San Jose

Senior Portraits: Alia Tull


Spartan Alia Tull has reached yet another important milestone in her life with her fast approaching graduation from San Jose State University, and she wants to go out in style. So, she came to us for her senior portraits and announcements.

Alia is a proud member of the Class of 2015 and is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in  Political Science with an Emphasis in Thought and Theory. We know her personally, though, as she and Tori are sorority sisters. Chardé Walker, a woman we like to call our poster child (she's featured on a canvas on a wall in our office), is Alia's pledge mom. Even better, Alia herself actually makes an appearance in our USFC Info Night videos (click here to see the latest one), so this is one grad we're excited for.

In charge of this shoot was ISM's Kristine Lee, taking on the role of lead photographer. Meanwhile, Tori came as an assistant, handling the reflector, and Alia's grandmother even tagged along to provide some levity and pose for a few photos herself.

The group's first stop was the Municipal Rose Garden in Downtown San Jose. It was a cold, brisk morning and the grass was wet with dew, but Alia took it like a champ in her wedges. She was ready to model, and despite the fact that the roses weren't entirely in bloom, Alia's smile was radiant enough to make you forget about flowers. Excited and joyful, the idea of jumping in the fountain even crossed her mind.

The fun continued as the ladies continued on to the San Jose State campus with Alia's grandmother cracking jokes the whole way. It was a bit of a challenge to capture the immensity of the SJSU sign, but we love the contrast the blue provided. After that, Tower Hall served as a perfect backdrop for Alia's model walk. Her subtle outfit change made the look all the more fierce. We couldn't be happier with how the portraits turned out.

And so it seems with Alia as well, as she chose her favorite photos for Allen to turn into a graduation announcement. Check it out (along with a gallery of some of our favorite images) below!

Congratulations to Alia and all the graduates of the Class of 2015!

Written by Danika Lam

Rosiella & Jeff

Back in August, these two lovebirds tied the knot right in our hometown. Looking for local vendors alone, Rosiella and Jeff wanted a real San Jose wedding.

The day kicked off at Hotel De Anza where Allen followed the bride with the gimbal and Tori stuck with the groom as they each were primped and beautified. Housing a restaurant near and dear to the couple's heart (with supposedly amazing pastries!), Hotel De Anza was the obvious choice for the basecamp of their San Jose wedding. Once the two were ready enough to walk down the red carpet let alone the aisle, they were transported just a few streets away. The guests awaited them at the San Jose Cathedral Basilica for a traditional Catholic ceremony.

The fun really started rolling in once Rosiella and Jeff sealed the deal. They left the church and boarded a pedicab, accompanied by the bridal party. Allen and the photographer, Scott MacDonald, got to share their own, bringing the total number of pedicabs to eight! (Check out Scott's blog post of the wedding by clicking here.) For about an hour and a half, they rolled around the city in style as people on the street shouted congratulations. Exploring the Plaza de Cesar Chavez and surrounding areas, they took photos at different downtown locations. The Tech Museum even let them pose for some shots inside.

Once it was time for the reception, the bridal party returned to the hotel. Everyone had a great time, and the couple got to ascend to the hotel's roof for even more photos overlooking city lights. Meanwhile, Allen and Tori captured the speeches and different angles of all the fun. Jenny and Frank were on the scene as well, capturing additional footage and some B-roll shots.

A true highlight of the reception were the incredible crafts the groom had created just for his wedding. Jeff is a phenomenal woodworker, and he put that skill to good use when he handcrafted favors, table centerpieces, corsages, and even place cards.

What was especially cool was that every table was assigned to a travel destination. Huge travelers, Rosiella and Jeff named each table after a place they had visited together, all featuring a wooden sign displaying the table's location (made by Jeff himself, of course!). Every place card displayed the destination table that guests were meant to find and sit at. It was undoubtably unique! Destinations included Buenos Aires, Argentina; Machu Picchu, Peru; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to name a few.

From a technical standpoint, Rosiella and Jeff's wedding was a joy to shoot. Because the event was right in our backyard, Allen and Tori took it upon themselves to play around with some time-lapse footage. You can check out a small time-lapse clip in the teaser we created below, and more of it were surely pop up in their short film, and future projects. Additionally, Allen got to have some fun as he captured the couple's pedicab ride, practically hanging out the side of his own pedicab to get some awesome shots. Get a look into it all in the video below!

And of course, congratulations to the newlyweds: Jeff and Rosiella Defensor!

Written by Danika Lam

Senior Portraits: Michael Youssef

Pioneer High School's Michael Youssef had his senior portrait photo shoot early this morning at Alum Rock Park in San Jose. On location were Allen, Tori, and myself. Without the need for much exploration, we easily found several spots for good photos, nice backdrops and all. Michael himself, while not a professional model, seemed perfectly comfortable in front of the camera and Allen had no trouble getting some really great shots. Overall, it was a very mellow shoot, as even the sun was cooperating with us, hiding behind the clouds. And the results were spectacular, as you can see in the gallery below.

Above: A few behind the scenes photos I took while on the shoot
Below: A gallery of some of the best shots of Michael, professionally edited

Written by Danika Lam