Important Notice! We are moving outside an even cooler box…

28 01 2008

Yep. The time has come for DBUI to get even cooler. Up until now Don’t box us in! has been hosted at (a simple wordpress blog). But the time has come for us to get all swanky and wicked cool with our new blog from the rockstars at Flosites


From now on you’ll only be able to access new DBUI interviews, news, contest links, and other latest buzz at the new site:


The wordpress blog will no longer be active (although all current posts will remain) so please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds. If you are an email subscriber your subscription should be automatically updated. If you are an RSS subscriber, you’ll need to subscribe to the new feed: 


See you there! 




24 01 2008

…a new member of the admin team on Don’t Box Us In… Paige Elizabeth.

Paige Elizabeth

We’re incredibly pleased to have Paige join the DBUI team, especially as she was one of our favorite contributors last year. We featured some of her stunning work during the month of September and now she’s going to experience DBUI from the other side! It’s great to have you on board Paige!

And if you’re wondering, Paige is the lovely lady in the series of shots above!

Can your photography be considered Fine Art?

23 01 2008

Check out the article at TrendHunter Magazine. Then bring the question into your business. Are you creating images that are awe inspiring? Can your images be considered fine art? Could your images make it out of wedding albums and brag books onto the walls of galleries?

Leave some feedback, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Chenin Boutwell – Orange County

18 01 2008

Chenin Boutwell describes photography as her “perfect career” and if you read her interview and visit her website you can see just how passionate she is about her work both in her words & images. Chenin is one of these people that you warm to immediately and would love to meet in person! She’s had a busy year with setting up a new studio, re-branding herself, launching Totally Rad Actions with Doug and an Anti-workshop so we’re more than grateful to her for putting together an interview for DBUI and sharing her work with us.

And if you’re wondering, Chenin Boutwell really is delightful!

Chenin’s Website
Chenin’s Blog
Totally Rad Actions

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been shooting for about 5 or 6 years now. I’ve shot weddings that entire time!

When you graduated from law school, why did you decide to take up photography instead of following a career in law? Any regrets?!

I shot weddings all through law school. During my second year in law school, I attended WPPI and the DWF Convention – it was life-changing. I met all sorts of people who were making a living at shooting weddings and being a lawyer was sounding less and less appealing. I came home from Vegas to a message on my answering machine. It was the Public Defender’s office and they had a job for me that, two weeks before, was my dream job. I felt physically ill at the thought of working as a lawyer and I knew I would never be happy if I quit photography and took up lawyering. I promptly announced to my parents and family that I was going to finish law school, but I wasn’t going to be a lawyer. I have not regretted it for one day!

Especially during the busy wedding season, how do you keep yourself motivated & your photography fresh?

This is so hard! I get a little stale sometimes, but I remind myself that it beats the hell out of spending my days chatting with clients in their jail cells! In all seriousness, I like to give myself little challenges. If I’m feeling a bit stale, I will challenge myself to make an awesome shot of the bride with her dad, or a really cool image of the bridal party. Or sometimes, if there’s a print competition I want to participate it, I will strive to make one image that is worthy of entering. I think, in photography, like in life, you have to challenge yourself every day, or it gets really boring really fast.

What (or who) has inspired, & continues to inspire, your work?

I love all kinds of photography, so I tend to pour over images everywhere I go. I stare intently at billboards, I study magazines, I analyze the way my favorite movies and tv shows are shot. I am inspired, in one way or another, by every image that I see. But was really inspires me is how some people approach life and business. It’s no secret that John and Dalisa Cooper are my best friends in the world. That’s because they are committed to living life to its fullest and are fearless when it comes to photography and business. I am inspired by the folks who attend The Anti-Workshops (affectionately referred to as, The Anti-Crew), because they have proven that, if we help one another, we can all improve our images, our businesses and our spirits.

Do you have a catchphrase/buzz word to describe your studio and what prompted this choice?

Earlier this year, when I transitioned from being a husband-wife team to just being me, I decided to completely re-brand Boutwell Studio. I knew I wanted something that reflected my style and my personality – retro, full of life and a bit irreverent. I have always had a fascination with under-used or archaic words – words no one uses any more – and I’ve always loved the word “delightful.” It just makes me smile. So I decided, as part of my new brand, I would include the word. It’s been a great success and it’s so fun to try and incorporate it, subtly, in to everything I do.

This year, Doug, your husband, is concentrating more on different aspects of photography such as fashion. Is this a route you plan to take eventually or is your “delightful wedding photography” here to stay?

I am here to stay! One of the things I love about wedding photography is that I get to shoot real, everyday people! The thought of shooting models, or shooting for an Art Director, just doesn’t appeal to me. Doug is a rule-breaker by nature and he disliked the rules and expectations that exist for wedding photographers. For me, the rules bug me sometimes, but I prefer to subtly and gradually subvert them 😉

Tell us one way you marketed your business when you first began and one way you market yourself now.

My strategy has been the same from Day One – be a kind person, with a reputation for excellent customer service, and make pretty pictures. If you have those two things, and make an effort to get yourself out there, you’ll do just fine! I attend lots of industry parties and mixers, make an effort to reach out to new people in the wedding world, and live by those two rules. Super simple.

What do you say or do to put your clients at ease in front of the camera?

I am a huge dork. I think that helps a lot. I chat with them, laugh with them, ask them about pets/family/jobs – anything to get them to forget that the camera is there. A lot of people comment that my work is very natural and that my subjects seem at ease; I think that is just a result of treating each client like a friend and creating a playful, easy-going atmosphere at every shoot.

You and your husband have put together one of the most talked about action sets amongst wedding photographers. What is it about Totally Rad actions that sets it apart from the rest?

I could talk about these for days! The set evolved out of our daily workflow. People started emailing and calling and asking questions about how we achieved certain looks in Photoshop, so we decided to make the actions available to other photographers. When we created them, we had never seen or used any other action sets (we’re very do-it-yourself!), which I think is a real asset. We created a set of tools that can be used at different strengths, that can be combined, that can be customized by each photographer to create their own “look” – the Totally Rad Actions aren’t your typical “throw a filter on it and call it a day” actions, they are a tool designed to help each photographer bring his/her images to fruition.
They are also damn fast for workflow! I shoot and process roughly 45 weddings and 25 portraits a year, do all my own retouching and free-hand design albums for every shoot. I could not do it without the TRA!

What action in the set do you use most?

I love Boutwell Magic Glasses – I think it’s so much better than simply sharpening and adding contrast to your images. I also love the Black and White Actions – I feel like my black and whites have really improved with the actions.

Can you show us some recent before and after images using this set and tell us which actions were used?

You, Doug, John and Dalisa Cooper run the Anti-Workshop. If someone were deciding which workshop to attend, why should they consider the anti-workshop?

Let me first say that The Anti-Workshop is not for everyone. It’s for photographers who know how to use their gear and know how to run a business, but are just looking for that extra little sparkle in life, photography and business. The Anti-Workshop is very intensive and we ask photographers to really step outside of their comfort zone; we ask them to push their work, to toss away any judgment of others and themselves, and to give 1000% for 3 days. It’s so incredibly rewarding to see people experiment and play and make friends. I am really proud to say that we have formed a little family – the Coopers, the Boutwells, and The Anti-Crew – and that everyone, including myself, has really improved their lives and their art. It also helps to have a healthy tolerance for alcohol and punk music.

Do you take time out to photograph for yourself? If so, what kind of things do you tend to shoot?

I wish I had time…. This year has been a tough transition and has left very little time for any personal work. I think, honestly, teaching is what I do for myself. I get so much from teaching The Anti-Workshop, and from those little opportunities to meet/help/learn from other photographers.

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?

Be true to yourself! If you are truly genuine, decisions about what to shoot, how to shoot, how to brand and market yourself – all of it – becomes so easy. Plus, it sucks to be constantly trying to be someone else. I have a saying that I use almost daily – “whatever package you come in, put a bow on it!”

What advice do you have for photographers who have been in the industry for a while now?

I would tell more seasoned photographers to toss aside their feelings of entitlement, competitiveness and complacency and to step it up. There are new and better photographers coming in to the market every day and they will put us out of business if we don’t learn to share with them, connect with them and be challenged by them. A rising tide raises all ships….

Have you made any new year’s resolutions for your business? in your personal life?

Have more fun. Recycle more. Spend more time with the people I love.

Which photographer would you like to shoot with for a day & why?

Ooooh…. so hard. Probably David LaChapelle – I love his color, his intensity and I have a feeling it would be a party.

Here are some of Chenin’s favorite images from 2007:

And finally we asked Chenin to show us a set of images from one of her personal favorite weddings of last year:

Jose Villa is Giving Back

22 12 2007

Visit Jose’s blog and please leave a comment… check it out and you’ll see why we’re asking!

Divine Light Wedding Photography: Brian and Briana Elledge – Florida

10 12 2007

Looking through Brian & Briana Elledge’s website there was a modern & fresh vibe both in their photography and about themselves. They aim to capture moments and people’s personalities, not just photographs and their website states “After all, what is life if you cannot see people for who they truly are and for who they want to be”.

Many thanks to Brian & Briana for their interview, images and patience whilst we collated their work!

Divine Light Website
Divine Light Blog

How do you keep yourself motivated & your photography fresh?

Briana: Luckily for me, I am inspired by the people I meet. I stay motivated by
stalking the websites of my photo heroes, coming up with ideas for fashion
shoots, and spending time with other artists in our community. Sometimes on a
shoot, something will just go off in my mind and I am determined to make it
happen, this may take a few shots, but when it happens, its worth it.
Othertimes, the best times, is when I notice something, and I have a millisecond
to capture it, and I actually do! These shots, these are the ones that stay in your
mind and your heart and you can feel the emotion deep inside.

Brian: Motivation and creativity are for me like feul in a car. After a lot of
projects and shoots my tank is running pretty low so unless I take some time to
reflect on other artists work, both photographic as well as others, its hard to
keep things fresh. Like Briana, I enjoy blog-stalking and going to local openings
and galleries to just keep my mind’s eye current and of course, inspired.

What (or who) has inspired, & continues to inspire, your work?

Briana: My love for photography began when I was an art major in college. I
believe that my study of art has influenced my work in many degree’s. It
influences how I see whats on the other side of my lense, and how it makes me
feel often comes forth into my work.

My favorite photographers include The Image is Found’s Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser in
California, DQStudios Dave & Quin Cheung in Canada, and David La Chapelle. I
also stalk the Trash the Dress and of course Don’t Box us In blog’s on a regular

Brian: Lately for me the most prominent things to inspire my work have been
music and the change of seasons. I have recently been inspired by the way
eastern culture and religions apreciate the different seasons as not only different
climate changes but as different stages of life. So lately when the weather
started to turn cold and as winter approaches I feel a renewal and freshness in
my life and I think it shows in recent work. Also music is very influential in this
process as well for me as it just reinforces the direction of my thoughts and

Show us your favorite image that you’ve shot so far this year & tell us
what it is about this image that makes it special to you.

Briana: this image is was shot pre-wedding in anticipation. I love it because I
feel like the bride looks like she is glowing both inside and out. To me, she looks
like she feels her own beauty, as well as the beauty of the moment and the
moments to come.

Brian: the image below was taken during a trash-the-dress shoot and I love it
1st of all for the model’s body language and positioning as well as the point of
view of looking directly down on her which I feel is very unique and not often
seen. And then in post-production I took it a step further with the addition of
layering textures giving the dress and the rest of the image a very ethereal,
mystical feel. Some may say that its over produced but I think its just right.

It’s coming up to 2008, do you have any resolutions for the new year with regards to business? or personal?

Briana: business & personal hmmm. In regards to the business we are planning
on upgrading our equipment and adding some lighting equipment. We would like
to increase in the fashion shoots and are inspired by the way some of our photo
hero’s creatively use lighting to make some incredible images.

Brian: I concure with Briana. We are going to step up our game on the
production side of things to go in a more fine art/fashion direction. I want to bring
other artisitic elements from other genres into ours and see what happens.

What advice do you have for other husband and wife photography teams?

Briana: BUY TWO CAMERA’S! We have 2 but we didn’t always. My biggest
advice would be to assign roles and communication. Let one of you capture the
main images during the ceremony and the other capture the photojournalistic &
candid ones. This will add a new dimension to the wedding and create a sense of
depth to your bodies of work.

Brian: Communication! That’s it.

One thing your client should know about you. One thing photographers should know about you.

Briana: one thing I would like my clients to know about me is that I love people.
After saying that it is important to me that my clients understand that no two
people are alike, and that is what makes them beautiful. As a photographer, I
view my shoots the same way, each one is beautiful and each one is different.
One thing photographers should know about me, I am less interested in
perfection than I am in reinvention and the ability to capture human emotion.

Brian: I have very high expectations of myself and others…but mainly myself.
So when there is a shot I want I will push it until its right. Same goes with other
aspects of the business as well.

Show us a photograph by another photographer that you would have
liked to have taken & tell us why.

Briana: This is one by my photo heroes The Image Is Found. Everything
about it just screams, , exactly. The first time I saw it I was
speechless. The composition, the expressions on the couple’s faces, the use of
lighting, post – processing magic, and there is an incredible level of depth to this
photo that just blows my mind.

Brian: The image below by Jesh De Rox, a photographer
doing amazing photojournalistic work as well as adding depth and spirit through
experimental processes. I like his work and this image because I feel when you
ad to an already great image by adding texture or colour variations it makes it
more of a work of art in the traditional sense as being touched by your hand and
changed or altered by you. It reminds me of working in the darkroom and the
magic of the chemicals and how they bring an image to life and the sometimes
accidental greatness that comes as a result on occasion.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you have been?

Briana: if I weren’t a photographer I would loved to have been a model,
unfortunately , I’m 5’1’’ so that’s not very realistic, truthfully, I have always
wanted to be an artist, and that desire continues to push me to create through
my images.

Brian: Well you see, photographer is merely one thing on my list of careers.
Being creative and in a prefession such as photography it frees me up to pursue
other endevors and paths. All in the name of keeping things fresh. If I had to
pick one of the top of my head though, either lumberjack or pilot.

Gisela Prishker – OC, California

1 12 2007

Gisela Prishker’s slogan is “Sensual, Striking, Fashionable” and she definitely lives up to all three. Gisela’s interest in photography began when she was only 14 and she has become an accomplished photographer in the fields of editorial, wedding, portrait and fashion. Gisela’s first language is Spanish and she is an avid member of Foro de Fotografos.

Gisela’s website
Gisela’s blog

How do you keep yourself motivated & your photography fresh?
I am always motivated by my family, friends , love & new places and I do visit galleries, museums and love driving around getting lost and I let my mind fly. I keep my photography fresh by doing what I am most passionate about Photography. I test a lot, I try a new lens every time I have a shoot, I always try something new, I do break the rules all the time and love it. Something very funny happened to me last week I gave a talk in LA for Professional Photographers there and I saw everyone motivated and inspired by my talk so I got home and I couldn’t sleep in stayed up until 5am , doing work , networking, reading and some more work , so I realized I got inspired by myself I thought that was too funny. Those who know me know I am so hyper and a bit crazy.

What (or who) has inspired, & continues to inspire, your work?
I fell in love with photography at a very young age 14 and since then I knew I wanted to be a photographer like MaryEllen Mark or Anne Leibowitz or a great Artist like Frida Kahlo, so I guess Im very inspired by Frida Kahlo’s life , I also get inspired when I travel, my favorite place to be in Naples thats why I go 6 times a year I cant stop loving it, I love California too and feel very inspired here.

What do you say or do to put your clients at ease in front of the camera?
Be yourself , have fun and get crazy no one is watching you , just me. I make them run , walk ,sing & laugh. My shoots are so much fun I get crazy when I am working I feel the glow in my eyes. I just love what I do and people feel that. I guess Im not afraid to fall in love with my subject , they know how passionate I am. That’s why they hire me.

What was it that first drew you to take up photography?
I was a model and won Miss Photogenic in a pageant but those pic where horrible so I said I bet I can take better picture so I did start taking pictures with a point & shoot camera and they were better , so in High School i took a Photography class and then got my first Pentax K 1000. I love that camera , and the dark room and all that good stuff , so I started shooting at lunch time , my studio was The ladies Restroom yeah my shoots started at $40’s. That was great time testing models and making money and doing what I loved so everyone that sees me know they ask so Are you still a model? or you became a photographer? All the people that knew me then know what I most passionate about.

What advice do you have for other photographers that are stuck in a rut creatively or with their business?
Have fun doing what you love , if you do what you love and feel passionate about it money will come. It’s all about enjoying life to the fullest doing what you truly love. I will say be yourself, don’t try to copy someone else. Each individual is so unique. Don’t be afraid to be different & take risks. Business wise Im still learning about it but the best thing i do is to create a good buzzzzzz. Wowwww people with your work. Word of mouth is your best advertising. I have only been here in California a month and I had several shots already, not bad for being new to the area.

One way you market your business.
I keep it simple word of mouth, attending to net working events, and keeping good relationships with other photographers.

One thing your client should know about you. One thing we should know about you
I am driven by passion I do photography because its my first love, I love Red and love tacos , If you hire me for sure we will become great friends its all about the connection, I love making people feel great, laugh and have fun. I’m so fascinated with my life yes I guess I love myself too much, I’m imperfect.

If you were planning on having a photo-shoot, who would you want to photograph your portrait & why?
Anne Leivowitz, she is great, or Robert Morrell. He knows me well and i adore him, who wil shoot my future videos? Hakim Sons Film – I love Shezad he is awesome.