Hawaii Fusion Event | Shooting Professional Photos and Videos on an Entry Level Budget

First of all I want to preface this post with the magic word... FREE.


I often hear some of the same things when people see some of our (The Bui Brothers) work or the work of some of the other photographers currently producing great photo fusion videos...

"I could do it if I had nice cameras like yours!"

"On my budget it isn't possible."

"Video editing is complicated."

I don't blame people for thinking, feeling and voicing these things. Many of the recent technological advances have been so fast and sudden that people don't realize the quality of gear that is within their reach. They also have no idea how amazingly easy some of the recent video editing software releases have made things for the everyday person.

Photo fusion isn't even an everyday term yet (Lan and I recently had a discussion about what photo fusion is HERE). Many people have no idea what it is or what can be done with it. Here's an example of photofusion the way that The Bui Brothers present it... behind the scenes of the photo shoot of television and web celebrity (House, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) Felicia Day:


I teamed up with SmugMug and decided to create a project to show everyone JUST how easy it is to create beautiful work... with some of the most affordable gear available. I'm going on a one week destination photo fusion trip to O'ahu, Hawaii... bringing a camera and lens combo that's less than $1,000 and a set of accessories and gear that is also just around $1,000 (in addition to some home-made DIY items!). The point will be to not only show what is possible with this entry-level gear, but to detail how I do all of the shoots that I'll be doing during the week.

I'll be announcing the gear list in a coming blog post, but we'll basically be doing a variety of photography and video shooting using a consumer DSLR, natural light, wirelessly triggered small flashes, affordable underwater equipment and a few accessories.

What you'll see:

  • DIY tutorials - Before the trip I'll be posting videos of the preparation for the event, including how I make a number of Do-It-Yourself items that I'll be using during the week for both photography and video.
  • Photography Tutorials - We have 4 photo shoots planned and will be shooting behind-the-scenes fusion videos of each one. These will look in detail at the wardrobe, the locations, the lighting and even some of the camera setting choices we make.
  • Photo Fusion Videos - We're going to produce a couple photo fusion videos just to share. We'll have behind-the-scenes videos of these as well.
  • Video editing screen capture tutorial - watch how I edit a photo fusion video from start to finish.
  • Videoblogs - We'll be videoblogging daily from O'ahu... personal videoblogs that will allow you to follow our short adventure. Hopefully they'll be funny and entertaining.
  • Live workshop in Honolulu - We're going to be giving a live workshop in Honolulu to a limited number of people, and some of what we do there will be recorded and shared. (more info HERE)


We have a tiny two-person team for the trip... which is being sponsored (along with the fantastic entry-level list of gear) by SmugMug. All of the media we post from the trip will also be hosted by them, which is a really easy way to show you how cool their services are. I'm mostly excited about the HD video streaming, which is fantastic.

  • Vu Bui - photographer - You can see some of my work at The Bui Brothers Blog. We shoot photos and videos for professionals, and we create behind-the-scenes videos of almost everything we do. You can follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vubui
  • Tracie Cotta - model - Tracie is a model and makeup artist from Orange County. She was the makeup artist on many of our recent high-profile shoots (including the Felicia Day shoot in the video above). You can see her model mayhem gallery HERE. You can follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/traciecotta

A quick video of us talking about the event:


The event (I'm calling it a mini-tour, even though it's only to one island) will be from September 20th to September 26th. The videos will be posted during our stay and will continue afterwards as we get everything edited and completed.

We will be staying in Kailua on O'ahu in Hawaii. We'll be shooting at various locations on the island, starting at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world... Lanikai Beach.

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The live workshop will be held in Honolulu and details about it can be found at the Hawaii Photo Fusion Workshop announcement page.


Sign up to receive email updates from me about this tour, future workshops and the video tutorials to be released in the future.

You'll also have the first opportunity to download the final tutorial pack which will include some of our $50 video editing and blogging tutorial videos for free.




Live workshop in Honolulu - get details about the live workshop which will cover the basics of creating photo fusion videos... everything from video editing to photo lighting.

More photo fusion from The Bui Brothers -

  • iJustine - photo shoot at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel with behind the scenes video.
  • Veronica Belmont - photo shoot in the basement of the House of Shields bar in San Francisco with behind the scenes video.
  • Micah Lee - photo shoot in Old Town Orange with behind the scenes video.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at vu@vubui.com or you can use my contact form.

This event is brought to you by:

The Bui Brothers LogoSmug Mug Logo

O'ahu Hawaii Photography - Fusion - New Media Workshop

Tracie Cotta Fashion Photograph


I am visiting O'ahu for a week as I do the Hawaii Photo Fusion tour with the wonderful model and makeup artist, Tracie Cotta. We are being sponsored by SmugMug to come out and spend a week shooting photos and videos to create a series of video tutorials and behind-the-scenes looks at some of our lighting, posing and shooting techniques.

I did a small photography and lighting workshop in March of 2009 the last time I was out here... it was literally thrown together at the last minute at the request of a few people... and I was happy to have had 26 people attend and spend a few hours with me at Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park, as the sun set. This time I thought I'd go all out and cover everything I think is necessary to light and capture great photos AND videos and meld them together into what is now being called photo fusion videos.


The workshop will begin indoors at the ING Direct Cafe in Honolulu (map), light refreshments will be served and we'll spend a couple hours in-class. We'll then head outside for a 2.5 hour hands-on lighting workshop.

Bring your camera, we will have a live model (the gorgeous Tracie Cotta) and you'll be shooting her in various scenes using some natural light, some flash-lighting. (you can also see Tracie in the iJustine video above, she is the makeup artist!)

Fusion Workshop

"Fusion" is probably a term you've heard a lot recently. With the proliferation of DSLRs with video features it's now easier than ever for photographers to capture GORGEOUS video while shooting photos without worrying about taking along an additional device. This allows for the simple "fusion" of photography and video for wonderful videos of weddings, events and photo shoots.

We (The Bui Brothers) also use it in other ways. The last few high profile photo shoots we've done we're accentuated by behind the scenes videos that have actually gained more attention than the photos themselves. We actually attribute more than half of our recent photo business to these videos. When watching them, potential clients are able to see not only how we work but also who we are.

Here is the behind the scenes video we shot during our photo shoot of iJustine at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Beach:


  • photo editing workflow
  • basic video editing software (iMovie)
  • video editing techniques
  • how to create simple music for your videos (Garage Band)
  • how and where to find legal free music online
  • how to publish your content on SmugMug and share it on your blog or other sites

Photography Workshop

The questions we get most often from people are regarding the lighting techniques we use in our photographs. We typically do outdoor shots using a combination of ambient and flash lighting supplied either from small flashes or Alien Bees lights.

On this trip I'll be shooting with two Vivitar flashes and a brand new set of Radiopopper JrXs. They are all as affordable as it gets! I'll also be using some homemade modifiers to properly control the lighting, and will spend a couple hours setting up multiple sets for you to photograph.

In this part of the workshop I will show you exactly how to light your subject and why I make certain choices to get the effect I want. You'll have the opportunity to photograph Tracie in each set with the lights I set up.

Tracie Cotta by Vu Bui

Micah Lee

Brigitte Dale by Vu Bui


  • choosing your location using the available light
  • using flashes to fill against the sun
  • using a single light for portraits
  • posing your model
  • using direct sunlight to backlight your subject
  • using light modifiers for complete control
  • a bunch of other stuff that will come up as we work


Fusion workshop (1st part of the workshop) ING Direct 1958 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

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Photography workshop (2nd part of the workshop) Fort DeRussy Park right across the street from ING Direct


The photo fusion workshop will be held:

September 24th - Thursday 2:00 PM - 7:00pm (it may go a little later)


In keeping with the low-budget nature of my trip and this workshop... I'm pricing it at an absolute no-brainer $35.

Due to the size of the venue and in the efforts to keep this workshop reasonably small and intimate, seating is limited. Click to reserve your place now:

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Note: Purchase is non-refundable.


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Visit the Facebook event page Visit the upcoming.org event page

Hawaii Photo Fusion tour Ritz Carlton Photo Workshop The Bui Brothers shoot Felicia Day

This workshop is brought to you by:

The Bui Brothers LogoSmug Mug Logo