You Aren’t a Real Model

A young lady I am friends with on Facebook recently posted this little bit of short sighted judgement:

Just going to clarify this for everyone. To be a “model” you have to get paid. Not just take slutty pictures

Sadly, there were too many folks who liked her opinion, and held their own judgmental opinions as well:

Lol, so true!!

Amen! And being in a non-published magazine doesn’t count as being in print!

I completely agree, but this statement 100% applies to the people taking the pictures as well. A lot of these ladies are being misled by pervs posing as real photographers.

VeronikaI, of course, do not agree with this sentiment at all. Extrapolating further on her statement, the Atlanta Roller Girls aren’t “athletes” since they don’t get paid for practicing every week and getting the crap knocked out of them on weekends. My niece and nephew aren’t “actors” because they only do community theater. My brother isn’t a chef since he doesn’t get paid for cooking exceptional meal for his family, friends, and church group.

Some folks do what they do because they just enjoy doing what they do. I rarely get paid to take pictures, and I sometimes take the kind of pictures that she is complaining about. That doesn’t make me not a photographer, nor does it make the girls not models. To be a “model”, you have to pose for a photographer, painter, sculptor, sketch artist, videographer, or any other person who uses visual art. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

Check your egos at the door, and enjoy what you do because you enjoy doing it. If you can get paid every now and then – more power to you. If you can actually make a living doing what you love doing, you are truly lucky. The rest of us will just have fun doing our thang.

(The young lady in the image is Veronika. She hasn’t done slutty pictures. She hasn’t been paid to be in front of the camera. She’s still a model.)

Posted in model photography, News & Updates, Photography Business

What Is The Big White Box?

You may have seen the Big White Box portraits mentioned on Facebook in posts about the Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash or related to the Atlanta Roller Girls. And I am sure you have asked yourself, “What is the ‘Big White Box’?” I’ll tell you.

Richard Avedon has a beautiful series of portraits called “In The American West”. The portraits are not models, or celebrities, or politicians. They are regular people who Avedon met while traveling the American west. When I first saw those portraits I was struck by the honesty, the depth, and the simple emotion of the people – not to mention the wonderful cast of characters that Avedon managed to photograph. I saw those photos and was inspired to try something like that, too.

I later saw a behind the scenes photo of how he accomplished that great look. He did with a simple white backdrop tacked to the shade side of a building. I pondered and thought until my ponderer was all pondered out, and I came up with a way I could do something similar. And the Big White Box portrait project was born.

Working with concepts inspired by the brilliant Tinker Tubes PDF that has floated around the DIY photographer world for a long time, I devised a – well, a box that I covered on the sides, top, and back with inexpensive white nylon. That made a big white box with an even light all the way around.

Big White Box Frame

Big White Box Frame

Big White Box Cover

Big White Box Cover

With the Big White Box complete, I debuted it at the 2007 Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash,and it was an immediate hit. Since that time I have taken the Big White Box to a wedding, more Atlanta Roller Derby matches than I can recall, and the 2008 Monster Bash.

I was busy organizing model and car shoots at the 2009-2011 Monster Bashes, but I am thrilled to bring the Big White Box portrait project back for the 2012 Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash. If I don’t see you there, perhaps you’ll come to the June 2012 Atlanta Roller Girls bout, or, if you prefer, I can come to your wedding, car show, or event.


Posted in News & Updates, Portraits Tagged , , , |

Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash

Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash

The Girls of Monster Bash

I have been attending the Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash every year since it first started in 2006. While not a big fan of horror movies, I am a huge fan of the types of people who come out to the Monster Bash every years, and I have had some great photo ops there – not to mention having met and befriended many people in the “alternative” scene in Atlanta.

I will be back at the 2012 Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash again this year, and it will mark the return of my Big White Box portrait project. I am looking forward to getting back into the Atlanta, GA heat and humidity and hanging out at the Starlight Drive In with all the ghouls and girls – and coming home with some interesting Big White Box portraits!

Check out some of my photos from prior Atlanta Rock and Roll Monster Bash events!

When: Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
Gates are at 10am
Tickets: $20

Posted in Just For Fun, model photography, News & Updates Tagged , |

Photography For A Good Cause

Paint Tybee Pink

Paint Tybee Pink

Many photographers – myself included – constantly complain about being asked to shoot an event or a person for free. The usual justification for that request is, “You’ll get exposure.” Most photographers don’t need exposure. We need cash. We need to pay the rent or the credit card bills. Exposure doesn’t do that.

But every now and then you do a shoot for free because it is for a Good Cause, because your talents as a photographer will help promote that cause. I have a few Good Causes I participate with for free or for a drastically reduced rate. Help Portrait is one of them. Another is breast cancer fund raising, particularly (and almost exclusively) the Paint Georgia Pink organization.

A few years ago my baby sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy to stop the spread of that disease. Her life was saved because of early detection and rapid response by her doctors. Shortly after that event, I was asked by Jessica Hill to contribute my photography talents to shooting a promo piece for her breast cancer fund raiser, Ink 4 Pink. That shoot combined my affection for girls with tattoos with breast cancer awareness. I got to work with custom fashion designer Erin Bohanon, one of my favorite models – Kris Melton, another model I’ve wanted to photograph for a long time – Rachel Rust, and Jessica. It was a win-win for me!

Exposure? Not really, but I did get a web design client from it, and now Rachel says hello to me when I see her at a tattoo studio.

My best friend from college, Susan Oates, heads up Paint Georgia Pink, and the first weekend of May 2012 she is holding a fund raiser walk on Tybee Island outside of Savannah called Paint Tybee Pink. She asked me to come photograph the event for her, and do it for no pay. I didn’t hesitate for a minute. I told her absolutely yes.

Will I get paid? I do get a hotel room for two nights, but there is no residual income, no honorariums, no tip jar. Just me showing up for a weekend to help my friend and a cause I believe in. I have my Good Causes, and I will shoot for them. I won’t get exposure (except maybe sunburn), and the trip to Tybee will cost me more than it will make me, but it is a Good Cause. And sometimes we have to do Good Causes.

Posted in News & Updates, Photography Business Tagged , , |

Hotel Photography

At one time I was the “Director of Internet Technology” for a hotel franchising company. What that meant in real life wass that I was the sole person responsible for creating the words and pictures you see on the websites of four brand and 200+ property websites. When I was hired, I brought along another talent – my photography skills. Those skills were put to use to take pictures of hotels to use on the aforementioned websites as well as on the various travel websites.

As a sometime-photographer-of-budget-hotels, I believe it is important to be truthful in representing the property realistically, even if that representation isn’t always flattering. I always try to find the best way to show even a bad hotel, but it isn’t always successful.

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I won’t unrealistically stage a photo. I won’t add flowers to a room if flowers aren’t in rooms. I won’t add bottles of champagne next to hot tubs (you don’t want glass near your tub anyway!). I don’t hose down pool decks, or replace bed linens. When I show up to photograph a hotel, I photograph it as it is – most of the time. I have been known to add a pretty girl or two to a photo, as you can see. I carry a supply of properly white balanced light bulbs to put in place of the burnt out bulbs I frequently run across. I will re-arrange the chairs by the pool, and I have been known to re-arrange pillows on a bed. But what you see in my hotel photography is what you’ll see when you show up at that hotel.

Tricking the customer with hotel photos is something that even very high end resorts and hotels do – frequently! The folks over at have an often humorous collection of photos that show the marketing vs. the reality. Though very few of the photos out-right lie about their hotels or resorts, the truth is often obfuscated with angles, lighting, cropping, and set decoration.

This is one of my favorite examples of lying by set decorating.

This is the marketing photo of the king red bedroom done for/by the Ayre’s Hotel in in Los Angeles:

Ayres Hotel Los Angels

This is the real photo of the king red bedroom done by one of Oyster’s investigators:

The Real Ayres Hotel Room - by

The Real Ayres Hotel Room - by

It is still a nice room (and, by all accounts and reviews, a very nice hotel), but you won’t get the room you see in the marketing photo.

When shopping for a hotel on-line, be cynical when you see the pictures (unless you know that I took them :wink:).

Posted in News & Updates, Photography Business, Travel Photography Tagged |