Big Sur CA Wedding Photographers | A Special Wedding Photography Testimonial

June 16, 2013

Wedding photography is not easy, In fact it is very difficult.  Capturing emotional moments which happen so quickly under different lighting conditions can be a daunting, but there is nothing that compares to the exhilaration of knowing you got “the shot”.
I absolutely love what I do and feel very blessed that I can make a living doing what I love. I love wedding photography. Truth is, I love all kinds of photography, but especially wedding photography. I love the laughter. I love the tears. I love the emotion. I love the beauty. I love being there on that special day with a bride and groom. Best of all, I love capturing moments filled with emotion. Weddings are the perfect avenue to do just that.


Can you think of a life event that has so many different emotions attached to it? A bride looking in the mirror anticipating the event she has waited for most of her life. The look on a groom’s face as he sees his bride walk down the aisle. A father about to walk his daughter down the aisle, proud of his little girl and wondering how she grew up so fast. A couple just married, having a quick second alone before going off to meet their guests. I love freezing these moments for people, the moments they will want to remember for a lifetime.


I received a thank you card last week from a very special couple I didn’t meet until their wedding day. Laura and Todd are from Minnesota and they chose to have a destination wedding in a private resort in Big Sur CA. When Laura called me, I felt honored to have been chosen to be their wedding photographer. I felt an immediate connection with her infectious personality and I just knew her wedding would be a lot of fun. I spent one day with Laura and Todd and it is a day I will never forget. Trekking the short trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park for some formal wedding photography shots with the iconic waterfall as a backdrop was a lot of fun and one of the many highlights of the day.


It’s always nice when a couple recognizes the hard work you put into their special day, so when I received their custom hand written thank you card (with a photo I took) I was very happy to say the least.
The following is their testimonial, which makes me love what I do even more..


Thank you so much for photographing our special day! You were awesome! We loved your energy and passion and our pictures turned out so beautiful. We absolutely love them. We’ve received so many compliments from our guests and others. Thank you for making our special day so wonderful and for capturing the emotions so perfectly.”


Laura and Todd

Minneapolis Minnesota


Salinas Wedding Photographers

Monterey Bay Wedding Photographer

Salinas Wedding Photographers

Monterey Bay Wedding Photographer



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Why Parents Should Choose Their Salinas Senior Portrait Photographers Wisely!

June 10, 2013

Choose your Salinas Senior Portrait Photographers Wisely!



Senior Portraits are about more than just taking pictures. For this reason, you should choose your Salinas Senior Portrait Photographers Wisely. They are about celebrating an accomplishment that you waited years to enjoy, recognizing that your child has reached this milestone and creating a memory to look back on together. In fact, this is seen as a rite of passage for many seniors, so you must choose wisely to ensure that the image you preserve is one you are happy with.


Why the Monterey, Salinas Photographer You Pick is a Big Deal


Whether they are for seniors, the family, or a couple, photographs are intended to be forever. That said, you want to ensure that the quality is pleasing and the final outcome is something you actually want to look at. The simple fact is, your high school senior will only reach this mark once which means there is no “do overs”.


Things to Keep in Mind


Experience Matters


You want your child to be comfortable, captured in a flattering way and looking great. Randomly choosing someone with a camera can mean sacrificing one or all of these. Professional Photographers in Salinas who do senior portraits on a regular basis will understand all the do’s and don’ts, be able to give important advice to get the best shots, and should be able to help your senior relax. The one you choose should also be able to work under different conditions to ensure that a little mishap does not ruin this important day.


Owning a Camera and Having Credentials are Not the Same


Many people walk around calling themselves “photographers” when in fact they merely bought a camera and computer graphics software. This is not the same as being a trained professional and the quality of the photographs they develop often confirms this. Ask for the necessary training credentials and ensure that the person you choose is trained. It may seem unimportant, but the Best Portrait Photography does require the right technique. Additionally, you want to ensure the person you choose has all the necessary equipment required.


Portfolios Say a Lot


Background, makeup and use of props can all enhance or spoil senior portraits; you should therefore go through the photographer’s portfolio and decide if you like what you see. If not, chances are you will not like your photos either. Remember, however, that the subject is often responsible for a lot of what goes into the shot, so do not peg too much on this. The key is to see if there are any commonalities among the images that simply make them bad. Plus, a good photographer does everything to prepare the subject, so if everyone in the portfolio is unflattering then it may suggest that the person really does not care.


Passion Helps


Some experts recommend that individuals only use photographers who are in it for the love of taking pictures. Granted, making a living is a big part of choosing a career, but Photographers in Salinas who genuinely love taking photos are likely to put more effort and pride into the process. They are also likely to be more patient and natural which could help set your senior at ease. You also want someone who will be open to new things instead of sticking to their own “artistic vision”.


Contact me for more information.


Salinas Monterey Senior Portrait Photographer

Senior Portraits Alvarez High School


Salinas High School

Palma High School

Notre Dame Salinas

North Salinas High School

Alvarez High School

Monterey High School

Carmel High School

Soledad High School

Greenfield High School

Gonzales High School

Alisal High School

North Monterey County High School

Watsonville High School

Marina High School

Aptos High School

Santa Cruz High School


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Why Choosing the Right Salinas | Monterey Makeup Artist is Important for Brides

June 7, 2013

Most brides-to-be stress over their dress, shoes, the cake, the guest list, the right Monterey Bay Photographer and a myriad of other things that they dread may go wrong on their wedding day. Yet, far too many neglect their makeup choices. While it may seem straightforward, your wedding photographs can turn out to be a disaster if your makeup is done incorrectly, so you should only trust the job to the right professional such as Bianca Giuriato at M.U.A.H. Makeup & Hair, winners of the prestigious “Bride’s Choice Awards 2013” Only the top 5 percent of wedding makeup artists nationwide win this award & they are located right here in the Monterey Bay area!


Five Reasons to Choose your Professional Makeup Artist Wisely


There are a number of reasons to choose a professional to do your wedding makeup. These range from getting a flawless finish with quality makeup, to having someone who understands the intricacies behind wedding photographs and what works for different weddings. As you plan your big day, remember the following:


1) You need a makeup artist who understands lighting.


The relationship between makeup and lighting must be recognized or you risk shine reflections or even whole areas of your face being blotted out by light once your photograph is taken. In fact, some makeup is specially made to reflect light to create a glow while some naturally reflect it despite not being made to do so. Someone who has worked with different makeup or various professional Photographers in Salinas will be able to make the best choices based on past experiences.


2) The wrong foundation can cause unwanted shine.


Powders and foundations differ in how they reflect light, so they can look very different in photographs. The wrong makeup can cause your face to look shiny or bright in some areas, causing your skin to look oily or uneven. Additionally, badly applied makeup can cause reflections because it simply does not show up well in flash photography.


3) You need to look natural.


A competent and professional makeup artist knows that the best choice of makeup is the one that works with your skin tone, since this will give you the most natural look in your photographs. You therefore need someone who will match the perfect colors to create a palette that compliments you. He or she will also have to keep your theme, venue and the time of day in mind.


4) Blending is important.


Your wedding photos will not look good no matter how great your face looks if you fail to blend your makeup well. A professional makeup artist will know how to blend in your foundation so that your face and neck match. Otherwise, you could have the horror of your head looking as if it belongs on a different body.


5) The Ingredients Matter.


Makeup with sunblock sounds like a good idea, but it can contribute to “ghostly white” images. In fact, anything that says “titanium dioxide”, “aluminum oxide” or “zinc oxide” can cause your face to look whiter than your body once flash is used. A professional makeup artist should know what can and cannot be used under the circumstance. Be sure to stay away from silver eyeshadows and other shimmery products as they tend to photograph in baby blue.


Lastly, makeup done incorrectly can run, fade or crack and this will look horrible once captured by your Salinas Wedding Photographers. There is no guarantee you will be able to pull away from the festivities, so you want a look that will last. Plus, even if you do get to freshen your makeup, chances are there are bound to be a few unflattering photographs taken in between trips to the bathroom. Why risk it?



Bianca has applied her wedding makeup artistry at weddings in Monterey CA, Carmel CA, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley, San Jose, Santa Cruz,  San Francisco and destinations throughout the country. She can be reached on her blog as well as her Facebook page.









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Weddings at the Clement Monterey: Breathtaking Architecture in the heart of Cannery Row

June 5, 2013

Are you still searching for a venue to host your wedding or take your pictures? Where you take your photographs is a crucial decision because your wedding day will be talked about for a long time to come, and your photographs will play a big role in how the day is remembered years from now. You therefore want to ensure that you get professional quality shots by seeking only professional Wedding Photographers in the Monterey Bay. In addition, the right venue can add so much more. Luckily, The Clement Monterey makes getting the best location hassle-free.


Why You Should Choose the Clement


The Intercontinental Hotel & Resorts, The Clement Monterey is known for being one of the best Wedding Venues Monterey CA for a number of reasons. Also referred to as the “Clement Hotel”, this testament to majestic architecture boasts stunning sunsets and rooms with balcony views that will leave you breathless. It also has other on site arrangements that are sure to yield great photos. Plus, its location is high on the list of reasons it is famous, so it is definitely worth looking into if you are searching for a place to take stunning photos that will immortalize that big day.


Location aside, the Clement Hotel has over 200 rooms ranging from suites to guests rooms, single occupancy and double occupancy rooms. It is close proximity to the must-see areas, has a long list of amenities and 24-hour room services. Accessibility is also a high priority so it also caters to guests with special needs. In fact, efforts include the admission to service dogs, rooms outfitted to meet accessibility standards and designated parking. This means you can have a location that offers all you want and a venue that caters to everyone.


Their staff is also multilingual with six languages spoken fluently apart from English, including Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, French, and Tagalog. Not sure what to do or where to go? Not a problem, make use of their concierge service and discover even more places to take photographs. You literally have everything in one stop.


A Little Piece of History


The Clement Hotel is situated right on Cannery Row which will forever have its place in history because of its connection to literary great and Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck. Besides this merit, it has a sweeping ocean view that not only enhances its beauty but it makes for great photo ops. In addition, the mountains in the background add even more majesty to the pristine waters of this famous waterfront district, and the Pacific View Courtyard as well as general Monterey Bay area with its shops, eateries and other great locals provide even more options.


Remember that your wedding photos will capture more than just stage poses of the wedding party and family. The atmosphere, the mood of your guests and the liveliness of your venue (or lack thereof) will be there to look at as you skip through them. Do not leave anything to chance; speak with your Monterey Wedding Photographer to see how you can make your photos the envy of all.


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Why Professional Photography Gear is Crucial for Dark Wedding Venues

Bad lighting can make wedding photographs look like a sea of dark figures; however, it is not uncommon for venues to be dark. In fact, the inside of a church or tent can make lighting an issue. Plus, late weddings are likely to have some darkness issues as well, no matter how much artificial light there is. The only fix to this is to ensure that your Salinas Wedding Photographer has the right equipment to take great photographs no matter the available light. Therefore, this is something you should inquire about during your consultation.



Camera Quality, Use of Flash and Available Setting



Entry level DSLR’s and point-and-shoot cameras are unlikely to produce great photographs when used in dark venues. In fact, even when they manage to capture the main subject, the surrounding people and things can look like an ugly cloud of black. Additionally, the camera used under such circumstances need to have the right manual settings for proper adjustment. Professional Wedding Photographers in Salinas should understand this, so you should only choose one with the best professional-grade equipment.


Four Things to Remember about Photography


1) When it comes to taking pictures, lighting is everything:


It is best to have as much natural light as you can. However, this is not always possible, so you must ensure that the cameras being used can take quality pictures in any light. This is possible by adjusting a few manual settings, but the best professional-grade cameras offer the best photographs in conditions where natural light is lacking.


2) Flash does not solve every problem:


It is highly likely that photographs taken in a dark room will look unnatural when direct flash photography is used. Additionally, pictures may lack the life-like qualities that are often added when movement is captured or a person’s features. With the right camera, your photographer can easily turn the flash off, adjust the settings (such as the ISO and aperture) and end up getting beautiful pictures that look like they were taken in a well-lit area.


3) The lens type is important:


Some lenses do poorly at allowing photographers to capture light while others can provide 2 to 4 times more light than the room naturally has (even more). Therefore, this feature cannot be neglected when choosing lenses for a dark wedding venues. Otherwise, your photos could just be a big blur.


4) Equipment means more than the camera:


A professional must be prepared to introduce artificial light if needed or change the camera’s lens, among other things. While what they choose is a matter of preference, many professionals will have things like:


• Backup Camera bodies
• Lenses (often 3 types to accommodate different zoom focal lengths)
• Prime Lenses (for various artistic effects)
• Flashes
• Accessories (Light Stands, Monolight heads, etc.)
• Remote Flash Triggering


Much of this will not mean anything to non-professionals, but it is good to know that the Monterey Bay Photographer you choose has them. In fact, it is always good to see the equipment beforehand. If necessary, take the time to do some research so you can understand the basics, you will be glad you did when the big day comes.








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Soledad High School Senior Portraits | Carmel By the Sea

May 31, 2013

We had an amazing time with Soledad High School Senior April Gortarez! We decided on Carmel by the Sea for her senior portrait session. Carmel is one of the most picturesque places on earth and a perfect place to capture April’s spunky and outgoing personality.

Here at Manuel Ortega Photography we offer one of a kind senior portrait experiences that capture your senior year with style & artistry. We know that when you are yourself in front of the camera, you will shine & we will have a great time capturing it

Senior Portrait Sessions take place at custom locations through the Monterey Bay area, Carmel CA and Salinas. We love putting together one of a kind senior portrait sessions to create one of a kind memories. Call, email or find us on Facebook to tell us your ideas. We would love to talk to you about your senior portrait session ideas.

We offer a limited number of senior portrait sessions each year in late summer and early fall, we tend to schedule approximately 3 weeks in advance. Be sure to secure your date as early as possible to ensure your ideal senior portrait session!

Carmel Senior Portrait Photographer

Carmel Senior Portrait Photographer

Carmel Senior Portrait Photographer

Carmel Senior Portrait Photographer


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Tatum’s Garden Design Reveal Event | Salinas CA

May 14, 2013

One of the most exciting things about being a photographer is that you can be part of history. You can capture a moment in picture form and display it for years to come. Essentially, you can give an image a story that will last a lifetime. I recently was able to experience this satisfaction when I attended an important event that revealed the development of Tatum’s Garden.

The concept of Tatum’s Garden is a fully accessible, all-inclusive play area for children of all abilities. The playground will be constructed in the Salinas Valley, and it will provide a place for all children to interact and be included regardless of their capabilities. Families in the Monterey Bay area will have a safe zone where they can come together and experience a sense of community.

It’s the community base of Tatum’s Garden that made me want to be part of the reveal event. The playground is being designed (more…)

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Cannery Row Monterey Engagement Session with Jessica & Justin | Monterey CA Wedding Photographer

May 10, 2013

Not knowing how the day would turn out due to weather, we ended up having an awesome day!

I’m really looking forward to Jessica & Justin’s wedding at the Naval Postgraduate School, in the breathtaking Barbara McNitt Ballroom  later this year. (more…)

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The Importrance of Hiring a Professional Monterey Bay area Wedding Photographer

April 28, 2013

This is an excerpt from a book I’m reading (more…)

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Salinas CA Wedding & Engagement Photographer | Leal Vineyards Hollister CA

April 27, 2013

What an amazing day this was! Charlie contacted me to see if I could capture his special Valentines day at Leal Vineyards in Hollister CA. Charlie planned to propose to his girlfriend Laura & only I and the staff at Leal Vineyards knew his plan. He arrived earlier in the day and decorated a hidden cave at the vineyard. Photos of their times together were displayed, candles were lit and music played. This was definitely one of my favorite Engagement Photography Sessions I’ve ever had the honor of photographing.

Salinas Wedding and Engagement photography Leal Vineyards Hollister CA from Manuel Ortega on Vimeo.




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