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  • About us

    Dear Clients & Friends,

    We would like to first, thank you for your constant support for the last few years. We are proud, not only of having had the opportunity to serve you, but also to now call you friends. We hope you enjoy our new blog, which we will be designing to showcase our work as well as give professional and personal updates, behind the image explanations, writing educational information and most of all increase R&V’s success. Our hope is that herein you learn more about what we do, how we do it and how much we love doing it. Please continue to help us spread the word about R&V and we will be seeing you at your next photo shoot.

    If you do not know about us, my wife and I have been married for 4 years now and our common passion for photography and strong desire to provide the best customer service in town brought us together to form R&V Photography. Between the two of us we have over 15 years of experience in photography and although we have different styles, our differences come together to create some incredible images that capture those rare, but special moments in our lives. Our lively personality, creative minds and knowledge of the industry makes us easy to work with, which in turn ensures every shoot is enjoyable regardless of the event. Our style of photography is best described as a mix of a photojournalistic approach with a flair of fashion elegance, which compliments the beautiful surroundings in the California Central Coast.

    Although we cover a wide range of photography, our specialty is Family, Wedding and Newborn photography as you may be able to see throughout this site. We also believe in giving back, thus donating our services to various agencies in town.

    Also, please be sure to visit us at www.RNVphotography.com

    Thank you for visiting us and we look forward to serving you.

    The R&V Team (Henry, Aliz, Lenny & Valentina)

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Late, but not forgotten

I never thought I would write a post like this one, but you can never say NEVER. About a year ago we had the pleasure of capturing a beautiful couple’s engagement. They chose the Santa Barbara Courthouse as their location of preference. They were very outgoing and made the shoot fun and unforgettable. Somehow, I missed to write the blog and as I reviewed all past blogs I noticed this one had not made it in… The images we were able to capture were  amazing, colorful and just gorgeous. Although, it took us this long to post them, I think they are one of the best we have ever taken at this location. Enjoy

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The road to becoming a photographer


For the past 5 years, my wife and I have had the honor to work together doing something we both love.  Our career has definitely presented many opportunities for continued learning in areas that were expected, but also in some that were not. One of the most interesting experience we have encountered as professional photographers is the consensus belief that we (Photographers) are overpriced and that our time invested in delivering great images is not worth what we (Photographers) charge. Now, I do understand that some would argue that if our time, talent and process are worth what we charge, why is it that others don’t charge as much. Well, it is for this very reason that I decided to write a diary of what one must go through in order to develop such skills; to demystify the myths and finally to give those who read this a better understanding of an industry that only few are successful in.


In order to begin even thinking about jumping into this profession, you must understand the techniques that have been developed through time to get to where we are now.  According to Wikipedia, Thomas Wedgwood invented the first camera back in 1790; therefore, one can argue that as the birthdate of photography. Now I am not going to write a blog about history that has already been written, but I do want to expose you to some historical facts that would give you a better understanding of what modern photographers must go through.

 Since the invention of the first camera, thus given birth to photography, many techniques and fundamentals have been developed.  From the rule of thirds (which painters have been using prior to photography) to basic exposure techniques, one must first learn terminology. This includes, but not limited to: Focus, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, metering, ISO, auto focus, bracketing, focal length, filters, ghosting, over/under exposure, telephoto lens, prime lens, macro lens, and wide angle lens. After you know what the above mentioned are, then you need to learn what their correlation to each other is and how they are important in taking ONE image.

Where do I learn this? You may ask, well you do so by going to school or venture into the learning road on your own. Most credited schools’ tuition would range between 500 to thousands of dollars a quarter for a total of lets say at least two years. If you decide to save that money and chose to learn on your own then you must either read many books, use Youtube on an excessive basis or join an online learning program such as Linda.com. You can also learn by interning or volunteering your time to a trained and established photographer.  In case you missed it, volunteering your time usually involves a monetary investment, as you could easily use that time to work and get paid for it. Either way, you are looking at a minimum of two years.

For the sake of numbers and figures let’s conclude that at 10 hours a week for 104 (52 weeks a year x two) weeks of learning (volunteering) at a rate of $8.00 an hour, then you we can concluded you have invested a total of $8320.


Alright! We now know the fundamentals of photography, now we need to decide what type of photography we would like pursue. What are our options?: Fashion, Portrait, newborn, Car, Wedding, Landscape, Architecture, Product, Macro or promotional.  Yeah, I think I can get that all in one breath. Well, I think that in order to be able to make a living you should learn techniques for multiple forms of photography, so we will focus on what we already do and choose Wedding, Newborn and Portrait photography. The following must be learned in order to proceed:

  • Equipment needed
  • Software of choice
  • Trends in the industry
  • Psychology (yes! Psychology)

Now, I am not going to write what learning the above takes, because I do not want to bore you, but lets just say it takes a lot of research, studying and practicing in order to learn and mastered the knowledge of the four topics mentioned above and how they all relate to each other. In addition to the above we need to research and learn the following techniques:

  • Lighting Techniques
  • Proper posing
  • Frame composition
  • Post production knowledge (Light temperature control, exposition correction, cropping techniques, definition range limitations, skin tone color correction, Sharpening/softening techniques)

So to mention a few, the above are some of the techniques one must learn. Again for the sake of numbers, let’s say we invest a total of 2 hours 3 times a week for a total of 6 months. Remaining in the $8 an hour range that would total $1248.


Everybody, for the most part, when exposed to Photoshop for the first time feel lost and confused, reasonably so, Photoshop is the most advanced software in the market. Nevertheless, if you want to learn to edit, add contrast and depth to your images, make corrections or use your creativity to  it’s full potential, you must learn how to use it. Depending on your learning style you could buy a book, purchase video tutorials, take classes or learn by doing, you must purchase a license to use. In average, Photoshop costs $799.00 if you purchase it from a retail store. You then will need to invest countless hours, reading, watching and practicing techniques, which for the sake of quantitation let’s say a total of 10 hours a week for six months totaling 260 hours. This translates to $2080 (260 hours x $8 an hour) just to be able to do the basic editing/retouching. In fact, there is a career in professional retouching, which some choose to do.


Alright, some may not agree with me on this, but if you just allow me to explain, perhaps you may change your mind. There is a natural strained relationship between most of us and the camera.  For example, take a moment to observe a child who is acting cute, doing funny things or well just being themselves, the moment you pull out a DSLR (not a point and shoot) their behavior changes automatically and they become stiff, nervous, insecure or at times even upset. Well, things do not change as we grow. A lot of us have to learn to be confortable with someone pointing and shooting at us with an object (camera), which usually manifest in not so naturally looking images. It is there where the Psychology is use. Now, I have to be careful not to give all of our secrets (: P) , but here is what we must do as professional photographers.  Brides, for example, have never participated in a wedding in the same role, well most,; therefore, they do not know what to do. They want everything to be perfect, they want beautiful images, they are self-conscious, they are managing the entire process/event and well they want beautiful images (I know I just said that, but once is not enough). It is our job to let them feel everything is going according to plan. Now I understand that responsibility usually lands on the wedding coordinators, but not all couples can afford one. We also have to guide them in feeling, not looking, but feeling beautiful. Once that is accomplished the rest of the event will be smooth.


This is the segment that I loved most, but my pocket hates to this day. Photography equipment is not cheap at all and if not careful you can end up investing thousands and thousands of dollars. Instead of writing a long and boring paragraph I will just share an itemized list of most of our equipment and what we paid when new.

2- Nikon D700                                                = $5000.00

1- Nikon D3s                                                    = $5200.00

2- Nikon D300                                               = $3000.00

2- MBD10 Camera grips                             =$420.00

1- Nikkor 10-24mm Wide Angle Lens   = $1600.00

1- Nikkor 24-70mm Mid Range Lens     =$1700.00

1- Nikkor 70-200mm Telefoto lens        =$2400.00

1- Nikkor 105mm Macro Lens                   =$900.00

1- Nikkor 60mm Macro Lens                     =$400.00

1- Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens                              =$450.00

1- Nikkor 50mm 1.8                                       =$150.00

1- Tokina 10-17mm Fish Eye Lens           =$597.00

2- Nikon SB-900 flashes                             =$1100.00

2- Nikon SB-600 Flashes                            =$660.00

1- Nikon SB-700 Flash                                 =$340.00

1- Profoto portable flash unit                   =$2800.00

1- Profoto beauty dish                                 =$150.00

3- Remote flash triggers                             =$450.00

1- Macro photography flash                      =$390.00

1- Autum portable battery pack                 =$420.00

2- Photography suit cases                           =$550.00

5- Studio lights                                                =$799.00

4- Light reflectors                                          =$200.00

4- Light stands/tripod                                 =$375.00

1- Mac Pro computer                                    =$3700.00

1- 19 inch mac monitor                                =$990.00

1- Macbook pro                                              =$1300.00

1- Photoshop license                                   =$799.00

1- Lightroom License                                    =$199.00

0- 15 memory cards                                      =$600.00

Total of   ———————-                     =$37,639.00


I have discussed herein what rode we have taken to be where we are, but have omitted, for the sake of your sanity, the following:


In conclusion, if you take the same steps we have taken, it would cost you a total of $49,287.00 and 24 months to be where we are. I hope after reading this you have a better understanding of what it takes to be a photographer and realize our prices are not inflated;)

Thank you for reading

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Keeping it in the family

Many of you know that we are expecting an addition to our family. She is due to arrive in a few weeks, February 17th, 2014, to be exact, and cannot wait any longer. Reliving this chapter, sort of speak, with her places us in a position to replicate all the steps we took with our first addition, Lenny. Thus far, we feel have been able to do just that, which is part of the reason for writing this post. Capturing my wife’s beautiful pregnant body was one of our desires, so we prepared, arranged and organized the shoot. What we were able to capture was some of the most beautiful images we have been able compose in our career and wanted to share with you. Later on we will write a post with the details of the shoot in case you want to create similar images. Meanwhile, enjoy!

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The most anticipated day has arrived and will now live on with the images we were able to capture. All those invited showed up: love, sunny sky, perfect weather, and well friends. In this particular wedding my better half was not able to join me due to some physical restriction, nevertheless, she kept a watchful eye for me J. As you can see this wedding was high in energy and everyone in the bridal party was a trooper. We only wished we had more hours in the day to be as creative as we could and create more fantastic images.  We were grateful to have participated in this special day as we will be able relive it through the images we capture. Enjoy and if you love our work please refer us to your special friends and family.

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K&K are better than M&M’s

A few months ago we had the opportunity to do the engagement sessions for Kristy T. and Karen P. However, our schedules had not permitted us to blog that session. We began at the Santa Barbara Court house, which as most of you know is a gorgeous location to visit but even more to photograph. Due to our relationship to this couple we had a bit of an advantage as we did not have to do much to break the ice, thus allowing us to start with the session. The only guideline we give them was “be open for everything as we will implement a little more creativity to shoot…. We could tell you how it went, but instead we are choosing to show you:

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Although we don’t often times use photoshop, because of the amount of time that must be invested, to create similar pictures like the one below, we could not resist.

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We had so much fun the next day we could not laugh or cough because we were so sore from laughing during the shoot… All of our love goes out to K&K, thank you for letting us be part of your special day:)


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