Lukas & Suzy International Wedding Photographers » Blog

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    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

Jill’s 9th Grade Photography Class

Every so often I will teach a photo crash course, or do a more advanced 8 hour photography workshop. If you’re interested you can sign up here to get info on the next available event. However, this class was a little different. My friend Jill teaches the photography class for 9th grade at a school near my house and asked me to come in for an hour as a guest speaker. An hour is a really short amount of time to talk about anything. But we had a ton of fun going over some cool ideas which would really be applicable to them. But, the best part for me was that I got to assign some homework! When I was in college one of the most helpful things for me in understanding the dynamics of image creation was to re-create an image in it’s entirety. So for the assignment I decided that they have one week to make an exact copy of one of my four below photos.

But in order to up the stakes a little bit I’m going to post the best few re-creation’s here on my blog! So get to it guys and show me what you can do with those cameras of yours!

Also here’s a little photo of the class when I was demonstrating what 9fps looks like on my camera. I told them to all make some goofy faces for me. ;)

October 29, 2009 - 4:00 pm

Jill - Yay! I love it! Thank you so much Lukas!!! SOooooooooo exciting! :) I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Christian Ebner: CD Cover

As I was about to type this I was thinking I don’t really do CD cover art that often. But I just looked over at my shelf and realized I have done the photography and cover art for at least 10 professionally produced CD’s in the past few years. As much as I love weddings, I think I have just as much fun doing the really conceptual stuff. It’s an awesome challenge to kind of pull the flavor from the music you are representing and create a feel which brings the whole package together.

Last month I got to spend the day with Christian Ebner creating the images for his new Christmas CD. We had a blast driving around LA searching Google Earth and finding locations for the shoot. I think the best part though was the Wurstkuche at the end of the day! If you haven’t been, it’s a exotic sausage place in downtown L.A. It’s not super expensive, and they have picnic tables for everyone to eat at in a big group. Some of the more tasty sausages are the “Alligator & Pork, Smoked Andouille Sausage” or the “Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeño Peppers”. If you ever decide to go let me know and I might just join you!

Also be sure to check out Christian’s site for some more photos and to hear some samples from his new CD. I already have it playing in iTunes! =). He also has some clips of a few of his many performances on TBN which are pretty fun. =).

Below are a few grabs from the shoot that I liked.

My first wedding, and how it all started!

Sunday afternoon as I was leaving church I ran into my friends, Damien and Michelle. They live out of state and I haven’t seen them in a few years so it was a little bit of a surprise. However, the point of this post and the significance of our relationship is that they were the first couple to ask me to shoot their wedding. That little question changed my whole life and the world as I see it.

All throughout high school and the first two years of college, I had a little Olympus point and shoot digital camera (This was back in the first generation of digital cameras). When I got to college I started posting a photo on my blog everyday and called it “Picture of the Day”. The funny thing is that this was all before the word “Blog” had been coined, in fact it was back before Facebook, mySpace, Twitter, Xanga or anything else of that kind existed. I was hand writing all the code and figuring things out as I went.

Somehow through a photo I posted of Damien on my blog, he got set up on a blind date with Michelle. Things went well and before I knew it they were engaged. Then came the big question. They asked me if I wanted to shoot their wedding! I loved taking photos and had toyed with the idea of pursuing it professionally. But I knew I didn’t want something I liked doing so much to become just a tedious job, so I thought it would probably be better to stay an amateur. However, I suddenly found myself tingling with excitement at the possibility of shooting this wedding in only 9 months. I told them I would see what kind of equipment and experience I could round up and I would give then an answer in a few months.

I started asking everyone I could think of that took professional photos how I could get some experience and good equipment. One person told me to take a class. So I signed up for a summer class at my college. Someone else told me while I was on a mission’s trip to take a lot of photos. So I borrowed a 35mm SLR and shot a few dozen rolls of film while I was in India the next month. Someone else told me to find someone to apprentice under. So I started asking around till I met my now good friend Louis. He has been shooting professionally full time for 20 some years and let me tag along and take some photos at some weddings with him. Then as God would have it, the college group at my church called me up and asked if I wanted to take over the website and do all the photos for the ministry of over 1000 students. I said I would do it, but I would need a nicer camera. Our pastor decided it was worth the investment and purchased a semi-professional camera and lens for me to use. It was a whirlwind of two months, but God let everything fall into place and I ended up with some school experience, wedding experience, international experience, and a semi-professional SLR camera all in two months. I told Damien and Michelle I would do their wedding!

Five days before the wedding the nightmares started. Everything that could go wrong in my dreams did. I don’t think I have ever been more nervous about doing something. But I borrowed a second camera so I would have a back-up and brought a friend with me to help shoot. I’m getting close to having photographed 150 weddings since then, and my photos have changed a lot. But the old fear of photography becoming tedious hasn’t come true! The more I shoot the more I love it, and I thank God for the chance he gave me to capture His world through my lens and love what I do!

Here’s a few photos from Damien and Michelle’s wedding, as well as a quick one I snapped on Sunday with my iPhone. Crazy they have a couple kids now! Sorry the one from my iPhone is so bad, I should have waited for a smile at least. =). Thanks again for trusting me with your big day and changing my life forever!

iPhone photo: Apple needs to work on their white balance in florescent lights.

October 26, 2009 - 6:20 pm

Heidi Ower - I had no idea that was your first wedding. I was there. I love those two. How fun to learn that was your first wedding! You did a great job. Obviously you were destined to be a photographer.

October 26, 2009 - 8:30 pm

Dan Swiger - Lukas,
Love your story of how God led & provided. How each step was ordered.
My genesis was of course different, but almost a bookend to yours.
After putting the film camera away after Vietnam, almost 35 years later got inspired to make photographs again.
Similarly, found an event I wanted to cover, contacted the guy, and ended up becoming the official photog.
Got published (once!) but as I told you, mainly stick to landscapes.
But I keep my day job!
Your own wedding story was a sweet story & a reminder of how it was for me as a father.

Father of the bride. Laura & Charles Bailey
Dan Swiger

October 26, 2009 - 9:46 pm

Monique - I remember this time in your life! Glad we hooked you and Louis up! We love all of your work and are always amazed at your awesomeness!

November 18, 2009 - 1:57 pm

Damien - Thanks for posting! Ive been back from CA for three weeks and this is the first chance I’ve had to read the post, Great Post. Thanks for sharing the full story, I remember I was so greatful that you took our pictures for us they were such a blessing, I have one of them hanging framed in the living room, you did an awesome job, no one looking at them would know it wasnt the 151st wedding you did instead of the first! Ha, well thanks agian bro, and congrats on the marriage! Now there is only one left in the 040404 club…. take care and make sure you let us know when your out in DC next,


March 29, 2010 - 6:37 am

Brian Powell - I never came anywhere close to getting lighting that good on my first wedding! …but I didn’t have a mentor or photo classes; that would’ve been helpful. Thanks for sharing the story!

April 14, 2010 - 7:15 am

Lukas VanDyke Fine Art Photography» Blog Archive » The Sanchez Family – Glen Echo Park, Maryland - [...] article has a little bit of a history about how I became a photographer which you can check it out here. At the time I wrote the post I had just seen Damien in passing and was only able to snap a quick [...]

June 17, 2010 - 10:40 pm

Ashley - That’s a beautiful beginning, I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Your work inspired Michael and I to invest in a digital SLR so we can take nice pictures on our honeymoon. Our pictures are still not VanDyke quality but they are much better than those from our point and shoot. :)

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