Posts in Category: narrative

To DP or not to DP.

That is the question.


I’ve been in love with visual storytelling for as long as I can remember.  I love directing.  I love editing.  And I love shooting.  As my career began shifting from editing to directing, I would often shoot my own projects mostly because I hated asking others to give their time and creative resources up for little to no pay.  Kia Kiso, a friend and colleague, helped me get over that mindset, convincing me there were DP’s willing to give their time and resources because they believed in my prospect as a director.

And as my directing career progressed, I was given the opportunity to  work with some incredibly talented directors of photography including Tyler AllisonTim AnguloSalvador BolivarTom CamardaJohnny DerangoChuck OzeasByron Shah, & Jake Zortman.  There is nothing like creatively gelling with a DP on set, completely in sync with one another as to the final look of the piece.

I still shoot on my smaller, personal projects, not only for budgetary reasons, but because I like to stay knowledgeable of the photographic process, to better help me communicate with the camera department when I’m on larger jobs.

I recently put together a reel of my camera work to send out on the relatively rare occasions I’m called to shoot.  I struggled with what to call the reel.  In my opinion, my work and skill sets are nowhere near the DP’s I’ve worked with.  My lighting skills are limited as I fancy myself more of a documentary style shooter.  Initially, I settled on “Shooter’s Reel,” however, a few of my favorite DP’s responded with the note that it should be listed as my DP reel, even if I’m not necessarily pursuing that path.

I’ve gotta say… that felt nice.

I love shooting.  But even more, I love collaborating.  They both have their place in the future of my work.  I’m certain of it.

On that note… here’s my DP reel:

A collection of footage Ric Serena has shot on a few projects over the years. Music by Matt Bowen


HoMEGRoWN: Romancing the Bean

Special thanks to Kerry Krull for hosting the HoMEGRoWN exhibit at Romancing the Bean. You can check it out at 3413 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505


In her honor, we begin sharing the individual small business stories, environmental portraits and conceptual commercial photos there.

When we first moved to Burbank, Romancing the Bean was a small shop on Magnolia. Kerry’s loyal clientele, fueled by great coffee, atmosphere and customer service, prompted her to open a larger shop in the media district. When the rent became too high, we were afraid we’d lost this Burbank staple. Lucky for old and new comers, Kerry has revived the place on Magnolia in an airy and welcoming space sure to keep the lines long.

I was honored when she agreed to be a part of the project, even if she didn’t exactly know what she was getting into.

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This conceptual image was one of the fastest to come to me… how else to describe Romancing the Bean, than with a couple spooning in a bed of coffee beans?


PHOTOGRAPHER:  Jen Serena, Serena Creative

MODELS:  Elle Jane Hounsell &  Chris Pavlik

HAIR & MAKEUP:  Alexandria Storm & Miss Cassanova

WARDROBE STYLING:  Drelyn, Beyond Image


Learn more about the HoMEGRoWN project here.

HoMEGRoWN: Juxtaposing intimate portraits of 11 small business owners and conceptual, commercial images of their product or service, local photographer Jen Serena shares her view of Burbank with a nod to its creative role in the big picture.

the Team

The only thing greater than creating something you’re proud of, is doing it as part of a stellar creative team. Things click, everyone builds on the talents of each other, and together you make a product that you’re proud of, an environment you wish wouldn’t end and friendships that have just begun.

I was proud to be a supporting member of the team for Swallow – a new pilot created by Dan Greenberger and directed by Ric Serena. Although my role was minor: shooting images & designing a few props, stealing a few behind the scenes images, and shooting & designing the promotional artwork; being on set, even for short periods of time, you could feel that great energy produced only by a project that makes you proud.



Ric and I so rarely work together anymore, so it was wonderful to be in his element and to have him in mine. I could really gush for a while about the  entire team, but I think you will see the talent that went into Swallow, just in the trailer alone.  Ok, and it was totally, irreverently, fun.

So start your week off with a smile…