Josh’s Audi A4 – Bay Area European Steez Photography

I met Josh through my buddy Brent a while back… shoot… probably 2 years ago now?  He’s been working on his Audi for quite some time.  Between and that sweet-sweet boser c/f hood, the paint, the FMIC, the wheels, brakes, and the engine mods he’s been busy.

We ran a little short on daylight this evening, but cool 77 degree temps at 9:45 at night made for some pretty stellar shots.  Not to mention the fact that, well, the police let us off the hook for being in SJSU’s parking garage a little past our bedtimes.                             Facebook

ALLorNOTHING – Bay Area Classical Guitar Photography… J/k.

So, last year I got a call from my buddy Chris Chance who owns In His Name Clothing.  He sponsors a few bands with his shirts/sweatshirts/hoodies.  ALLorNOTHING is one of those bands, and they needed some promo shots, so of course I took the job!

A few weeks ago Lazarus, the lead singer of the band, hit me up and told me that they had a show going on in Sunnyvale, CA.  And, again, of course I took the job.  And I had a blast.

I’m not a music aficionado, but can appreciate some talent.  What I can also appreciate is the message that Laz and the rest of the brand bring.  Right before their last song, Laz paused for 2 minutes, and gave a message of hope.  Something that, when you hear their music, if you don’t listen carefully to their lyrics, you just might not pick up on.  But this message of hope offers something greater… As Laz put it, “It’s not about me, it’s not about us, it’s not about you… it’s about Him.”  Laz was confident but not cocky, and entirely unapologetic for offering a message he knows has changed his life, has changed my life, and has changed millions of lives.  This is something rare to find these days, especially in a band with such talent.

I plan to be at many of of ALLorNOTHING’s shows.  You should plan on doing the same.

Check out ALLorNOTHING at their MySpace page here:

Check out Chris Chance’s clothing line, In His Name, over here:             Facebook

Footsteps of the Cross – Deeply Respectful Photography

I love my church. In fact, I REALLY love it. Their community involvement, especially. Things like Beautiful Day ( is something my wife and I have been involved in for a few years ago.  And we just love seeing the impact our church has on our community.  And, oh yeah, I re-met my wife at our church, too.  So, we have a fondness for where we worship.  :-)

But seriously, they’re awesome.  And they have such an artsy crew of people around there. Musicians, painters, sculptors, art teachers, photographers *wink wink*.  We all have our own thing going on, and all have so many opportunities to display our talents.

A few weeks ago I got a chance to photograph a very private event that our church put on.  The footsteps of the cross, aka the stations of the cross.  It gives people a chance to see, touch, feel, and worship, in a manner which is directly related to the crucifixion.  Again, this is a very private event, so I felt super blessed to be able to watch people who were praying, talking to God, and worshiping the Creator.  Very deep experience for me, and I don’t get deep very often.

*If you or someone you know is in any of these photographs and would like the image taken down, please let me know.  We understand this was a personal moment and wish to be nothing but respectful.*                          Facebook

Erin Michelle - May 23, 2011 - 1:52 pm

Beautifully done Mike!

Brent’s EssTeaEye – Bay Area Automotive Photography

Had a photo shoot with a buddy of mine and his Subie tonight.  Personally, I’ve always loved the Subaru STI, and it’s rare when I get to shoot cars.  Don’t get me wrong… I love people.  But there’s something about 300+ AWD Horsepower and a car just basically riding along the edge of unreasonably low.


Nate - April 14, 2011 - 2:23 pm

Great pics!! Making me look like I shoot with a Polaroid.

A big fat frickin’ THANK YOU! Bay Area Wedding Photography

Busy doesn’t even being to describe my life… and my wife’s life, really.

I had the pleasure of receiving a phone call from my new amazing friend Denise a few months back.  We talked over our futures as photographers, where we wanted to go, and where we wanted to be.  Denise has been beyond amazing in taking me under her wing, helping me with all sorts of struggles and I, in turn, have helped her with some of the things that she struggles with.  A truly mutual relationship.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I love the technical stuff.  Settings, button pushing, and the math behind it all.  I dig it.

As things go, I’m truly striving to kick it into overdrive.  Why?  See the photograph below and you’ll understand.  :-)

A shout out to some people who have supported me more than I ever deserved.  Here’s the list:

Lindsey (and Nathan) at  Lindsey invited me on a fashion shoot at in East Palo Alto last year.  She then had Jehn and I over for dinner a few weeks later.  And, in true Lindsey style, asks me straight up, “Where do you want to go with this?”  No one had yet asked me that, and so began the journey…  I am so grateful to Lindsey for asking me such a simple question that spawned a new passion in my life, a future career, and finally helped me to see what I really want to do with my life, and of course for trusting me as a back-up shooter/assistant on countless wedding adventures.

Jon and Joanne Encarnacion at  Jon and Joanne I met at a PUG meeting (even though I’m a SmugMug user).  Turns out Jon knows one of my best buddies, Jerry, and turns out Joanne works with the the girlfriend of one of my mountain biking friends, Nathan.  Small world, right?  Jon and Joanne have been looking out for my best interests ever since and 100% willing to help me at every turn.  Plus, they have mustache tattoos, so that makes them cool as all get out in my book.

Kristen Gonzalez of the formerly named (her website is in the midst of being updated).  As far as Kristen goes, I met her at Mike Larson class in San Francisco back in September, and we immediately clicked.  Our vision is similar, and she is one of the most fun people to work with.  I had the joy of shooting a beautiful Christmas-themed wedding with Kristen this past December, and she is so easy to work with.  Kristen has an eye for fashion, and is flat-out awesome.  Kristen, thank you for all of your help!

Cassie Green of .  Cassie and I met through… shoot.  How did we meet?  It was at an engagement shoot with Lindsey of Bellalu.  As always, I’m the go to technical guy, so a few quick camera repairs to Cassie’s camera, and we were back in business.  Cassie and I have worked together on events, and she is a pleasure to work with.  Cassie’s work is amazing, and she’s just too humble to admit it.  Cassie – you are worth more than you think you should value yourself with regards to your photography.  Trust me.

Ashley and Jason Maxwell of .  Ashley and Jason actually did mine and Jehn’s wedding photos back in June of 2008.  Ashley and I were lab partners in Biology, and as one of the only rollerbladers in my high school, Ashley’s brother Tyler, a skateboarder, should have hated me.  But we got along great.  Ashley and Jason are successful, and have an amazing fashion sense and ability to see art everywhere. They are talented, and quite possibly some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  When they did our wedding photos, I don’t think I’d seen or talked to Ashley in about 6 or 7 years.  But as soon as we all met up, it was like we were old friends.  Some people just have a knack for being able to make any scenario feel comfortable… like going home for the first time.  Ashley and Jason can do that.

Denise Birdsong Zavala of  Denise, mentioned above, has invested more in me than anyone else I know, save my lovely bride, Jehn.  Denise has allowed me to come to shoots with her, planned mock shoots, show up and work bridal fairs with her, and so much more.  So far so GREAT, as our team effort has already paid off in the work that we’ve done.  Denise has a killer sense for both fashion and business, a true double threat in a world flowing with great photographers who are bad business people, and good business people who are bad photographers.  With our business sense and our vision, we have become a, dare I say it?  A freakin’ POWERHOUSE.  BOOYAH!

Other people I need to thank?

-Mike Steelman of for sitting down with me just yesterday in Berkeley and talking to me.  What a freakin’ cool guy.  Did he have to do that?  Absolutely not.
 -My friend and former Palo Alto’s Finest, Ben Q.  Ben runs, and I’ve genuinely never seen better pet photography.  No joke, no lies.  He’s the best.  Him and I have done countless photo walks around the San Jose area in the middle of the night, and once almost got beat up by a homeless dude who was unhappy with our flashes waking him up from his slumber.  If you have a pet, call Ben.  GO!
-My buddy Jesse Dacumos for helping me on weddings and being super cool and pushing me to up my off-camera flash abilities.
-My friend Chris who owns for letting me do some of his promo pictures.  I think more of my t-shirts and sweatshirts these days are In His Name than anything else.  I don’t even own that many plain white Hanes t-shirts!
-Kevin Nye of  Kevin and I don’t speak anymore, but he truly is the reason why I ever picked up a camera in the first place.  In fact, back in 2006, he came with me to buy my first camera – a Nikon D50 with an 18-55 kit lens.  He’ll probably never read this, but I owe him a great amount of gratitude for helping me find where I want to direct my life.  I hope he’s doing well as he’s comfortably settled in Georgia.  No lies, no formalities.  I wish him the best.
-And the guy who sold me my first “pro” body back in 2009, my now-sold D300.  I think his name was Peter.

Why do I mention OTHER photographers on my blog?  Because these are all talented, wonderful people.  If I’m already booked, I wouldn’t let you go anywhere else unless it was one of the above photographers.  They are, hands down, the cat’s meow.

Most importantly, over and above anyone else, my family and my wife.  Those who pray for me, support me, and love me on a daily basis, even when I’m never around because of work.  They know I’m working hard for them, and they have been more than understanding, more than supportive, more loving, and more than anyone who is starting a business could ever ask for.  I’m the luckiest photographer in the world and, in my eyes, the luckiest person in the world.

So, why all the thank yous to such great people?  Why am I so concerned with all of the people who have gotten me to where I am, and who are still supporting me into the future where I’m current headed?

This is why…

Yep, that’s me.  Holding a pregnancy test my wife took in mid-November.  Due date for baby Buchanan: July 22, 2011.  Exactly one month after our 3 year wedding anniversary.

Erin Michelle - January 24, 2011 - 12:00 pm

So happy for you Mike!! And OMG I didn't know you know Denise Birdsong!! I regularly follow her blog and found her on the Boudoir Diva's site. Next time I'm out, we should all do lunch ;) Love you guys and wish you and your new family all the best this year!!!

Furry Ohana Pet Photography - January 24, 2011 - 4:04 pm

You guys are awesome! Hopefully Ashley and I can make a similar post in a few months.

Cassie Green - January 31, 2011 - 9:39 am

thank you, mike. So glad to know you and have your awesome support!