The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
With locations in San Ramon and Lafayette, internationally recognized Itrim helps members lose weight quickly and keep it off by combining healthy meal plans with a specialized exercise center. Unlike other weight-loss programs that stop when clients have reached their goal, Itrim recognizes that most people still need guidance when it comes to maintaining their svelte figures. So their health coaches and staff take the time to provide hands-on support and give members tips for incorporating healthy eating and exercise into their daily routine. By following these tips and the rest of the program, Itrim says members can lose an average of 25 pounds in the first 12 weeks.
Having mastered high-performance body-sculpting techniques, Keith and Blake Robbins—the KBR in KBR Lifestyles—decided they wanted to help others do the same. They started training clients independently in their homes and parks and eventually became personal trainers, helping actors and actresses whip into shape for upcoming roles. They wanted to bring their know-how to the general public to help people make lifestyle changes beyond getting a more finely tuned six-pack, so they opened KBR Lifestyles in Anaheim and quickly expanded to Newport Beach. They work one-on-one with clients of all fitness levels, from complete beginners to professional athletes, helping them inject fitness and nutrition into their daily lives.
Their high-intensity cross-training workouts take place inside or outside and challenge students with an ever-varied combination of strength and cardio training. Ample workout toys fill both locations, including cardio and strength machines, resistance bands, medicine balls, and aerobic steps.
Leaving no detail overlooked, trainers make sure clients receive complimentary towels and water during their workouts to sweep away signs of sweat and replenish its source more pleasantly than re-drinking it again and again. The gym's amenities extend beyond the realm of exercise, from the mobile auto detailer who makes cars sparkle in the lot as clients workout to the massage therapists who banish muscle tension.
The trainers at Precision Fitness believe that achieving wellbeing is a deeply individual process. For this reason, they work only with small groups of students, avoiding the intimidating bustle that’s common at most gyms and instead facilitating focused, nonjudgmental sessions. The intimate setting allows them to create exercise regimens for patrons of all walks of life, from those with little gym experience to seasoned athletes or brides-to-be. Their programs typically involve a mix of cardiovascular and weight training, as well as nutrition tips for healthier long-term diets that don't just advise patrons to eat two apples a day. Though they embrace a private atmosphere during lessons, group activities outside of the gym, such as bowling outings and dinner parties, encourage a sense of community among their clients.
Flooded by dozens of green and cool-blue stage lights, the 2,500-square-foot stage at The Music Hall looks like a platform fit for even the most lauded rockers. Constructed by musicians, for musicians, The Music Hall contains an acoustically treated live room and production stage equipped with side-fill monitors, a mixing console, and an outboard system with equalizers and effects. A professional lighting system allows whoever is using the space to customize the look to their act, making it an ideal venue for musical shows, special events, and performances. The Music Hall also boasts a school staffed by professional musicians who conduct lessons in voice, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, as well as workshops for subjects such as songwriting and music theory.
Fibo Kids Art Academy’s instructors teach kids aged 4–18 the finer points of art with the Fibonacci method, crafting individual curricula within a peer setting, bolstered by doses of art history. They tailor the lessons to each student's interests, strengths, and weaknesses, placing kids in small groups for creative interaction with their peers.
To build a foundation for their skills, the instructors engage youngsters in in-depth art-history lessons that expose them to the paintings, drawings, and techniques of both past and current masters from movements such as impressionism and cubism. In addition to year-round afterschool classes, the academy offers one-week intensive summer camps that cover topics such as fashion design, anime and cartooning, and drawing on a sibling's face while he or she sleeps.