also work

I’ve been lucky enough to assist Mike Kelley, an architectural photographer, for about a year now. He is super successful and a pro at what he does, and it’s interesting to see him at work. Unfortunately I’m not very into architectural photography itself, but it’s the perfect gig for me assisting him. (I’d die to throw a fashion model into the shot every time!) We have photographed houses anywhere between $ 8-100M and have travelled around the US. Bonus he’s super fun to be around. Here are some behind the scenes of a house in the hills of West Hollywood. The infinity pool may have given it away. 


Summer Adventures in Malibu

My friend, Sara, and I’s favorite thing to do is spend all day at the beach, just the two of us. We don’t get to see each other all that often because we’re both so busy working and adulting. So it’s amazing to take a whole day to catch up and enjoy nature at its finest. We bring all the vegan snacks and just lay and talk and take a ton of fun pictures. 


BK NY

My best friend, Lindsay, lives in Brooklyn so I only get to see her like once a year! I was flying to the east coast to visit family in Charlotte, so I took a few days to spend in NY with Lindsay. We didn’t plan too much and actually didn’t even leave Brooklyn. I just wanted her to show me all her favorite spots to get coffee, and walk around and explore and take pictures. It’s what we do best. We went to BAM and saw Hereditary. fucking terrifying just letting you know but we both love scary movies. We were on the hunt for some amazing vegan food and our days turned into food tours with stops at bookstores, coffee shops, and little boutiques in between. It was the best. 

On my last evening, I got to take portraits of my beautiful friend. Black and white just seemed so appropriate. I love these. 



Dana in Malibu

Dana is signed with NXT Modeling agency in Denver and the super friendly agent there, Natalie, referred Dana to me for a test shoot during her visit out to LA. Dana owns a small clothing company with her husband and two other friends, called Rebel Disciple. She was staying out in Malibu, so it was the perfect opportunity to shoot at the beach. My fave spot is El Matador with the giant rocks, caves, and glowy light. The light had already gone down behind the cliff, so we ended up with really soft blue hazy light, which turned out so pretty. You really never know what to expect with beach shoots with weather and light. It was so fun photographing Dana, and such a gorgeous evening! 


Dirty Pretty Things

New JLUXLABEL summer 2018 campaign! This shoot was at Santa Monica Beach with babes Constance Nunes and Phoenix Skye. We had fun running around spending the day in sunshine and sand and taking stellar photos! The shoot was inspired by a book of poems, Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet, that my friend, Sara, lent me. I brought the book as a prop to use and it ended up inspiring us to use its title for our editorial. 

“I am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place.”


Kelsey Lu

I was so lucky to see Kelsey Lu play a garden show at the JACCC in DTLA. It was so magical I was tearing up when she walked out and picked up her cello. Her voice is so incredible and she’s a truly inspiring artist and musician. You must watch this beautiful video for Shades of Blue!

The nice event photographer snapped a pic of me doing my thing. 


Layered in Lux

New JLUXLABEL SS2018 campaign! This editorial is my favorite I’ve done with the brand since working with them starting in Oct 2017. The styling is so on point with the mixing of textures and belts that tie everything together. Loving the color palette the most. I shot this alongside Shaun Vadella and we actually spackled the wall background ourselves!! So resourceful here at JLUX HQ. The perfect angel model is Rachel Mortenson of LA Models, hair and make up by the super talented Jen Tioseco.


Taylor in Griffith Park

This was Taylor’s first shoot ever! She did awesome and we had so much fun chasing the good light in Griffith Park on Earth Day and getting kicked out of the tennis courts. She’s such a darling, and I’m obsessed with her curly hair. Sarah Nelson did her make-up and killed that pop of red on her lips! Plus baby lashes on the bottom. 



Brother Sister

I photographed LA model pair Ava and Clark, brother and sister, at the Griffith Observatory. I love going up there because the light is out of this world at sunset and I feel like I’m in the clouds above LA. It’s gotten crazy busy as a tourist destination, but if you’re willing the fight for parking and make your way through the crowds, you can find some empty spots with really pretty light. 


Super Bloom!

The wildflowers in LA are in full bloom, making Griffith Park the prettiest I’ve ever seen it! Liv, with la models, told me she was in town from Denver for a few days, so we planned a very impromptu shoot only a day in advance! Typically, I plan editorials a week or two in advance with plenty of solid inspiration, but the wildflowers themselves were enough to get up and go shoot immediately. I have photographed Liv twice in Denver - one time being published in print! I adore Liv, and feel so lucky to have had an opportunity to photograph her again while she was in town. She is so sweet and I love her look and modeling style. She also provided the styling, which ended up being so perfect for the scene! I love when shoots come together so organically and easy. Everything just feels right and the proof is in the stellar images. And as a bonus during the shoot, Liv said she brought her grandfather’s polaroid camera! So we used it as a cute prop to go with her 70’s babe’n styling, and I got to snap a few, bringing me back to my early photography days!


Madison in Venice

I am so lucky to have my two favorite Denver models in LA in the same weekend! I have shot Maddy twice in Denver, and she was voted Best Model in Denver in 2016! She is killing it. She is such a Cali girl at heart, so shooting her on the beach was absolutely perfect. Days like these, I wonder how I call what I do “work”. 


DESERT X

“In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing…” - Balzac

I will take ANY excuse to go to the desert, and especially Palm Springs. So when I heard about Desert X and the amazing art installations spread in different locations across the desert, I gathered a few creative photographer friends for a quick road trip! The Circle of Land & Sky was my favorite one. I probably could’ve stayed there all day, but we had lots more to see, and the Mirage Ranch house to get to by sunset. We got to walk around inside the house, which is completely made up of mirrors. It seemed impossible to capture a good shot without a stranger being in it because it was actually pretty crowded. But we lingered around until it closed and they were making people leave, and we sort of hid in the back to snap a few more photos. Just doing what a good photographer always does. Break the rules.

https://www.desertx.org/


Caley at the Observatory

I met Caley (Next Models LA) through my Denver make-up artist, Alli, who insisted Caley and I shoot together while she is out in LA! I’m so glad we had the opportunity to shoot because these are some of my fave photos to date. They’re fun and carefree, and the location was absolutely beautiful. We shot at the Griffith Observatory, which is oh so pretty at sunset. Despite the clean images, there were tons of tourists walking around in the background that we had to dodge. Some of them stopping to stare as Caley and I were shooting. But alas, we didn’t get kicked out of shooting in a public place, so a pretty successful shoot. Styling cred goes to the model, who has impeccable style! PS she is Miss Colorado :) 



Sporty Shoot w/ Nina

Nina just signed with LA Models, and we set up a shoot to start building her portfolio. I had been wanting to do a sporty styled shoot for a while and thought the Silver Lake Rec center would be a perfect location for it. I walk by these basketball courts almost every day, and always admire the light that comes through the trees onto the sea foam green colored court. The clouds diffused the sun to the softest, most flattering light ever on this particular day. Nina helped with bringing wardrobe pieces to wear, which worked out perfectly, because we learned we have the same taste in clothes. She was so wonderful to shoot, being such a natural in front of the camera. This girly is going to go far in her modeling career! Can you believe this was her second shoot ever? 


Denver folks! 

I WILL BE IN DENVER DECEMBER 6 - 10th 

AVAILABLE FOR BOOKING YOUR UNIQUE PORTRAIT SESSION! :) 

Contact me to set a date! info@colleenobrienphotography.com 


Angeles Forest

I’ve been missing Colorado and weekend escapes to the mountains so much lately. Thankfully, I just discovered that the Angeles National forest is only an hour away from Los Angeles! It even looks and feels like Colorado up there, so I’m happy. Taking time to renew my soul in nature is crucial to my happiness :) With my man and my puppy by my side, we went on a long hike, taking pictures along the way. I’m (ironically) camera shy, but here are some portraits of myself, in my element. 



New shots

I’m a bit behind on blogging all of my shoots, so here are just a few of my faves from shoots I’ve been doing for modeling agencies. I’ve got 3 shoots this week, so even more to come soon :) 


Test Shoots in DTLA

I am shooting for Wilhelmina Men LA now! I love shooting guys. It’s not that different from photographing women. In some aspects, I prefer it. The wardrobe is pretty easy. And there’s only a few “poses” for male models. And the retouching is a bit quicker. I did 2 shoots back to back last week, so here are few of my faves. We met at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, and walked around from there. While I was waiting for my second model to show up, I explored the hotel and went to the rooftop where people were hanging by the pool, sipping cocktails. I looked around at the skyline and below, and happened to see some kids running around shooting on a rooftop next door to the Ace. So I was determined to find it and make my way up there too to shoot. It’s an empty parking garage and I thought we’d have to be stealth in sneaking to the top, but the attendant did not care in the least. So this is my new go-to spot for test shoots! We were able to climb on the fire escapes, and use all the open space and beautiful evening light it has to offer. And of course the city scape in the background. So perfect. 

Neal J is above, and here is Landon M. 



El Matador Beach, Malibu

My dear friend, Kassia, and her friend, Victoria, invited me along on one of her shoots at El Matador Beach in Malibu. The lovely model, Natalie, is also my good friend, and I had photographed her a couple times in Denver. She is with NXT agency here in LA. Natalie is killing the commercial modeling game, and I’m so happy to be reunited with her and Kassia! It was such a fun, girly day. We ate acai bowls, made bougainvillea crowns, and played with my puppy on the beach. This was my very first beach shoot, so I got to experience all the challenges that come along with shooting on the beach (sand in camera, tiny window of golden light, rising tide washing away all our stuff.) But we survived, and there will be lots more beach shoots to come!!

And here are some Behind the Scenes snaps! 


Blum Magazine feature!

My editorial titled Geometrics was featured in Blum Magazine Vol 2, Issue 4! It’s in print and on the web. I love seeing my images in print! It’s so satisfying to have my work in a tangible form. 

The concept of this editorial was very minimalistic. I knew of a building in downtown Denver that was surrounded by concrete in really cool curves and shapes, so I figured we could run around there and shoot all 3 looks in areas with the most interesting light. Well, we started shooting the first look, and a security guard kicked us out :( Not the first time that has happened. So on a whim, I decided we should go shoot the other few looks near the Denver Art Museum. Lots of geometric and clean wall space to use there too, so it ended up working out the best. The light over there is insane because it’s reflecting off the silver and bouncing off other walls, making it really soft. I was dying over the light. Especially when we took out the mirror to see what kind of light, shadows, shapes, and reflections we could play with. 

I styled this set on my own, pulling minimal looks from my closet. I did buy the yellow one piece bathing suit from H&M, thinking I could pull it off, but it of course looks way better on my model! :) The amazing jewelry is hand-made in Denver by Lily Schlosser and her company Eli and Barry. Her minimalistic and geometric metal necklaces and earrings were such an incredible accessory and really contributed to the overall look. Liv is the beautiful model. She is one of my fave babes to shoot! She is really creative with her poses and absolutely kills it in front of the camera. She’s signed with Donna Baldwin and LA models. Liv’s make-up was done by my girl, Alli, of course! I LOVED this look of dewy highlights and smudged eyeliner. It looked completely perfect on Liv. 

Stay tuned for another editorial feature + an interview later this month! 

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