything I do. 

What is copyright? It is exactly what it sounds like, the right to copy.  The copyright owner has the right to control who gets to use copies of a image or motion picture (video).

In the next post learn when the copyright is created.


I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV so this is only my understanding of the copyright situation and is not legal advice.  You should always seek out your legal advice from a qualified attorney.

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Professional Photographers Find Value in DV Expo

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production | Tags: , | No Comments »
Leewhitephotography.com composition frence

Leewhitephotography.com composition

As a professional photographer in Los Angeles, California, I’m always looking for ways to improve my photography whether it is still photography or video.  DV Expo was an important resource for professional photographers who want to learn more about producing video.  That was the obvious goal of the Expo.  But there were two sessions that I attended that would be helpful to photographers with shooting stills as well.

On Wednesday, I attend Richard Harrington’s session on Timelapse photography.  It gave me some interesting insights into using long exposures with great depth of field to give a great feeling of motion in Timelapse productions.  Timelapse is a tool that any photographer should have in their skill-set.

Another session I found had some very useful information was Robbie Carman’s all day Friday class on color correction and color grading.  Many of the tools and techniques related directly to handling still photography as well as video.  Some of the most important ideas were that our ability to adapt in seeing color makes it important to have the right environment and not to work to long on an individual image.  Creating a neutral environment with the right lighting is important to judging color and reducing eye fatigue.  Our ability to automatically adapt to new color bias makes it important not to work too long on an individual image while color correcting.  Rather it is better to work on color correcting an image for a short time and then come back to it to have a fresh judgment.

I recommend you consider getting as much information in the fast changing world of digital imaging in both still or motion.  DV Expo is one of the resources you should consider whether it is checking out the exhibit and/or one of more of the sessions.

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Tribute to Ernie Brooks

Posted: September 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Before going to Art Center College of Design and becoming professional  advertising and editorial photographer in Los Angeles, California I considered going to Brooks, Institute of Photography.  It had an outstanding name as a learning institution for photography.  A number of well known photographers especially underwater photographers have come out of Brooks, Institute of Photography.  It is not surprising that the tribute to Ernie Brooks filled the Arlington Theatre with over 2,000 attendees.

Many that attended seemed to be friends and long time collaborators of Ernie’s.  Some of those show their work to the enjoyment of the rest.  Along with a number of historical presentations were some newer photographs and video created by the speakers.  David Doubilet, a contributing photographer to National Geographic Magazine, showed some of his split over and under water photographs.

© David Doubilet

Visit his website at www.daviddoubilet.com for more beautiful images.

Howard Hall show some spectacular video footage of the kelp beds of Southern California among other places. Some of the work he has done is in the IMAX format which is an amazing feat to do underwater.

© Howard Hall

Visit his website at www.howardhall.com to see some of his beautiful videos.

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APA Photo Assistant Basic Training in Colorado

Posted: September 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education | No Comments »

Are you a photo assistant? Do you want to be one? Are looking to jumpstart your new photo career? Then Photo Assistant Basic Training is for you!

In this two day workshop you’ll not only learn essential information on grip and lighting gear, you’ll also learn essential photo shoot protocol, etiquette and secrets that will not only make you a better photo assistant, but will give you lifelong skills that will help you as you start shooting for your own clients.

Sony Artisans of Imagery Brian Smith is teaming up with APA New York Chapter Co-Chair and photographer Tony Gale to present Photo Assistant Basic Training, developed and offered for years by APA chapters to rave reviews across the nation.

With panel discussions, equipment demonstrations from industry experts, and hands-on training, attendees will come away with the essential knowledge and confidence to build your own Pro Assistant reputation. Acquire a comprehensive understanding of professional assisting behavioral guidelines, including contemporary set-etiquette, and discover how this valuable training will get you more call-backs – more repeat clients, more work.

Master Assisting Professionalism. Get booked solid.

Day One

The first day kicks off with the popular “Assistant Panel” which includes experts on working as a photo assistant. Get candid, real world answers to all the questions asked by attendees. Following the panel discussion will be exciting live software and equipment demonstrations with industry reps from Sony, Broncolor, PhotoShelter and Adobe. Industry reps will be on hand to answer all your questions.

Day Two

The second day is an immersive hands-on workshop with much of the gear an assistant will most likely encounter on the majority of professional photo shoots. Many aspects of assisting will be explained in great detail including strobes, flags, scrims, set etiquette, the assistant kit, tips on getting work, billing, and how to deal with the dreaded cancellation. Following classroom discussion and demonstrations, participants will work along side the Pro Photographers to discover crucial pro assisting skills.

Space is limited, so register today.

September 21st & 22nd, 2013

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM each day

lunch included

Separate registration for each day REQUIRED

Sims Studio

2760 Downing Street

Denver, CO 80205

Day One is free to APA Members RSVP to director@apa-la.com

Day One Non Member Fee $40:

Day Two APA Member Fee $40:

Day Two Non Member Fee $80:

This special touring event is brought to you by our generous APA National Sponsors:

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Beachtek New Adapter Help Get Better Audio

Posted: June 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Beachtek, Canon 7d, Education, video production | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

In my last entry, I mentioned that the Canon 7D has joined the ranks of DSLR that have manual control of audio.  Great news but it does not relieve the need to connect professional audio gear via the professional XLR connector.  While a simple mini to XLR connector will work it does not handle the issue of the poor preamps in DSLRs.

Beachtek has a wide variety of audio adapters for DSLRs depending on yours needs including their new DXA-SLR Pro.  Beachtek also has a large amount of information on how best to use your Beachtek adapter at http://www.beachtek.com/support/.  They also have a very informative video on getting the best out of your adapter on their home page.

Beachtek-DXA-SLR PRO

Beachtek-DXA-SLR PRO

Here is a sample of the valuable information they have on thier skulpport pages:

“Hiss is a common problem with most of today’s DSLR cameras. The front ends tend to be noisy which can lead to excessive hiss if the levels are not set right. The simple fact is that the higher the gain of the camera preamps, the higher the hiss. The solution obviously is to reduce the noisy gain in the camera and replace it with the very clean gain of our DXA-SLR or DXA-SLR PRO adapters. When no amplification is required as when using wireless mics, our low cost passive DXA-5Da can be used.

When using the DXA-SLR, adjust the level controls on the adapter so that the indicator LED’s flash green. This tells you when you are in the proper recording level window to get the best signal to noise ratio and least amount of hiss. On the DXA-SLR PRO, you can use the built-in VU meters as a guide and set the levels so that the audio is peaking at no more than -12 dB. Use the AGC Disable feature on the adapter to reduce the noise created by the AGC in the camera.

If your camera allows you to disable the AGC from the camera menu, you can use manual mode to get even better audio. On the Canon 5D MK II or MK III set the camera gain to 25% of maximum. On Nikon cameras set it to LEVEL 1 on the older models, or 7 on the newer D4 and D800. In this case, you do not need to use the AGC Disable feature on the adapter – keep the switch to the left so that it is not activated.

It is critical that the levels be set right so that you are not starving the camera for audio as that will increase the internal camera gain which is something you want to avoid. Once the levels are set correctly, you should be able to capture clean, crisp audio.”

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