Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Natural Light Adventures 05: Post Processing.

We're coming to an end of the series' sector, at least the written part. Post processing is finishing touches to images as we all know, but it is as important as the production itself. Depending on your current style or style you're trying to develop into this will dictate how post processing goes. So the following is based on my own style, so take it or leave it.

If you've just jumped into this part of the blog series I highly recommend you read the past parts as this part is spoke with the assumption you've read the past parts, as well you've learned the important part of timing which can be figured out with what gear you have and location you're shooting at. Check the index.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Natural Light Adventures 04: Location Scouting.

Location scouting can sometimes can be easy and sometimes very, very difficult. From looking for appealing or decent light and then finding an nice composition. And sometimes with lack of time you may need to accept a less appealing composition and make it work with what you have.

If you've just jumped into this part of the blog series I highly recommend you read the past parts as this part is spoke with the assumption you've read the past parts, as well you've learned the important part of timing which can be figured out with what gear you have and location you're shooting at. Check the index.

Locations vary on your needs of your vision, and how strict you're with your vision. I know for my journey in natural light adventures from May 2015 to today, I was not picky. Every shoot I did was purely casual lifestyle or/and fashion style shoot. No mood boards. Just meet up at a location, me and a model can shoot at during the times I think is best for the shoot, as well help with some wardrobe decisions. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Natural Light Adventures 03: Finding The Light.

This part can be difficult in some cases or it can be easy. Depends how are you with seeing light, and then even when you find great interesting light you'd need to ensure it falls onto the subject(s) properly, as well have an appealing composition. 

If you've just jumped into this part of the blog series I highly recommend you read the past parts as this part is spoke with the assumption you've read the past parts, as well you've learned the important part of timing which can be figured out with what gear you have and location you're shooting at. Check the index.

This post is why I shoot the way I shoot on natural light and recommend anyone in my situation, such as lack funding for assistants, don't have friends/family willing to help consistently on a bunch of natural light portrait shoots, and don't feel comfortable with any lighting equipment/modifiers in the field by themselves while you shoot. I know most others teach to have a fill, reflector, or something but this isn't doable alone (just you and a model/person), especially in a big city where tons of people pass by, or even small cities if you're paranoid like me. So the following will help you in this same situation to still create unique and amazing natural light portrait shots.

Cloudy Shooting

When I say easy, it can be very easy if the sky is very consistent in cloud coverage (large cloud coverage) so you have constant and consistent giant softbox type of light during your time shooting outside. Such as for example on my day shooting outdoors on Halloween 2015.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Natural Light Adventures 02: Gear Talk.

As I've mentioned in the previous post, I'm no gear head (but if I had the cash then hell yea I would lol). But it is important to know your limitations, working with what you have and making the best of it as much as you possibly can. Even if you need to push the boundaries on post processing which will allow your gear limitations to expand. We'll discuss further on post processing in another post, but keep in mind I'm not a magician in post processing.

The following may mention some information based on the assumption you've mastered manual mode on your camera.


My choice of camera is a DSLR, more specifically canon, from T2i, XSi, 20D and a 6D. Now granted I did not expand much on my natural light photography until I had a 6D where it does have very high ISO ranges and great quality ISO up to 6400 and sometimes if really necessary 8000. This isn't a review of the canon 6D but just wanted to share my experience regarding ISO on the 6D.

The choice of camera will control most of your limitations of what you can and cannot do on natural light portrait work, and as mentioned control the size of available natural soft light during golden hours. Such as if your camera does not produce great or 

decent quality ISO higher than 1600, your limitations will be much smaller than a camera like a canon 6D having decent quality ISO at 8000, so your window could be 30-60 minutes possibly. 

Natural Light Adventures Index

Sector 1
Natural Light Portrait Shooting on a Budget. No modifiers, lighting equipment, or assistants.

Natural Light Adventures 01: Timing is Everything.

Weather you're an advanced natural light shooter or beginner, timing is everything while shooting portraiture with only natural light.

As I briefly mentioned on the introduction already the basics are sunrise and sunset for best times in the day shooting outdoor portraits. 

Sunrise and Sunset can give you both harsh shadows or soft, depending on angle you're shooting and how high the sun is in the sky. As well depending which direction your subject(s) are facing, away from the sun or toward the sun.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Natural Light Adventures Series - Introduction

Spring 2015 I had a plan to shoot a lot more personal project shoots outdoors. Taking advantage of the warm weather that was coming in. Well I did get to do this, but as well with the lack of funds and on a very tight budget for shoots I had limitations on what I could do. Such as having assistants holding lights or natural light modifiers were pretty much out of the question due to whatever reasons, but primarily funding. So I had no choice but focus on shooting purely natural light shots in since starting this goal while shooting on-location shooting environmental portraiture. 

I've been shooting in this style more and more, and fell in love with the natural light shots I've been producing. It felt the style that was for me, even though do I wish I could use more lighting and even "perfect" my lighting yes, but this requires more people on set to assist by holding modifiers and/or lighting equipment. I know some will say use light stands, which I can, heavy duty stands at least, the low end budget light stands, no... lol. I tried this but even with weights, the stand still has a hard time keeping still (top end). Plus if you do not have any insurance on the equipment its risky both from stolen or breaking outdoors. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Evolve in Trade Shooting - Agreement/Contract

I've noticed I do get a lot of hits on my TF contract. Now not sure if its inspiring or experienced models or even photographers. But let's assume it is photographers. I am here to help and share my evolution since I did post that years ago. But I will be posting an updated version to that page to show my evolutionized version. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Vital Red Flags on Working with an Agency for a Model

If you're a regular follower and reader you'd know my thoughts on modeling agencies. The vast majority of them are scams, unethical business practices, and heck even doing illegal business practices even in some states. Here are some tips and red flags to know when finding and working with a modeling agency. Granted I'm no model, and I'm a photographer who never experienced this but this is information based on the research I've done on all agencies, and experiences of professional agency fashion models such as YOANNA HOUSE, which some is mentioned on this creativeLIVE course here which I highly recommend watching!

Red Flag: [SCAM] Any upfront costs asked by the agency. Such as some I've seen myself are
  • Audition Fees
  • Application Fees
  • Require in-house Photography only
  • Require in-house modeling classes only
This is the biggest red flags when going to an apparent very questionable "agency". I would steer clear of them as much as possible because their business model is to make money off you paying them which in reality is WRONG! A real agency's business model is to work WITH the model as a tool to work with corporations/businesses to work on advertising campaigns or promotional events and they get a cut of what they pay you. 

Red Flag: [SCAM & SAFETY] Online Presence

A real agency's online presence will be taken seriously. If you see something like a WIX platform website or something very outdated like it was designed in the 90s... RUN! That is the best choice honestly because they may be worse than just a scam it can be very dangerous situation you're putting yourself in if you do meet up or go to their address. Even if they got 1 million likes on facebook or 2 million followers on instagram or twitter, these numbers can be easily faked and bought. A website is what a serious company invests into. Also a similar tip to do is google the company's name. See how many results you get good, bad and the ugly results of that company will show up generally. If you don't get any results that's another RED FLAG.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Detailed First Impressions: Sigma 85mm 1.4 for Canon

Here's the video version, and the written version underneath it.

Some information may or may not pertain to you. I'll label as much as I can and you can skip to the parts you are interested in.

Reasons why I rented

I rented the Sigma 85mm 1.4 for general environmental portraiture with portrait and modeling type photography. Reasons I wanted to rent it is for

  1. One being the obvious, exploring new focal length with the wide open aperture being available. I've shot with a similar focal and aperture, the Canon 50mm 1.4, but I felt it wasn't giving the very much more appealing look I liked in the 85mm focal lengths. 
  2. This summer I was primarily focused on shooting and mastering the natural lighting for portrait and modeling photography in an environmental portraiture style.
  3. Another reason was being inspired by portrait photographer Dani Diamond. Which he stated he uses an 85mm 1.4 lens on his nikon setup. Since I loved his work a lot why not try the similar style, and a bit more towards fashion with my own twist.
  4. I was also advised by colleagues to try the current Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens over waiting for the ART version which everyone was crying over and over for, including myself. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

6 Do's and Don'ts for Freelance Models working with a Photographer

The following do's and don'ts for freelance models working with a freelance photographer. Generally the below would vary if the shoot is a paid gig, or you're hiring the photographer, or it is a TFP shoot. As well would vary heavily on the photographer as every photographer is vastly different and are not expected to be the same as any other photographer. Also when I say photographer I don't mean Joe Blow or Jane Doe down the street. I mean the serious professional photographers who are day in and out of being in front of social media which will clearly show their care of their brand.

1. Do ask for compensation for your time and look only if you think the photographer's abilities will not add to your portfolio, or if you're unable to afford any time to do any portfolio work (TFP). (Even when you know you may not add the images to your portfolio if you have no other use as well, some cases some model may use some images not in their portfolio to either use it for other marketing needs. So if you need images of a specific kind but know it won't be in your portfolio you can either hire the photographer or offer to do a TFP.) But do not contact them and ask them to hire you, if you want a specific photographer to hire you follow them on social media, they may follow your work and may make an offer to hire you or offer TFP depending on the photographer.

2. Don't ask for "All images". This is big one for serious, professional photographers, and photographers who take their branding very serious business. Some models will ask for this to study their own look, some photographers will be hesitant to giving this especially unedited, and will never fully retouch all the images. At most some will release it un-retouched, and will require an NDA (non-disclose agreement in case you release these images and will need to pay a fee for release and are subject for civil suit as per the contract's agreement being violated). Photographers do this to protect their public image and branding. Not all photos in a photoshoot are magically fantastic, it requires hours of selecting the right image and hours of retouching those images.

In some cases both parties, or all parties have very sensitive branding, everyone should be careful on who they work with. If you do not give the trust to that person or work, do not work with them. In cases where you're being paid and you are not a huge fan of their work you can choose either to work with them or not work with them but if you're in need of money today and need constant cash flow then simply shoot with them do your best to make them happy and simply not include it into your portfolio and marketing. I know its a bit more difficult when the client (generally a photographer) say who you are and your face is in the image but its part of being paid to model. A side note, a photographer can choose not to edit any images they see are of no value to them nor their brand they are not required to edit them, especially if they are paying you. And some photographers at certain levels will not under any circumstances for TFP or even if you pay them as you being the client. A photographer you hire will provide images they think are best based on the expertise you hire them for and select those best images they think work best for you. At most they'll give you X number of proofs for you can select for retouching.

3. Do ask a lot of questions if not enough detail is given to fully understand of the possible shoot. Information given to models for TFP or paid gigs vary on the photographer. Every photographer is vastly different and should not be expected to be the same as the last. Typical information that should be asked are if not already included or provided... (side note some information may not be available as they may be in casting stages only and may not have it until later in the pre-production. )

  1. Location, either general area at first or specific address
  2. Compensation
  3. Times and Dates, sometimes in the early stages of pre-production a specific set date/time will not be made until a week before or days before, depending on the type of shoot.
  4. Theme
  5. Wardrobe, which may be provided at times, and other times may not depending on the type of shoot.
  6. Makeup/Hair included or doing it yourself?
  7. Estimate length of time for shooting
  8. Are you able to photograph behind the scenes photos, and share them.
  9. Are you able to share any unedited images, and edit them yourself.

4. Don't compare a photographer to the past photographer's you've worked with, such as a photographer you say something like "ummm, all other photographers I've shot with do this like that". You never say this unless its asked and welcomed, but generally it is not. Anything, from how they shoot, or processing their coordination, or editing, etc... 

5. Do have very well ironed and cleaned wardrobe when asked to bring wardrobe. Some may be surprised to see this but this is a very common thing where clothing has wrinkles or creases that are unappealing to look at on the final image. Sometimes it may not be possible to remove this understandably, and may cost some investment to have it professionally ironed and cleaned to ensure the photos come out as clean as humanly possible and cost less time in editing. For example, I personally have spent 1 hour removing creases and wrinkles on a dress in editing. Granted some creases are caused by some poses.

6. Don't be unprepared. Many things can go wrong when a person in a dynamic group relies on every person of the team. One person comes unprepared and forgets a key factor to have a successful shoot can derail and stop the entire shoot or cause delays, of if lucky just a minor tweak on the shoot and re-coordinating. Some examples...

  1. If you have something on your body that wasn't on any images shown to the photographer and not mentioned, it should be mentioned at pre-production stages of casting not show up at the shoot looking different. Even minor changes will cost changes to the entire group and flow of the shoot. If you need to make changes to your look advise the photographer before hand if possible. In some cases if this is a paid gig for you, you can risk losing the job if the photographer no longer sees the look you're providing matches the vision of the shoot.
  2. Changes like: Hair color change, minor or majorly changed. Tanlines, this one is a big one especially shooting a photoshoot that would show the tanlines, but if you're shooting on a shoot that will cover these up its no problem, just know if you have a booked shoot for like bikini and then you want to go to the beach you have the option attending the beach and risk losing the shoot because of those tanlines. Added tattoos, some tiny ones is ok for most photographers, large ones not so okay. Piercings, as long you're able to remove them BEFORE the shoot it will be much easier to edit out, if not mention this at casting, if you added this after being casted mention it ASAP to the photographer. Any of the above changes must be mentioned to the photographer ASAP actually.

This post will be added to the Photographer to Model blog series. Check out more on this series here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What is a Freelance Model?

Another post for Photographer to Model blog series. But this time it is posted on my website's blog. Here's an excerpt...

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Being a very successful freelance model requires not just entrepreneurial spirit, but using that spirit to learn to work hard and smart to grow into a well oiled machine. It will not be easy, heck running the business side may or will hurt your mindset of being a model for some as keeping in shape, learning poses, learning to master your body will be a day to day task, so adding on another million business tasks will not be easy to take on.

If you truly want to be a freelance model, study the possibilities of what you can or cannot do with your look, and then once you know this you can try each of those see which you may enjoy most and which can earn you most revenue/cash flow. If you can I highly recommend taking some business college courses or reading a whole lot of business articles and books on running a freelance/sole proprietor business. You may already assumed if you’re not 5’9 and “super skinny” you cannot be a model, its okay, its a very commons misconception as this is obviously to people in the industry incorrect. Many full time and part time models start at any age, size, ethnicity, background etc… yes some will pay more than the other and yes some areas will have a lot more work available and yes you may or may not have much competition in certain areas in the industry because your look isn’t extremely popular like glamour, high fashion, bikini, etc.

More on the website. Originally posted on my website here.

This post will be added to the Photographer to Model blog series. Check out more on this series here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why I and many other experienced Photographers shoot TF?

When I say experienced I don't mean experienced and still lack "high quality" portfolio. I mean experienced and already have a solid high quality portfolio. And when I say experienced I don't mean a photographer whom is running a photography business full time (as I don't, I run one part time). I personally still shoot 5 years later, after starting to shoot people/models and such, because 1) I am not happy with my current portfolios/sample galleries to show to potential clientele and marketing materials, as well 2) I am always testing and experimenting to add onto my wealth of techniques and skills I already have and grow even further, and finally 3) Staying fresh to your followers/fans, constantly posting new work and growing follower base.

I know part 3, solution is to charge to show more work, if I was getting tons of work at the current or higher rates I demand from the market then I would. Sadly the current market either do not know I exist due to lack of resources of advertising or/and the market does not value my work enough to pay my current rates. And yes I know as well, move into a more major market would be an option to increase clientele work but sadly I do not have those resources at this time as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Reveal 01: Heather Elaine - Lancaster, PA - Portrait & Fashion Shots

- "Reveal" is now a new series to help teach or inform those wondering how I shot a specific shot that they either asked or I thought it very much worth sharing. What I would normally share would be pretty much everything, as to why I choose the image, how I shot it, the location, etc. most of the day detail leading up to how and why the shot was created. As well some how and why I edited it in a certain way to the image(s) being revealed. 

Model: Heather Elaine MM#: 2963534

Assistant: Eric S.
Location: The Lancaster Central Market

The shot was not intended to be more of a portrait. The primary goal of the whole shoot was fashion and maybe a bit of lifestyle shots. As I got home looked over the images I noticed this shot. While it did not give neither an obvious fashion feel, or lifestyle shot I still had to select it and choose to edit this for my portfolio. It could easily be used as a great editorial portrait for my commercial website or solo portrait for my non-commercial side of my business. But I do have other shots within the same environment, model, wardrobe and lighting... just different pose and facial expression that makes it more obvious it is a fashion or lifestyle shot.

This shot (below) became the selected shot best represented fashion for this shoot. The shot does have more obvious post processing done but that is part of the trend of fashion photography I've learned. Even though I really wanted to do more photography with models with a lot less photoshoping than what the trends had, I could not simply not follow the trends if I wanted to succeed. I've learned in fashion photography you give what the market demands and what the fashion photography's demanding more intensely edited images even if they look fake or not, its not about that as long as the product(s) standout and the products clearly is the hero in the shots. Since this shot was my first shot I've intentionally spent more time in editing to intentionally want the super clean fashion look and feel I spent about 3-5 hours on editing it in the span of 3 days (1-2 hours a night). It did take longer than anyone would as I was using a few different new techniques, such as removed a lot of the skin texture then re-created it. 

Videos I used as point of reference was regarding techniques of both Frequency Separation and creating skin texture both shown by PHLEARN.

The Tech...

1st Shot: f/2.8
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/180th
Focal: 200mm

2nd Shot: f/2.8

ISO: 640
Shutter: 1/125th
Focal: 200mm

Time of Day: Between 730pm and 830pm EST 

Lighting: Lastolite 30x30 Large Softbox w/ YN600 on ETTL zoom 24mm, triggered with a YN622C. Light was held by an assistant, angled left of frame above model's head pointing down to create shadows underneath model's chin.
Camera+Lens: Canon 6D w/ Tamron 70-200 2.8 (non-VC)
Memory: Lexar Professional 400x 8GB

Ask any questions in the comments!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Modeling Photography Types

I’d like to refer models to read this article regarding modeling types, not specifically regarding photography only as this post would be. As modeling types may be assumed it would be the same with modeling photography types, it is not. Modeling types available for work for models can vary from video, photography, and runway or promotional. 

Before we get into the different types of model photography I’ll get into the basics with broader terms.

Portrait Photography When looked in a very broad sense portrait photography is basically when any human subject is in a frame, from candid, posed, semi-candid (staged), etc. 

Model Photography When looked in a broad sense of the word it is basically when a person is modeling. Either as another person, character, or products such as clothing, accessories, etc. this is modeling for a photoshoot. 

Read more where I originally posted it on, my primary fashion advertising website blog.

This post will be added to the Photographer to Model blog series. Check out more on this series here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Find Models in a Weak Market.

This is an Update Post to blog post "Business: The Math Behind How to Best Qualify a Freelance Pro Model"

Looking back at this post from 9-10 months ago, I still think everything is true but I'd like to add some other details I've learned since.

Geographic Location and available Recruitment Pool.

A geographic location has huge effects on the recruitment pool bad and good. Some areas are bad and some areas are good. When its good, such as supply of models (good for photographers), that means there is a nice size amount of models available in the freelance world for paid work or/and TF work. When its bad, its the other way around where even paid models in the area are not existent and at times the only option for photographers is to recruit from outside of the area for models and can cause for increased in costs for the photographer/art director for the shoot.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

WOW Share! 31: Posing Inspiration

I thought this was a WOW Share because it inspires not just new comer models, but as well photographers on what can be possible and hopefully inspire a model to possibly do what is performed below in the video by the super model CoCo Rocha!

Check out other WOW Shares! [HERE]