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 Every time someone asks me what my favorite part of Japan was, my answer changes. Not because I can’t make up my mind, but because I loved pretty much everything about Japan. It’s impossible to choose one thing single thing from the 7 cities we visited. Each new location was full of so much culture, delicious food, and exploring that my nagging wanderlust was satisfied… for the time being. ;)

I was mesmerized by Japan, and the way in which normal life runs. As someone who greatly appreciates organization and efficiency, I was impressed by how smoothly everything seemed to run. Nothing in Japan is done without great thought and consideration, this can be felt from busy city life to the smaller mountain communities we visited. The people were warm, accommodating, respectful, and already miss so much about Japan!

I left with a hand full of photos that really feel like the Japan we experience. These black and whites are some of those photos, and I will cherish them for many years to come.

If you want to know more about how I took and edited these photos (all with my iPhone) you can read all about it in my 8 tips for better vacation photos. Feel free to reach out with any questions, I’m only an email away. :)

  • Rachelle - Stunning, Japan looks great in B&W! So glad you got to experience this beautiful country!

Christina and Ryan are all kinds of awesome! Seriously, these two are chasing their dreams and living life to the fullest. I think that is what makes them so likable, you can just feel their excitement for life and each other! Not to mention they are adorable together, and barely needed any direction from me during their engagement shoot at Santiago Oaks Regional Park. #luckyphotographer

These photos make me fall in love all over again with photography, working with couples, and Spring in Southern California. Take a peek at just a few of my favorites, which happens to include a photo bombing ladybug!

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  • Rachelle - Beautiful!!! Love the lady bug and the cheery poppies!!

If the rest of my 2016 wedding season is anything like Audrey and Jordan’s San Dimas wedding then I’m in for one amazing year. Seriously, I cannot think of a better way to kick off 2016! Even the threat of rain didn’t phase these two, they were completely focused on each other and enjoying their wedding day.

Audrey and Jordan have to be one of the sweetest couples I’ve worked with, and if that wasn’t enough their friends and family were just as lovely. Seriously I could have pinched myself because it was just one of those perfect days! I will always look back on these photos and smile, as I’m sure Audrey and Jordan will do the same! Here are just a few of my favorite moments from their big day!

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Smiles, lots of tears, and everyone was in awe as Audrey walked down the aisle.
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Hair: Christina Ramos | Ceremony Musician: Matthew Matsumoto | Florals: Events by Gina H | Reception: Via Verde Country Club | Videography: Ryan Geldermann Wedding Cinematography | Cake: Ontario Bakery | First Dance Musician: Jeremy Adamiak | DJ: Dance All Night Event Sound & Lighting | Transportation: Synergy Limousine | Signage & Paper Goods: Happily Ever Alva

  • Rachelle - Such a beautiful wedding! I loved her lace dress so pretty!! Congrats to the new couple!!

  • Grace Alva - Seeing all these photos brought tears to my eyes all over again. You are so amazing Kaysha and you were somehow able to capture all of the beauty of that day. I am in love with all of these photos!

  • Brooke - Such a beautiful day! And Kaysha you were able capture such amazing moments throughout the whole day, that it brought back such emotion to be able to relive these moments and see the ones I missed.

  • Randy Alva - Kasha, was outstanding at the wedding and reception. She was the consummate professional in both photography and also identifying and capturing the most valuable parts of that wonderful day!
    Thank you!
    Father of the Beautiful bride!

  • Steve - Beautiful pics and really easy to work with Kaysha and her associates are on top of what to do and get it done fast. Pictures turned out awesome! Thanks!!!

  • Sarah scott - Kaysha,
    I love how you captured many special moments of my cousin Audrey’s wedding. The pictures are amazing. If anyone I know is looking for a great photographer I will be sure to give them your info.

  • brittany - Such a beautiful wedding and kaysha did a fabulous job capturing all its special moments

  • Brian Alva - Amazing photos. Thanks for capturing such beautiful memories of my sisters big day!

  • audrey - We can’t thank you enough for all of the amazing pictures and being so helpful throughout the whole planning process, we are so grateful!

  • Jordan - Kaysha thank you so much the pictures turned out amazing, glad you were able to capture our amazing day!!

  • teresa Alva - Kaysha you did an amazing job photographing my daughter’s wedding. I love looking at the photos and recalling all the beautiful moments of the big day.

  • Rita - Kaysha – You did an amazing job with the wedding photos! I love them all!

  • Patt smith - Beautiful pictures of Audrey and Jordan’s wedding. Thank you.

  • Greg - Cool pictures of the wedding! Came out really nice.

  • Jerry Smith - It was a beautiful wedding. You did a great job with the photography! Thank you!

  • Nicole Scott - Beautiful Bride

  • Rachel Scott - She looks like a princess.

  • Mike Scott - Nice pictures of the wedding.

  • Desiree allyn - Best wishes to you both!! We had so much fun and you both looked amazing!!

  • Michelle leyland - Beautiful day! Beautiful photos!

  • jarred - Love the pictures.

  • Sandi Owen - Such beautiful pictures. You truly captured the love, laughter & joy of the bride, groom , family & friends. I love that!

  • Pam Heisinger - Beautiful wedding, beautiful pictures and heartfelt moments all captured!!!

  • KASSIDY COMBS - The pictures came out great.

  • Jeanette - Such a beautiful day, and such beautiful pictures, thank you!

  • Liz - Gorgeous photos! Makes me want to re-live this day all over again with the beautiful couple!

As much as I love my professional camera equipment, when it’s comes to vacations I choose to leave it all at home. With the ease, convenience, and quality of camera phones I’ve made the choice to forgo the bulky gear and travel light whenever possible. Last year when we went to Guadalajara I tested out travel photography with my iPhone only, and I have never looked back! So when we booked our two week Japan trip I knew my iPhone had everything I needed and more to document the trip for not only our memories, but as a way to fulfill my creativity.

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All photos taken with iPhone 6

When it comes to documenting your travels, whether it’s your honeymoon, family vacation or a business trip there are a few important tips and suggestions to keep in mind.

  1. See the light. In all honesty this can take years to really learn, but whenever shooting (for personal or clients) I’m looking for 3 types of lighting: backlight, open shade, and window light. These make up my shooting style and are extremely flattering forms of light. When in doubt look for even lighting without harsh shadows. It never hurts to snap a few photos to test the light before committing to a certain spot or angle.
  2. Photograph the details. From texture to peeling paint on the walls, to the trees above, and everything in between. I’m a big believer that the little details help tell the complete story of your trip.
  3. Clean your lens. This may seem obvious, but when your constantly taking your phone in and out of your pockets, bags, etc. things are bound to get dirty. If you notice a haze or fuzzy look to your photos quickly wipe off your lens with the clean sleeve of your shirt and you’ll be good to go!
  4. Avoid zooming in camera. Although this is a nice feature in theory, it drastically affects the quality of your photos. Move closer to your subject if need rather than relying on the zoom.
  5. Edit as you go. Throughout the day I am shooting regularly but I like to wait till the end of the day, or during a long train/subway/plane ride to select my favorites and edit. I look through all my photos from the day and favorite them by clicking “heart icon” below the photo on your iPhone. This copies all selected photos to your favorites folder and from there I upload them to VSCO. This is my preferred editing app, but there are lots of other great options to play with. Once in VSCO I edit all my photos from the day and export them into my camera stream. From there I select the final edits and copy them into a new folder for the trip i.e. “Japan.”
  6. Less is more. When it comes to how I actually edit my photos I like to keep the crazy filters and drastic edits to a minimum. I choose my favorite filter (A6 in VSCO) and always lower the amount to about 25-50% strength. This keeps your photos from looking overly processed. Then I usually increase the exposure and contract a little, and that’s it! I apply this same process to all the photos so everything looks consistent and cohesive.
  7. Rinse and repeat. I follow the above steps every day until the end of my trip. By doing so, my pictures are ready to print and share the moment I return home.
  8. Print your photos! It’s easy to get sucked back into life and catching up when you return from travels, so I highly recommend you print, order books, and share your photos ASAP. Mpix is a great resource I always recommend to my clients for prints, books, and lots of other photo goodies. Personally, I love to print a book from each International trip we take. It has become a highlight for me and the perfect keepsake, especially since I’m not into purchasing a lot of souvenirs.

I hope these tips are helpful for documenting you next trip! I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What’s the hardest obstacle when it comes to photographing your vacations?

  • Rachelle - Great tips! I keep getting warnings that my phone is full of photos so I need to apply some of your tips to keep things organized!! :)

  • Japan in Black & White - […] more about how I took and edited these photos (all with my iPhone) you can read all about it in my 8 tips for better vacation photos. Feel free to reach out with any questions, I’m only an email away. […]

They say you get better with age, and as I enter the last year of my 20’s I like to think this is true! ;) The older the get the more comfortable I’ve become at just being “me.” This means laughing at myself daily, accepting that I’m far from perfect, and striving to live an authentic life. I don’t want to look back at my time here and wish I did it any differently.

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So on my 29th Birthday, here are 5 things you (probably) don’t know about me. Here’s to another year of discovery, laughter, and finding my path along the way.

  1. If I could only take one thing with me on a deserted island it would be Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (sunscreen coming in as a close second place). I need lip balm with me at all times! If I leave the house without it, I will stop and buy more – I may or may not have a problem…
  2. My father is a holistic Veterinarian, and my mom was a Massage Therapist. To say I had a hippy upbringing would be the understatement of the year. I resisted the healthy food, yoga, and vitamins for years, but as I get older I find myself excited to make healthy goodies (almond milk, sauerkraut and bone broth to name a few), and truly take a care of my mind and body. Maybe they were on to something all along. ;)
  3. Thanks to scholarships, grants, and financial aid, my entire college education was paid for. I have both an Associates of Arts in Still Photography and with a Bachelors of Arts in Photo Communications. Although I didn’t need a college degree to pursue photography, I’m so glad I graduated! What I learned about myself during that time was invaluable.
  4. I am currently training for my first half marathon (coming up on April 24th) with the help and encouragement of my brother and sister-in-law. At times it still seems like an impossible goal for me, but I keep training and I’m scared excited to see how far I can push myself on race day.
  5. No matter how bad the day, when I get a camera in my hands and start documenting the world around me, everything falls back into place.

*Special thanks to Brandi Welles for the lovely pictures!

  • Brandi - You’re too cute~

  • Rachelle - Happy Birthday Kaysha! I hope your 29th year brings you lots of joy and new adventures! And I can’t leave the house without Burts Bees lip balm either, let’s buy stock!! :)