Who are You, Anyway? A Photographer’s Question

I read an article last night in Shutter magazine that really made me stop and think about how I have approached the photography industry and how I represent myself. The article was talking about your “tribe” and how to brand yourself, vs what so many do. You can read it here.

Upon reading the article, I realized I fell into the trap so many photographers do- rather than focus on what I enjoy shooting and what makes photography such a joy instead of a job for me- I was grasping at everything that would come my way,  just for some semblance of income. Don’t get me wrong- photography as an income supplement is important to me, it helps me pay my bills and keep a roof over my head- but my passion for photography is above that. It’s my art that drives me, not the dollar signs.

People don’t go to photographers just for the pictures they’ll receive (though that is a pretty large reason), they go for the experience. When you’re trying to appease everyone and shoot everything– what kind of experience can you really offer your client? A harried, impersonal session? No set of photos that gleam over the others? Lackluster work, at best? It does nothing for you, your brand, or your work to go about trying to do all the things.

(This isn’t to say you can’t offer to shoot a wide variety of things- many of us are able to cover a good selection of genres easily. But there is always one or two style types that stand out above the rest in our portfolios- and those should be our main focus.)

In this day and age of social media, people- your potential clients- want to know about you. Who are you? Why are you shooting? What makes you photograph what you do? What is your passion? They don’t just want to see your work on social media, they also want to see bits and pieces of you. Behind the scenes images. Feedback from clients. Snapshots of your pets, your kids, your other hobbies, your home life. By making them feel like they’re a part of your life, you gain members of your “tribe”. (Ah, hip words. How out of touch I feel with them sometimes.) This isn’t to say you should post all your personal laundry online- but don’t be distant, either. Having a great day at the beach, just relaxing? Why not take a quick cell-phone shot of your view and upload it, letting your fans know? About to go on a vacation you’ve been dreaming of? Ask your fans for some input on the best food places to go while at your destination! It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

We all have that line of “photographer of blah blah years, blah blah area, blah blah blah”. But get deeper. What’s your passion? (Noticing a trend yet? I hope so.)

Well, what about Kat Lucille Photo?  What’s my passion?

For myself, I’ve been re-directing my website and work to reflect who I am, as oppose to continually grabbing at straws. I started a few months ago when I did determine that my primary photography focus is conceptual, emotive imagery, easily on par with my  nature photography. I love being able to tell stories, send a message, or just make you think with my photographs, and I absolutely adore working with other creative individuals who want to show off that side of themselves as well.

I have several book projects going on right now that reflect just that- my Let Me Cover You in Flowers, What Lurks in the Deep and In the Hidden Places are all conceptual works. After all, no standard beauty shoot is really going to include a siren crawling out of the ocean with webbed hands, is it? I have plans for glitter baths and models in pools filled with sprinkles. Not things you see every day.

On the other side of the coin, I also have my #LoveisLove project going on- where I am showcasing all kinds of love. In this world of so much pain, sometimes people find it hard to look for the silver linings. I want to show them that there are bright spots, no matter where you look. Friend love, pet love, relationship love, parental love- you name it, I want it shown.

As a fierce believer in women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, mental health, and animal rights- I have drift towards imagery that showcases these feelings as well.

I want to empower women, particularly those who have been bad places, like I have. I want women to be comfortable in their skin an not ashamed of how they look- we are ALL beautiful. (Hey, guys- YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL TOO!) Just because society and media shame you if you don’t fit into your mold, doesn’t mean we have to believe them.

I want to see my LGBTQ friends celebrate their lives and relationships proudly and out. I want them to not be ashamed of their sexuality, their choices, their lives. I want them to be happy, and I want to be able to capture those moments and celebrate with them.

For those with mental health and disabilities, I want to end the stigma. I’m not ashamed to say I have depression- I don’t know many people who don’t suffer from some kind of invisible or visible illness. Let us be seen.

Oh, and how can anyone forget my love of nature? As a  nature child, I can’t not be passionate about the world surrounding us and the animals who we share this planet with. Nature was and is my first love, and has always been my place to return to when I need to recharge and be away from the havoc of people. A very large chunk of my portfolio and work is based in nature and animals. A day without animals- whether my cats, or a day at Howling Woods- is a day wasted. (Kind of like a day without music. I need that daily, as well.)

In a very tiny view- that is me, that is what makes up Kat Lucille Photo.

 

Who are you?

Phrases That Make Photographers Want to Throw Their Hands Up

Photographers hear a lot of things, ranging from amusing to outright disrespectful. It happens in every line of work there is- particularly those of the artistic kind. Here, I’ve thrown together a few of the ones I hear most often, and what goes through my (and I’m sure many colleagues’) mind.

“You must have a great camera”
 Why thank you- yes, my camera is pretty nice, isn’t it? Shame that’s not what makes the photo. I work hard to get to the point of producing the photos you see in the end. 

“Can you Photoshop that?”
I’m not a miracle worker- I’m not a Photoshop artist. I’m a photographer. Please understand that. Yes, there’s a chance I could Photoshop that for you, but that’s going to cost extra.

“I’d love for you to come to my event! Do you  mind bringing your camera?”
This line tends to come from family and friends, and is well-meaning, but still frustrating. A way to ask for free service by inviting me to your party is not cool. Either invite me to your party to be a part of the celebration, or pay me to photograph the event. 

“Can I have all the files?”
Have you seen that image of Beyonce going around? That is why we don’t send you all the files. Not every image is on point, we’re only human after all- and our reputation depends upon our work. Please understand that the files we send you to review are the ones you will receive, and have been pruned out of the not-so-glamorous ones. 

“But why does it cost so much?”
Why do most things cost a lot of money? Equipment, schooling, travel, the time it takes not only to shoot, but the post-process, the supplies… There is a lot more that goes into photography than just purchasing a camera and pressing the shutter button. 

“Can I get a discount for xyz?” or “Is it cheaper if I only want a couple shots?”
Would you ask a professional such as a doctor, or a teacher, for a discount? Why is it fair to ask a photographer for one? Just because you want less shots, doesn’t mean we put less work in. It still takes the time to do the work. We’re still giving you all our professionalism, our talents, our time. 

“Can you not watermark it? I’d like to print it.”
Now, if we did a paid shoot, then I give you a release to go ahead and print the non-watermarked images I sent you. If we did a TF shoot, I send you low-resolution, watermarked images… and not the rights to print it.

“Oh, we can just get Uncle/Aunt/Best Friend/Dog to shoot.”
Okay, well then, you can deal with the results of them shooting. Please don’t complain to me when you don’t have the type of images you hoped for. 
I understand trying to save money, the economy isn’t pleasant right now, but when you want moments captured in a way that you can treasure them forever- letting yourself go for the cheapest option isn’t the best. 

“Your job is so easy! You just press a button.”
Sure! My job is super easy! Anyone can do it! (Please, note sarcasm.) I manage a schedule with clients, a day job and social life. In the winter, I work two jobs. I travel to most clients, or have to set up and prep the studio prior to a shoot, spend 1 to 3 hours on a shoot, travel home (or clean up studio). I sit for hours going through photos to send to clients, post processing and administrative work to keep up on budgets, taxes and other paperwork. I spend hours on social media, arranging posts and updating my website to keep it appealing to draw in new clientele. Just to name a few things. 

“Want to do TF for Exposure?” or, “If we shoot together, I’ll promote you!” 
Exposure does not pay the rent, put food on my table, or gas in my car. Promotion is great if it gets me more bookings, or can expand my client base, but it does nothing to help in daily life. 

“Can you shoot xyz?” “Sure, my rates are 123!” *crickets* or “Confirming for Tuesday, please respond.” *crickets* 
Photographer’s time is the same as arranging an appointment with a health professional. Our time is precious! Please don’t waste it.
If you don’t like rates being sent to you, simply responding with a “No, thank you” or a “Not right now” is fine! Leaving us hanging is not. 
If you’re booked for a shoot already- please respond to your emails/texts/voicemails! Ghosting on us makes us believe that the shoot should be canned, and we should move on. For you to last minute show up anyway throws everything off. Photographers should not have to chase you down- and most won’t. 

“Can we do this image I saw on Pinterest/Google/Tumblr/Instagram?”
While I am more than cool with using another’s images as a reference or inspiration- hell, I have a HUGE Pinterest account full of such boards- it is  NOT cool to try and exactly copy another artist’s piece. Please don’t do that, please don’t ask an artist to do that.  

“Can you  make me thinner/taller/bustier/etc?”
I shall refer back to “I am not a miracle worker, I am not a Photoshop artist.” Plus, that’s not my style. I want you to be comfortable in your own skin. If that’s not what you’re looking for, please book someone who will make you unlike yourself. The only time this is flexible is when it comes to minor changes for cosplay shoots- like those folks who can’t wear contacts, but the character has weird eye colors. 

“Can you make this photo all black and white except for this piece?”
I mean, I can. And sometimes, it fits the image. Mostly, however- that is so cliche. 

“My smartphone/tablet takes pictures just as good.” 
Don’t get me wrong- smartphone and tablet cameras have come leaps and bounds, and quite a number of them are really good. I can say that my phone takes some wonderful images at times. But please refrain from trying to compare my camera to your phone. It’s disrespectful to the artist. I know some who depend on just phone-photography, but I would prefer to keep a DSLR in my hand. 

 

Exciting On-Goings

While I prep my next entry of how-to’s and tips/tricks, I wanted to take a few moments to let you know about the exciting things going on right now at Kat Lucille Photography!

First up- for a limited time, I am offering my Valentine’s Day Special! You can book your Valentine’s shoot for only $100- that’s over half off normal prices! This is only available until February 11th- so don’t waste any time!

I’m not sure how many of you know- for every two shoots you book,  you get the third shoot at 20% off! I keep track of my clients, so you don’t have to worry about wondering if you’ve hit the mark for your discount or not.

Now that the holidays are over, I am back in action with my book project series. This includes the Fae, Smoke and Let Me Cover You in Flowers! Sirens will be on hold until  the weather warms- I don’t need anyone getting sick on my account! The goal is to have Let Me Cover You in Flowers going into book form by the end of the year- so if you’re interested in taking part, please let me know!

Among other exciting news, I have teamed up with Jam Packed Studios and Synthesis Photography, LLC to start our own, exclusive photography collaboration group. We’ll be bringing you some amazing, high end work while letting our creative minds go wild! If you are a model interested in taking part in one of the upcoming collaborations, please feel free to message me.

Did you know that I am now also on Patreon? I’m presenting both sides of the lens on Patreon- giving you glimpses into the work I do as a model and a photographer. Patrons can join starting at just $1! *Please be aware, there is NSFW material. 

2017 is going to be an amazing year- full of creative, high-quality work. Don’t miss out on being a part of the photographic journey!

Why Should I Hire a Professional Photographer?

It’s a question that myself and pretty much every photographer I know of has heard at least once. It’s a question that has had numerous articles pop up all over the web and in magazines as photographers struggle to get through to people why it’s so important to have a professional shoot for you, rather than having your relative or friend do it. You type “Why Should I Hire a Professional Photographer” into Google and the number of results you will get is astounding.  Even photographers hire other photographers! (And I can say that firsthand. I’ve hired other photographers, even outside of modeling, for head shots and the like!)

Here’s my take on it!

Most of the moments people wish to have photographed are once-in-a-lifetime moments that can never be replicated: Weddings, baby’s firsts, engagements, pets, school dances, etc. While time goes on and you may have another child or pet, it will never be the same for each. Each is special in its own way. In the most basic form- you want a professional photographer to ensure the moments are captured the first time around- as you won’t have a chance for a do-over.

In this growing age of digital, just about anyone can purchase a decent DSLR, or has a smartphone. Just the same, just about anyone can take a halfway decent picture using said camera. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good picture. There is more to taking a picture than owning a decent or high end camera and accessories. What many don’t understand is how far beyond “point and shoot” photography goes- and knowing the depths of the art is what makes professionals worth the time and money. Just because someone may have the biggest, most expensive camera and lens doesn’t mean they know how to utilize them properly. Don’t be fooled by the bling.

Professional photographers have a few things going for them. What I would deem the most important of these is the creative eye and attention to detail. Sure, you can look through a lens (or screen, or however you choose to take photos), see the expected image and go “That looks pretty!”. Photographers with the creative eye can see beyond that. Where you see someone standing on a beach, they see the way the sun is setting behind the person, the right angle to capture the glow on the subject’s face, the waves crashing, the gull flying into frame… all the little details that go missed by a point-and-click. Professional photographers can take a scene and make it come to life in the lens. Dappled sunlight on an engagement session, crisp and clean head shots, soft and sweet baby photos. Professional photographers take what may be mundane and create art.

Professional photographers have also had the experience to back them up. While yes, you’re always going to have a starting point, professionals are the ones who have already had a few years under their belt. They are the ones who have grown comfortable with their cameras and equipment that it’s second nature to them to be switching settings on the fly- which more often than not, particularly at events such as weddings or on-location shoots, you are. They don’t fumble for the manual when they need to change settings,  it’s already ingrained in their brain. Professionals are never found using the “Auto” settings on their camera. It’s manual all the way for them, so they can achieve the right image the first time around. Professionals have learned- whether through official schooling, a mentor, trial-and-error, or all of the above- the proper ways to frame an image, color balance, exposure and a multitude of other nuances that most don’t even think about.

Professional photographers have also gained experience in helping their clients/subjects pose, whether a single person is in frame or a large group. They understanding lighting and how each angle will affect the subject/look of the end product. Professionals understand and expect the unexpected while shooting.

They take the time to get to know their clients- no two sessions are ever alike! Professionals will talk to you, ask you questions and get to know your personality- all to be able to form the best shoot for you. Professionals take the knowledge they are given and use it to guide the session- from location, to styling, to posing and how to prepare for your shoot. Professionals also bring fresh eyes to a shoot, as opposed to a family member or friend who has known you for years. This lets them be able to offer suggestions that you may not have thought of before. Some photographers will even go and start a mood board for their clients to help with directing the session to a mold that both parties are looking forward to.

After the shoot, Professionals can and will take hours in the post process of images. Don’t think that just because the camera is no longer clicking that the work is done. There is quite a bit to go from there. While there is a difference between a Photographer and a Photoshop Artist (and please, before you book a shoot, be sure you’re booking which one you want!!), photographers are well aware and skilled in color correction, smoothing out wrinkles and removing unwanted objects and markings, among many other adjustments/corrections done to the image before the final product is presented. Professionals make sure the final image is a professional, polished image.

As a bonus thought- if you  hire a professional to do the photography, that means everyone gets to be in the photos! Too often if you have a relative or friend do the photography, that means they’re missing out on being in the frame and taking part in the moment. Not to mention- with a professional, you are given a level of, well, professionalism throughout the entire process. Professionals are there to perform a job, and while candor and laughter can happen often on shoots, they are still going to see the shoot through and maintain their professionalism.

 

Questions? Comments? Ideas for what you’d like to see in future posts? Let me know!

Photo Sessions Tips and Tricks: What Do I Wear?!

One of the most common questions a photographer will receive is the infamous “What do I wear?” Of course, per every session it is different- family sessions won’t exactly need the same recommendations that a boudoir session would!

In this article, I have pieced together some of my favorite recommendation links for different sessions. You can find most, if not all, of these on my Pinterest! I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me and clients of mine!

Engagement and Couple Shoots:
What to Wear: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/13440498866965640/
Brides’ Guide: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/52495151884782381/
Tips: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/100134791693050922/
Basics: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/256845984973680162/
Wedding Scoop: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/527906387543908350/
Color Combos: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/400820435564791918/

Family, Maternity & Children Sessions:
Extended Family Suggestions: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650107393885/
Pose with Daddy: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650106935500/
Outfit Suggestions: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650105566181/
11 Tips: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650107393798/
Maternity: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650102193991/
Tips for Family Sessions: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/87398048993745898/
Fall Outfits: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/261842165815264984/
Neutral Colors: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/431008626814140864/
Mint!: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432134526726752614/
Fool Proof Guide: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/245938829629163974/

Boudoir Sessions:
What to Wear?: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650105567213/
Outfit Planning: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252483122831983598/
Bridal Boudior: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/62206038580452000/
Gatsby Inspired: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38210296818650570/
Black Lace: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38210296818650560/
Lingerie Guide: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/108227197273167741/
Grecian Goddess: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/17381148541823248/
Red Lace: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/433541901605578771/
Soft & Sexy: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544302304938130689/
Places to Shop: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550002173224873400/

General/Misc.

For ladies: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650104414768/
Color Guide: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/50384089554204508/

Makeup and Hair:
Basics: http://imgur.com/r/BeautyDiagrams/fX8bWkd
Makeup Hacks: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQuPVsNKAKeB9ST-tE4AbWCLJdDWQbkJjCBPLcvait_oGHAYATf4W28/
Makeup Applicators: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650105534896/
Concealer Hacks: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650105506939/
“Hippie” Braids: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650105356814/
Makeup Tips: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/149533650104149467/

 

Have any links you’d like to share? Find any that don’t want to work? Let me know!

Tips & Tricks: Models: Genres of Modeling

In the day and age of the internet, with so many people diving into the modeling industry, most do not realize how many different genres there are and how to find the one they fit the most. Here, I’ve composed a list of the most commonly-known genres and a small description of what each one is like. While reading over, please note- just because it says it’s a size requirement, doesn’t mean you can’t make your way in anyway!

Booth Babe/Promotional Model: Models who work booths at conventions or are hired as a promo model tend to need to be outgoing and engaging. They are there to sell and represent a product or brand. An example would be the models who are at a bar representing a brand of beer.

Fashion: Fashion modeling is an umbrella term for several different types of modeling that typically have a strict body type requirments, as seen below:

  • Runway: Likely one of the most well-known forms of modeling, runway modeling is exactly what it sounds like. Falling under the umbrella term of “Fashion Modeling”, typically have to fit a very specific body type and size which varies by some designers- the goal is to fit what the designer has made. The “normal” requirements for runway models is 5’9″-6′ tall, 34-35 hips, and not very curvy. Models who are on the runway are moving art displays for designers.
  • Catalog/Print: Modeling meant to be printed in catalogs for companies. Examples would be the catalogs you receive from places like J.C. Penny’s, Sears, Macy’s, etc. Catalog work tends to book a wider variety of models, as they need to show a variety of products, brands, etc and so forth and cannot have everyone look the same.
  • Editorial: Along the lines of print modeling, but more selective. Editorial work usually has the aim for publication in mainstream magazines (I.E. Vogue, Elle, etc) and is edgier, showcasing a style or trend.
  • Fit: Fit models have the perfect body sizes and proportions for a certain clothing line or designer. Their role is to let designers see how their lines fit on a real person. Fit models are the least seen and often best paid models in the business.

Commercial and Print: Another umbrella term, commercial modeling generally does not have as strict requirements as fashion does. Commercial work tends to favor models who are expressive and able to act as many different “characters” to sell products.

  • Causal/Lifestyle: Exactly as it says- a casual, laid back looking form of modeling to mimic real-life situations. The type of modeling you would see in advertisements for places such as college dorms, healthcare ads, etc.
  • Corporate: Modeling with a business theme. You would find this type of modeling for places such as pharmacies, nurses, doctors, airline pilots, etc.
  • Swimwear: Generally more curvy than their fashion model counterparts, these models appear in advertisements for resorts, beaches, suntan or swimwear products.
  • Fitness/Sport: As opposed to “Fit” modeling, Fitness models are well-toned, and often have some kind of background in physical fitness. This type of modeling is often used in athletic journals and magazines, such as Runner’s World.
  • Lingerie: Lingerie can go one of two ways: the innocent, sweet smiling type that you see in places like J.C. Penny’s catalogs, wearing a bra and panty set, to the more mature toned imagery you find at Victoria’s Secret.
  • Glamour: Modeling with a sexual overtone. Glamour modeling can cover genres from lingerie to fashion. It can range from cheesecake pinup to more Maxim-type posing and everything in between. Glamour models tend to be more curvy and very attractive faces.
  • Alternative: Modeling that doesn’t fit the mainstream. Alt modeling has become very popular over the last few years, especially with the influx of people having tattoos and piercings. Alt modeling covers things such as goth, punk, heavily-modified models and more. The range for size and body type also is much wider and welcoming.
  • Boudoir:  Popular among woman as presents for their spouse/partner, boudoir is an intimate, romantic and sometimes erotic style. While boudoir has become more popular among models as well, it is normally a more private type of shoot for clients who have control over who sees the images. As opposed to glamour or art nudes, boudoir is more suggestive than explicit.
  • Pinup: Coming from the 40’s through 60’s, Pin Up is an old-fashioned style of pretty-girl photography that was originally meant to sell products. It is a non-explicit type of photography, also often called “cheesecake”. It’s the type of imagery you would once be able to find pinned to a wall in a mechanic’s workspace or a dorm room. The posing and facial expressions tend to be over-the-top flirtatious. Some popular pin up models are Bettie Page and Dita von Teese.   You can also look up work by artists such as Gil Elvgren.
  • Plus Size: The name of this genre is misleading. It is for full figured women, typically dress size 10 and up, and about 5’8″- 6’0″.
  • Petite Modeling: Models who fall into the heights of about 5’0″ to 5’5″ and dress size 0-4.
  • Maternity: As there is always a need for variety, maternity modeling is done by models who are currently pregnant and expecting.
  • Mature: The name of models who are in their 40’s and above.
  • Kids Modeling: As the name states, modeling that’s for kids and used for advertisements that involve children. Kids modeling covers from babies to tweens, or up to under 18.

Nude: Nude modeling also comes in different levels. Many times, photographers or other industry professionals may use the term “nude” or “adult modeling” to convey any of the following categories.

  • Artistic Nude: Posing nude for an artist, primarily for the purpose of creating art.
  • Erotic Nude: Modeling that is artistic but very sexual in nature. Borderlines with some as being pornographic, pending upon posing.
  • Glamour Nude: Nude work done in the style of Playboy or pin-up calendars. Models tend to be full nude, but genitals are not the forefront.  No “pink”, as the term would be.
  • Implied Nude: Implied nude is exactly what it sounds like. The model is nude, but posing and props make it that the actual body is not seen, or only teases the viewer. Typically, things like parasols, fabrics, and lighting are used to convey the appeal.

Parts Modeling: There are several companies that use parts models for their products, such as hair products or salons, jewelry and shoes. The most common parts models are for Hair, Hands and Legs. Models tend to keep their designated “part” in healthy shape as they know that will be the most commonly photographed part of them.

Art Modeling: Modeling for the purpose of creating art. Art models are seen at art classes, at Dr. Sketchy events, or hired for one-on-ones.

Cosplay: The shorthand of “costume play”, or the act of dressing up as a character. This genre has quickly gained popularity over the last few years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Cosplayers come in a wide variety- it’s about the love of the character/show as opposed to being the so-called “perfect” body type.

Fetish: Fetish modeling can vary between simply wearing fetish clothing such as latex or PVC, to work such as shibari, candle wax and bondage. Fetish can go from PG to explicit, depending up on the goals of the model and photographer.

 

 

This is just an overview of some of the more well-known subcategories of modeling. Do you know of ones I should add? Join the conversation at Facebook.

 

Photo Specials and Upcoming Projects

Good morning, good morning!

There are many exciting things on the way in my little photo world, and many things yet to come. I’ve been busy as a bee, working away on personal life projects and problems which has kept me away from photography- but I’m finally back in action and eager to get many shoots under my belt and into my queue.

Right now, I have a photo special going on that you can find information about here: https://www.facebook.com/KatLucillePhotography/photos/a.650761668375168.1073741828.649694568481878/931585530292779/?type=3&theater

This special will only last til August, so be sure to get in your session now!

On the projects end of things, I have a few things up my sleeves. As of late, I have found myself more and more attracted to doing emotional and conceptual work as opposed to standard glamour work. From this has sparked numerous projects including:

  • Let Me Cover You in Flowers
  • Sirens and Fae Courts
  • Smoke

Let Me Cover You in Flowers has the end goal of being a coffee-table book. Images contained will be of models of a wide variety covered in just as diverse amount of flowers and plant life in appealing, classy ways. This particular project has already begun and I have already had a number of lovely ladies in front of my camera, with more to come.

Sirens and Fae Courts is exactly that- I plan on bringing to life the myriad collection of mythological creatures, again with the end goal of a coffee-table book.

Smoke is the simplest of the ideas and is pretty self explanatory.

 

Want to be involved in any of these projects? Be sure to message me! I am still booking, as well as am open to makeup artists, wardrobe and hair stylists who wish to take part!

Photo Sessions Tips and Tricks: Modeling- Common Industry Terms

The modeling and photography industry is full of slang and terms to describe different types of shoots, contracts, people and more. It can be overwhelming and confusing to those just coming into the industry with no guide as to what these terms stand for. I know I was completely lost when I first started in the industry! To help make sense of the slang, I’ve put together a list of terms commonly used and what they mean from a variety of sources as well as my own personal experience.  See terms I haven’t covered? Comment and add yours!

  • Agency Tested: This designation is mainly used by photographers and means that they have experience doing test shoots with models represented by agencies. Working with an “agency tested” photographer is a benefit because they have direct experience doing portfolio work that meets the caliber of agency requirements and could have potential networking opportunities for new, unsigned models.(Modeling 101)
  • BBW: “Big Beautiful Women”. Can be used when the casting call is looking for plus size models.
  • Book: A portfolio
  • Booked: To say that a gig or shoot has been confirmed, a day is unavailable.
  • Booking: To arrange a shoot or gig
  • Buyout: When clients do not want to deal with paying commissions, residuals or usage fees for models they have used in print ads and other marketing material, they will typically pay the model a buyout fee. By paying the model/agency this fee before the shoot, it legally means that you are not entitled to any future compensation by the client, even if they end up using your printed image in other places or for other purposes. Buyout rates vary but can be very beneficial for a model to receive. Some buyout rates, which are paid in addition to the pay rate for the actual modeling work performed, can be $500 or even $1,000 or higher. (Modeling 101)
  • B&W: Shorthand for “Black and white”
  • Call time: The time a model or talent needs to be at a location to get ready or be ready to work.
  • Call back: (Also, “recall”)  Typically used in acting as opposed to modeling, but it can sometimes be used across the board. To have a call back is like a second  interview. It means you were liked well enough by the client that they would like to have you come back to see if you are the one they wish to hire.
  • Camera-Ready: Whenever a model is told to arrive to the set “camera-ready,” this means they must do their hair, makeup and wardrobe themselves so that once they get to the gig, they’ll be ready to get to work. This is often the case when a project doesn’t have a makeup artist, hair stylist and/or wardrobe stylist available to take care of these things for the model. (Modeling 101)
  • Casting/Casting Call:  Castings are notices of modelling or photography jobs which are made to models, casting agencies, photographers, other industry professionals or on modelling websites. They should show details of what is required for a particular shoot or what the poster is looking for as well as contact details.
  • Casting Agency: Casting agencies are agencies specialized in finding talented people for different fields like modeling, singing, acting, dancing and others. They work similarly to scouts. They search for perspective persons that could participate in different kinds of projects like TV, photo, video, advertisement casting and others. Usually the models in a casting agency doesn’t have an exclusive contract and can work for different agencies. (Model Glossary)
  • Casting Detail Sheet: Page(s) of information for the model regarding a gig.
  • Commercial/Print Modeling: This type of modeling focuses on promoting a product, brand, idea, or company. Commercial/print models are used to sell products and are not required to look unique, stunning, or strange like runway models. The appeal is for the main public so these models are required to be attractive with symmetrical features and proportional figures. Consumers want to be able to relate to the model. Commercial/print models appear on billboards, catalogs, product labels and other forms of print material. (Modeling 101)
  • Comp Card: Also referred to as a comp card, sedcard, (zedcard) or model business card. A composite card is a piece of card which is printed with at least two photos of you in various poses, settings, outfits and looks (the widest variety possible). It includes your name, your contact information, usually your agency’s info and all your stats. Comp cards come in lots of different formats depending on the city, agency and the type of model you are. Agencies will usually issue comp cards for you after they sign you. A composite card serves as the latest and best of a model’s portfolio and are used as a business card. (Model Glossary)
  • Contact: This term refers to your “contact person,” who is the individual you will need to speak with when you arrive at your casting or for the actual modeling gig. The contact person usually is the go-to person if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Copyright: Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. These rights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned.
  • Cover Shooting: A shoot specifically being done for the cover of a magazine, novel, CD, etc.
  • DOE: (Also BOE/”based on experience”) “Depends on experience”, a way to say how the compensation for a gig will work. Usually, the more experience you have, the higher the pay rate will be.
  • Editorial: Photographs made to illustrate a story or idea within the context of a magazine
  • Exclusive Contract: When you sign a contract that is “exclusive” that means you can only work for that agent and cannot accept representation from anyone else. These types of contracts must be reviewed carefully. Exclusive contracts makes sure the talent/model doesn’t get signed by a competing agent. (Modeling 101)
  • Fashion/Runway/Editorial Modeling: This type of modeling is about selling and showcasing the latest clothes and trends in the fashion world via runway shows, photo shoots, ad campaigns and ads in high fashion magazines. Models in these fields are often but not always required to be very tall, very slim, and often possess facial features that are strange, weird, odd, alien, or unique.
  • Fitting: The session that takes place before the photo shoot where the clothes to be modeled are fit onto the model. Based on the model’s particulars, the clothes are usually altered to fit. When you go to a fitting, be prepared to stand around partially clothed all day long, in front of several people. These people will usually be stylists, seamstresses and designers.
  • Glamour Modeling: Glamour modeling covers a section of modeling from casual clothing modeling to lingerie, implied to full nudity. This type of modeling focuses on the actual model and not a product, clothes, or company brand.
  • GWC: (Also, CWC/Creeper with Camera) This is an acronym for “guy with a camera.” This term refers to those individuals (mostly males) who have expensive cameras and label themselves “photographers” but generally have no training. Many of these types figure that just because they have a camera that costs over $2,000, that qualifies them to take “professional” pictures of models. There are also those who do have some training but still fall into this category due to behavior. GWC’s are most likely to pay for nude or erotic work.The term GWC is a negative one and meant to describe those who shouldn’t be trusted or worked with. As a whole, a GWC is a person who bought a camera solely for the reason to get close to models
  • Hair Stylist – A hairstylist is someone who cuts and styles hair. He or she often offers other services such as coloring and hair extensions. He or she cares for the perfect hair style of the model at the shooting, runway show or event. (Model Glossary)
  • Headshot: A close up photo of your face. There are different ways to compose a headshot but it is basically taken from the shoulders up or closer.
  • HWP: This stands for “height-weight-proportionate.” This is a quick way to ask for a model that is properly in proportion in all aspects, mainly their height, weight, and measurements.
  • Implied Nudity: This type of modeling suggests that the model is nude but does not explicitly show any private parts. For example, a model with her hands over her bare breasts or a topless model with her back to the camera would qualify as implied. There will be times when the model will actually be nude on-set, however, she/he will be strategically covered up. (Modeling 101)
  • Kit Fee: You’ll run into this term when working with a makeup artist. Not all makeup artists charge a kit fee, which is basically a small amount that you or the photographer (or you can both split the amount) are required to pay when working with them on a shoot. These fees usually help the makeup artist purchase new makeup items after using them on set (foundation, false lashes, etc). The kit fee varies from artist to artist. It is usually best to ask beforehand whether the makeup artist you plan to work with will charge a kit fee.
  • Location – Any place where a shoot (photography or film) takes place. When you are on location, it means you are outside the controlled environment of the studio and should prepare accordingly.
  • Lookbook (Look Book): A lookbook is a special collection of photographs that are put together to showcase/display a line of clothing–similar to a catalog. This type of publication is then shopped around to potential buyers, such as boutique stores, retailers and independent buyers. Those that are interested can then decide which items they want to carry in their stores. (Modeling 101)
  • Make-Up Artist – A makeup artist (MUA) is an artist whose medium is the human body, applying makeup and prosthetic for theatrical, television, film, fashion, magazines and other similar productions including all aspects of the modeling industry. (Model Glossary)
  • Model Agency – A model agency is a company that represents fashion models, to work for the fashion industry. These agencies earn their income via commission, usually from the deal they make with the model or the client. The model agency presents the models to the clients, promotes them to foreign agencies and is in charge of the models chart, book, portfolio, buyouts, travel etc. (Model Glossary)
  • Model Release Form: This is a document that lists the conditions agreed to between the model and the photographer. (Also, MUA and other team members of the shoot) Each model release form differs per artist but basically outlines what type of shoot it is and what restrictions or limitations the model or photographer has when using the images for personal or professional purposes. The majority of model release forms, but not all, require the model to waive (or dismiss) their claim of ownership/copyright to the photos, which means that they do not own any of the photos, nor are they allowed to make a profit from selling the images. Doing so is cause for legal push back. They are allowed to use it for promotional purposes, however. It is a binding, legal document that should be read over prior to signing.
  • Model Scout: A person who works for a modeling agency and is in charge of recruiting new faces for the company. They oftentimes venture out to popular local hang-outs in the hopes of finding male and females who they feel would do well as a professional model and meets the requirements of the agency. When a person gets “scouted,” they’ll be given the model scout’s contact information so that an appointment can be arranged at a later date and time, which gives the scouted individual the opportunity to meet the agency staff and see if they would be an ideal candidate for agency representation. (Modeling 101)
  • Mood/Inspiration Board: A collection of images to describe the mood and/or inspiration for a shoot or show; to inspire the ideas for a shoot
  • MTF/FTM: These abbreviations fall under the transgendered model category. MTF is short for “male to female” and FTM is short for “female to male”. Transgendered models should take careful note of which type the client is asking for before submitting. (Modeling 101)
  • MUA: Short for Makeup Artist.
  • New Faces/Newb/Newbie – New Faces or newcomers are models who are new into business. They are just starting their career and usually don’t have a professional book done.
  • Non-Exclusive Contract: This type of contract allows you to be represented by other agencies or work with other companies. Most non-exclusive contracts will have limitations to how their contract works. For example, if you are signed to a Los Angeles modeling agency under a non-exclusive contract, then you are free to get another agent outside of the LA market, such as San Francisco or New York. Read the fine print carefully prior to signing as it is a legally binding contract.
  • Photog: Shorthand for “photographer”
  • Plus Size – Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. (Model Glossary)
  • PM: Shorthand for “private message”, usually a way of contact on a Modeling Portfolio site such as ModelMayhem.com
  • Polars: Shorthand for “polaroids”
  • Port: Shorthand for “portfolio”
  • Portfolio: This can be considered a model’s “resume” of work, which contains a model’s best photos, including tear sheets. Clients and agencies often determine a model’s potential for success based on how strong his/her portfolio is. Model portfolios should be regularly updated as you take on new work. Only put the strongest images in your portfolio. (Modeling 101)
  • Prints – Prints are printed negatives, the real photos.
  • Senior model – A senior model is a professional model in his 40s/50s/60s
  • Set – This is where the action of shoot takes place usually within a professional studio or within a location. If it is referring to a website “set”, a set is a group of images telling a story for web submission. (IE: Sites such as SuicideGirls, Zivity, GeekGoddess, etc, have “photo sets”)
  • Snapshots: This term is used to described photos taken that are not done professionally. Photos taken by a friend using a digital camera and then printed are an example of a snapshot. These usually come into play for new/inexperienced models that are submitting to modeling agencies for the first time. 9 times out of 10 agencies will specifically request digital snapshots that are not professionally done to really gage a person’s modeling potential. (Modeling 101)
  • Stock Photos – Stock photography is the supply of photographs licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer. Today, stock images are usually presented in searchable online databases, where they are then purchased and delivered online. Often, they are produced in studios using a wide variety of models posing as professionals, stereotypes, expressing stereotypical emotions and gesticulations or involving pets. (Modeling 101)
  • Stylist – The stylist is in charge of the outfit of the model and discussing at length with the photographer or director, about theme of the shoot. (Model Glossary)
  • Tearsheet – sometimes written ‘Tear sheet’ is a term used by Advertising agencies and publications to denote a page cut or torn from a publication to prove to the client that the advertisement was published.
  • TFP: Stands for “time for prints/photos” or “trade for”, also called TFCDs “time for CD of images”.With TF shoots, everyone contributes their talents to the shoot. In return, the model receives images from the shoot as compensation. TF arrangements are free for both/all parties and may or may not require a model release form. Typically, a release form should be involved for safety purposes. Each photographer works TF shoots differently- TF arrangements are not black and white and the terms can be flexible as agreed upon by the model and photographer. If you see TF*, that means you can negotiate what you want out of the shoot, whether it is prints or a CD of photos. (Modeling 101)
  • TG: This is short for “transgendered.” There are some transgendered models out there and clients that need them. If you are not transgendered and come across a model casting for “TG Models” do NOT submit. (Modeling 101)
  • Usage – Usage is the term used to discuss what rights the parties are allowed. Usages also vary according to time and region. Be sure to discuss with the photographer what the usage will be. If you are with an agency, they should cover that topic with the client. These different mediums, or usages, may include: consumer magazines, trade magazines, product packaging, print ads, bus ads, subway ads, billboards, magazine covers, direct mail, magazine editorials, posters, catalogs, brochures, point-of-purchase (point-of-sale or p-o-p), annual reports, book covers, kiosk, duratrans (those big portable billboards that are towed around behind trucks), newspapers, etc. The largest usage is the unlimited time usage, worldwide buyout. That means the client can plaster the photograph across every city in the world in every possible usage until the end of time.

Some great sites to find more in-depth descriptions or terms for more agency-based settings, you can look at any of the following:
Models Direct 

The Fashion Spot 

The Business of Modeling

Modeling 101

Model Glossary

I will go further into types of modeling/categories of modeling in a future blog post!

Photo Sessions Tips and Tricks: Modeling- How to Survive as a Model in an Over-Saturated Market

* Please note, this article was originally written 5/30/2013 and published in , but quite a bit of the information is still relevant to now. Some of this is rough and blunt, but more often than not that’s the attitude you have to take- you can’t sugarcoat when it comes to how the industry is.


Whether you have been modeling for years, or just starting out, you’ve seen how cut throat and flooded the market has become since the introduction of social media and inexpensive DSLR cameras. Everyone, everywhere, is suddenly a “model” or “photographer”.  The number of unprofessional people has gone through the roof, as well as what is commonly known as GWCs and the number of professionals leaving the industry due to this has increased dramatically.  I have seen many great artists who were the reason I began leave because they have been getting screwed over.  All this influx leaves you with the questions “Should I just leave, too?” and “How can I still survive in this market?”

It’s a question I’ve often wondered myself as of lately. And the answer is yes, you can survive in this over flooded market, but it means it just is going to get harder and you’re going to have to put even more effort in than you’re already doing. You have to be sure that it is something you absolutely want to pursue; whether you decide it’s for full time or part time. You have to have the drive to do it, and fight against all those who are ruining the industry. Even the most sought after models, unless you’re Mosh, seem to be having difficulty and are doing more to promote themselves.

If you’ve been doing modeling strictly using portfolio sites such as ModelMayhem, PurplePort, etc- it’s time to expand.  What was once an industry based on actual talent and looks is now mostly based on a popularity contest. Many people will look at the number of “fans” you have as opposed to what you work is actually like. Sites like ModelInsider and  OneModelPlace have declined in use, while ModelMayhem and PurplePort still remain well known and going strong. As almost sad as it would seem, Facebook fan pages would be the first step. If you are unsure about having your personal profile open to the public, create a fan page, a secondary profile, or both.  There are multitudes of contests, magazines and groups on Facebook for models, photographers, designers and anyone involved in the industry. Though you are restricted to posting only “Facebook friendly” images- i.e., no nudity or implied nudity- it gives you a wide range to show your work and network with others.

Instagram is also a social media application widely used. Again, images must be family friendly as younger generations can have accounts, but there is a wide number of industry professionals who use Instagram to showcase their work, receiving a large amount of networking and followers in turn.

Another “family friendly” atmosphere, though not as commonly used, is Google +. Google provides you with the ability to have email, chat, and social networking all on one page, as opposed to five.

For those of you with less “family friendly” images, there are other options, such as Flickr, Tumblr, and Deviantart. Flickr is more of a photo host than social media. It does not get as much traffic as other sites and you have to make sure to classify the level of your work or you risk getting your account locked, but they did recently upgrade to give all members a free terabyte of space. It’s also useful to use Flickr if you have a mass amount of photos and need storage, besides having multiple external drives. Tumblr, on the other hand, as well as Deviantart, is a mix of everything, with no need to classify or sensor yourself. Though while Deviantart does have a rating system and it is recommended to use it or get your account locked, as well as has a bit of a history of having trolls who won’t leave you alone, it does allow for any type of images to be posted. Tumblr has become a massive collection of people and ideas.  You will find everything on Tumblr- from recipes, to kittens, to models, to porn.

However, the downside of using any social media network is the photo stealing and reblogging without credits. Always, always make sure your work is watermarked. Make sure to occasionally go through tags and find yourself and see if you are still properly credited, or if someone else is stealing your work.

Above all- you have to promote yourself. Post as often as possible, whether it is a new professional image, a self shot of you being bored, or a status update. Enter contests, “like” pages, comment on other’s statuses/images.  Interact with fans- though do not feel ashamed for hiding yourself off the chat to avoid being bombarded with constant messages. And don’t ever feel pressured to answer messages you don’t want to.  Use Facebook to post casting calls, offer your services for whatever end of the industry you do.  Use it to network with others and make yourself more known.

Another thing that might help is adjusting what you expect. Though it’s hard to get paid jobs on either end of the camera, it’s still sought after. Many have now accepted that getting paid jobs is not going to be a constant, so they offer up deals. Time For shoots if travel compensation is given or maybe something purchased for them- clothing, shoes, something they need.  Paid shoots at a discount if you book them for a certain amount of hours or if it’s for something specific, like publication or designer’s work. Many models have turned to content sites to help make up for the lack in paid work, as have many photographers. Be aware when you’re looking to work for content sites as most if not all require fully nudity, such as Zivity, Brokendollz, Cosplay Deviants, GeekGoddess, Suicide Girls, GodsGirls, and many more. But always be careful to read their rules- some sites do not allow you to work on other sites of the same genre.

If you’ve never worked with designers, it is also an option to look into. Designers, MUAs, Stylists- they all cross promote with each other. If you work with a designer, the designer will most likely end up promoting you, even if it’s by only sharing an image featuring you wearing their product.

In general, it has come down to this: Promote, promote, promote, and get yourself out there as much as humanly possible and more. Change what you expect and what you normally receive. Enjoy your art, but make sacrifices to keep doing so. It’s hard, and it’s work, but if it’s what you love, then you won’t give up so easily.

Photo Session Tips and Tricks: Do’s and Don’t’s of Finding and Booking Your Photographer

There is so much that goes into a photo shoot- more than many people realize- and it can make looking for and booking a photographer stressful sometimes. In this article, I have pulled together a list of some basic Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to finding your photographer and booking your shoot! This applies to all shoots- from weddings to standard head shots and more! In later blogs, I will post some Do’s and Don’t’s for during and after the shoot.

Do’s

  • Look over a photographer’s work and webpage to see their style and available packages. Every photographer is different and offers different things. Some are very strict on their package deals, others offer to customize to you and others still offer ala carte deals.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Many photographers now offer F.A.Q.’s on their webpage- take a look over those first, as it may cut out a lot of questions you have before you ask. If you don’t see something you want to know, then send a message! Questions may include things like the cost for sitting fees, the prints, packages, add-on’s, etc; locations or studio, what to expect at each stage of the shoot, how many photographers and/or assistants to expect, if makeup and/or hair is included or separate, time allowance and charges for additional time, copyright or usage of prints, turnaround time to see your final images, edit process- if they edit in color, black and white, or both; and who will be shooting. You may also wish to ask, if it’s not mentioned on the website, is included in the packages- do you get prints, digital files, or both? CD/DVD or online link? Retouching? How many “looks” per shoot? How many edits you receive? (Please note, some photographer will refuse to put a number on final edits as they may get more or less than expected.)
  • Read carefully over any information a photographer presents on their webpage- this can give you a better idea on how they work! Many, if not all, photographers offer an overview on what it’s like to work with them, references, their shooting style and any other information you may find useful.
  • Ask to look over the contract and/or Model Release before booking and be sure to ask questions on anything you need clarified.
  • Inquire as to how the photographer plans to use the images. They may use them for things such as promotional pieces, portfolio, web, marketing, ads or stock-photography. Please remember that unless specifically written in a contract or purchased, photographers retain copyright to the photos. Be sure to review with the photographer if you do not wish to have your images shared. Many photographers are respectful of this, especially if you are doing a shoot such as a boudoir set up for your significant other. They may ask you to pick a couple images that you would allow to be shown in portfolios as a reference for future clients.
  • Ask to set up an in-person or Skype meeting to see how your personalities mesh! You want to be comfortable during your shoot. For an in person meeting, suggest locations that are public like a coffee shop.
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. Do your research on a photographer- look up reviews on them, contact people who have worked with them if they list references. Trust your instincts.
  • Inquire about how they work payments. Do they take only cash or check, do they allow payment plans? Do they require payment in full at time of booking, a deposit, or paid in full at the end of the shoot?
  • See if they help with wardrobe! It can be very frustrating trying to figure out what you’re supposed to wear. Some photographers offer input on wardrobe or have the services of a stylist, provide some pieces and props or provide mood boards.
  • Look over a photographer’s work and see if you like it! This is so important. If you don’t enjoy a photographer’s work- don’t book them! Ask to see more images if you’d like!
  • Inquire if anyone else is allowed to take photos while the photographer is working. Please note: Some photographers may be okay with this at events, but not any type of portrait shoot. Other photographers have strict rules about being the only photographer, including at events and also require no cell phone photos. (Think of it this way: You went and set up this gorgeous shot of a couple, and then someone goes and takes a cell phone picture of it. Kind of takes away from the photo you’d later present.)
  • Talk to your potential photographer about your idea, what you’d like to see or the goal of the shoot. See how they interact with you, what they come up with, what their input is- another way of seeing how you mesh!
  • See if the photographer shoots in digital or film, or both. Film photography is rare, but still exists. It is also likely to be more expensive due to development costs.
  • Ask if the photographer provides direction during the shoot.

Don’t

  • Book a shoot without doing your research first.
  • Expect a photographer to shoot in a style that is not their own.
  • Focus on your perceived self-faults. Let the photographer and team- if applicable- work with you to bring out the best in you.
  • Expect the photographer to make you into someone you’re not. There is a difference between a photographer and a Photoshop artist. This is why it is always recommended that you look over the photographer’s work before booking.
  • Assume things will come with your package or will be done. Again, always do your research and ask questions. This applies to prints, makeup artists and hair stylists, wardrobe and props, etc.
  • Not have an imagination. Some photographers like when you’re a blank canvas, but more often than not, photographers would like you to have some ideas of your own- especially if you’re hiring them.
  • Blindly sign paperwork. This applies to so many things outside the photography world as well. Read over what you’re going to sign and make sure you understand.

Have suggestions or things to add? Comment or message me!