Raquel is truly a lively soul! She has a magnetic personality, everyone wants to be near her! She is sweet with a slice of sass, and always joyful! She works at SBCC, enjoys working out, is a loving dedicated Mom,  and a fierce friend, especially to her Roller Derby family! At the time we booked, she was in need of a fun day because of some life changes and transitions, and so we decided to do a shoot as an exciting day of pampering and a little pick me up! Raquel was a dream to shoot! She showed up with a giant smile on her face even though she said she was a little nervous! I assured her she was in good hands, and we’d make some fantastic images! Boy did we!





























We started with the glam squad as usual! This time it was Emily Kvancz of Santa Barbara Hair and Makeup on makeup and Alicia on hair!







I picked out her dresses and looks,  and I knew I wanted to leopard for this wild child!


After that we headed to the natural light, by far my favorite type of light to shoot in!TheBarbarazzi_Rockabilly_Photography-1-6










We rocked some fun poses with this cool Tiki Dude! She is such a classic beauty! I love how her look came out and of course that smile is fantastic!




Raquel is playful and fun, and also a dedicated exerciser! I thought it would be impressive to have her press this 100 pound tiki sculpture like a champion! JK it doesn’t weigh 100 pounds, but looking sexy while also doin’ work seems to be Ms. Raquel’s special gift!


We moved on to look #2, a gorgeous teal polka dot dress with some peacock feather headpiece. This dress really pops on her, and of course she rocked her poses! This natural beauty, just out picking oranges on a summer day!













After that it was time to rock the Derby Girl part of the shoot! Raquel’s derby name is Lolita Boneita* (which has now changed, see below)! To me that reads as a young seductress, who also might jar your bones if you try to get your hips past hers (that’s how you score in Roller Derby).  I coached her into this classic pinup pose which is actually way freakin’ hard and requires tons of core strength! To do this with 10 lbs of skates on is a testament to the abs of steel! Get it girl!!





It is definitely worth pointing out that modeling ON skates is tough enough, but modeling on skates while squatting on an inclined driveway is rough! This girl didn’t bat an eye at that, nor at doing push ups on this fake skull I have! The hardest part for her was not smiling, because I was trying to pull off some tough girl type derby shots. The truth is this girl is just really nice, and her mean mug was just an act I forced her to do (uh oh, don’t tell the opposing team!)



I have to be honest and tell you that I fall in love with each and every girl I photograph! I spend a lot of time staring into your eyes both in the lens, and after in post where the other half of the magic happens! In Raquel’s case I’ve been in love with her for a couple years now! I first photographed her at the ‘These Colors Don’t Run’ Pinup and Veteran’s Fundraising event in 2015 (of course that was a few cameras and lenses ago, ha)!

Since then, she also competed in the same pageant for ‘These Colors Don’t Run’ sponsored by Mission Tattoo again this year, and took home a crown and sash! She placed second and is most definitely a winner!










Thank you Raquel, Ms. Lolita Boneita for having me photograph you! If you’re insterested in transforming yourself (or that special lady in your life) into a pinup styled dame, contact me to set up a shoot today! If you’d like to see the full gallery of photos, click here. They’ll be up through mid Sept. 2016, so check them out while you can!











*I learned that between creating these images and the blog post Lolita removed the ‘e’ and is now just Lolita Bonita! Straight up cute sedectress, minus the bone crushing side! Well, hot damn! We’ll have to schedule another shoot to update your derby persona image 🙂

Christina is a wonderful gal, and I had a blast transforming her! She works at UCSB and in her free time is a derby girl who loves pinup styling and really wanted to do a fun pinup transformation shoot! Every single session with me is unique, they unfold like a story, and this one is a whopper with a huge twist at the end!

When I heard she was pregnant, I fast tracked her onto my calendar and made it happen before bump time! I’m all about spoiling women, and all parents know that once the baby comes, it’s all about spoiling them! I assembled the glam squad, the wonderful Elizabeth Moreno on makeup and the darling Alicia on hair, then ordered her a dress, and busted out the bubbly (cider, ha!).



The transformation sessions come with 2-3 looks, and of course I wanted to make a photo that reflects her derby persona, and name which is ‘Semper Fatale!’ To me that name resonates with a military vibe, and a femme fatale. I put her in a vintage army jacket and we did a sexy bodouir style shot in her skates. Va va voom!!



The shoot date happened to fall on the date of the Cruiser Run in Santa Barbara, which is part of the local Fiesta celebration. Christina had to come up with an excuse for her man as to why she couldn’t come. She had to tell him she had a suprise for him, and of course he hates surprises so it was tough to pull off! I knew photos like these would make him understand! Her second look was a dress I bought just for her, I thought she’d look darling in it and oh she does!



As we chatted more, and she told me how proud she was of Rollie (her man) and how he was getting more serious about his photography. She told me he really wanted to photograph her, and I so get where he’s coming from!  I LOVE photographing pinup girls! So that got me thinking, we could make Rollie’s dream come true! This session is about Christina being pampered and transformed, but she also really wanted to make Rollie happy with these photos, so in a way it was about him, and their love too! I told her to text him to meet her at the Wharf with his camera for a surprise! What happened next was simply amazing! It went down exactly as I’d hoped!

We hid and called him and said to meet at the Ice Cream Shop. We watched as he looked around confused and walked away toward the end of the wharf. I told her to go stand on the bench in front of the ice cream shop even though he was only ten feet away. I knew he wouldn’t recogize her right away!


Rollie actually nocticed ME and my big camera and lens shooting from across the road when he turned around. Then he looked over at what I was photographing, a gorgeous pinup girl, but he still had no idea it was HIS pinup girl! As he walked up I said ‘gorgeous pinup right?’ and he said ‘yeah..’ and smiled and then looked at his phone because he was still calling Christina to find her! It was then I told him ‘that’s YOUR girl over there!’












After that we did some awesome poses at the Wharf which of course complimented her nautical themed look, with both Rollie and I photographing her! I was really fun getting to see the chemistry between them as I posed her and we both shot!


The cherry on top was when I busted out a vintage camera, and photographed him ‘photographing’ her (the vintage camera doesn’t work, ha) and visually told the story about him as a photographer and her realizing her dream to be a pinup for a day and modeling for her very own beaux hunk!



Of course since he was there, I decided to do some couple’s shots as well! What a magical moment to get to document!





I would say Christina’s missing the cruiser ride this year was absolutely worth while! Not only does she have a variety of stunning photos of herself to cherish for life, she also got to make this amazing memory with her guy! Every session with me is unique, but I have to say this one took the cake! She even gets adorable photos of her man photographing her, and of them together with her dolled up pinup style! I know they will treasure these photos for years to come, and someday, in what feels like the blink of an eye, her child will be 5 like mine, looking at these pictures and smiling and giggling at his awesome parents! What a wonderful memory for Christina and Rollie to share por vida!!! And they have an fantastic set of images to accompany this memory! Thank you Christina for working with me! I still can’t believe this is my job some days, and I’m stunned and honored have produced these amazing photographs, and the amazing day! I wish you and Rollie the best as you start your next big adventure together!

If you’d like to view the full collection you can do so at this link ! The collection will expire 9/15/2016, so be sure to check it out! To schedule your pinup transformation shoot, contact me today! We’ll transform you into a gorgeous pinup girl, and take fantastic pictures that will capture your beauty as it is today forever!



I recently invited my friend Aimee to my studio for a Beauty Portrait Session. She’s an awesome friend and I thought I would hook her up with a full pampered experience! We styled her hair, did her makeup, drank champange, and fitted her into some of the wonderful pinup inspired dresses I have on my rack! It was so fun to watch her amazing transformation! She felt amazing, and this was before she saw a single photograph! Aimee said ‘You have a knack for connecting with the person you’re photographing and especially for making them feel great during the process!’ The time we spent on the transformation was amazing, and I believe the power of that transformation extends well beyond when you leave my studio!

When we think of our self image, our beauty is not a stagnant thing but rather a scale that will fluxuate day by day. One day we are dressed to the nines for a party and feeling like a 9, another we are sick with the flu and had no idea we bore a resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings! We know we have good hair days, and bad ones, and when we have a bad one we still remember how it looked on its best day and we think to ourselves ‘this is temporary. I know what it could be!’ And when we have an epic hair day, the entire scale of hair potential moves up from ‘8 on a good day’ to ‘wow, I just had a 9 hair do! I had no idea I could reach that pinnacle!’ And the same is true of your self image and a great portrait. It will elevate your entire self image long after the session is over! Every time you look at your amazing photograph you will be reminded of how brightly you can shine!

When you have an epic portrait made, you see how beautiful you really can be. Not because of photoshop. I use photoshop sparingly, and no I’m not going to digitally slim you 10 pounds, change your hair color, and take away your moles. I’m not going to make you look like a celebrity, I’m going to make you look like YOU. A very gorgeous version of YOU. If all the images we consume by the hundreds on the internet everyday have had the help of a professional touch, what does that do for our psyche?  Seeing these false idols of beauty wrecks our self esteem and makes us wonder why that flash of us in the mirror on the way out of the bathroom is so different than the images we consume all day long. I’ve also seen the tabloids, and many horrible photos of famous people! If celebrities look like us regular folk (or worse) with naked faces and bad lighting, let me ask you this: have you ever wondered how you could look if you did get that star treatment? Maybe not the heavy photoshop crap that changes you, and renders you different, but how about pulling out all the stops with some fabulous makeup, flattering light, and most importantly the knowledge of a  professional photographer with an eye for beauty?! Have you ever wondered just how fabulous you could look, today, without waiting to be ____ enough?

Having a portrait made is a declaration of your existence, but it is also so much more than that. In this modern world we live at least half our days in the Matrix. We are online, plugged in, consuming media most hours of the day, and all the while our little avatar/ profile picture of our kid rather than us is proving once more that we don’t really exist independent of others. I’m just his Mom, his wife, her sister, her daughter. Beyond proving to your great grandchildren that you existed, a fantastic photo of you actually makes you feel better about yourself! You just may look at your portrait and say ‘I had no idea I could look this good! Wow, I AM PRETTY!’ You just might find yourself strutting around the grocery store, even with the yoga pants and a naked face! Because you’ll know when you look at those magazines that those peaches got nothin’ on you but a glam squad and a brilliant photographer!

Let’s celebrate ourselves just as we are today! Exist in a photo, prove to yourself that you care about you, and have a fantastic photo made! Go ahead, indulge! Do it not just for you, but for the ones you love. They love to see you get all dolled up, and looking happy and confident! And when we do this, we will know our children are watching! Valuing yourself enough to have your portrait made sends a strong message to your kids that you believe you are worthy, and they ought to believe they are worthy too! Afterall they tend to model what you DO not what you say! When you spend time, and energy on yourself,  you are leading by example and giving them one love language they can speak to declare their love for themselves in a healthy way! My son’s preschool taught him a song that has three verses. ‘I love YOU, there’s no doubt about it!’, ‘You love ME, there’s no doubt about it!’ and the third is ‘I love ME there’s no doubt about it!’ and I was absolutely thrilled that even at the preschool level we do what we can to instill self love in our kids. What better way to instill self love in our kids then by modeling self love behavior! Get a fabulous portrait made, let them see you spend the time and money on yourself.  Hopefully this message of self valuation will resonate with them, even after you are gone! And they will always and forever have that amazing portrait of you to remind them of the values you instilled in them, about self love and everything else!


Check out  Aimee’s amazing transformation below! When you’re ready to have your own butterfly moment, contact me and we’ll get the ball rolling for your awesome Beauty Portrait session!

“I definitely felt uneasy going into the shoot being that it’s been all about the kids for over five years so to do something for myself made me feel super selfish!”

“It was really nice to be pampered, have my hair and makeup done. I had that done when I was a bridesmaid or a bride, but no other times in my life. It is a really nice experience.”

“You are a master of working behind the lens!”

The Barbarazzi Beauty Portrait Photographer

“You have a knack for connecting with the person you’re photographing and especially for making them feel great during the process!”

 “I haven’t thought about a nice photo of myself since our wedding day in 2007.”

The Barbarazzi Beauty Portrait Photographer

“You have a knack for bringing out the natural beauty in everyone by your charm and wit…you make me laugh and that makes me smile and a better photo is the result!”

“I know you will do wonderful things in your career by taking the photos that moms and all women will look back on and smile about.”

The Barbarazzi Santa Barbara Photographer

I’m a photo lover with every cell in my body, I always have been, so you don’t have to sell me on the value of professional portraits! I love to have photos of my kid, my family, or my loved ones! I know I want to look at them and remember them just as they are, flaws and all,  today and forever. I want that image of their toothless grin frozen in time, and to capture of all the ages and phases all my loved ones will go through. I’m nostalgic, I want to look back on these precious moments album by album for all my life. I’m a born sap, period! But a photo of me is another thing. I usually try to be the one taking the photo so I’m not in it! You want me to pose for a portrait solo? Really, a photo of just me?

What’s so special about a portrait of me? It’s just a piece of 8×10 paper, or some pixels on a computer screen right? How can I justify investing time and money to be transformed with hair and makeup and the power of great photography just to get an amazing image of myself? I’m not an actor, I don’t need headshots. I’m not vain and self centered, so what value does getting a professional portrait have for me? I’m no Kardashian, why would I ever go through all the trouble and expense of a photoshoot when I really don’t even want to catch that glimpse of me in the mirror as I walk out of the bathroom!  I never lost the baby weight, I’ve never considered myself beautiful, and frankly any attention focused on me just makes me uncomfortable. I’m not happy with the way I look, I’m waiting to lose 5 pounds before I…. well do anything, and I’d really rather we didn’t focus on me anyway (hey, look at the cute thing my kid did!).

If you find yourself identifying with the above, let me assure you I have been there! I have dealt with self hate, and all the little tapes in my head telling me I’m just not (fill in the blank) enough. I dove into parenting, into the career, nurtuing others, and just kind of forgot about the ME that existed before I was a girlfriend, Mom, wife, sister, caregiver, fur momma and career gal. The ME that my Mom thought was important enough to have special portraits made of. When I brought my son home my identity as a person independent of my relationship to others just kind of melted away, like that last little sliver of bar soap. It was there one second, I had preferences on food and music and TV shows, and then in an anticlimactic evaporation of individuality, I was just gone.

As I pondered my missing me one day, I was sitting on the couch channel surfing. I came upon an episode of South Park, which isn’t really my jam, but I was captivated by the story of the cheerleader with no enthusiasm, Lisa Berger. She had no confidence because she identified herself as the fat ugly cheerleader. I felt so bad for her, mostly because at some point in my life I was her. That girl who thought she was less than because she was fat and ugly. It made me sad not just for the old me, but for so many women I talk to about getting their portraits made. Too many people I know are waiting to lose 5 pounds to love themselves, just like I was. They have hopes and dreams of doing things, but not until they are a little thinner and a little prettier.

In this episode of South Park called ‘The Hobbit’,  Lisa the self dubbed fat ugly cheerleader has a crush on Butters. Butters declares that Lisa is too fat for him, that he prefers hot women like Kim Kardashian. Of course Wendy chimes in as the voice of reason and claims that Kim Kardashian has a ‘hobbit body’ and it’s all digital smoke and mirrors (and photoshop of course) that makes her look so hot. She then proceeds to ‘photoshop’ (when did photoshop become a verb?) Lisa and makes her conform more to our culture’s generally accepted standards of beauty, making her thinner here, more buxom there, removing pimples, etc just to prove Kim’s appearance is not real and that anyone can look that way with the right photoshop treatment. What happens next is kind of crazy….

Butters sees the picture of Lisa post photoshop and then decides that she is hot! He wants to date her now! He runs around the hallway showing off her photoshopped picture on his smart phone and bragging about what a cute girl he’s dating. The real, unphotoshopped Lisa is standing right there next to him looking same as she ever did while he’s showing off this ‘hot’ photo, yet all his classmates agree: Lisa is now a bonafide hottie.

Immediately other students start begging Wendy to photoshop them as well! Of course Wendy is livid because her whole point is that beauty is something that radiates from inside to out, and that this digital rendering means nothing. But like it or not, that hot photo did change the (cartoon) children’s perception of Lisa. It changed Lisa’s self image. Even though she was the same person she was before that amazing image was created, she was treated differently. She was perceieved as more attractive. She even felt more attractive! She started behaving with more confidence and of course confidence looks great on everyone! Once again South Park satire hits the nail on the head. I think there is something to their implication that people really do view you as more attractive when they’ve seen an amazing portrait of you. It’s like they can’t unsee how hot you can be! The most important point is not about the others, but you will have an improved self image when you see how brightly you shine with my special brand of polish!

What I’m offering in my portrait session is not a photoshop makeover. I’m not going to digitally slim you, or change you, or make you look like someone else the way Wendy did to Lisa, that was surreal over the top crap. What I will do is use all my skills as a photographer to bring out all the beauty I see inside you. You see, the reason I became a photographer (or one of the 10000 reasons) is because I have a super power. I can see your beauty shining like the sun, even when you can’t see it. I know how to use my lenses, lighting, and have great taste in makeup and styling, all these things are true. But baby, I gotta tell you, I see your true colors shining through! It’s more than the pretty stuff we layer onto you. That’s what makes YOU see your beauty more clearly. For me it’s the light in your eyes, that sparkle of confidence that emerges when you do finally see the beauty in yourself that I’ve seen all along that makes the confident and gorgeous goddess in you come alive! When you feel that confidence, and I get to coach you into some of the most flattering light, and the most body positive and flattering poses, and I say you to ‘YES! That’s IT, work girl, SLAY’ and I watch you open up and bloom like a flower right before my eyes, oh boy, that is my magic!!! Its that process, and that moment of self actualization that you, and your loved ones will see shining in your eyes in this amazing portrait we will make. It is that portrait that will declare to the world, this is how beautiful I feel, and how gorgeous I can be! Even on days where you haven’t slept and are covered in vomit (yours, or possibly someone else’s if you have kids), you will know just how beautiful you really are because you have the glowing photos to match your inner glow! That confidence boost is something you can take with you and keep for life! What price can you possibly put on feeling better about yourself every single day of your life from this day forward? We buy new makeup and clothes and shoes because we want to look and feel good, and that’s what a Beatuty Portrait session with me is all about.  I think a portrait can do more for your self confidence than a new Fendi bag ever did! This type of session is intimate and feels like girl time. We’ll have champagne, get your hair and makeup done, and enjoy an afternoon of frivolous girl time.  So inquire about your Beauty Portrait session with me today, and I’ll see you on the other side of my looking glass!!!

-Barbara B

The Barbarazzi

I love creative photoshoots with all my soul! I am an artist, and a natural story teller, so if I get to make images that lend themsevles to a narrative I get goosebumps and leap at the chance! When I heard it was to be Cinderella with a pinup flair, my heart leapt! Yay, eye candy! Yeah, let’s do this!

The Barbarazzi Creative Shoot Cinderella

But then, I must confess,  my heart sank a little. I remembered that Cinderella was not my favorite fairytale. The whole story is about salvation from a horrible situation, and being rescued not by your own hard work, or cleverness, but by being really pretty and then getting lucky enough for the prince to want you. I wished Cinderella’d had more agency in improving her situation. I don’t identify with the sit around and wait to be rescued ideology! Yes, I admit it, I am one of those people that thinks Cinderella is anti-feminist. I’m ready to shatter that glass slipper! I’m ready to take a point away from team damsel in distress, and swing the victory toward  Rosie the Riveter! I’m ready to portray Cinderella as more of an empowered go getter than the wait and see type!

So when Brittany called me wanting to do a Cinderella themed shoot of course I was stoked! Brittany is a beautiful blonde model, and has incredible makeup and hair skills, the perfect person to be my Cinderella muse model! She is also a dynamic and modern woman who is wordly, intelligent, and hard working! She is a Navy veteran, and did her 4 years active duty serving as a Medic for the Marine Corps. She’s now a full time student studying to become a nurse. Brittany is a Mom to a darling 1 year old boy, a girlfriend, and enjoys dressing as a pinup on the daily. She is well rounded, sweet as pie, and incredibly talented as a model! So of course I leapt up on the project with zeal and got ready to retell the Cinderella story with a little Barbarazzi slant, and a shattered slipper!

As we started shooting, I started composing images from the basic traditional storyline. With the iconic Santa Barbara Courthouse, and this beautifully done up Cinderella how could I skip making images that are just classically beautiful and tell the traditional tale of the girl and the tragic loss of her shoe (ha ha).

Cinderella - The Barbarazzi Creative Shoot
Cinderella - The Barbarazzi Creative Shoot

I gave her a boquet with vintage brooches and threw a bridal spin on this Cinderella. I’m a wedding photographer, I love weddings and love so I went there.

After the courthouse we decided to head down to Chase Palm Park to use the fabulous Carousel to continue our fairytale story. The light pouring in was magical, so I took some artistic liberty here to play with the light and evoke feelings of magic and awe.  For these images I was inspired by the moment the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella and she goes from cinders to sparkles!

OK, pretty pretty pictures check! Now we were ready for the real fun, the shattering of the glass slipper! We were both a bit nervous trying to ‘nail’ this because we really only had one shot to get it right (well, 2 technically) and we had to nail face, pose, shatter all at once, no second chances (omg its like film)! My props master (and husband) worked with me to fashion a glass slipper out of sugar glass. This image is not a photoshop job done in post, this is actual shattering of a ‘glass’ slipper. It had to be real for me. I had to figure out how to get her face into the photo along with the shattering slipper, all the while protecting my sweet sweet gear from harm (oh and our bodies too). I decided that a sitting pose would bring her face and the shoe into frame, and luckily for us Chase Palm has these lovely pedastal like structures that worked perfectly. We did some practice on expression, fake breaks, practice shots, etc. Then we finally went for it! Brittany shattered the glass slipper!! The ones where you can see the slipper shape but it’s mid shatter are amazing!


The below pose is my favorite. Her expression and the shattered glass tell the story of an empowered girl who doesn’t want some stalker seeking her out just because they shared one dance, and she lost her shoe (I mean honestly, where is the chemistry in this story. The prince is objectified too! He’s rich, so he’s a catch right?! No. Women are more than their beauty and men are more than their wealth!)  Her expression is empowered, sassy, and just screams ‘WHAT WHAT?! I SHATTERED that ish Peaches! I wait for no one, I am LIVING my life with joy, no wait, no mate required!’ (Incidentally, I named this pose after a bad-ass lady boss friend of mine! This is so her!)

Wow! We did it! Cinderella POWER! After this the shoot was technically complete. We’d done the pretty, we’d done the punk, I had a camera full of beautiful and fun and pithy and narrative type photos. I asked Brittany if she had a little more stamina, and of course she did! We rolled over the to wharf during the last golden bit of light and made some more story telling photos. Some of these I had a specific story in mind, others are being playful and werid, but all of them are open to your interpretation. They are like open ended essay questions where you ask yourself ‘why WOULD Cinderella have a pair of roller skates on the pier?’ The story I choose to see in these images is that Cinderalla is not a catch, she’s the one fishing! I see a story about trading up your glass slippers, which must be very uncomfortable and limiting, for roller skates which symbolize joy and mobility to me! She’s not hobbling out of the ball one shoed, she’s pepped up, pumped up, and ready to take herself where her skates will go! Whether that’s into the prince’s arms, or into the next Roller Derby Match is up to her! After all, feminism isn’t just about being a bad ass, it’s about being whatever you want to be! If you want to be a soft and dainty princess and fall in love with Prince Charming, I say go for it! I just want our kids to know that they have choices, and their dreams can be as big and wide and weird or traditional as they want! There is no one shoe fits all.

Cinderella Power The Barbarazzi
Cinderella on Skates The Barbarazzi
Cinderella Santa Barbara The Barbarazzi Photographer

Whether it’s a glass slipper, roller skates, military boots, flip flops, or 10 inch stilhetto heels, I say to you: do yo’ thang! If every kid felt wide open to dream anything that felt joyful to them, that would be MY dream come true! Thank you Brittany for your inspiration, and your hard work on this shoot! You are not just a fabulous model, but also role model for our children to look up to! You are a lady and a scholar, a hard worker and a vet, a vision of beauty and grace, and a true modern day Power Princess! Brittany told me that was the most fun she’d ever had on a photoshoot, and I have to say, I get that a lot!! Whether it’s a wedding, family session, or whatever I’m shooting, I definitely have fun with what I do!

More photos from this shoot will be coming soon in my pinup lounge. If you are interested in booking a creative shoot with TheBarbarazzi, contact me! I have a perfect Elvira, a Betty Page, and a Betty Grable in my life (you know you you are ladies!) so keep a lookout for what’s coming next from TheBarbarazzi!

Cinderella Looking Out The Barbarazzi

Most of us don’t know the ins and outs of a professional photograph. As a photographer,  I want you to engage with the photo on an emotional level. My goal as a photographer is always to get someone to suck their breath in because they are feeling ‘some kinda way!’* I don’t want you to dissect my photo, I don’t want you to admire depth of field, lighting, editing, and composition, I want you to be overcome with emotion. Joy, reverence, exuberance, laughter, and sometimes a little bitter with that sweet.  I don’t discriminate when it comes to emotion. I just want my picture to make you have all the feels (when did we as a society start saying ‘the feels’ it makes me feel some kinda way when I hear that, ha!)!

So photographers need to use our experience and talents to get you to that emotion. We focus in on what we want you to see, to engage with the photo in a certain way that makes you forget the technical mumbo jumbo and just suck your breath and say ‘huh, wow!’ In this post, Imma let you in on a little secret. Do you know how we make the subject POP out of the frame? It’s called depth of field. Think of depth of field as how deep the focus in a photo goes. If I’m standing on the 50 yard line, is the goal post 50 yards behind me blurry and soft (mm bokeh) or is it in sharp focus so I can see the dings? These are the decisions we make as photographers to render our art in a way that makes you feel some kinda way. We don’t shoot in auto mode and let the camera make the choices for us. We decide, we render art, and we hope it makes you feel all the feels.

Here is an example of differences in depth of field for the same photo. Scroll down for the comparison before you read the analysis. Did you notice one made you feel a little different than the other? The top and bottom photo are the same in most ways. Same bride, same background, same lighting, same camera, same lens, very similar pose, but there is one key difference. Depth of field.


The top picture has very deep field, meaning all the stuff behind her is in sharp focus. You can see the spots on the tree trunk, the shapes of little leaves, and tree becomes this leading line leading you to the background (these settings also produced the cool star burst where the sun is). It’s pretty busy if you ask me. So I made a different choice, and changed my settings.

The bottom photo has very shallow depth of field. That means that subject is in focus, while the stuff way behind her melts into a creamy background that us photographers call bokeh. Because she’s the only thing in focus, she tends to have that pop, while the background just blurs and blends together. I prefer shallow depth of field for this shot because the focus is the bride. In this case we do want to miss the forest for the tree (or the bride) ha ha!

Picking a depth of field is only one third of the exposure triangle story, and it’s achieved in camera by choosing proper aperture (also called f stop). The top picture is f/22, very deep, while the bottom is more like an f/4. As we adjust this setting, we have to adjust the shutter and ISO to create an image that is exposed (light or dark) the way we intend it to be. As your cruising around the web checking out pictures start noticing depth of field! It is subtle if you aren’t looking for it, but it’s part of that ‘je ne sais quoi’, that certain something you can’t put into words, makes you just suck your breath, and feel some kinda’ way.

Now I’ve explained what depth of field is, achieving it is a whole other story that relates to light, lenses, the exposure triangle, focal distance and so much more! That is a story for another blog article, ha! I hope you enjoyed reading this article!

– Barbara B (aka The Barbarazzi)

Check out some of my work at my Portfolio page on this site


*side note, ‘feelin’ some kinda way’ is apparently an expression from the Southern US. From what I can tell from ‘Bring It On’ (the coolest dance show ever), it’s used in a range of instances, but it mainly is meant to convey that the person is feeling some strong feelings. It doesn’t attempt to express which feelings they are, just that the person is really feeling something.

Copyright © 2016 The Barbarazzi, Santa Barbara, California