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

Malawi, Africa!

Back from Malawi! For those of you who aren’t sure where that is, it’s a little ways below Kenya right in between Zambia and Mozambique in Africa. This year I decided to join a construction team to Africa to help finish up some work at a church one of our missionaries works with. Although I am pretty familiar with all the aspects of general contracting, I don’t have a lot of practical experience. I soon discovered that putting screws in the ceiling, trying to get paint to stick to the wall without drip marks, and sanding stuff is all a lot more difficult than it looks. Throughout the time I was there I ended up finding a good amount of productive work which I could do, so I don’t at all feel like the trip was a waste of time. However, I think in the future I might stick closer to areas I know I am good at; like moving a mouse around on a screen and wielding a camera. =) We kept so busy I really didn’t pull out my camera as much as I expected I would, but I did take a walk through the village one morning and made a few images I really like!

The other thing thing I noticed is that I really feel out of my zone without fast internet. We had WiFi where we were staying so I was online (slow online) on my iPhone for most of the time. But a there were a couple days in there where that wasn’t even working and I felt very cut off. LOL I guess when you live in an online world removing it is more difficult. But I guess that’s why trips like this are good, they take you out of your comfort zone. Speaking of online click here to follow me on Twitter ;)

On the way back I had an 8 hour layover in Nairobi,Kenya so I took a taxi downtown and wandered around for a couple hours before heading back to the airport. This is one I snapped on a foot bridge right in downtown. That building is the Kenya equivalent of the IRS. Traffic in Nairobi is as bad as the 405 in L.A. lol. =)

Awwww isn’t she just the most adorable thing you ever saw. =). My GF and I at LAX right before I left. If you look close you can tell I’m holding my camera with my right hand with a fisheye lens. That should explain why we are all distorted. =)

Landing in Malwi. When only two planes come per day it’s not worth it to build a terminal. =)

This is one of the roomes we were working on.

Team praying over a house we were helping construct for seminary students out in the village.

The foundation by Rick Wymer.

This was interesting. There are no cement trucks in Malawi so the women bring water on the top of their heads and fill these barrels and then the men mix all the cement in piles on the ground as they lay the bricks.

This is the rest of our team. 7 guys with experience and 3 of us to fill in the cracks lol. =) We had a blast! =)

May 10, 2009 - 12:29 pm

sheryl - Lukas – great fotos!! They look like National Geographic!
Sometimes I think that getting out of our area of expertise helps to see where the giftedness actually lies. I think that you are very good at what you do and are getting better.

May 10, 2009 - 10:32 pm

Janet - Lukas,
great pictures, I was so excited to see them, and to see all the work you guys did.
what a blessing, and what a memory, Praise God for your team! and for answered prayers!

May 13, 2009 - 8:23 pm

Jill - LUKAS!! These pictures are AWESOME!!! Thank you soOoooooo much for these beautiful pictures of beautiful people!!!!!!!!! INCREDIBLE!! WOW!

Heading to Africa!

In two short hours I am heading to LAX to board a plane for 34 hours of travel with a final destination in Malawi. As any of you reading this might know it’s always incredible hard to get away from work for any long period of time. But I think I am caught up with almost everything I can work on right now, and am ready for this trip!

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, so I am looking forward to #1 being able to be a help the church we are going to work with, and #2 the eye opener to reality I always experience when I go to a third world country. Famine, death, suffering, persecution, and disease are harsh realities in places less sheltered than Los Angeles.

Many of the trips I have gone on in past years have either been for evangelism, photography, or tech stuff. This is actually the first trip I have gone on which will be entirely construction. We are going to help the Biedebach’s  build a house and complete a building project at their church.  I’m super excited to get to do some hands on dirty work this time. But I don’t think I could have helped throwing at least one camera and a couple lenses in my bag. So we will see how often they get pulled out.  ;)

Ok, this post needs at least a few photos from last time I was in Africa. They are just from a little point and shoot camera, so nothing incredible, but they give you a little bit of a feel for that world. The first is a little boy who was named “Azwinndini”. I met him in a little remote village in the provence of Venda in South Africa. He had nothing but rags for clothes, and his stomach was all bloated from tape worms. It was so sad how all the other kids picked on him. You can also see the boy on the far right has ring worm all over his head.

The second image is a group of kids we were telling some Bible stories in the field where they play soccer every day. They find bits of bags and rags, and tape and wrap them all together to make balls. I don’t think any of them have ever actually seen a real soccer ball. But they loved hearing stories and came from miles away to listen.

The third is actually a photo with me in it. We brought this huge beach ball and as soon as I came out of the mud hut we were staying in, 100s of kids literaly started following us to the field to play with the ball. I am the tall guy in the middle throwing it up in the air as they tried to catch it. I have some super interesting stories about some of our actual ministry there if you want to hear them sometime.

Please be praying for this trip, and I will try to post a few updates here and there as I can.

April 24, 2009 - 3:30 pm

Nicki VanDyke - Sam and I will be praying for you as you travel and as you are over in Malawi. May the Lord use you and the other team members to further his gospel in that place. Cant wait to hear all about it when you come back…

April 24, 2009 - 4:33 pm

Chad - Will be praying for you Lukas…for the work of the ministry there and for safe travel. Looking forward to seeing any pics you manage to take while you’re there!

May 13, 2009 - 8:18 pm

Patti Peters - I love this photo, Lukas! You truly look like the pied piper!

June 9, 2009 - 7:18 pm

Marie Moore - Love these photos…They really capture the people over there!!! One day Lord willing, if I get my “skills”together and get some finances together I might head over with our mission teams to Samfya!!! Just looking at your work has inspired me to get back behind the lens and start snappin some decent shots…..Thanks!!! Opps and its also encouraged me about the need to spread the Gospel!!!

Photography Tip #2: Cat Eye Reflector

Ok here it is, tip #2. I actually got this one from my friend Mariano Friginal. If you haven’t seen his work before it’s incredible.

When I first started shooting I was scared of the sun because it produced hard light, black shadows and squinty eyes. But now that I have learned to use it I have come to love shooting in the sun, often even more than on overcast days. So here’s one of those little tricks than can help you take advantage of the sun. All you need to buy is the largest reflector you can fit your arm halfway around. Then pull out a knife and slice a cross hair about 5 inches long through the very center.

When you’re shooting you will want to position your subject so the sun is somewhere behind and above them. If you’re really close (and I mean about 12 inches as really close) the sun bounces off and creates this amazing cat eye reflection in their eyes like the first image below. From a little further back it fills in all the shadows with a really nice soft even light. The key is to just make sure to set your exposure to your subjects face while the light is on it.

Depending on the brightness of the day I will switch between the white or silver side of the reflector. You can also vary your position a few degrees in each direction to let the sun halo your subject and create some awesome in camera sun flares. The trick works best when the sun is low in the sky so you can shoot straight ahead, but as you might note in some of the examples below you can do it at high noon. You just need to shoot almost straight up.

This is probably one of my favorite tricks. It’s one I will use on almost every shoot. If you try it out and get some great images let me know, I would love to see them! =)

April 22, 2009 - 8:16 pm

Timothy Wallis - Great tip, I’m going to be using this one a lot.

April 24, 2009 - 5:13 pm

marianofriginal - i guess the “cat’s” out on that one… well, it was hard to trademark anyway. how do you trademark two xacto cuts on a reflector? by the way, nice pose on that stick figure model LOL.

April 26, 2009 - 4:27 pm

Cris - YES!! I’ve met you once, and that one time, you told me all that junk about catchlights and soft, even lighting on people’s faces, and you had that reflector with a hole in it. When I bought my 40D, I went to best buy the next week and did the same exact thing. lol, and I LOVE friginal’s photos

July 8, 2009 - 2:57 pm

josydaisy - nice…i’ll try these out.

January 28, 2012 - 12:47 pm

Photography Myths 101 « mathwizzards - [...] the sun and you don’t have an assistant to hold a reflector. (Picture by Lukas van Dyke)  Go here to see what the results look [...]

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