I Love LA


Prior to arriving in Palm Springs this March for Seniors Ignite, I went out to shoot with Jennifer Tori of  J. Tori Photography near LA.  I had met Jen at a past event and we had kept up with each other (and each other’s work) over the last couple of years.  She always puts out consistently awesome senior work and her winning models are so much fun to photograph.  Last year in Palm Springs we both had the opportunity to shoot together, and it was awesome to see how differently we approach and set up shots with the same models.

I landed in LA on a gorgeous Friday afternoon.  Jen explained to me that traffic would be a factor on our shoots.  Now I knew what she meant.  LA traffic is a lot different than Atlanta traffic.  And it starts a lot earlier on Fridays!

Jen and her winning model, Lena, picked me up at the airport and we drove to the first location.

Once Jen’s other senior model, Taylor, and her mom arrived, we began our day of shooting. Our first location was the Getty Museum, which was absolutely gorgeous.

My challenges were controlling my ADD at such beautiful locations, photographing models I had never met before, and staying focused after waking up at 5 AM to fly from Atlanta to LA.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to meet and shoot with the famous photographer, Bambi Cantrell. There was an exercise she put us through where we were to walk into a room with a bride in her gown.  We had to setup and take only 3 shots, and we had to accomplish this while Bambi held a stopwatch.  AND WE ONLY HAD 5 MINTUES.  I think about that exercise a lot, and this was one of those times.

We had to choose our shots, deal with mid-day sun, and stay on a schedule that Jen set up for us so we would arrive at our last location at sunset. The models were fabulous and Jen and I started the day off with a great first session.

Once we were done at this location we raced back to the car and headed down to Beverly Hills.  This was a very cool location for me to photograph.  Almost 7 years ago to the day I was staying at the Hotel across Rodeo on a corporate business trip.

Now I was standing on the steps photographing models during 5 o’clock rush hour.  The energy and excitement was incredible, with people stopping to watch and take cell phone images.  The models totally rocked this part of the session.  I think it had a lot to do with Taylor’s shoes!

And thankfully, Jen’s schedule worked.  The last session had us arriving at Santa Monica Pier right before sunset, and the timing was perfect.

I can’t tell you how this experience both inspired and refreshed me.  It is great to travel to a different location and shoot alongside another photographer that shares your excitement and enthusiasm.  I want to thank Jen again for an amazing couple of days, as well as her models, Lena and Taylor.  Jen was kind enough to open her studio up to me and our heads were racing as we bounced ideas off each other.


Visiting and shooting with another studio outside of your location is also the perfect time to get your senior models involved. I know if Jen was coming here to Georgia I would be showing off to our models and client base that an award winning photographer from California was flying in to shoot them.  It is an awesome opportunity to standout and to market new experiences for your studio, along with modeling and photo shoot opportunities for your senior models.Invest in this type of “workshop” and I can guarantee a renewed level of excitement for your craft and your business.
See more images from John’s shoot in LA: SantaMonica,  Getty Museum and Beverly Hills.


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