I am an internationally published and award-winning photographer, recently moved to Toronto, Ontario, after living in Texas for nearly 10 years. You might also see me referred to by my nickname 'HotShot', which comes from my dedication of capturing Emergency Scene images.
Some of my work, along with my writing, has appeared in and on the front covers of national firefighting magazines, sailing magazines, and various local newspapers. You may have seen my work exhibited at a Firefighters' Museum. And most recently some of my images were picked by MAXIM magazine to appear in their features 'Girls Who Love the NFL' and 'Girls of Spring Break'. In 1996, one of my fire scene photos was awarded the Canadian Press Photo of the Month Award, making it one of the twelve best Photos of the Year.
And, when I'm not creating wonderful photographs, I also conduct workshops and private one-on-one training for other photographers who wish to improve their skills.
Besides being a photographer, I grew up on the ocean, learning to sail at the knee of my dad and moving onto a decorated Naval career in the 80's (awarded the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation for rescuing a fellow shipmate who had fallen overboard), to being a certified International Fisheries Observer in the 90's, protecting our oceans from overfishing by living and working aboard Russian, Cuban, and Japanese factory-freezer trawlers in the North Atlantic.
Before retiring my sea legs, I was also an instructor at the NS Sea School, teaching at-risk youths adventure-sailing and survival skills in open boats on the open sea. I became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in 1997, and later a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Since then, I've worked as a Network Engineer/Administrator and Service Desk Manager for medium to enterprise-sized businesses, as well as running my own training and consulting business and is ITIL Practitioner level certified
Yes, yes, everybody knows a friend of a friend who can do the photography job for a third of the cost. The kicker is that a photography business is an expensive one to run and you get what you pay for. If you’re happy enough to risk your cheap shooter, then go for it. Just don’t use it as a cheap bargaining ploy when you’re talking to a professional.
I love tall models; that’s my effing problem. – Sean
Recently, I was negotiating with a model from out of town to do a photoshoot as she was coming into town in the near future. She was pretty hot. An acquaintance had just posted some pictures of her and that’s where it started. As the conversation, via FB messages, continued I asked her height. When she told me, I replied that was a little short for me. She proceeded to give me the ‘whatever!’ attitude. And that basically ended it right there.
Now, let’s fill in the details.
1. She wanted compensation. That’s fair, I respect a model who values themselves.
2. I RARELY pay for models. And if I do, she’s got to meet the criteria I’m looking for at the time.
3. Models pay me. Yes, I shoot some TF when testing new equipment, or test shooting the model for potential future work.
4. Although I rarely pay for models, I do have ways of making models money.
5. I have a lot of photographer contacts in this city….some even value my opinion.
6. I come from a land where models are 5’9″, even though I live in a city of 5’4″s
So, before I could even say ‘You’re too short for me, BUT…..’, I got attitude. Even though I mentioned previously in the conversation that I had other ways to make her money while she was here. And, I was about to explain those options. BUT, we didn’t get that far. Her loss.
Now, before you say I’m ‘profiling’ models….well YES. That’s kind of what modelling is about. I prefer my models TALL. And that’s a rarity in this city. So, I’ve actually lowered my standards to about 5’7″ and above for models I will hire on a regular basis.
HOWEVER, for glamour modelling, it’s not all about height. That’s just a bonus. With camera angles and such, height really isn’t an issue. Some of my favorite models are under the 5’5″ mark, and one of my favs is 5’0″. So, it’s really not so much about height as much as it is about attitude. And if you can grow as a person, your height may not be your second biggest obstacle anymore.
When it comes right down to it, it’s my choice who I photograph. AND, IF I’m going to pay the model, she damn well better meet my criteria. AND, if I’m going to present her to other photographers or clients, she damn well better have the proper attitude.
Two of my fav < 5’5″ models appear in this post.
Celeste Nicole of M.A.D. models and Claudia G of CG Entertainment.
A preliminary calendar of upcoming 2014 Photography Workshops is now available. I tried to place them every 4th Sunday of each month. Themes and details will be filled in soon, but have a look for now.
”Photography! Acquiring the knowledge and tools to express your artistic vision.”
– Wayne Paulo
We didn’t set out to create art that day. It was just another glamour photo session. I certainly didn’t expect if of my 30+ yr old mom of a client to help me create some of the beautiful images that we did that day.
But there’s something refreshing about a woman who is confident of her body, secure in her sexuality, and not bound by society’s limitations. Especially in the deep south.
If more women could be like this, my job would be so much easier.
Keep an eye out for upcoming nude & fetish photography workshops.
“Ohh I love your work! Do you think you can come by my party? You’ll get some fabulous shots.”
Some people think it’s as simple as that. That if I show up at their bar/party/event I’ll end up with photos as good as what they see on my social media. A lot goes into the photos I produce, and the camera/lens is not the only tool I use to make them that fantastic. It’s like a recipe.
A baker doesn’t just open the oven door and out pops fabulous cupcakes. You may only taste scrumptious cupcakes, but I assure you there was a lot that went into the process that got them to your plate.
First, it takes ingredients. Like a baker, photographers have ingredients too. Ingredients like the model, the wardrobe, and the location. And, the better your ingredients, the better your end product.
Briana Barela getting racy on the bar at Klusoz, San Antonio Photography Workshop
Then there are the tools that bring all those ingredients together. Pans and bowls and mixers for the baker; lights, lens, modifiers, and yes even ambiance.
And think of the baker icing and decorating his cupcakes as the post processing. They don’t come out of the oven that way, and MOST professinal photos you see don’t come straight out of the camera with icing on them.
If you asked a baker to show up at your party and bring his over, would you expect the same cupcakes? Don’t expect a photographer to show up at your place with just his camera and hope to get the same style photos. You’ll get some great shots from an experienced photographer, but you probably won’t get what you expected.
Most beautiful women don’t know they’re beautiful.
If you’re a woman, you already know this. But guys find this hard to believe.
Even models, who have their moments of awareness, usually suffer from low self-esteem for one reason or another. And haunts them with seeing flaws in themselves that others would never notice, or at the very least, overlook.
They may wear a brave outer shell, but many times that is just a defensive wall for what’s going on inside.
Using two AB400's, one 22" beauty dish, and one 7" reflector bounced off the tiles.
I once had an photographer who drove overnight from Michigan to San Antonio, TX just to attend a one-day photography workshop. I was skeptical when I first talked to him on the phone, but he assured me that he wanted to attend one of MY workshops. And he paid, showed up, participated, learned, and took that knowledge and confidence back with him and applied it to his own studio and style.
More than a few have traveled from Laredo, Houston, and even Dallas. But Steven has always held the record for ‘distance furthest traveled to attend’. That is, until this month when I’ll be beating his record distance by travelling from Toronto, Canada Lol. But he’ll still hold the student record.
The point is, how far will you go to invest in yourself? Are you satisfied with the photographs you’re producing now? Have you ever looked at others photographs and wished you knew how to create them?
I used to be in the same boat. I had all the gear (or so I thought). I had bought a full set of studio lights, had 20+ years pressing the shutter; yet still I my studio photographs lacked that ‘ooomph!’ that I saw coming from photogs such as Tracy Hicks, and others.
So, when I saw Tracy putting together a workshop, I jumped on it! Even though the 1st one I attended was 3 hours drive, and the 2nd was a 5 hour drive, I felt the ends justified the means. And you know what? It did.
And it was easy. Once someone showed me how, and I got the hands-on experience. I knew what gear I needed, I knew how to use it; I was confident in experimenting with new lighting recipes, etc.
Invest in yourself. You deserve it. And it’s easier than you think. What have you done lately to improve your photography?
One of the things you can do to make yourself a better photographer is to know your camera. And the way to do that is to handle it. When you’re idle, just watching a TV show or movie, sit with it in your handles. Fiddle with the controls. Flip through the menus.
Learn your camera like a soldier learns to assemble his rifle blindfolded. This will prevent fumbling during tense situations (spot news for example) and help your overall confidence. Being confident means being competent.
Years ago when I first got my Minolta Maxxum 7000 I sat with it whenever I could. I knew the controls inside out. In fact, if someone handed me that camera now, 15 years later, I’d probably still know how to adjust everything.
Knowing your camera is especially important while attending a workshop. We usually shoot manually, using a shutter speed to sync with our flashes, and an f-stop to balance. Sometimes we even change the White Balance (WB) to cool down or warm up a model’s skin. It’s important to know how to do this ahead of time so that you can concentrate on what is being taught at the moment, and also not to slow down the class or distract the instructor. Every camera has slightly different ways to set these and it’s likely the instructor may have to hunt and peck for your settings too.
Know how to adjust these controls without thinking:
And know the relationship one has on another. Do this and you will boost your confidence. Boost your confidence and you’ll create better images.
One of the things I noticed when testing the Lightroom 4 Beta was that very few of the presets I have (100’s) made or collected for Lightroom 3 even remotely worked in LR4. I’m hoping people come up with some new ones quickly, or the transition (at least my transition) to the new product will be very slow. And my participation in beta testing will be very limited to say the least. Time to revisit http://www.presetsheaven.com/
A few days ago I read a post by Scott Bourne entitled something to the tune of Top 10 Business Tips for Photographers. At the top of his list was Passion.
‘Passion’ is the answer I’ve been giving people for the past 20 years when they ask me how I make such great photographs. And part of passion is what I term ‘shooting for yourself’. If you shoot for yourself first, you’ll always make better photographs.
The model came to me with this concept based on a photo she had seen. We discussed the look, and came out of the session with an even better image!
I’m not saying not to listen to your client. I’m saying that if you take the clients ideas, and shoot them with YOUR vision, you’ll almost be guaranteed to come out of that session with a photograph with which both you and your client will be pleased. Even in the extreme case of wedding photography, where it’s ‘her’ day, shoot for yourself first. Sure, you can cover the mandatory shots, and the shots she/they request. But, in the end, you’ll get much better shots if you’re not restricted by a formula. Shooting with passion, and shooting for yourself, helps you create your own style. And style is what will set you apart. And THAT is what will get you hired by your next client. And then you’ll always be shooting for yourself.
I know it sounds selfish, but shooting for yourself, to be pleased with your own work, is the least selfish thing you can do for your client. It gives you the freedom to express yourself in the images you create for them. And in turns provides them with a better product. If YOU’RE not happy with your work, what would motivate you to do it again?
If we wanted to be restricted to formulas and rigidity we wouldn’t be photographers at all; we’d be happy working that 9-5 desk job day in and day out. And really, I haven’t met many good photographers who are nine to fivers. Have you?