Sunday, May 29, 2011

Your move Phamiya!

Holy mother of 200 megapixels Hasselblad!

I'm officially impressed by Hasselblad.

Friday, May 27, 2011

You know you're good-looking when...

Yeah, I'm breaking my cardinal rule about this being a "talking blog" but it's my blog, I'll do what I want.

I had the opportunity to shoot Raina Hein again and Raina is without a doubt one of the most beautiful models I have ever shot. How good-looking you ask? Well, so good-looking that I thought I'd put together a "You know you're good-looking when..." list:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

on Modeling Experience

Disclaimer: If you don't find this funny, then you should stop reading this blog immediately ;)

I was putting together some video for something else and I got into a discussion about models with "modeling experience" with my wife Catherine. The following is my take on the discussion :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growth II

My boss Dave used to say "When they say they have 20 years of sales experience it's really just 1 year repeated 20 times".

He was referring to the way most people stop growing after they feel like they've "gotten the hang of things".

Now, I don't think he meant it literally. It's nearly impossible to rinse and repeat a single year 20 times over. I think what he was getting at was that salespeople (people in general) are resistant to change and therefore don't grow. And it's not unique to salespeople nor is it really that surprising. People like what they know. They like familiarity. They like routine. They don't like surprises. And they don't like change. Growth means change. Change is hard.

But growth and change can easily separate the boys from the men.

But I know far too many people regardless of profession that stagnate and repeat 1 year of experience 20 times over...

Of course as time passes and you generate revenue with the "routines" it's hard to break tradition and reinvent yourself. Sometimes reinventing yourself can feel like you're reinventing the wheel especially when you have a recipe for current success. Then you start asking yourself, "If it ain't broke why fix it?" And though it may be increasingly difficult to find time throughout the day to teach yourself a new trick, it's paramount to continuous success.

For example, I've been trying to learn FCP7 (Final Cut Pro 7) for a while now and it's difficult to set aside any time to just learn. Things aren't the same anymore. Definitely not like when I was learning Photoshop where 1) I could just spend days at a time on the computer and 2) upload my newbie-unpolished (but unscrutinuzed) crap out there for people to see. But I still feel that adding this skill-set to my repertoire is important so it's still on my to-learn list. Ultimately I feel it makes me a better photographer and definitely provides me a rekindled source of inspiration. The point is I understand how hard it is as a working pro to set aside time to "reinvent yourself".

But I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating my game plan. Who knows when RED will shoot 20MP at 1/1000th shutter speeds and high ISO :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tip of the day: O P [ ]

That's where my left hand resides 90% of the time I'm retouching. These are the shortcuts that I use regularly off the top of my head. This is my hand positioning but it might not work for you.

Stylus has OPTION bound to front button
Stylus has CMD Z (undo) bound to back button

O - Dodge/burn tool (holding the OPTION key when dodge tool is selected is burn)
[ - Decrease brush size and cycles through options
] - Increase brush size and cycles through options
CMD + (thumb and middle finger) - Zoom in
CMD - (thumb and middle finger) - Zoom out
J (with pinky) - Healing brush
OPTION [ (stylus OPTION) - Navigate layer below
OPTION ] (stylus OPTION) - Navigate layer above
B (big reach with pinky) - Brush tool
L - Lasso tool
M (with pinky) - Marquee tool

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Please don't confuse honesty with malice

I have about 15-20 files open in Photoshop but I need to address this for my own sake.

Please don't confuse honesty with malice... you can just as easily convey what you want to say without hurting the person's feelings.

Especially when that person is

Monday, May 16, 2011

Captivating, Emotional, Connections

I am trying to develop an emotion or feel through my images... to be honest [my images are] – boring – uncaptivating & unemotional – I would love any direction you could give me. One things that became obvious to me – is that I need to spend more time talking to the models ... & less time shooting. Maybe also be a bit more focused in the shots I want. I almost never find out any sort of backstory about the model, find music that may change the mood or expression ... so, incorporating elements like this may be a step in the right direction.

Got an email from Justin that I've been meaning to answer for weeks now and interestingly, I was asked similar if not the same questions from a photographer at my Calumet workshop today.

Actually within this question are a series of questions that I'm just going to answer and in shotgun-fashion, hope that I hit a/the target.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My taste in models

Regarding something specific in this post... I don't know if you ever described this in another blog post or not (I suppose I could look harder..), but I am very curious what your preferred model aesthetic is you speak of. Of course we all know tall and slender with a nice face. But every photographer has a taste in women that really speaks to them, whether it be their features, expressions or general aura. Although sometimes I suppose it's hard to put a finger on it. I'm hoping you will elaborate on your definable taste in subjects... :)

What a great question! While I should be working on the many shoots that I am now backlogged, I'm going to spend some time and elaborate on a truly intelligent question that ironically has never been asked. Perhaps it's the difference that of a female perspective?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AlienBees, Flashtubes, Solder, Explosions, Customer Service

I've managed to melt 2 flashtubes from my B1600.

Not sure why or how exactly on the first one, but the second one probably melted because of speed.

Literally the legs of the flashtubes have melted right off the soldering points.

So like any good DIYer I resoldered them back together.

The first one exploded immediately.

The second one lasted a while before blowing melting solder chunks into my softbox and melting parts of the baffle and outer screen.

No I didn't use high-temp solder.

They probably exploded because when the connection isn't solid, the current has to arc over and "jump" thus causing a loud crack and in some cases small explosions.

They told me not to resolder the flashtubes. I just didn't listen :)

It's time to send in the B1600 for maintenance. Might be something wrong with this unit.

Or there might be something wrong with me :)

You know what the insane thing about all of this is? I told Joe, Kimberly, and the rest of team at Paul C. Buff and they have taken the initiative to examine these units. Even when I've told them that I'm at fault. They even sent me a $50 gift certificate for my grief. Unbelievable!

So, I misuse the products (shooting too fast), disobey direct orders (resoldering myself), blow shit up (B1600 in softbox), and get rewarded with a gift certificate. And they want to service the units on warranty?

Well, sorry Apple. PCB is now on the top of my list as far as good customer service is concerned!

Friday, May 6, 2011


What I found really interesting is posing of your models. Ive got a little problem with that. Your poses look absolutely naturally. And here goes my question :) Do you show to your models how you want them to pose? Or is it that they just move and flow in front of camera. Sorry for that question, but Im really interested how it "works".

The answer for me is usually B. Flow.

Let me preface this by saying that if you have a storyboard with specific looks, then what I'm about to say does not apply.

But if you're shooting tests without specific concepts/ideas as I so often do, then posing the model can become a hindrance on the flow of shoot.

Let me take a step back and describe what I believe are the two schools of thought when it comes to posing.

1. Be totally specific. Leave nothing to random chance. Execute a single specific pose to perfection with minor adjustments frame after frame until you nail it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How much should I charge?, is it normal that photographers won't get paid for photo shoots? How does payment between photographers and models work? Do you ever pay models for working for you?

It depends.

If you're Mario Testino, you never pay models. They pay you.

If you're Joe Blow, you'll probably pay models.

Simply put, your shoot is only worth as much as what someone else is willing to pay. Determining how much your shoots are worth is paramount to maximizing your returns.

Specifically I'm referring to paid tests.

Is it normal to not get paid for tests? Often with agencies if you're starting out, you're not going to get paid. And if you're not working with agencies, then you don't have the clout to demand payment from the average model.

But it depends. If you are established and you are a reputable photographer that has been shooting with agencies for a long time, you can even get agencies to send you paid work.

The question is: Is there a legitimately good reason for someone pay you? Do you offer a service that can't be rendered elsewhere and better and free?

For me, the models pay me. Sometimes I do unpaid testing for agencies. The only times I pay models are during my workshops where they render a service that is an overhead cost for paid work.

So if your model doesn't accept your shoot at $30, then he/she is simply saying "I don't think you're worth $30".

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tip of the day: When NOT to convert to B&W

As much as I like B&W images. There are a few instances when it's a terrible idea to go B&W with your color image.

Assuming that you're shooting color RAWs. Which you should. You should never shoot B&W JPGs. Or even JPGs unless you are Ken Rockwell, then you get to do whatever the hell you want because the laws of physics don't apply to you :)

So back to when you shouldn't convert to B&W.

Simple. Don't convert to B&W when your original image looks better in color.

Las Vegas Workshop Facebook Group

I've been slow to put up the results from Las Vegas but here is the Facebook group! :)